Your story ("New Plan: Prevent more forest fires," Aug. 16) fails to explain the whole story about wildfire on national forest lands.
Smokey the Bear has been a leading symbol for the prevention of forest fires. Smokey, along with a strong education and enforcement program, has helped prevent countless fires and reduce human loss and suffering.
There have been numerous new plans and policies over the past 50 years, intended to prevent loss once fires start.
Unfortunately, these plans have been based more on political and economic climates than on nature.
Two things appear different in this plan: First, the urban population has moved near forest lands with high-value investments, creating a political and social climate that makes vast expenditures socially acceptable.
Second, the focus of the plan is to spend billions for vegetation manipulation (cutting down trees to save the forest) over the next 10 years to "fire proof" national forests in high-value areas. In more remote areas, little will change in the use of prescribed natural fire or letting fires burn.
Even with billions of federal and state dollars spent on vegetation manipulation, large forest fires will continue when the right climatic conditions exist - and the controversy will burn on.
Dave Dahl Tucson, Ariz.
Nice story, but you seem to have left the obvious unsaid ("Parents gird for midriff wars with preteen set," Aug.15). Those of us who are acquainted with the concept of honesty know that journalism is rife with digestion-easing phrasing.
Nevertheless, the painful truth is that American preteens, like teens and women in general, have taken to dressing like cheap and tawdry trollops.
"Sexy" is a fine word to describe the phenomenon in question. I have no qualms with a grown woman dressing in provocative attire, but I'm sickened by the lack of taste with which parents are (meagerly) outfitting their daughters, and the attenuating denial of such by the entire culture - including commentators like yourselves.
The Monitor is a beacon of (slightly faded and a tad cowardly) light in an otherwise dark and conspiratorial media world. Let the truth about teen fashion ring from sea to polluted sea.
Clarence Song Chicago
I applaud Elizabeth Lund's frank opinion piece, "My not-so-pretty pageant past," Aug. 21.
It is refreshing to hear a former participant break ranks with the cheesy commodification of women and acknowledge the superficiality of beauty pageantry.
Preteen pageants are especially disturbing - it makes my skin crawl to see a child dressed as a racy 30-year-old.
Colin Sullivan Napa, Calif.
Anne Lund's letter ("Media degrades aging," Aug. 14, Readers Write) brought out the spirit that never dies.
As a four-score and reaching a plus-ten, I'll say: It ain't so bad getting old, as long as we take it moment by moment. As "oldies," we've been there - and perhaps participated so thoroughly in life that we're still bouncing around.
In a hard-sell world, we tend to emphasize the negative - "I've gotta have this or that" - and use time as a subject of worry, with advertisers offering little relief. Ms. Lund brought out the right idea.
Tadeo "Spike" Zywicki McAllen, Texas
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