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Readers Write

Anthony Lake and Senatorial 'Swinery'

The vilification of Anthony Lake by senators at his confirmation hearings ensures that decent Americans will refuse to serve their country for fear of being treated like criminals. We needn't wonder why Americans have lost faith in government. Such government will continue to lose the respect of our citizenry and other nations. Emerging democracies will not profit by observing our Senate's brand of political swinery.

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I do not agree with the writer of "Why Senate Roughs Up Some Cabinet Nominees" (March 19) that Mr. Lake should not have been surprised at his treatment. By what reasonable standard should a public servant with a long history of superlative service deserve to have his reputation destroyed by interrogation that is "beside the point"?

Our country has sustained a great loss in Tony Lake. It is senators who do not have to be qualified for their jobs. All they have to be is elected. Apart from Sen. Bob Kerrey, the members of that committee should be censured, to a man, by the ethics committee. Come election time, their respective constituencies should censure them. Doing nothing serves only to embolden such behavior.

Amy Sharp

Bellevue, Wash.

Charm does not make a president

Let me see if I understand your columnist's logic regarding Vice President Al Gore's hilarious performance at the Gridron show ("Gridiron Gag Time: Making of a President?" March 25). Because Mr. Gore endeared himself to the press (and others) with his comedy routine, Gore is a great guy after all, and couldn't possibly have committed crimes serious enough to disqualify him from becoming president.

It is alarming that the Washington press corps has become so gullible that Gore (with his comedy writers and spin doctors) can dazzle even them. Journalists have no business being "charmed" by public officials. The job of the press is to dig until the public is told the truth - wherever that may lead. Millions of Americans understand that to be your job. Why don't you demand it of yourselves?

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Robert E. Mann

Lake Oswego, Ore.

Oakland, Grand Central, and facts

I was delighted to read the letter (March 18) dealing with the mistaken identification of the EASTERN portion of the Bay Bridge as the WESTERN portion in "Abridged Version of a California Split" (March 12).

In addition, the bridge is properly designated as the "San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge." Residents of the larger and more populous East Bay (Oakland side) protested loudly when the bridge was built to make sure that the geographically smaller city of San Francisco was not allowed to obscure the Oakland/East Bay area by having the bridge named solely for itself. (I know, I was growing up in the East Bay at the time.)

Charles W. Pottol

Florence, Mass.

Actually, the Bay Bridge is two separate and distinct bridges divided by Yerba Buena Island. To the east is the aesthetically ugly truss bridge pictured in the story; to the west is the more pleasing suspension bridge.

Another common error, in "New York Puts the 'Grand' Back in Central Station" (Feb. 10), is mislabeling Grand Central Terminal as Grand Central Station. If anybody had bothered to look above the (south) entrance he would have seen in large, bold letters "Grand Central Terminal." It is a terminal because all trains either terminate or originate there, none pass through. Actually, most terminals are called stations, including Boston's South Station, but not New York's.

John Sherman

Otter Rock, Ore.

Your letters are welcome. Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. All letters are subject to editing. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed (200 words maximum) to

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