Readers sound off on our previous issue and other ideas.

A keeper!

As regional representative for Catholic Relief Services, I always look forward your quarterly magazine, but I don’t know how your Spring 2009 issue could have been any better. From the fine introduction to Fr. Engh, alumni appointments in the new administration (wow!), newest Rhodes Scholar, banjos, embiids, and the legacy of Fr. Locatelli who serves on our board, it was packed with interesting and entertaining articles. Great job!

Seattle, Wash.

Panetta and Napolitano

The Winter 2006 issue of the Santa Clara Magazine published a piece stating that the University had been praised [by the New York Times] for developing politicians such as Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom. I responded that if these two were representative of Santa Clara values that “I would pick up my library commemorative paver and retreat in shame.”

Today I change my tune. The Spring 2009 articles on Leon Panetta ’60, J.D. ’63 and Janet Napolitano ’79 show two principled, dedicated individuals who, although I don’t always agree with their political positions, command the utmost respect.

These two are a credit to themselves and the University and I am proud that my library paver is part of the Santa Clara landscape.

Orange, Calif.

I was disappointed to read your Spring 2009 edition, [which included] an article about Leon Panetta, an Obama sign, and an article on Janet Napolitano. All are radically pro-choice. Every abortion kills a living child. The holocaust of abortion is the civil rights movement of our generation.

As a history major at Santa Clara I was taught the wisdom of Lincoln who said, “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” I thank SCU for helping me speak out about the sanctity of life and our current culture of death and these deeds of darkness.


The rendition conundrum

The story of Leon Panetta’s appointment to be director of the CIA presents a startling conundrum: Can an ethical person run the CIA? Panetta is quoted as saying “we can abide by the law” but claims he will allow for the continuance of rendition!

Rendition is a euphemism for kidnapping. The United States started this program during the Clinton administration and it has accelerated under the Bush Administration, particularly after Sept. 11, 2001. A Kidnapping in Milan, Italy, by the CIA in February 2003 has led to blowback in the form of an extradition request by an Italian judge for some 26 Americans accused of performing extraordinary rendition (kidnapping) of a Muslim cleric. As of February 28, 2007, the U.S. indicated it would not heed the request.

More recently, on March 10, UN Special Rapporteur Martin Scheinin condemned Britain for its complicity in the American program of rendition and alleged torture of hundreds of terror suspects.

The Sacramento Bee reported in March that President Obama has left open “the option for American operatives to capture terrorism suspects abroad even without the cooperation of a country where they were found.”

Perhaps, between an ethical director of the CIA and a president who is also a Constitutional scholar, they can find a way out of this morass. Maybe Justice Brandeis’ dissent in Olmstead v. United States would help: “Our government is the potent, the omnipresent, teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious.”

Grass Valley, Calif.

God, the banjo, and Mitch

Thank you for publishing Mitch Finley’s “God, the banjo, and me” (Spring 2009). As a fellow banjo player and SCU alum, I should mention that the banjo is not only “America’s instrument” but our official national instrument as well. President Truman made it so with an executive proclamation in 1947.

I had my “calling” to become a banjo player back in 1977 and have been performing with a local group, the Peninsula Banjo Band, ever since. Its mission is to promote the heritage and music associated with the banjo as well as to raise funds for various Bay Area charities, such as Hospice of the Valley.


This Summer Girls Ran the World

Swift Clara, the Bey Hive, honorary mayorships, and more: This summer, fanbases of mainly women helped rebound the U.S. economy.

A Billion for Tomorrow

A billion in support of scholarships, research, and facilities. Find out what it all means

Super Bloom!

What happens after the rains fall can be glorious.


Play—whether via imagination or with perspective—never stops being important to a person’s development.