Digital TV plan rips off consumers
I am pleased that columnist Mike Himowitz chose to write about the rip-off that is soon to cost U.S. consumers a lot of money to pay for the self-aggrandizing television industry's conversion to digital TV ("TV signal scheme is a rip-off of set owners," Oct. 27).
One of the reasons a lot of pressure has been applied to Congress to set a "cut-over" date in concrete is that digital TVs, at nearly $1,000 a crack, have not sold well to consumers.
An industry source in another publication estimates that only 15 percent of sets sold currently are digital. The industry wants to see better and quicker returns on its investment in digital sets.
Keep in mind that TV receivers last a long time; I have one that is more than 25 years old.
Most commentators suggest that digital sets have not sold well because of their cost. That may be partly true, but there is also evidence that the product of broadcast TV is not selling well to consumers.
All you need to do is look at the TV programming available from broadcasters, and it is obvious they are all selling the same product - i.e., action and crime shows, sitcoms and game shows. Who needs a digital signal to watch that?
The TV industry essentially bought off the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress with dreams of beautiful pictures and details from digital broadcasting, even as projections indicate conventional television will continue to slip in popularity in favor of Web-based and on-demand cable and satellite programming.
The FCC should have forced the industry to develop a digital standard that would have permitted compatibility with existing equipment, just as color TV, when introduced, was compatible with black-and-white televisions.
Charles J. Kovarik
Lies underpin war without end
The Sun's excellent editorial "White House besieged" (Oct. 30) is absolutely right. The indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., leaves no doubt that President Bush's adventure in Iraq is based not only on hubris, ignorance and incompetence but also on a "big lie."
To protect that big lie, the Bush White House surrounded it with a bodyguard of lies.
The irony is that in its haste to silence critics and wage a war under the pretext of fighting terrorism, it committed the heinous act of revealing the name of someone who was on the front lines of defending our country against terrorism.
And no matter how the Bush administration and its apologists try to spin this, the truth is that more than 2,000 of our brave service personnel are dead and the war has cost us more than $250 billion, and counting, with no end in sight.
Fariborz S. Fatemi
The writer is a former staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Democrats finally confront the war
The Democrats finally stand up to be counted ("Senate Democrats pick fight over Iraq," Nov. 2). Hooray. It was about time.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid would make President John F. Kennedy proud for his profile in courage in taking on the power structure and the stranglehold the Republican Party has on our United States.
The Democrats are asking the question the American people need answered - and that is why and how we got involved in the Iraq war that is killing and wounding so many young Americans.
The American people deserve and want truth without spin.
Put the casualties on the front page
We have now passed the grim milestone of 2,000 American deaths in Iraq ("War toll speaks to geography, class split," Oct. 30). The Sun has been publishing information on these losses mostly on interior pages. I believe these names belong on Page One.
Publishing daily casualty reports on the front page would serve to properly honor the sacrifice of America's service members and also to inform the public more effectively that American troops continue to die in Iraq on a daily basis.
The Sun's recent headline on an apparent lack of public concern about Iraq ("Little outcry raised on Iraq," Oct. 24) may in part stem from the fact that the news media themselves are ignoring this ongoing tragedy.
Mudslinging no way to sustain science
Gordon Livingston's column "The limits of Bush's mind" (Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 25) managed to further faulty stereotypes by equating the Bible and creationism with "superstition/religious dogmatism" and evolution with science.
He failed to note that the continuing decline in SAT scores began at the same time prayer was removed from public education by Supreme Court rulings in early 1960s.
As for his worn-out "anti-science" portrayal of creationists, it would be nice if Mr. Livingston would drop his smug confidence that evolution is "true/scientific" and supply some reference to the scientific evidence proving that life can/did spontaneously generate out of inanimate matter.