I empathize with those who lost their homes and other possessions in the Katrina and Rita disasters ("Katrina one year later," Aug. 26), but I am adamantly opposed to the government financing the reconstruction. It is the height of foolhardiness. Why should taxpayers finance the rebuilding of homes that will again be exposed to the same kinds of disasters? There is no warrant in the U. S. Constitution justifying this.
-G. Robert Greene; Fredericksburg, Va.
Staging photographs is not new to journalism ("Tricks of the trade," Aug. 26). During our Civil War the famous Union photographer Mathew Brady routinely gathered the bodies of Confederate dead in one area of a battlefield to demonstrate heavy Confederate losses. Union dead were rarely shown at all. He carried around an assortment of props, such as a never-issued Austrian musket that he used to dramatize the poses of dead Confederates.
-Dave Gibson; Dacula, Ga.
The photojournalistic "tricks of the trade" may not be ethical, but they aren't surprising either. Decades ago, the story was in the words; today's primary epistemology is the visual image: We know what we know by what we see. We may be bothered but we shouldn't be surprised when postmodern journalists manipulate photos to catch the attention of postmodern viewers whose hearts and minds are increasingly hardened by over-titillation from TV, the internet, and movies.
-Bob Brown; Belcamp, Md.
I am speechless. At an International AIDS conference ("From A to X," Aug. 26) there were "Star Whores," simulated intercourse on stage, sex toys, and an HIV-positive Anglican priest complaining about the ABC strategy and "the Bush administration's 'moralistic' policies such as teaching sexual abstinence and faithfulness." I could go on and on. What is wrong with this picture? Well, maybe I'm not truly speechless after all-I just don't know where or to whom to express my outrage.
-Mary Lou Hughes; Montgomery, Ala.
I thought this conference was about stopping AIDS, yet at every turn it's about hate. Meanwhile, AIDS continues to kill while these self-righteous moralizers politicize a disease and profit from the deaths of the children and poor. I am not surprised that scientists no longer show up; they actually see the problem as the disease, not the political structures.
-Mac Davis; Vancouver, British Columbia
Personally, I wish conservatives would be annoyed with Bush about issues other than illegal immigration ("Running for the border," Aug. 26). Whatever happened to fiscal conservatism?
-David Briggs; Dublin, Ohio
What part of "illegal" don't politicians understand? Folks from Mexico are ramming the U.S. border; they need to be issued a ticket back to Mexico and required to get in line and wait in traffic like the legal immigrants do. Kudos to the Minutemen and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo for understanding the meaning of the word illegal.
-Marilyn Braley; Houston, Texas
If the photograph of the fence the Minutemen are constructing along the Arizona/Mexico border is any indication of its effectiveness, it won't even keep out a sick Jersey calf.
-Marvin Richter; Kingsdown, Kan.
Thank you to Andrée Seu for a wonderful column on getting our lives organized ("Invisible monkeys," Aug. 26). I went into my study and pitched dozens of papers that I had piled up everywhere waiting to read; I knew I would never get to them and needed a fresh start to focus on what God wants me to do now. Mental clutter is indeed a peace-robber and a depression-inducing load. Taking those 10 seconds to see what is bugging me is something I promise to do daily from now on.
-Charlie Goodrich; Melbourne Beach, Fla.
I am rejoicing while reading "Killing terrorists & dialing 911" (Aug. 19). I'm so very glad to hear the good news. I need this medicine to counteract the bad news we hear every day in the other media.
-George Louis Hickman; Philadelphia, Pa.
"Killing terrorists & dialing 911" relates areas of tremendous progress in Iraq, both militarily and in reconstruction. The last sentence quotes someone saying that "there's still no evidence of [civil affairs projects] in the news." The mainstream media would have us believe that Iraq is falling apart. But your next article, "Crisis management," says, "Meanwhile, Iraq deteriorated further with daily strings of Baghdad bombings killing dozens a day." So is Iraq deteriorating, or is it making progress that needs to be related loud and clear?
-Martha Huggins; Raleigh, N.C.
The Democrats you accuse of deserting Joseph Lieberman after the Connecticut Democratic primary actively and sincerely supported him prior to the vote ("Betraying friends," Aug. 19). Furthermore, each acknowledged before the vote that he or she would support the primary winner. I am a Democrat and had I been a citizen of Connecticut would have voted for Lieberman. But I believe that his decision to run as an independent is unwise, futile, and maybe too helpful to the Republican candidate.
-Louis Haga; Portland, Ore.
Your description of Lady in the Water ("A thrillertale," Aug. 19) reminded me of Tim Powers' novels, which a former WORLD reviewer described as "modern fairly tales." I like your term thrillertale for this new movie genre and look forward to seeing the movie.
-Julie Shields; Lilburn, Ga.
I neglected to write when Katharine Schori became bishop of the Episcopal Church ("Katie can't bar the door," July 15), but there have been too many other articles on the homosexuality issue hitting our daily media ("Recipe for decline," Aug. 19). Enough! How do Christian preachers explain the passages that very definitely speak out against homosexuality?
-Pat Baker; St. Joseph, Mo.
I'm enjoying your magazine very much. Regarding the judge's misguided decision regarding Prison Fellowship's program at the Iowa prison ("Help on the inside," Aug. 12): I believe that Congress was in no way establishing a religion with this program, but the judge was certainly prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Today, it seems free exercise is prohibited almost daily. Meanwhile, I've read several times that Muslims are very active in prisons and getting many recruits there.
-Mary Culver; Garden Grove, Calif.
The state of Iowa provided the funding for this program, not the federal government. We not only need a judge with wisdom, we need a judge who can read the Constitution. Also, Joel Belz was puzzled by hard questions about New Agers and Muslims running similar programs in the prisons. The state is looking for a lower recidivism rate. If Christians, New Agers, Muslims, or any other group can accomplish that, then the state of Iowa should fully embrace that approach. Go ahead and let the New Agers and Muslims try to lower the recidivism rate. They will fail because of their flawed view of human nature. The transforming of the inmates is due to a transforming relationship with Christ. If Prison Fellowship allows prisoners to freely leave the program with no reprisals, the state should fund the program for its service of reducing the recidivism rate. It seems clear to me.
-William J. Demer; Camden, S.C.
Common Ground Ministries was started by Brian Kelley in Montgomery, Ala., and is modeled after Desire Street Ministries ("New Desire," Aug. 26, p. 20).