Paying the bills

I would be tickled pink to know who paid the bill for the letter dated Jan. 21 that Sen. Jesse Helms (R) of North Carolina mailed to about 20,000 people in his conservative constituency urging them to buy stock in CBS with the questionable intent of controlling news output on TV. Reportedly, postage alone cost $4,000, plus stationery and secretarial help.

As a taxpayer living and working under the same constitutional roof as Senator Helms -- and deeply concerned about the huge deficit facing the nation -- I would think he should come forth and tell all taxpayers who paid the bill for his letter.

How about it, Senator? B. Lois McKay Boston

Re ``Hollywood meets Russia on location,'' Feb. 5: Your writer and editors deserve a rap on the knuckles for reporting about lighting equipment, ``custom-made to withstand cold down to -30 degrees C. (-86 degrees F.).'' The correct conversion, of course, is -22 degrees F.

If Monitor staffers can't handle a simple Celsius/Fahrenheit conversion, how likely will the proposal to adopt the Celsius scale nationwide ever succeed? Sloan O'Donnell Vero Beach, Fla.

The Jan. 31 article ``US and Common Market take opposite sides in ozone dispute'' goes on about the involvement of the US in a convention on ozone in the atmosphere. The article quotes the government's representative, Robert Benedick, as saying, ``One thing appears clear. . . . If chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) use continues to grow over time, some depletion of the ozone layer is likely to occur.'' Yet Robert C. Cowen, Nov. 1, noted that the ozone scare had been deflated, that the National Academy of Science had, for the second time in five years, significantly reduced its 1977 estimate that continued use of CFCs at the current rate would destroy 15 to 18 percent of our ozone by the next century. The author wrote, ``Public fear had been generated by conclusions grounded in scientific ignorance and inadequate computer modeling.'' He further pointed out that one natural source of atmospheric chlorine, Mexico's El Chich'on volcano, in one eruption, dwarfed man's puny efforts to pollute the atmosphere on a global scale.

Mr. Cowen's article followed by eight years another article of his, in which he urged the populace not to panic over spray cans, pointing out in 1976 that the data were woefully skimpy on which to base the predicted ozone catastrophe. As we have seen, those who have counseled a reasoned approach to the problem have been consistently right.

Let me say to the convention on atmospheric ozone, ``Gentlemen; the horse is dead. Stop beating it.'' Robert Bruce Henn Medina, Ohio

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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