The Nov. 1 article, "After wildfires, to log or not to log?" is an excellent piece. Not only does this article highlight the issue of forest health and the continual pressure to open lands to logging, it also reveals an underlying pressure that we do our best to ignore.
US Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth correctly notes that Americans want it all, and that we consume wood far in excess of what we're willing to see cut here at home.
We're far more comfortable decimating the forests of Canada, Russia, or the Amazon. As a people we are greedy, and blind to our behaviors. We have a double standard that is a "model" for other societies.
It's a dead end, folks. The real key here is that we come into balance by consuming only that which we are willing to provide. This must be the case for the way we manage every resource available. We're digging a hole and leading the rest of the planet down into it.
James P. McMahon
James Brock's Oct. 24 Opinion piece, "Airline mergers won't benefit travelers," is disappointing. Yes, the history of the industry includes monopolistic behavior and pricing, though that history is nearly a decade removed from reality.
The new reality is that this mature industry, a government regulatory victim if there ever was one, is completely vulnerable to new-entrant competition, which, yes, is good for the public.
However, the billions dumped into the industry have only been dumped in a few legacy and new-entrant carriers, specifically the most poorly managed. By allowing the weakest links to live on, government dollars have caused the large airlines to have to fight harder for survival, until they are now at the threshold of attrition themselves.
The cycle that Mr. Brock asserts will solve our misery (allowing smaller, more profitable airlines to take over the failing legacy carriers) will, as the new entrants grow to encompass the hulks of the old companies, only repeat the financial woes Brock says are caused by major mergers. The carriers' costs will increase with their complexity.
I agree that the government should not continue its failed interventionist policies, but consideration must be made for fairness. The existing airlines that have fought the good fight - until they were bankrupt - must be allowed to catch up by phasing out subsidies gradually. To cut subsidies now, abruptly, would be ruinous for thousands of airline employees and incredibly disruptive to the air transport market in the US. And it would inevitably raise prices at the remaining carriers.
Salt Lake City
I appreciate Ari Kelman's enlightening Opinion piece, "America's underclass exposed" (Sept. 12). It's too bad that it takes some tragedy like hurricane Katrina to knock our consciousnesses back into shape in remembering America's poverty-stricken millions. Neglect, budget-cutting, and chancy "maybe-it-won't-happen-here" bureaucratic policies seem to have come to the forefront. It is shameful and embarrassing to have evacuees, right here in our own country, whose needs were not met in any kind of efficient or timely manner.
Those of us who love New Orleans can do much to try to restore its former beauty and ambiance through contributions and by keeping people informed. Now we know what it is like to lose an entire city in a few hours, just as others in the world have lost theirs to natural disasters or conflict.
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