Letters

Unreasonable to ask Iran to forgo nukes

Regarding your July 9 editorial "Iran and Israel: Chain Reaction": As long as Iran sees the nuclear-armed United States operating on two of its borders, while standing within easy striking distance of nuclear-armed Israel to the west and Pakistan and India to the east, it is wholly unreasonable to ask Iran to forgo development of its own nuclear deterrent.

No one has yet persuaded the US or Israel to give up their arsenals. If Israel and the US, with their vastly superior conventional forces and demonstrated eagerness to invade and occupy countries in the region, claim the need for a nuclear deterrent, how much more must Iran need a nuclear counterbalance? With Iran's massive oil wealth and political independence at stake in a region dominated by two clearly hostile enemy nations, is it reasonable to ask Iran to forgo a nuclear deterrent? To do so would further destabilize the region.
Isaac Boxx
Austin, Texas

Cheerleading risks can be minimized

Regarding your June 24 article "Extreme cheerleading: how schools grapple with the new risks": Only school administrators with archaic views of cheerleading would think of "grounding" teams. Like other sports, there are inherent risks involved in cheerleading, and parents, athletes, and administrators should be made aware of these risks. As a former high school cheerleader, I've seen my share of injuries.

However, schools and coaches can minimize these risks. Coaches need to make sure that team members are educated on safety and the correct execution of stunts. They should be sure stunt groups have mastered basic skills before moving on to more complicated stunts. New stunts should always be executed on a mat. Even if states or conferences have cheerleading regulations, schools can choose to hire only certified coaches and to provide adequate matting and practice space.

This past year, my team went to the nationals for the first time and, under a rather cautious coach, had no injuries.

Finally, as for grounded teams having more school spirit than teams that stunt, I would find it hard to be spirited if my school wouldn't let me participate fully in the sport I love. Standing around on the sidelines just doesn't have the same excitement as stunts, basket tosses, and tumbling.

A true cheerleader does not join the team because she (or he) likes to watch basketball or football. A true cheerleader joins the team because she loves cheerleading.
Katharine Shaw
Rochester, N.Y.

'Limelight' has nothing to do with limes

On the June 25 Home Forum page, item three of the Monitor Quiz, "To be the center of attention is to be in the 'fruit-filled' light," is misleading. Someone who knows the true origin of "limelight," the listed answer, is bound not to guess correctly.

"Being in the limelight" has nothing whatever to do with the sour green fruit, which happens to be spelled the same as the substance also known as lime - calcium oxide. In the late 19th century, magic lanterns for use in theaters - and therefore also spotlights for stage illumination - were powered by the intense white light produced when a block of lime was heated to incandescence by a hot flame, such as that of the oxygen-hydrogen flame used in welding.

Therefore, "being in the limelight" was being the center of attention, such as an announcer, comic, or actor would be while thus illuminated.

Later, these devices were replaced first by the carbon arc, and much later by special incandescent electric lamps with very concentrated and hot tungsten filaments, but the "in the limelight" designation has hung on.
Arno Heyn
Newton, Mass.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, 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.

Any letter accepted will appear in print and on www.csmonitor.com .

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 Letters.

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