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On appointments, Congress is just doing its job The report on delays in presidential appointments ("Is government hurt by foot-dragging on appointees?" June 15) correctly points out that ramifications are large. But the headline can confuse readers.

Professor Calvin Mackenzie accurately observes that we are not getting the best people nominated by President Clinton. But Congress is performing its constitutional duty to evaluate presidential nominees for important appointments. The president is the one at fault, showing his contempt for a congressional majority that does not rubber stamp his appointees hastily. He hides behind the ruse of an interim appointment to allow a man the Senate likely would not confirm as an ambassador until the next Congress convenes in January 2001. The writer did a professional job. The headline, however, is latently partisan.

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Marvin Alisky, Tempe, Ariz. Prof. emeritus, political science Arizona State University

Population growth in Mexico Regarding "Mexico's dramatically shrinking families" (June 21): I wish columnist Pat M. Holt would be a little more cautious when making pronouncements on fertility and future population numbers. I also wish that he would cite sources.

I went to the US Census Bureau online and the population pyramids for Mexico for 1998 and 2025 are sufficiently fat (biased toward many young mothers and fathers coming of age) to make any leveling off of Mexican population in the near future not very plausible. Also, the Population Reference Bureau projects a Mexican population of 140 million in 2025, and the United Nations projects 154 million in 2025. I have difficulty accepting Mr. Holt's projection of only 125 million for Mexico in 2050 even with a 2.5 fertility rate. I hope he is right.

Marvin Gregory, Renton, Wash.

Balancing political labels The article "Renegade factions rule in the US House" (June 21), lacks balance. Why is it that the mainstream press calls Republicans who vote with the Democrats "moderate Republicans"? Shouldn't Democrats who vote with Republicans be called moderate Democrats? Instead they are labeled "Conservative Democrats" (an oxymoron). Liberals are often heard calling their opposition the "extremists" in the Republican Party. We rarely hear the opponents of the Republicans being called extremists. Where is the balance among reporters?

Charles Brock, Dayton, Ohio

Genetics and food I am curious as to why a publication of your stature would maintain such naive vindication of the current status of genetically engineered foods (editorial "Green Genes" June 8) amidst global boycotts of American crops and mounting evidence of the health ramifications.

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Your comparison of hybridization among species of plants and genetic engineering of differing species only serves to confuse the public. You fail to recognize that genetically engineered species could wipe out traditional hybrids as well as heirloom crops you claim to defend.

The American people are capable of making decisions for themselves about whether to accept or reject genetically engineered foods if they were given all the information on both sides of the issue. Responsible genetic engineering, on the other hand, may never reach its promise because of the backlash from a global public on whom genetically engineered products were surreptitiously forced, too soon, without labeling and information, and without the proper safeguards.

Debbie Whittaker, Denver

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