How clean electricity production can help reduce oil imports

Thanks for the Feb. 2 article, "Bush's plan to wean US off imported oil: ambitious enough?" I just wanted to respond to the question: "How would solar, wind, 'clean, safe nuclear,' and 'clean coal' research cut US oil imports?"

In short, I think the answer is plug-in hybrids. Larger batteries with the ability to plug into the electrical outlet at home to recharge turn hybrid gas/electric automobiles, like the Toyota Prius, into plug-in hybrids. If the battery had a 60-mile range, there would be a significant reduction in oil demand, since the energy to run the car would be coming from the electric grid.

The president's call to develop batteries for hybrid vehicles and to develop electrical energy production (wind, clean coal, and nuclear) are thus tied together. The specific technologies called for all produce zero greenhouse-gas emissions, a sharp contrast to the current vast amount of emissions petrol-fueled automobiles put out today.

I only wish that the president had set a deadline of 2015 for reducing oil imports.
Matthew Schor
Herndon, Va.

Controversy over best-picture nominees

The Feb. 1 article, "Moviegoers to Hollywood: 'Make it real,' " about how Hollywood has changed this year and turned toward more serious subject matters was interesting. There's one problem, though. Four of the five Oscar-nominated films were made on the fringes of Hollywood by independent studios. "Munich," the only major studio film nominated for best picture, is rather small in terms of a big studio film and also in terms of a Spielberg film.

The grosses of all the five movies does not come close to equaling the total gross of "War of the Worlds," Spielberg's other movie that came out in 2005. I think Hollywood continues to turn out drivel, and the independent filmmakers continue to turn out interesting and thoughtful films that transcend box office issues. Nothing has changed, except that this year, the Academy has ignored box office revenues and instead nominated five deserving films.
Sean Stiny
Davis, Calif.

The five nominations for best picture only reflect the view of Hollywood's current taste and biases. The public has spoken, and they have told Hollywood to "make it unreal." The top three money-grossing movies of 2005 were "Star Wars," "Harry Potter," and "The Chronicles of Narnia."

That the insiders of Hollywood have nominated five revenue underachievers doesn't warrant the conclusion that the moviegoing and paying public have blessed these movies and want more of the same. On the contrary, moviegoers go to the movies to escape and be entertained. People don't want to be preached to, and the five "sermons" nominated for best picture this year failed with the "congregation."
Casey Martin
Stanton, Calif.

Danger of high-deductible insurance

I write to respond to your Feb. 2 editorial, "Patient's role in cutting healthcare costs." In thinking about President Bush's proposals for "portable" healthcare accounts, ordinary citizens ought to have one main question on their minds: If a member of my family is or becomes seriously ill, will my insurance remain available and affordable?

Insurance that you can get at a reasonable price only if you aren't sick is not insurance at all.
Robert Austin
Westborough, Mass.

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