A small group of analysts can spot terrorists

Regarding "Sculpting a new security" (June 10, Editorial): I think a more apt metaphor for the process of finding a planned terrorist attack would be that of painting the Sistine Chapel. To create that marvelous ceiling, Michelangelo had to select the right paints and apply them to the emerging image in the right place with the right amount of color.

The problem of not foreseeing the Sept. 11 attack was not so much one of needing to cut away useless information as it was one of recognizing the useful information present and gathering it into one place for a small group of people to analyze. If all the available information on terrorists leading to Sept. 11 were handled in this way, there probably would have been enough foresight to arrest the Sept. 11 terrorists and have them tried for conspiracy – all without violating civil liberties.
Richard Foy
Redondo Beach, Calif.

Lost in all the coverage of President Bush's plan to elevate homeland security to a cabinet position is the White House's not-too-subtle hypocrisy about an immigration policy. Why would a security reorganization make Americans feel any safer given the fact that while Mr. Bush talks tough from one side of his mouth, he continues to push for amnesty, allowing illegal aliens to remain in the US indefinitely with virtually no background checks?

This is not the best example of a government fulfilling its main responsibility of public safety, but a textbook study of political cronyism at its worst. In order for homeland security to be more than just another layer of bureaucracy, the Bush administration must end all talk about more amnesties.
David A. Gorak
Lombard, Ill.

Money buys the media, too

Regarding "Who decides who debates" (June 10, Editorial): Your article advocates allowing broadcasters to decide which candidates – and therefore which ideas – their viewers will be permitted to see. But it seems to me the hegemony of the two-party system in the US was created and is sustained by this practice. The media and the government already work for the same bosses – the mega-wealthy who control our government with campaign "contributions." Is the media any freer from their influence? The result of this control is that one-third of the population is more or less well served by "their" government, while the needs of the rest are ignored. Once the deck has been sufficiently stacked so as to guarantee outcomes, there is little advantage in continuing to rig it.
Daryl Bell-Greenstreet
Lakeside, Calif.

Losing kids is not OK

Regarding "Why child agencies lose kids" (June 6): Your article addressed the the fact that, when Gov. Jeb Bush asked that all foster children be contacted, 3 percent of them could not be found. This I believe to be largely caused by the number of individuals here in Florida, and in many parts of the country, who are referred to as "social workers" but who really aren't. They have no degree in nor have they studied social work. Only real social workers, with bachelor's degrees, at a minimum, in this line of work, should be occupying social-work positions.

Another big problem facing workers in the field of social work is their large caseloads. They're just too big. All social workers should have manageable case loads in order to do their job effectively. These changes will be costly but will also prevent most of the travesties occurring in the foster-care system. Until then, expect more missing, neglected, and abused children within the system that is supposed to be protecting them.
Mary Emerson-Smith
Atlantic Beach, Fla.

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