Reconciling our wealth with Afghan hunger

Regarding "Hot-Water gratitude" (Jan. 25, Opinion): I, too, have had thoughts and feelings about the inequities between those who "have" and "have not," appearing even more blatant when we hear that many Afghans are foraging for blades of grass for sustenance while many North American pet owners are urged to put their pets on diets. To anyone with sensibilities, this is exasperating. To reconcile these differences would be extremely difficult, and it has become abundantly clear that it cannot be achieved through the use of AK-47s and suicide bombers, but through a greater common respect for life and liberty on a more grass-roots level.

Suzanne Herman
Vancouver, Canada

Seize assets of illegal immigrants

Regarding "At border, uptick in illegal crossings" (Jan. 24): I believe there is one solution to illegal immigration. This is to implement asset-forfeiture laws. Not only for illegal aliens, but for those who help them. If it is illegal for them to be here, it is illegal to hire, transport, and harbor them. We should then sell the property at government auctions, split the proceeds among federal, state, and local governments, and then deport the criminal aliens. If bureaucrats realize they can make money by enforcing laws, illegal immigration will end.

Frank Vera
Redlands, Calif.

Working for the environment

Regarding "The good, the bad, and the fishy" (Jan. 23, Homefront) on Audubon's fish score card on fisheries, which helps consumers buy fish responsibly: Fisheries conservation is a national priority, and there is a lot of work to be done. The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council is taking steps to protect our nation's fisheries and habitat off Alaska. We have closed roughly 98,000 square miles to bottom-trawling to protect fish habitat, and an additional 48,000 square miles to protect endangered sea lions from the effects of fishing. No fish stocks are listed as overfished by federal scientists. We are proud of this record, and are working on additional steps to protect fish stocks and the ocean ecosystems off Alaska.

David Benton
Juneau, Alaska

North Pacific Fishery Management Council

Thanks for AIDS articles

I am writing to thank you for all of your timely and valuable articles on AIDS in Africa, which address the scope and tragedy of the problem but also seek to give hope and show the immense amount of good work being done to ameliorate the crisis.

I am the director of the international wing of a Kenyan AIDS organization and I read your paper avidly, as it restores my faith and gives me the courage to continue this work myself. Bravo to everyone involved in bringing these stories to fruition, and please keep them coming!

Janet Feldman
Barrington, R.I.

The thrill of the ride

Thank you for "Day at the park: riding the roller coaster of a son's self-discovery" (Jan. 23, Homefront): Two years ago, the coaster bug bit me in a big way. I studied them, talked about them, and soon plotted my next ride (the then-tallest-in-the-world coaster) at Ohio's Cedar Point. Sure enough, when the fateful day arrived, I found myself looking up a 300-foot initial climb and freezing. Luckily I had joined a coaster club and had my new membership card right in my pocket. I had to do it.

Today, a framed photo of that coaster proudly hangs on the wall behind my desk and my 4-year-old son asks me about riding it with him. When the time comes, I'm sure it will be bigger than I remember.

Matthew Phair Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

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