A sweatshop is still a sweatshop by any standard

Regarding the Jan. 22 article "The self-made ride stitches to riches": I was disappointed to read your description of the sneaker factory run by the Lin family in Jinjiang China.

Since the earliest years of the Industrial Revolution, writers such as Charles Dickens and Upton Sinclair have witnessed with outrage the treatment of workers in factories like those your reporter visited. The report tells readers that while bosses sip tea, drive costly automobiles, and plan vacations, workers labor daily "for up to 16 hours" receiving "two or three days off" per month, while living "free" in company-owned dormitories.

With due respect, this is not "liberal" by any standard. The Lin family runs a sweatshop. Why imply that those who do labor in such places are content? They have little choice.
Philip Chassler
Cambridge, Mass.

A not-so-wild Web

Regarding Amitai Etzioni's Jan. 22 Opinion piece "Law and order and the wild, wild Web": It's difficult to be anonymous on the Web - just consider Internet users charged with illegally downloading music files. Actually, the Web was designed to prevent anonymity.

As for tangible items sold online, those items carry shipping charges instead of sales tax. Of course, bricks-and-mortar stores generally ship in volume, saving greatly on shipping, and they often receive price concessions from vendors.
Geoffrey Morrison
Oklahoma City

Fuzzy math in NYC schools

Your Jan. 20 article "One city, one curriculum," gave an incomplete picture of the changes in New York City public schools being put in place by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and school Chancellor Joel Klein. It's hard to attribute recently improved test scores to the reforms that had hardly been announced before the test date.

One thing that has not changed is that content experts are left out of curriculum decisions. Does Mr. Klein care that mathematicians throughout the city call his new math curriculum "fuzzy" and "dumbed down"? Teachers' Union President Randi Weingarten is quoted complaining that the administration ignores teachers' views, but teachers are not the only ones being ignored.
Jonathan Goodman
New York

The good that AA does

Regarding your Jan. 21 article "How far can 12 steps go?": While people expend their energy arguing over how politically correct Alcoholics Anonymous is, people are saving their own lives and the lives of others by attending AA meetings. Those who are the loudest critics of AA often benefit financially from people who choose other methods. AA does not require a fee, but a donation. I have seen people with 20 years of sobriety fall off the wagon. These meetings help people remember that they are still vulnerable and still welcome, even if they do make mistakes.
Sheila Cassidy

Demand WMD report before election

Your Jan. 22 editorial "The Word of America" asserted that "Democrats should wait for the final weapons report before challenging Bush" about his credibility in using the existence of weapons of mass destruction to justify invading Iraq. Unless the final report is favorable to President Bush, I seriously doubt that any such final report will see the light of day before the election.

After the election, it will be too late for Americans to judge our president on the very crucial issue of his credibility. The Democrats will be doing the nation a favor if they vigorously pursue this issue during the primary and election campaigns.
Dan Butler
Los Alamitos, Calif.

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