40,000 D.C. interns need protection

The figures cited in your July 13 article about Washington interns are incredible ("For interns, work goes on as usual"). If there are 40,000 or more persons who come to Washington each year termed "interns" (some of whom, according to your article, work without compensation and on whom the city relies as a labor force), do you not think that some measure of scrutiny by a committee of Congress should establish some guidance for superiors who supervise these persons?

Because of the utilization of interns by members of Congress and the executive branch instead of the civil service, the intern is denied some protection against harassment that current mores abhor.

Esther L. Crampton Los Osos, Calif.

Bush should listen to polls

Regarding Daniel Schorr's July 6 column "Our agile, flip-flopping president": If President Bush really means that he pays no attention to opinion polls, our nation is in jeopardy, and Lincoln's definition of our democracy as government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" now becomes obsolete. Government by principle is one thing, but leaders who ignore the convictions of the governed are frightening.

James H. Laird Bospre Falls, Mich.

Kashmir longs for independence

Regarding your July 17 article "Back from the brink," it is unfortunate that neither India nor Pakistan considers the wishes of the Kashmiri people. When both countries were formed in 1947, gaining independence from Britain, Prime Minister Nehru of India refused to allow a plebiscite, knowing that the Kashmiris would choose to become part of Pakistan since the majority were Muslims.

But if they were given a choice today, most Kashmiris would very likely reject Pakistan as well as India and choose complete independence. Kashmiris view Kashmir as an economically viable nation, because of both its valuable products and its natural attraction to tourists.

George Immerwahr Kenmore, Wash.

Environmental Pearl Harbor

President Bush pledged $145 million on climate research and technology to curb carbon dioxide emissions ("Global-warming treaty: last gasp?" July 16).

This is 1/100th of what our government spends each year on subsidies to coal and oil. It is 1/2000th of what it spends each year on the military. While President Bush and his crew sleep below decks, an environmental Pearl Harbor is coming.

Matt Orr San Francisco

Early mountain men weren't loggers

While I enjoyed your July 19 article on mountain men, "Their side of the mountain: finding joy in the wild life," I take issue with the assertion that the original mountain men "proudly denuded forests and exterminated millions of bison in the name of Manifest Destiny."

First, mountain men did not denude any forest. They were not in the lumber business, but in the fur business. They only cut trees to build their cabins and for tools.

Second, bison lived and roamed in the Great Plains, not in the Rocky Mountains.

I doubt if any mountain man could shoot a bison roaming in Oklahoma from the Rocky Mountains, no matter how much powder he poured down the barrel.

It's a good thing the writer of this story didn't let the mountain men proofread the story, or they would have scalped him or her ... and justifiably so.

Robert D. Orlich Carmichael, Calif.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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