Don't Rush to Label Limbaugh a Racist

The editorial ``The Trouble With Talk,'' Dec. 24, could provoke hours of talk. Delegates to the last Democratic National Convention enjoyed poking fun at ``family values.'' Following the convention, a groundswell of participatory talk supported ``values'' as a foundation for our nation's families and strength. Recently even President Clinton has joined those talk show voices in connection with his programs for reducing crime and other inner city problems.

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh believes in and advocates ``values.'' The Monitor sees him as offering ``genial racism'' and potential ``division.'' But a reader of his latest book will discover a chapter entitled ``Conservatism and Race.'' That chapter ends: ``Americans can achieve if we can just overcome this nagging obsession with skin color and religious denominations and be mindful of the truism that all human beings are equal in the eyes of God.''

That from a racist? Ben Gage, Huntington Beach,Calif.

No debt to swap

Your front-page article ``Debt-for-Nature Swap Proposed Between Uncle Sam and Loggers,'' Dec. 3, is based on an erroneous premise that there is a ``debt'' to be swapped.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) claim referred to is just that: It is an unliquidated claim concerning United Financial Group, a company unrelated to the Pacific Lumber Company. The claim is not a debt of any sort. But even if it were it would still have nothing to do with the Pacific Lumber Company or its parent, MAXXAM, Inc.

Neither Pacific Lumber nor MAXXAM has the kind of financial obligation to the US government that is suggested by the story. Further, there is no link between Pacific Lumber's potential sale of timberland and MAXXAM's position as a stockholder of the United Financial Group. MAXXAM's critics are wrong when they suggest that assets of Pacific Lumber can somehow be correlated to the potential liabilities of United Financial Group or its officers.

Another less serious error identifies Pacific Lumber as having been family-owned until 1985. Not so. It was a publicly traded, NYSE-listed company in which no individual owned more than 5 percent. Robert W. Irelan, Houston VP for Public Relations, MAXXAM

Geography lesson

The Dec. 27 Danziger cartoon shows Bob Dole saying ``Whitewater? Alas, we have no such thing in Kansas.'' You call yourself an international newspaper but then display ignorance of the world outside of Boston. There is a Whitewater River in Kansas, and also a town called Whitewater. Gary Jensen, Lake Jackson, Texas

Nolo fosters teamwork

As a long-time customer of Nolo Press (``Lawyers Teach Others to Help Themselves,'' Dec. 21) I can attest to the quality of the help they give to anyone who wants to conduct his or her affairs without the ``assistance'' of the legal profession. The money I have saved over the years by doing the simple things myself is only part of what I have gained by using Nolo Press publications. What I have learned about the law is even more important. If I read a Nolo Press book and then decide to use a lawyer anyway, I have a better understanding of what he or she will be doing for me, and I know what questions to ask and what information the lawyer will need to do a better job.

The professionals involved in one's life - the doctors, the plumbers, the lawyers, the electricians, the accountants - are all members of a team. Team members work better together when well informed. Nolo Press informs, and if that scares the lawyers, at least maybe their clients will be treated more fairly, more like a member of the team. Janet Winter, Oakland, Calif.

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