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Debating the Transport of Nuclear Waste

I'm dismayed at the blatantly one-sided analysis and attempted fear-mongering in "Nuclear Waste Roadshow May Yet Come to Town" (June 5). The use of terminology such as "one of the deadliest known toxins," "Mobile Chernobyl," "exquisitely dangerous material," etc., does little to inform the reader of the real issues. The opinion article states that "the equivalent of 10 chest X-rays an hour... is, pure and simple, a health risk." Well, yes, but so is excessive sun exposure - probably not a good idea, but not capable of being measured either.

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Radioactive materials are easily detected and managed, and they decay away naturally over time. Yes, those materials are hazardous in large quantities and high concentrations, but a critical look at the materials transported on our highways and rail lines every day indicates that the outsized concern placed on radioactive materials is nothing short of ludicrous.

Richard Boyer

via e-mail

Remembering Joseph C. Harsch

Thank you for Peter Grier's fine appreciation article on Joseph C. Harsch in "Joseph C. Harsch: a Journalist With the 'Vision of an Age'"(June 5).

Joe was truly a national treasure. His lively intellect and grasp of the "big picture" which he interpreted in reader-friendly terms made him one of America's prime journalists. Joe will be missed, both as a friend and for his unique "take" on current events.

Eileen Detlefsen

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Bellevue, Ohio

I was so touched to see the tribute to Joseph C. Harsch. When he retired from the Monitor I wrote to him, telling him how disappointed I was. I received a letter back apologizing for the form letter, but telling me he had so many letters he had to do it this way. I wrote to the editors at the same time letting them know how much I missed Harsch.

Soon I received a personal letter from Mr. Harsch saying, "Anyone who write two letters about me deserves a personal answer!" He explained that he would be back in the Monitor now and then, and he was also writing a book. No wonder I appreciated your lovely words today.

Rhea R. Buck


Today's college campuses

As an educator of 40 years' experience I can sympathize with the sadness of Nancy Dye, president of Oberlin College, in her opinion article, "Virtual College: the End of the Campus?" (June 8).

On the other hand, I believe she is deceiving herself about the "mission" of colleges today. They are expensive institutions competing primarily as youth resorts - pools, hockey rinks, catered meals, student centers, television rooms, etc. At the same time, lower-division courses are neglected as faculty seek research and writing time.

I do not know if universities and colleges will disappear, but, generally speaking, most of the kind which Ms. Dye is reminiscing about already have.

John A. Betterly

Troy, N.Y.

Long-term interests should drive US

It was heartening to read the editorial "Real US-China Interests" (May 28). It is a balanced article with the proper reasoned perspective which gained this publication its reputation for objectivity. Our nation's long-term interests should always drive our policies, foreign and domestic, rather than election-time political recklessness.

If the electorate paid closer attention to those individuals of immoderate voice in our legislature, we might be able to rid ourselves of destabilizing influences in our governing bodies each election time.

Amy Sharp

Bellevue, Wash.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to "Readers Write," and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to

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