African-American Backing for Carol Iannone
Regarding the editorial "Black Concerns and the White House," July 26: You should know that my nomination to the National Endowment for the Humanities was endorsed by Kenny Williams, a black female professor of literature at Duke University and the author of a classic study of African-American literature.Professor Williams wrote in my support, "There ought to be more literary critics like Dr. Iannone who are willing to look beyond that which is fashionable to see what is meaningful - at least to some - about American literature." Carol Iannone, New York
Containing contingency fees Congratulations on throwing down the gauntlet in "Quick-Draw McGraws Clog Courts," July 25. Well over 20 years ago the self-restraining custom that lawyers should not advertise was broken, and ads appeared showing attorneys holding newspaper headlines in their hands announcing $100,000 verdicts. The cause of excessive litigation is the existence of contingency fees. With the good intention of providing the poor with the tool for obtaining justice, our democratic system has in fact provided the accident-specialist law firms with tools of personal enrichment. It is immoral in my opinion that law firms are often allowed to obtain a third to a half of a judgment rendered in favor of an injured party. The Supreme Court has considered limits or vetoes on frivolous actions, but drastic measures to stop contingency ads and fees are needed to rescue the judicial system. Franz Schager, Locust Valley, NY
Banking that is not so big Regarding the statistics on the size of US banks in the editorial "Banking on Bigness," July 23: The article says, "Only one major US bank company, Citicorp, is found on the usual roster of the world's 10 largest banks That, sadly, is now untrue. Citicorp just dropped out of the first 20 of the world's largest banks, and is now rated number 21. The Japanese and European banks have forced all of the US banks into a second echelon of "bigness," and the trend is continuing. Sometime soon the US will not have a bank in the top 40. Charles M. Worthley, Dover, NH
South Africa's challenge The Eastern Transvaal is an area of lush, rolling plains in South Africa. Rich in farmland, it provides foodstuffs for the country and its neighbors. But many farm workers are forced to live in abject poverty and squalor earning approximately $50 per month (working 12 hour days, 26 days a month) for back-breaking manual labor. The result is malnutrition, disease, high infant mortality, and human rights abuses. Many of these workers are Mozambiquan refugees who have fled a country racked by 15 years of civil war in order to work hard, earn a decent wage, and live in peace. What many of them find is a situation that is worse than the one from which they came. Impoverished and afraid of deportation by the authorities, they are taken advantage of by farmers. A fair and just South African government would end this abuse and encourage the formation of a farm workers union along with introduction of a minimum wage with fair payment schedules. This would bode well for the "new South Africa" of the future. Keith P. Martin, Victoria, Canada Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.