Some children's experience in foster care is positive and happy

Regarding the Dec. 7 article, "A goodbye and a new home": I just want to thank you for this beautiful series on the Trinidad children, who are moving from foster care into an adoptive home.

I have just completed foster parent training and was able to share these two stories with the Department of Social Services workers, as well as all the people in the training program. It was so nice to be able to share a positive story about children in foster care and expose people to the Monitor who had never heard of it before.

I also shared these stories with a number of children who are themselves in foster care. I was talking to them about photography, and it was perfect to show them Melanie Stetson Freeman's images.

Thank you again for publishing these kinds of stories and accompanying photographs. They may not seem as glamorous as some other stories, but they do so much good.
Sherry Darling
Somerville, Mass.

Address imbalances Katrina exposed

In response to the Sept. 9 article, "Partisan bickering over Katrina escalates - to the peril of both sides": I submit that none of the politicians, or the powers that control those politicians, is without spot in this mess.

This storm didn't just devastate an entire region; it also managed to expose some of the troubling imbalances in our society. How many Americas are there? We the people must decide if what we are watching unfold in the bayou is acceptable to us.

Greed and negligence on the part of state, local, and federal governments failed in this, and both Republicans, and Democrats are at fault. Once this tragedy is finally alleviated, we must, as a nation, begin to address the incredible imbalances in our system. Wealth survived this mess, but I think poverty is still sleeping in the sludge that was once New Orleans.
Russell Long
Ft. Collins, Colo.

Raise wages; reduce social programs

Regarding the Sept. 12 article, "Let Katrina revive the war on poverty": I have worked with the poor in the past and have found that many poor people stay that way because of their inability to be anything else.

When many of the poor receive financial assistance, they squander it on what they don't need - buying televisions, DVDs, video games, fast food, alcohol, and tobacco. They don't grow gardens, save what they can, or work harder to improve their conditions.

So go ahead and tie the minimum wage to the inflation rate - a great idea. Don't bankrupt the country with socialized healthcare and efforts to sustain a group of people who I don't think will ever be anything but poor. There are plenty of people who are willing to lend a hand to those who will take a "hand up" and make something good come from it.
Eric Hein
Cascais, Portugal

Bolton had diplomacy skills all along

The Sept. 12 article, "At UN, Bolton softens his tone," wrongly tends to portray John Bolton as a neophyte at the United Nations. And any example contradicting his predicted, and thus awaited, bad behavior is attributed, positively, to someone other than himself.

This man is not incompetent and has a proven track record of successful negotiations within a recalcitrant UN.

What is the purpose of belittling Mr. Bolton? He should prove an adept negotiator at the UN, and then, such reports will only end up leaving egg on one's face.
Karen Hettlinger
Kaarst, Germany

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