Backtalk

Amped Up
As a long-term energy-field professional, I was glad to see Mother Jones taking a more balanced view than that all can be solved with wind, solar, and conservation. How can we double electric usage and eliminate coal? Via an all-out nuclear power program. Nothing else can provide more than 700 gigawatts of capacity in the next 30 years. So, it is up to you and your readers: Demand a nuclear program or complain about global warming, oil profits, and fossil fools. Your choice.
john fognini
Bloonfield, Minnesota

Judith Lewis offers a good explication of nuclear power. However, her premise, that expanding nuclear infrastructure could be a potent force to avert the climate crisis, is false. Nuclear will not reverse the climate crisis, and investing in it is an enormous diversion from the one thing that could: massive systemic energy-efficiency programs to cut waste. A dollar invested in smart use of electric power will cut 14 times more greenhouse gases than a dollar put into building a new nuclear power plant. Solar panels and farms require power storage, but they do not require gun-toting security, federally administered insurance, billions of gallons of cooling water, or deadly waste.
mary olson
Southeast Regional Services
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Bill McKibben's call for putting more environmental information into capitalism is a hidden call for climate taxes. There might be virtue in taxing greenhouse gas emissions, but hiding taxes behind feel-good phrases like "tariffs that encourage local economies" only obscures the real cost of environmental protection, higher-cost goods and services. If McKibben wants greenhouse gases controlled by taxing them, fine, but let's call a tax a tax and have an honest discussion about how much it will cost to contain climate change, rather than hide behind faux market language.
kenneth p. green
Resident scholar
American Enterprise Institute

You must be kidding. You tell us on your latest cover that we're screwed. Guess what, pal? It's the insane "Save the trees," "Don't touch the pristine land" attitude of people that read your rag that got us here.
gary alderin
Ellenton, Florida

It made me very sad to see Mother Jones throw Hugo Chávez into the category of "tyrant" based on such poor evidence ("Put a Tyrant in Your Tank"). Literacy programs, subsidized petroleum to allies, spreading Venezuela's influence...That's all it takes to be a tyrant nowadays? Last I checked, Chávez accepted the defeat of his constitutional amendment and is stepping down at the end of his second term. Demagogue and self-centered perhaps, but tyrant? This article belonged in the Wall Street Journal, not Mother Jones.
demian moreno
Berkeley, California

Constant Trouble
A salute to your penetrating piece on Haiti's loathsome Toto Constant, whom the Clinton administration referred to as the leader of a "gang of thugs." Still, even after he threatened the safety of a senior US embassy official, Constant was able to slip into the US. The Clinton administration refused to extradite him, maintaining that it didn't have confidence in the Haitian judicial process (which it had installed) to guarantee Constant a fair trial. Yet it had no reluctance in forcibly returning thousands of Haitian boat people to such a compromised system. We believe that was because Constant had been a cia asset all along.
larry birns
Director
Council on Hemispheric Relations

And You Call Yourselves Feminists
More access to pep (post-exposure prophylaxis treatment) for hiv is definitely needed. However, I was disappointed that Justine Sharrock did not include the need for pep for sexual assault victims. These victims do not automatically receive information about the availability of pep, let alone actual access to this potentially lifesaving treatment.
kristianne hinkamp
Victim's Outreach
Dallas, Texas

Political Trivia Question
In "Above the Law," Daphne Eviatar describes how kbr lawyers invoked the "political question doctrine" to dismiss lawsuits charging the company with recklessly disregarding its employees' safety in Iraq. Under the doctrine, courts refrain from resolving disputes that are better left to the political branches of government. Interestingly, the Bush administration has aggressively deployed this legal principle, repeatedly urging US courts to dismiss lawsuits against multinational corporations for human rights abuse because they have the potential to embarrass the host countries. The irony is that many lawyers and scholars believe the Supreme Court should have invoked the doctrine and refused to hear that little case in 2000, Bush v. Gore.
michael o'donnell
Chicago, Illinois