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Our Struggling States

"The Other Financial Crisis," about the near bankruptcy of many states, should have acknowledged that population growth does not pay for itself [June 28]. California, Arizona, Florida and other high-population-growth states are in trouble, while North Dakota has had relatively little population growth over the years and consequently very few of its associated problems.

Albert A. Bartlett, BOULDER, COLO.

I won't argue with your assertion that having a public-service job when your neighbor loses his in the private sector puts you in "separate economies." As a retired public servant, however, I've seen the other side. When the economy is booming and your neighbor gets double-digit pay raises plus bonuses while you receive a single-digit or no pay raise, that also puts you in separate economies. Many in public service choose the lower pay in exchange for more job security. When I graduated from law school, I was the only one in my class who chose public service. I didn't get rich, but I'm not complaining.

Dale Cayot, CINCINNATI

There is a less painful way to deal with budget shortfalls than cutting jobs and programs: using a graduated scale, just cut the wages of anyone making more than $40,000 per year. That way, everyone keeps his job, and all services remain staffed.

Roger Douglas, BELLEVUE, WASH.

Adoption Challenges

Re "When the Adopted Can't Adapt" [June 28]: Clearly, TIME is not the only offender, but the coverage of international adoptions that have failed far outweighs that of those that have succeeded, when the statistics paint a different picture. The unfortunate reality is that your imbalanced reporting is likely to scare away many who are considering giving these kids a home.

Jim Reynolds, SIOUX CITY, IOWA

When I was researching adoption 10 years ago, everything I read stressed two things: adopt a child who is as young as possible, and adopt from a country where the child receives one-to-one contact with a specific caretaker prior to adoption. Russia was known even then for meeting neither condition, but still, most American adoptions were from Russia. When I asked why, I was told people want white babies. My 10-year-old Cambodian-born daughter, adopted at 6 months, is the healthiest, most spectacular gift I could ever have imagined.

Stacey Rein, TIVOLI, N.Y.

Context, Please

Re "Mexico's Meth Warriors" [June 28]: Whatever La Familia Michoacana calls itself, this group of narcotraffickers and murderers you profile is not Christian. To refer to them as Christian fundamentalists without a qualifier like "self-proclaimed" is an insult to any Christian.

Martha Bonander, TOGDEN DUNES, IND.

Alvin Who?

Re "The Mystery Man" [June 28]: Alvin Greene's Democratic-primary win should serve as a wake-up call, not just because of his credentials (or lack thereof) but because his story reminds us that voting often does not involve informed decisionmaking.

Cary Anderson , BURNT HILLS, N.Y.

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