Congress's pressure on the IMF - not all bad

Regarding the editorial "Unfriendly Persuasion" (Nov. 19): Contrary to your assertion that Congress is inappropriately setting conditions on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the US is acting in the best interest of those most affected by the institution - the poor in developing countries.

Without our pressure, there would be virtually no momentum for much-needed reforms. Congress has tried in the past to persuade the IMF to become more responsive to the needs of the poor and the environment, but, seeing little movement in this secretive institution, Congress is now using the only lever of influence it has over the IMF: its funding.

While Congress may appear heavy-handed during the negotiations for approving new IMF money, many environment and development organizations applaud the debate because no such forum exists in their countries. In other IMF member countries, approval for new IMF funding is channeled through the finance ministry, which rubber stamps the request. Parliaments are excluded from the process. Until parliaments in other nations are brought into the debate, the pressure for reform must continue to come from the US Congress.

Carol Welch


Coordinator, IMF Reform Campaign

Friends of the Earth

Talk radio's softer side

As an occasional listener to talk radio shows, I disagree with many of the points made by Diana Owen in her opinion article "Talk radio's price: a culture of complaint." (Nov. 16). On two of the most popular shows, Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura, I've never heard callers having to tolerate "abusive treatment by hosts." Never have I heard Limbaugh talk toward callers in "infuriating and insulting way."

He exhibits patience and caring with callers, especially those with contrasting viewpoints. I have never heard him be rude to a caller. Dr. Laura Schlessinger, another host, often suggests a course of action that her caller doesn't want to hear, but one that is based on strong Judeo-Christian values. How can this be damaging?

Interest in talk radio shows such as these may not be understood from the ivory towers of academia, but it is well understood by middle America.

These people are yearning for truthful and frank information and guidance.

Wayne Keyes

Oviedo, Fla.

Pigskin coaching legends

I enjoyed Doug Looney's excellent piece on coaching legends ("The Legends and the Fall: Following an Icon" Nov. 6). The thing I miss about the legends is not their coaching records - and of course, I wouldn't miss that as I am not an alum or fan of any of the schools mentioned - but the larger-than-life personalities of Bryant, Hays, and Schembechler.

I'll never forget, as a sophomore in college in 1983, sitting in German history class. My history professor was lecturing on Napoleon Bonaparte - specifically, on the man's impact as a great figure on the psychology of Europe. He was trying to explain to the class the impact of Bonaparte, and said:

"I'm trying to think of some one by today's standards who fits this mold of the Napoleonic man; someone whose impact on the people, in striking both terror and inspiration, has the approximate effect of Napoleon on our American consciousness. So far, the only person I can think of, is Woody Hayes."

Mr. Looney, keep up the good work. There are those of us out there who really appreciate it.

Bronson Hilliard

Lafayette, Colo.

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