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1984, not Constitution, is now law

Updated: November 15, 2011 10:18AM

Regarding the headline, “Killing Americans: U.S. on uncharted ground in attack” [Oct. 1], I beg to differ. This ground has been thoroughly charted by George Orwell in his novel 1984, in which to be accused of a “thought crime” against the state is to be deemed guilty, and to be deemed guilty is to die.

True, the robotic death-squad operations that define American foreign policy are not mapped out in the Constitution, with its antiquated belief that government cannot “deprive any person [even Muslims!] of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” But now that 1984 has apparently supplanted the Constitution as our governing document, I foresee a brave new era of judicial efficiency, free of such obsolete and time-consuming concepts as “assistance of counsel,” “the right to a speedy and public trial” and decision by “an impartial jury.”

How secure we all shall be, in a world of secretive star chamber hearings and push-button executions, based on “intelligence” from the same folks who brought us the torture chambers of Abu Ghraib and the myth of Saddam’s WMD! As secure as Winston Smith at the end of 1984, when he sees the error of his rebellious ways and places his fate in the wise, loving and all-powerful hands of Big Brother.

What a brilliant counter-terrorism strategy — if the terrorists do indeed hate us because of our freedom, now there is officially little left to hate. I feel safer already.

Hugh Iglarsh, Skokie

Money not only answer

Your editorial in Sunday’s paper raises some excellent points about the state of education in Chicago. Much needs to be done to make it right. And you are correct, there are no silver bullets.

The extension of the school day is laudable. CPS has one of the shortest school days in Chicago. However, adding minutes for lunch and recess or adding minutes without resources for enrichment is not a solution that helps our schools do what they must — teach our future, our children.

With respect to the conclusion, “The most attention and care, then, should go to those flagging schools,” no one can argue with that assessment. But the attention is not necessarily money.

Schools with high poverty levels receive the most funding under federal and state funding that is tied to the number of students receiving free and reduced lunches. As a result, the amount of funding per student is much higher in many of these schools than in more affluent areas.

Rather, the focus and attention must be on a safe environment and community, family support of students, strong tutor/mentor programs and on a review of the quality of teachers and education in such schools. The money is there, but something is broken, and these non-funding elements seem to be places to focus to improve the educational experience for all of our children.

Dan Cotter, Edgebrook

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