Integrity is key to the confirmation process

Regarding your Jan. 11 editorial "Belaboring Chavez": Linda Chavez was not the victim of the "politics of personal destruction," but rather of her concealing illegal behavior with respect to an immigrant. She thus incurred the wrath of the Bush people, which suggested she would do well to withdraw herself from consideration as Labor secretary. She, and not her political opponents, did herself in.

There is also a need to question the motives of George W. Bush in naming her in the first place, since Ms. Chavez would certainly be a divisive figure. I have watched her on talk shows, and regard her as a graceless supporter of conservative causes, including being antilabor.

It thus showed a good deal of poor judgement on Mr. Bush's part to put her name forth and thereby upset a vital segment of the public which does not need to be pulled apart.

David Langer Chappaqua, N.Y.

I urge everyone to support John Ashcroft as the choice for our new attorney general as we desperately need a man with the courage of his convictions, especially if there are so many self-serving groups that seem to capture the public's sympathy instead of choosing the path of honor and self-help for their problems.

Marie Cole Salem, N.H.

School prayer will doubtless come up once again during the Bush administration. I wonder if Senator Ashcroft, as attorney general, would accept the quid pro quo fairness of a pause for two minutes of Silent Algebra in his church each Sunday morning?

Charles E. Mac Arthur Sangerville, Maine

Getting on with governing the country

I feel it is finally time to put an end to partisan squabbling and get on with the business of government. No egregious fault seems to have surfaced about any of George W. Bush's nominees which would render them incompetent or unfit to hold the office for which they have been nominated. If the Democracts are committed to serving the people, the people would best be served by confirming Bush's nominees without delay so we can get on with running the country.

Ana Gomez-Mallada Lighthouse Point, Fla.

Clinton's tree hugging

Regarding your Jan. 12 editorial "Clinton's tree hugging": I agree that President Clinton's move to preserve our roadless national forests is a "direct challenge to the incoming Bush administration." However, as the prospect of a presidency that will support corporate above environmental concerns looms, I applaud Mr. Clinton's willingness to listen to the 1.6 million people who responded in favor of protecting public land.

Diane E. Witters Golden, Colo.

Your Jan 12. editorial "Clinton's tree hugging" leaves me puzzled. In it you say: " ... such far-reaching policymaking that's done in such a heavy-handed and one-sided way is not a tribute to an environmentalism that honors the democratic process."

Yet by your own admission, President Clinton's actions have been absolutely legal and in keeping with the wishes of the majority of our nation. What could possibly be heavy-handed, one-sided and antidemocratic about that? Mr. Clinton knows that if he doesn't act now, four years under President-elect Bush could result in the loss of thousands of acres of old-growth forest that most of us want preserved. This is surely one time Clinton deserves credit, not criticism.

Richard Whitehead Merritt Island, Fla.

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