Today's energy crisis affects more than just pump prices

Regarding the April 26 article, "A US bid to ease gas prices": Rolling blackouts in California, Texas, and the Northeast should be a wake-up call that we face an energy crisis at the plug just as serious as the one we face at the pump. Small business owners face inexplicably skyrocketing electricity costs as more utilities game the system.

Customers should revolt by following an increasing number of cities and business owners harnessing local solar and wind power to meet local demand. The largest laundromat in the world, for example, just installed a solar power system that will save hundreds of thousands of dollars over its life. This kind of community-based generation empowers utility customers to declare their independence from an electricity oligarchy run amok.
Chris Cooper
Director, Network for New Energy Choices
New York

We still have nuclear lessons to learn

Charles D. Ferguson's April 26 Opinion piece, "Nuclear lessons for today," is way off the mark. Mr. Ferguson tells us that the lessons from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster have been learned, and he blithely allows a future for nuclear technology in the energy sector. He does not mention that there has never been any credible plan to dispose of the toxic and long-lived waste products.

He seems to be unaware of the views of people like Viktor Bryukhanov, the man who was in charge of the Chernobyl nuclear plant, who spent years in jail for his role in the disaster and who says, "...Chernobyl has not taught anything to anyone." Reuters reported that Mr. Bryukhanov also feels that "official investigations into the cause of the disaster had been a whitewash designed to exonerate the nuclear industry."

The notion of the International Atomic Energy Agency that the Chernobyl death toll is only 56 people so far is a stark example of manipulation and distortion of statistics. I do not particularly credit Greenpeace, but their rebuttal of the IAEA report is pretty convincing.

The discussion around preventing development of nuclear weapons from enriched nuclear material developed to serve "safe" and "peaceful" nuclear power plants is secondary. It is a mere distraction. The real, primary issue is the use of nuclear energy for any purpose.
David Wilson
St. John's, Newfoundland

Precious pieces of culture

The April 18 article, "Egypt's grand mufti issues a fatwa: no sculpture," is excellent. How sad to hear this interpretation of religious texts, along with the frightening thought that our world may lose some of its most beautiful ancient sculptures, which are treasured by so many of every faith.

To relate this to another April 18 article, "The joy of verse," I would like to emphasize that we in the US have nearly lost our own culture. Nowadays, everything that is called a "poem" seems to be prose. Why has rhyming become so outdated that sophisticates label it a pleasure too simple to enjoy? It seems to me that if one writes prose, one should just as well be writing a book.

What a pleasure it was for me to read the rhyming poems in this article. Thank you. And I just want to put in a word for those wonderful poets who write what might be called "vintage verse," setting down their thoughts to rhyme, to rhythm, to substance, and to complexities of form. To read a good poem, one joyfully acknowledges vision, as well as technical craft and the wonderful forms that add to its dimensions.
Viola Geary Odell
San Bruno, Calif.

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