Regarding your Feb. 25 editorial "Smoking Out Tobacco Bills": The Monitor is correct in its call for Congress to enact comprehensive tobacco legislation - legislation that will provide the Food and Drug Administration with fair and effective oversight over tobacco and ensure the short-term and long-term prosperity of tobacco producing communities.
For the past 10 years, tobacco producers and the public-health community have worked together to find solutions to the problems associated with the use of tobacco. And we have done just that.
The bills before Congress are the work of many individuals from the public-health community and the tobacco-producing communities. The hard work has been done and it is time for Congress to stop playing politics with the tobacco issue and do the right thing.
Scott D. Ballin
Steering Committee Member, Alliance for Health Economic and Agriculture Development
Regarding Erin English's Feb. 26 Opinion piece "Make nuclear proliferation a punishable crime": While I agree there should be more international policing and criminalization to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons, the US must set a better, if not the best, example for other countries in this endeavor. It looks hypocritical when we develop the most advanced and devastating WMD, but other countries can't develop even one because it could be a "threat to peace."
Round Rock, Texas
As I read Dante Chinni's Feb. 25 Opinion piece "NASCAR dads - now you see them, now you don't," I was struck by the irony of their assumed support not only for the Republican Party but for the Bush administration in particular. President Bush and the GOP court huge political donations from wealthy NASCAR sponsors - the people who know their jobs are not in jeopardy and whose children are probably not in harm's way in the military.
It's the NASCAR dads facing layoffs at home while their sons and daughters suffer and die in Iraq. I can think of no better example of a group voting against its own self-interest than NASCAR dads.
Your Feb. 26 article "America's New Coal Rush" was informative, but did not give the reader enough information on alternatives to using coal to generate electricity. There was no mention in the article of renewable energy or conservation.
The Department of Energy estimates that the US could reduce its demand for electricity to heat, cool, and light homes and offices by a substantial amount if we used only off-the-shelf, energy-efficient products. We don't need more coal power plants to pollute our air and make our citizens sick. We need to produce less electricity with coal and more with clean, safe, and affordable renewable energy.
Regarding Lionel Beehner's Feb. 27 Opinion piece "9,000 Google hits can't be wrong - or can they?": Google's spider has crawled through only about 35 percent of the Internet, so while its search speed and breadth are unprecedented, it's still only one-third of the online world.
I would venture to guess that sloppy reporting has more to do with meeting deadlines to feed the news cycle monster rather than merely Googling for information.
Long Beach, Calif.
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