The View on Global Warming
Three of the soldiers on your recent cover were killed in the battle for Iwo Jima, their deaths as poignant and selfless today as they were in 1945 [April 28]. Your alteration of this photograph devalues their sacrifice and that of many others. In this time of war, when so many families are receiving a neatly folded flag in honor of their fallen loved ones, your cover is truly offensive. Have we as a nation become so ungrateful? Richard Putney, RICHMOND, VA.
It is encouraging that TIME is taking on the global climate crisis, but I am concerned that Bryan Walsh's solutions strangely resemble the war in Iraq: top-down policies and reliance on technology with little or no sacrifice required of U.S. citizens. If America is to lead this battle, much less win it, individuals and families will need to make radical changes in their lives, including conserving energy and water, reducing consumption, eating differently and traveling less. It is possible these changes could be made voluntarily, but an intensive national effort, like the one made during World War II, is probably required. For that we will need great moral and political leadership from above and great courage and commitment on the grass-roots level. I hope your magazine will continue to catalyze both. Mary Earle Chase, NOVATO, CALIF.
I was disappointed that you covered all the fringe power sources like wind, solar and wave action, which can meet only a small percentage of our needs. Making fuel from foodstuffs seems evil, considering the world's hunger crisis. The time has arrived to reconsider nuclear power. Please give us an unbiased study on the efforts of those nations that are producing electricity from nuclear energy. How safe are the plants? What are they doing with the waste? What is the carbon footprint? Lyman Burgmeier, CYPRESS, CALIF.
Any discussion of greening the earth or our country is lacking if it does not include curbing population growth through avenues such as health-care services and, in the U.S., limits on immigration. If we reduce each person's carbon footprint by half and then double the population in 50 years, we are right back where we started. Larry Sarner, MAUI, HAWAII
Your article missed one important point. Walsh notes that we should mandate green building. We should, and it will pay off a lot over time. But we should also aggressively promote the retrofitting of existing buildings. Owners of homes and other buildings can save energy right now with existing technology, and in most cases, the cost is negative: they save more than they spend. Doug Burke, OAK PARK, ILL.
By going beyond providing merely a check and counterbalance to the other powers that be through information and criticism to assuming a leadership role in addressing the world's most critical problems, TIME has taken the Fourth Estate to its fullest potential: proactive journalism aimed particularly at global problems for which the clock is ticking and passive commentary is insufficient. Chris Tong, KELSEYVILLE, CALIF.
I am a former labor Doula and am currently leading the national effort to reverse hospital bans on vaginal birth after caesareans [April 28]. Mothers never tell me that they chose a medically unnecessary caesarean. Rather, their caesareans were ordered, coerced or bullied by their doctors because labor was too early or too late, mom was too small or too big, baby was too small or too big, mom had too much or too little amniotic fluid or for myriad other reasons sometimes verging on the bizarre. Plus, let's not forget that many hospitals in our country forbid women who have had caesareans from choosing vaginal births in later pregnancies. As for the woman featured in the article, I'm glad she is happy with her caesarean because chances are she won't be allowed to opt out of one the next time. Barbara Stratton, BALTIMORE
Nowhere in your rosy article about elective caesareans do you discuss the risks of the operation: anesthesia side effects, infection, mistakes made during the operation, longer recovery, time lost from work for family members needed to support a mother who can't pick up or carry her new baby, etc. You discuss the cost of lawsuits to doctors who don't perform the operation but neglect to mention the cost to insurance companies or public funds when a caesarean is done--a cost significantly higher than for a vaginal birth with or without medication. I would expect a higher level of reporting from TIME. Morgan K. Henderson, WELLESLEY, MASS.
After giving birth vaginally, by caesarean and then vaginally again, I nearly lost consciousness reading "Womb Service." The line "Pretty tidy way to conduct the often messy business of childbirth," about Euna Chung's elective caesarean, was most disturbing. Trust me: suffering the effects of major invasive surgery is not a tidy way to do anything. Vaginal birth has been proven to be safest for moms and babies. It is irresponsible for TIME to suggest otherwise. Alana Brown, AVON, N.Y.
If Lev Grossman has a spare $10 per month, I have two additional words for him: Netflix Instant [April 28]. Despite the fact that I don't subscribe to HBO or Showtime, I have watched all Sopranos episodes and two seasons of Weeds, have caught up on early episodes of 30 Rock, old movies and myriad other programs. Who needs a TV, indeed? Liz White, LOS ANGELES
The Pope and the President
Nancy Gibbs compares the Pope to President George W. Bush and declares that "they share a taste for straight talk and simple truths" [April 28]. Bush may use straight talk, even if it's misguided, but "simple truths"? His Administration can hardly be credited with any such thing. She then quotes the Pope in relation to the pedophilia scandal, which he stated was "sometimes badly handled." Sometimes? And these men somehow espouse straight talk? Surely Gibbs jests. Peter Edelson, NEW YORK CITY
The Political Elite
Regarding "A Bitter Lesson" [April 28]: The pundits were frustrated when they couldn't label Barack Obama a racist, so they came up with élitist as an otherwise suitable condemnatory epithet. For heaven's sake, the man is running for President of the U.S., not chairmanship of the bowling league. An élitist is surely someone who has a wider field of taste, interests, education and comprehension than the average person. Isn't that what the country desperately needs after eight years of the cowboy populist? John W. Gray, TORONTO