Regarding your Feb. 13 editorial "Going AWOL on the Future": As one who was in a long line to get into the National Guard in 1969, I have to take issue with your "bio digging" reference. George W. Bush cut in front of me and many others, because of family connections. The American people have every right to know exactly who their president really is, especially in time of war.
John Kerry has every right to bio-dig for the truth. Although it's unfortunate that negative campaigning is the order of the day, there are times when the truth needs to be exposed. Digging up dirt on your opponent is one thing, but trying to find the answers to unanswered questions is another. Let's not confuse bio-digging with searching for the truth.
As I read your Feb. 13 article "Al Qaeda's new young guard: a shift in tactics," I found myself unusually distracted by the inclusion of certain elements, such as focusing on Al Qaeda members who memorized the Koran.
Although the article illustrates changes in world politics, it runs the risk of promoting bias against nonextremist and nonterrorist Muslims (a category to which most Muslims belong). Caveats should be issued, or selective nonmaterial facts omitted, so that readers will not correlate the memorization of the Koran with fanaticism. The vast majority of Muslims who memorize the Koran are not extremists poised for terrorist activities.
Regarding your Feb. 12 article "Solar power hits suburbia": Care must be taken not to overstate the importance of rooftop solar-electric systems.
Consider the 2.5 kilowatt system that costs $21,000. That system will generate about 5,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. If, as Bill Clinton suggested, we install 1 million of these roofs, the total output would be about 5 billion kWh per year. Here is the trouble: the US consumes about 4 trillion kWh per year. If we invest $21 billion (1 million rooftop collectors at $21,000 each) we get a bit more than one kWh out of every thousand we use. All the subsidy and net-metering rules that support solar roofs, simply mean that poor people subsidize rich people, and the energy benefit to the country is essentially nil.
Richard C. Hill
Old Town, Maine
Professor emeritus, mechanical engineering, University of Maine
Regarding your Feb. 11 article "Wages up for well-off, but not for others": Another source of wage inequality, merger mania, went unmentioned.
As Comcast bids for Disney and aims to become an even larger conglomerate than Time-Warner, I have to wonder about the Disney CEO getting $140 million while employees get laid off with minimum severance pay. If you tie jobs lost by mergers to jobs lost by corporate outsourcing to India, it's a grim outlook for middle- and lower-income jobs in the United States.
Hood River, Ore.
Regarding your Feb. 13 article "The battles ahead in Comcast bid for Disney": The article noted the "opportunity in what's come to be called 'vertical integration.' "
Vertical integration has been around for a long while. Andrew Carnegie et al. used it in the steel industry and others well over 100 years ago. They also used interlocking boards of directors, which led to minimal oversight or lax ethical standards. Their abuses also led to the trust busters. It seems that indeed, everything old is new again.
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