JULY 8, 2002
Ring of Kerry
TO THE EDITORS: Michael Crowley's June 3 article "The Makeover" asks an odd question: "Can John Kerry make people like him?" We are talking about perhaps the most popular politician in Massachusetts. He beat the very popular governor of that state like a gong in his last reelection campaign. So far the Republicans have not been able to find a sacrificial lamb for 2002. So much for the question. Now about that makeover: Not only is Kerry hugely popular at home, but his policy proposals are by and large mainstream--not those of a "Massachusetts liberal" playing to the home crowd. So other Democrats might profitably look to him as the model for their own makeovers, not his. The John Kerry I have known for more than 30 years is a much more complex character than the story line of the article would allow. He does not need a makeover, but he may need more nuanced reporting.
SAM BROWN JR.
TO THE EDITORS: Regarding Michael Crowley's article on John Kerry, specifically his discussion of Kerry's self-love, I have the following anecdote to relate: While interning on Capitol Hill during the summer of 2001, I was waiting in the Senate cafeteria line one day when I heard a voice behind me say, "Excuse us." There was no us--only John Kerry, using the Royal "we."
New York, New York
TO THE EDITORS: Thank you to Nathan Glazer for his moving tribute to David Riesman, the finest teacher I have known ("Higher Ed," June 3). Intellectually, he always urged people to lean into the wind, to have what he called the "nerve of failure," or the willingness to withstand criticism from one's peers for nonconformity. He was from the old school. He was a teacher in the deepest and best sense of that word, and his students will miss him greatly.
President Institute for American Valves
New York, New York
TO THE EDITORS: What a disappointment to learn that TNR has joined sides with all the other NIMBYS of the Eastern establishment who want us to believe that transporting 40, 000 tons of nuclear waste across the country to Yucca Mountain is somehow safer than building the same permanent storage tanks at the sites where the waste is produced ("Nuclear Waste," May 27). What utter nonsense. Your weak argument that it would be easier to secure the waste in one central depository than to do so in 131 separate sites loses its punch when one considers that the material will still have to be transported "from 131 temporary facilities scattered across 39 states." How can that possibly be safer than depositing the waste where it is produced?
K. LAMONTE JOHN
TO THE EDITORS: Your editorial awoke in me memories dating back to 1970, when I was chairman of the energy committee of the Cincinnati mayor's environmental task force, on which I was well known as an opponent of nuclear power generation. The University of Cincinnati's department of nuclear engineering invited me to debate the issue with faculty. One of the main issues I raised was that of nuclear waste disposal. Faculty and students practically laughed me out of the room. There were numerous methods, economically reasonable and safe for long- term (i.e., 25,000 years) storage, they claimed. Of the problems that exist even today only one is the design of a hazardous waste marker that will be readable and comprehensible 25,000 years from now. Mankind, led by this United States of America that we so deeply love, is leaving a deadly problem for future generations.
S. TED ISAACS, P.E.