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Letters: Aug. 6, 2001

7 minute read

The War over the West

Administrations come and go, but the impact of logging, mining and other heavy-extraction industries on Western lands and natural resources can span countless decades [HIGH NOON IN THE WEST, July 16]. Managing resources and the challenges of growth is not easy, and our rich natural legacy is weakened with each generation. Without the kind of dialogue that your report raises, discussion of the policies governing public lands will remain behind closed doors in private, special-interest boardrooms. STEVE KINGSFORD-SMITH Seattle

The questions of land use are not so simple as industry vs. environment. Most businesspeople I know enjoy a walk in the woods, and most environmentalists I know believe in technological progress. Instead of perpetuating a false dichotomy, we must find the solutions for our future in a shared approach to developing sustainable practices. The West will truly be won when we see renewable energy, reduced use of toxic chemicals and meaningful efforts toward land and resource conservation. KATIE SILBERMAN Center for Environmental Health Oakland, Calif.

People can relocate; an endangered species cannot. It is arrogant and incredibly stupid for people to move onto arid land and then assume they can basically steal the water from any source, at any cost, for their own selfish interests. GLENN M. SCOTT Newport News, Va.

Theodore Roosevelt didn’t create the national-forest system for the benefit of oil companies, gold miners and all-terrain-vehicle manufacturers. We have wolves in Yellowstone and no drilling because of your voices. Wake up, Americans, and protect the public lands as though you owned them–because you do. Your voices will make a difference. JAY F. KIRKPATRICK Billings, Mont.

Timber issues in the west are not black and white. The extreme greens don’t want a single tree cut, while some lumber interests act as if not one should be left standing. I grew up in Washington State, and have hiked the high country since I was a boy scout in the ’60s. I live in a house built of lumber and read TIME on paper. A middle way must be found to provide a livelihood for Westerners but keep the beauty and diversity of nature of the West for all. CURT EIDEM Everett, Wash.

Americans are littering and plundering our natural treasures without a second thought. From missing petroglyphs, chiseled out of rocks, to cigarette butts littering the trails and initials carved in trees half a millennium old, I saw mankind’s fingerprints everywhere on a recent trip back home. Our environment is being irreparably damaged. The decision on whether or not to open up a pristine natural area to loggers, drillers or all-terrain-vehicle drivers should be a no-brainer. MARK K. HINSHAW III Plano, Texas

–Are you all riled up about land-use issues? In the debate over the West’s natural resources, many of you resorted to what the cowboys used to call fightin’ words. “It’s time for you left-wing media types to sit down, shut up and stop banging the tree-hugger drum,” snapped a South Carolina man. Just as upset was a Louisiana woman who decried “the sickening, arrogant bias of TIME’s reporting. The Unabomber is the spiritual brother of the environmentalists of whom you seem so enamored.” On the other side of the shoot-out, a man from Bainbridge Island, Wash., quipped, “It’s not that President Bush doesn’t care about the environment. He simply loves Texas so much, he wants the rest of the country to look just like it.”

New Boss at the FBI

President Bush’s nomination of Bob Mueller as director of the FBI should have raised more eyebrows [NATION, July 16]. As a prosecutor in the northern district of California, Mueller instituted a policy, known as a “Brady waiver,” that requires defendants who plead guilty to a crime to forgo their constitutional right to present evidence of their innocence at a later date. Given Mueller’s past use of a policy that effectively shields the government from accepting responsibility for withholding and concealing evidence, it’s questionable whether he is the right person for the position at this critical juncture in the FBI’s history. PATRICK A. DOWNES Boston

Married to the Military

The Rand Corp. report that characterized Army wives as “young, immature, lower-class spouses” who have “difficulty controlling their reproductive tendencies” may have given the wives of military personnel a bad name [NATION, July 16], but it’s not just Army wives who are stereotyped. Poor women of all types are seen as unstable baby factories. Regardless of what the wage earner does, if the salary isn’t enough to pay for child care, then the spouse cannot afford to go to work. What appears to be a military problem is a symptom of a larger class problem. How about affordable, high-quality child care for the military and the rest of the country? SUSAN MICKELSON Lansing, Mich.

Why are the military wives in your article depicted as victims? These young Army wives, despite their age, are adults and are making choices for themselves. To have multiple children on an income under $1,000 a month is just plain foolish. The Rand report may be offensive in its characterization of military wives, but it sure sounds accurate. ANDREW HERLAN Los Angeles

A Deal Gone Bad

The failed merger of General Electric and Honeywell raises important questions for this new era in world economic relations [BUSINESS, July 16]. How far-reaching is a government’s right to block a company from growing or merging? In this new, globalized era, large companies that decide to make big moves that affect more than one region of the planet have to deal with two or more bodies–NAFTA, E.U., Mercosur, you name it. Is this the end of the American economic hegemony? DANIEL PASKIN Miami

The Old Shows Were Better

Though I’m only 18, I understand the appeal of the old TV series that are being shown on niche cable channels [TELEVISION, July 16]. Television programs should convey morals. Viewers used to see classy series and educational shows, not the junk that is on now. The shows of the ’60s taught lessons. I like them because of the things I have learned from them. You can even find out things by watching Captain Kangaroo. PHILLIP COHEN Honesdale, Pa.

Your report on the proliferation of reruns on TV rang true for me. As a high school history teacher, I find that these shows provide a great teaching tool. Teachers can show not only videos that reflect the values of postwar America but also clips that reflect the evolution of those values. TV reruns can illustrate the evolution of modern feminism. MATT CONE Plano, Texas

Tribal Self-Sufficiency

TIME’s story on the economic turnaround of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, “Winning Big Without Casinos” [INNOVATORS, June 18], quoted me as saying our previous tribal chairman was “interested in government handouts, not development.” That statement was misconstrued and taken out of context. In 1990 I asked Wayne Ducheneaux, the chairman at that time, what position the tribe was taking on the Indian Economic Development Act, which had been introduced in the Senate. He responded that the tribe had no position on it and that it was more interested in an agriculture bill that had also been introduced. This was the substance of our conversation. I would like to apologize to Mr. Ducheneaux for the misunderstanding. GREGG J. BOURLAND, CHAIRMAN Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Eagle Butte, S.D.

Delicious Description

While reading Robert Hughes’ article “The Poetry of Pastry,” on the paintings of Wayne Thiebaud [ART, July 16], I was stopped by a word very fitting but never before imagined. In describing Thiebaud’s painting of pies, Hughes wrote of “coconut icing soft and fluffy as a baby angel’s wingpits.” Your critic outdid himself with that one. As a columnist for a small-town newspaper, I appreciate the need for a word that really fits. I’ve made up a few, but wingpits conjures up a physical tickle. Hughes is a treasure. JEANNE FRESHWATER Nehalem, Ore.


In our item about critters that can spoil your summertime fun [NOTEBOOK, July 16], we said mosquitoes carry the E. coli bacterium. They do not.

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