H-1B visa program needs modifications
Regarding your Oct. 22 editorial, "Abuse of skilled-workers visas": As someone with personal experience working with and losing work to H-1B visa holders, I feel this is a program that needs serious modifications.
The guest workers with whom I worked were treated little better than indentured servants. They usually had to surrender their passports after arriving in the US. They were contracted out and received relatively little of the wages paid to the contractors they worked for. Those companies offer contract rates that undercut the rates of companies run by US citizens.
The H-1B program basically makes a few nonresidents very rich and treats workers horribly, all the while taking great-paying jobs from US citizens.
While I agree that some valid reasons exist for the program, the number of people admitted should be smaller. Companies love it because they pay marginally less for workers. If we restrict the program, then we'll solve the problem of lacking enough qualified US labor. There are plenty of trained people here to do the work; they just need to be treated well. Why pass laws that make it harder for US citizens to find work?
Salt Lake City
Global-warming predictions: Useful?
In response to the Oct. 18 article, "How can you predict global warming if you can't predict rain": Global warming is no longer something to predict, but something to observe.
Just as you don't need a "prediction" to look out the window and see that it's raining, you don't need a "prediction" to look at the rising Chesapeake Bay, shrinking snow masses in the mountains, dying coral reefs, vanishing icecaps, and now global warming.
Regarding the Oct. 18 article on predicting global warming: While computer modeling is an interesting and sometimes useful tool, it is inherently limited. All that a model can do, even the best model, is look at past trends and make estimates for the future. We can comfortably rely upon a model that tells us that, as the temperature of the earth has increased independently of solar or meteorological conditions, it will continue to do so until the other source abates or declines.
A model cannot prove that a particular source is the "other source." We have enough evidence to put forth the theory that human activity may be the cause of a global-warming trend. Attributing any one activity, say carbon emissions, to being the de facto cause of this warming trend is premature, scientifically irresponsible, and just downright silly. Models are very useful tools for science, but they are methods of getting very rough estimates.
To ease crowded airports, tax flyers
Regarding the Oct. 23 article, "Clogged airports: a plan to cut N.Y.C. air traffic": It discusses a number of possible solutions to overcrowded airports, including congestion pricing, but noted that airlines oppose paying more to fly during peak hours. However, there is another way to institute peak-hour pricing: Impose an arrival and departure tax directly on the passengers using the airports during peak hours. Revenues could be used to offset the cost of the airport's operating expenses and possibly reduce landing and takeoff fees for the airlines. Congressional authorization would be required. These taxes would not be a complete solution, but would help mitigate the problem.