Your March 5 article "Is Bush now less vulnerable on jobs?" stated that "if last month's burst of job creation - 308,000 new jobs, according to the Labor Department - is a sign of things to come, it could neutralize what many Democrats had assumed would be Bush's biggest vulnerability." But that's a big "if." The numbers are necessarily preliminary, which is something you failed to state. Furthermore, they are likely to be revised significantly, and that revision may result in a smaller number.
The total increase of 308,000 nonfarm jobs may not correctly reflect the state of the overall job market. Construction trades accounted for 71,000 of the increase and that is mostly seasonal and not long-term job growth. Another big chunk of the increase was in low-pay service industries, of which 47,000 was in retail. Another offset that needs to be considered was an increase in the number of those employed only part time. Many of these people were formerly full-time employees. Putting these figures together indicates that the apparent recovery is still substantially a jobless one.
Royal Oak, Mich.
Perhaps the ongoing metamorphosis of the world economy should prompt changes in our education system. Our young students need to be taught the disciplines with actual visible and provable value. In other words, more math and science and less of the humanities. It seems we just have too many "educated" people whose education can't be translated into practical, productive use. A background in math and sciences will make future career transitions a lot easier.
John K. Edoga
Brad Rourke's April 5 Opinion piece "Looking for a voice in all the wrong places" ends with a lament: "Where are we to look for a public voice that is truly balanced, is not trying to sell, and is not spinning the truth? I've yet to discover it." Millions of listeners and viewers could easily lead Mr. Rourke to the oasis he seeks: public broadcasting. On radio, television, and now the Internet, public broadcasting delivers global news coverage that is fair and never patronizes its audience. Al Franken, like Rush Limbaugh, is about entertainment and validation of an ideology. Public broadcasting quietly nurtures informed citizenship.
Regarding your April 5 article "Jurors: the lowlights in some high-profile trials": Juries and jurors have been taught by precedent to do some of the things seen today. Examples such as awards in the millions of dollars for being hurt by hot coffee are extensive. The problem is how this trend can be stanched. I believe there is a need for a senior judicial review to provide a clarified and simplified process for juries and to limit some of the extraordinarily large settlements. The jury system is still the best solution, provided it is used and implemented appropriately.
Regarding your April 2 article "New haven for free music: Canada": I applaud the court's decision here that decriminalized music file-sharing, even though I actually buy music. Still, I can see why so many people swap music files. It's not difficult to understand, especially when you can't afford an overpriced CD and there is a free alternative. If the music industry wants its customers back, stop fleecing them and take a reasonable profit.
Bridgewater, Nova Scotia
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