Nepal must take concrete steps toward democracy

In response to the April 11 Opinion piece by Kunda Dixit, "Nepal: the King's gambit," I would like to add that even though its 12-year experiment with the fledgling democracy has been largely unsuccessful, Nepal - amid the growing economic and political power of India and China - has no option other than accepting democracy.

A better answer to the current conflict would be the establishment of a more transparent political culture, more responsible media, and a better integration of the state's resources to help achieve the dreams of thousands of Nepalese who live in poverty.

Needless to say, the current political situation is the direct outcome of the culture of corruption of the political parties, and their warring with each other even in the face of accumulating disaster instead of uniting with each other and jointly fighting off the Maoist militants.

Instead of just hinting at the restoration of democracy after a certain time period, the King of Nepal should put in place necessary checks and balances required for a more responsible conduct of the country's economic and political resources while he is assuming "absolute" power.
Manoj Aryal
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

College activism should stem from facts

Regarding the April 12 article "How students in one class tackled global warming": I appreciate it when college students get involved in debates about environmental issues, including climate change and global warming.

But the students from Vermont's Middlebury College are not contributing to public understanding by creating the Flat Earth Award for the purpose of mocking public figures with whom they disagree.

The students have nominated Rush Limbaugh, Fred Singer, and Michael Crichton for their opinions about climate change - opinions that the students mock while offering no intellectual or scientific content themselves.

While Mr. Limbaugh is obviously fair game, Mr. Singer is a serious scientist, and Mr. Crichton is a serious thinker.

This kind of witch-hunt approach has no place in an academic environment where reasoned discourse should prevail over personal attacks.
Patrick Moore,
Greenpeace cofounder
Chair and Chief Scientist, Greenspirit Strategies
Vancouver, British Columbia

Pay phone reunites mother and son

Thank you for the April 11 article "Save the pay phone - a suddenly endangered species." In 1999-2000, my son was missing for six months. Without the anonymity of a pay phone, he might never have phoned home.

Also, I've worked for years with at-risk kids - many of whose families depended on pay phones for communication. Getting rid of pay phones definitely targets our growing homeless population, too.

Thanks to your article, I am e-mailing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with these points.
Sheri McGuinn
Fairfield, Calif.

Real estate a safer investment

Regarding the April 4 article, "The dangers of falling home prices": It is also true that people want a "safe" place for their money, especially since the stock market crash.

People see investing in their homes as solid and prudent - the opposite of gambling in the stock market.

Also, we might well end up paying for our deficits with a further decline of the US dollar's value. If we do, I'll be glad to own my property.
Mark Crane
Dublin, Calif.

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