Rain forests, food as aid, `runaway' convention

Re the Feb. 11 article on development in Rodonia: ``Mere weed and bramble'' -- is this any way to refer to the Amazonian rain forest, one of the greatest biological legacies on earth? Amid all that heady boosterism I find not one word of regret for the extinctions of plants and animals, nor for the indigenous peoples displaced by the settlers, miners, and entrepreneurs flooding into the region. Those 90 lumber companies are leveling a forest radically different from our own, whose mechanisms are still little understood by biologists. We will never know how much we have sacrificed. The population explosion of recent decades is a familiar story; the annihilation of tropical rain forests is a current chapter. Pamela Harlow Seattle

The United States government reports a $2 billion annual expenditure for the storage of surplus food. Why don't we use it as partial payment for our foreign aid, including Israel? It would help reduce our deficit, plus cost of storage. The farmers would require less subsidy because they would have an incentive to produce, and the government would not be paying them to leave their land idle. The cost of delivery would give citizens employment and should be included in the cost of grant in aid. It would help balance the import deficit. Elizabeth W. Huntoon Needham, Mass.

The statement by Congressman Henry J. Hyde of Illinois which appeared Jan. 8 demands response [``Reining in a `runaway' Constitutional Convention'']. Article V of the Constitution provides ``both a congressional and a popular route for achieving constitutional change.'' The popular route ``has never been tested.'' But there is no danger of a ``runaway'' convention, or that ``an entirely new Constitution might result.'' Any amendment proposed by such a convention must be ratified by three-fourths of the states. Working with that restriction no Constitutional Convention will be carried away by revolutionary fervor. Terry Curtis Santa Rosa, Calif.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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