I am glad that people like Bono and Bill Gates are endorsing the practice of spreading corporate profits among the world's disadvantaged and helping convince the business élite that it is in their interest to care about the world's less fortunate [Aug. 11]. Both individuals have used their influence to do great things. But let's not forget that our elected representatives must be the ones held responsible for protecting the poor. Since the government must set a minimum wage for justice's sake, perhaps it can set maximums for corporate profits or individual salaries and offer incentives for the rich to give back. Ralph Scheidler, FORT FAIRFIELD, MAINE
Gates' article made me want to stand up and cheer. As he phrased it, "There are two great forces of human nature: self-interest and caring for others." By using his own wealth and influence to respond to world poverty in a meaningful way, Gates exemplifies the latter force. His initiatives (sharing technology, providing small-business loans, eradicating preventable diseases) make measurable differences. Thank you for providing a forum for him to share his ideas. Rebecca E. Hight, PENNEY FARMS, FLA.
While Bill Gates does a fine job outlining his creative capitalism initiative, his exclusive focus on developing nations at the expense of his own is a tremendous oversight. Corporations in developed countries certainly should feel socially responsible for those in developing ones. But if they ever want to be taken seriously as agents of social change, they need to consider their own economies as well. Gates is incorrect to brush over the U.S.'s economic woes so lightly, especially when creative capitalism could potentially solve some problems like our own oft-neglected poverty. Only when America proves that capitalism can cure social ills within its own borders should it start looking to prove so abroad. Regina Tavani, NASHUA, N.H.
Hollywood's Ticking Time Bomb
I agree with James Poniewozik's assessment that Hollywood has yet to demonize China in the same way the news media have [Aug. 11]. However, one need only look at the parallels between negative news coverage and negative pop-culture depictions of Arabs and the Middle East during the past decade, or similar coverage of the Japanese during World War II, to see how closely one influences the other and how both influence the minds of the American people in different ways. The current political climate suggests that China is next. It may be only a matter of time before the "delightful pandas" take on a more ominous form. Leila Cruz, WHEATON, MD.
The point of Ramesh Ponnuru's commentary seems to be that Obama benefits from "plain old liberal bias" while McCain suffers from it [Aug. 11]. But the claim that the mainstream media are "smitten with Obama" wasn't reflected in a recent analysis done by George Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs, which found that on the four major TV networks, coverage of Obama during the first six weeks of the general election was 72% negative and only 28% positive. McCain's coverage, by contrast, was 57% negative and 43% positive. Jessica G. Gugino, AYER, MASS.
Problems with Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she refused to launch an impeachment investigation into George W. Bush's many high crimes and misdemeanors because "you can't talk about impeachment unless you have the facts, and you can't have the facts unless you have cooperation from the Administration" [Aug. 11]. What a lame excuse! Did the Nixon Administration cooperate with Congress to provide the facts during its impeachment proceedings? The facts were brought forth by a diligent congressional investigation backed by the power of subpoena. Pelosi and her colleagues in Congress should be held in contempt for failing to uphold their oath to defend and support the Constitution when they took impeachment off the table. Richard Notkin, HELENA, MONT.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi references her responsibility--and Congress's political responsibility--to "represent our constituents" and to vote as "a matter of conscience." How interesting, then, that she chose to close the current legislative session without addressing the American public's growing need for domestically sourced energy. While families across this country have to choose between buying groceries and buying gasoline, or between the annual family vacation or looming mortgage payments, we can all rest assured that Madam Speaker and the rest of the House of Representatives will enjoy their taxpayer-funded August break. With the lowest congressional approval rating in history, our hardworking Representatives have clearly earned it. Benjamin Greenberg, WORCESTER, MASS.
Long Live the Louvre!
Peter Gumbel's article "Le Louvre Inc." warmed the cockles of my heart [Aug. 11]. It's clear that my favorite museum is well cared for by its director, Henri Loyrette, who has visionary ideas for keeping the Louvre alive and vibrant for the whole world to enjoy. Issa Boullata, MONTREAL
A Picky Eater
Re "The Moment: Fort Worth": Michael Grunwald would have to have both a very discriminating palate and a hefty paycheck to avoid the family-style restaurants like Bennigans that so many middle-class Americans frequent [Aug. 11]. I guess he misses the point. This type of restaurant provides reasonable dining experiences at affordable prices. It may not be haute cuisine, but neither is it intended to be. John Gillies, SCHAUMBURG, ILL.
The Diplomacy Gap
Massimo Calabresi's article reads like a State Department press release [Aug. 11]. How is it that when the Bush Administration declares a "diplomacy surge," the message is dutifully repeated in the mainstream press? Yet when Iranian President Mohammed Khatami offered to negotiate all outstanding issues with the U.S. in 2003, the press completely ignored Iran's diplomatic gestures. Timothy Eddy, PITTSFIELD, MASS.
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