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Damage to the presidency

Thank you for the editorial "Damaged Bully Pulpit?" (Nov. 17) that has a definite position and addresses at least some of the concerns raised by the ongoing public flogging of the president. But I believe the points assessing the long-term damage to the office of the presidency ignore the real political and legal damage to both the president and the electorate.

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The conspiracy of the persons triggering this unconstitutional effort to unseat the president provides a path for subsequent similar action against this office. It will be a chink in the armor of the separation of powers until action is taken to protect elected officials from the misuse of law and from the political bias keeping current courts from considering the fair defense of attacked officials.

Kenneth Starr, in his zeal to "get Clinton," trampled on the laws and rules governing his office. During the investigation, he legitimized the use of illegal tapes, invaded the president's and Monica Lewinsky's privacy, and infringed on the president's right to a fair defense in the courts and in Congress - not in the media.

There may well be a backlash in the 2000 elections, which will not only usher in a new president but will also address the misdeeds of the far right in their effort to ''get" the current president.

We, hopefully, will never again have to suffer through a period marked by the unhappy combination of a president with a past and political Puritans who attack on moralistic issues that should remain private.

Glenn Young

San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Give Dr. Laura her due

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While I'm in agreement with "Talk radio's price: a culture of complaint" (Nov. 16) on the profusion of incivility on the radio airwaves, I'm not inclined to paint talk radio with such a broad brush. One is free to listen to the depths of degradation or change the channel and sometimes find the sublime and uplifting.

As the author complains about the "culture of complaint," she uses as an example Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Dr. Laura, described as a "pop-advisor" and "personal-advice host," is said to be part of a group that "highlights conflict and discontent."

I can only suspect that the author has not listened to much of Dr. Laura. A caller to the Dr. Laura show is asking not for "pop-advice," but for help with a moral dilemma. He or she is not calling to be humiliated, but to gain the courage to do the right thing.

She emphasizes personal morality based on religious faith. She advocates education, hard work, courage, honesty, generosity, integrity, character, commitment, taking action, no excuses, self-sacrifice, sex only within marriage, the importance of raising children, adoption instead of abortion, a ban on gossip, living according to the Ten Commandments, and most important, a deep and abiding love of God.

It's hardly the recipe for popularity. Or is it? A show about morality is the most listened-to show in the country? Shouldn't we be thrilled?

Anne Kemp Hummel

Northridge, Calif.

Who goes to a Sperling breakfast?

Regarding Godfrey Sperling's column "Curious Readers Want the Dish on Breakfast," (Nov. 3), I find it very curious that none of the guests mentioned were women or Americans of African, Hispanic, or Asian descent. Are Mr. Sperling's readers to assume that only white males are invited to a Monitor breakfast, or that only white males are notable or frequent guests?

Jim Wienmeyer

Olga, Wash.

Editor's Note: Mr. Sperling has served breakfast to a diversity of people, including Alexis Herman, Jesse Jackson, Madeleine Albright, Ron Brown, and Hillary Rodham Clinton, among many others.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. 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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