Regarding your Sept. 26 article "In US, a rise of violent environmental tactics": I was extremely disappointed by the implication that animal-rights activists are the same as environmental activists. There is little overlap between the two groups, and the majority of true environmentalists want nothing to do with the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).
There is a misperception of environmentalists as violent radicals, and it stems in large part from articles like this one. It is similar to the burden the vast majority of Muslims, a generally peaceful people who follow a peaceful religion, face because the relatively few irrational and violent extremists get the publicity.
ELF does not represent the majority of environmental activists. Most of us are peaceful, reasonable people who are working for a healthier planet, and most of us are not animal-rights activists. Failure to distinguish that does us a great disservice.
Regarding your Sept. 23 article "Democrats move to extend unemployment benefits": I agree that extending unemployment benefits is a "Band-Aid" at best. Along with unemployment benefits, retraining is critical. I've been stuck in the unemployment cycle for a while. If the unemployment office were more cooperative, I think I would have long been on the road to a new career. Congress needs to enact policies that, in addition to extensions, encourage retraining.
Your Sept. 25 article "Is it true what they say about cruises? Maybe not..." was informative and interesting. But there is an important caveat on cruises which must be noted.
My wife and I were going to take a cruise and land tour of Holland. Because my wife suddenly became unwell, we decided to cancel our trip. We had purchased trip insurance for a total of $700, so we applied for our refund, but the company that processes the claims denied our claim. They told us, "The decision to cancel cannot be made by someone traveling with the ill person or relative." Our appeal was denied. I have talked to other travelers who either have not been reimbursed, or have received payment only after nearly half a year.
Thomas V. Reese
Regarding the Sept. 30 article "In Deep South, a call to curb sheriffs' power": When I was a boy in Mississippi during the 1930s, the sheriff automatically became rich, and if there was one honest sheriff in the whole state, nobody knew of him.
There were no controls to keep a despotic sheriff from violating civil rights. Today's sheriffs in the South may not have carte blanche, but they still have too much power
Regarding your Sept. 27 editorial "Guzzling the Caspian": I find it extremely puzzling why you feel that by building the oil pipeline to bypass Russia we scored a victory. Of all of the countries in the entire Caspian region, Russia is the only democracy and has the best chance for true stability in the long run. Besides, Russia has demonstrated its intentions to remain our ally.
With the current hostilities and little- diminished terrorist threats in the region, it wouldn't take much for one of these small nations to collapse and succumb to anti-American leaders who would delight in controlling at whim the flow of Caspian oil to the West.
The US can't depend on oil forever. We need to enact serious legislation to diminish our addiction to imported oil and to seek alternative energy sources and technologies.
Las Vegas, N.M.
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