Government should pay for Los Alamos fire

Your May 18 editorial "Keep cool over set fires" on the destructive forest fire in Los Alamos, N.M., urges citizens to stay cool. This is good advice. The editorial also says that the "government" should compensate the homeowners who had their property destroyed. This, too, is true. However, what your editorial didn't say is that the "government" is us, the taxpayers. Because of an apparent error in judgment or lack of communication among government workers, the damage to the environment was done.

Several years ago, when the oil tanker in Alaska spilled petroleum, the CEO and other executives of the company involved were strongly criticized, and forced to pay for the environmental damage. In the New Mexico situation, we see no criticism of the CEO of the government (that is, the president) for a possible mistake by his workers. We don't see the government executives being held to the same level of responsibility and personal financial penalty as happened in the Alaskan disaster. This dichotomy doesn't seem right.

Hector Kevoian Los Angeles

Leave education to the states

I was concerned with the regretful tone of your May 18 article "What can candidates do, really, on education?" As an educator with more than 30 years' experience, I have been mystified as to why the candidates think it is a national issue. Education is appropriately a state function; the role of the federal government should be to ensure its constitutional application to all.

If the legislators at any level should have a role, it is to allocate money for the raising of teacher salaries nationwide and to provide materials, not make policy decisions.

We are being sold a bill of goods by politicians, including the president, who tout we need a computer in front of each child, an inordinate expense. Often, students don't even have paper to print with. No teacher I know would take $1,000 per child and spend it on individual computers, but they would love that much money for materials, including a few computers, perhaps even more than a raise in salaries.

Audrey Albrecht Wilmington, N.C.

Lie down and be counted

It was with great delight that we read your May 15 article "Kindergartners' secret to a productive day." As authors of the book, "The Art of Napping at Work," we can only say that Robert Klose was right on the mark.

Too many Americans are sleep-deprived since the advent of the dual-income family, late-night television, the Internet, and the 24-hour society. One of the magic bullets for maintaining health and increasing mood and performance is the practice of "napping." When rested, we are more alert, we are able to keep our mind on the task at hand, and we definitely relate more appropriately with those around us.

For all those reasons, we say "lie down and be counted" and make the 10- to 30-minute nap part of your daily routine, whether at work or at home.

Camille and Bill Anthony Reading, Mass.

Kurdish leadership not good for all

I greatly enjoyed your May 3 article "Iraqi Kurds enjoy a de facto state." They are enjoying a period of unprecedented personal freedom and wealth under UN protection. However, there are hundreds of thousands of Assyrian-Chaldeans suffering under the current Kurdish leadership as they were under Saddam Hussein. Please include the Christian minority group as a separate people, not Kurds.

Jack Saryadegar San Jose, Calif.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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