05/17/1982 at 01:00 AM EDT
It was great to read about Prince Andrew (PEOPLE, April 26) as a young man who believes in family traditions and loyalty to his country. I've read so many stories about his playboy behavior that it was nice to read one that made him seem as vulnerable and human as everyone else.
Gov. John Spellman
I can't believe that Governor Spellman is truly concerned about doing "the best job for the people." He should have considered Washington's massive unemployment before ruling out the pipeline. And it's not only the state of Washington that will suffer but all the people in the Midwest who could have depended on that oil when the next energy crunch hits. I live less than a half mile from the Trans-Alaska Pipeline—you know, the one PEOPLE refers to as suffering from "fire and explosions." If one can put aside the environmental hysterics, there are ways in which development and nature can coexist.
Gale Ann Skaugstad
Contrary to what PEOPLE said, the Governor is not single-handedly stopping the pipeline. The rest of the country may not give a damn what happens to our waterways, and it's true that there are some dummies out here who would be glad to sack the state, but there are thousands of us who vote and do back the Governor. Any man who can withstand the withering fire of political pressure from government and business to go for the ethical, the logical choice has my vote forever.
Kathleen S. DeSalvo
To update my report on premenstrual tension and the legal system here (PEOPLE, April 5), I want to advise you that Britain's Court of Appeal has rejected a plea that premenstrual tension should be a defense for criminal acts. In handing down the decision in the case of Sandie Smith, the woman who stabbed a barmaid to death and later threatened to kill a policeman, the judges said that protecting society was a higher priority than preventing women from being unfairly branded as criminals. They added that a woman who killed and was then acquitted on this defense would continue to be "a danger to all around her." Smith had pleaded guilty in both cases but received a suspended sentence on grounds of diminished responsibility.
The decision will not affect the judgment in the Sandie Smith case.—ED.
Thank you for bringing us news of the good works of Jack Bailey: what a human being! I was, however, stunned to read the condescending remarks of an unidentified U.N. official who said: "We have yet to see many positive results from his work, but we give him credit for trying." Trying? Bailey is out at sea in a rickety old boat, in danger, spending his own cash. That's not trying; that's doing.
Long Branch, N.J.
Rita Mae Brown
I don't believe it! PEOPLE magazine does it again. You take a perfectly dazzling lesbian, Rita Mae Brown, and make her look like a run-of-the-mill heterosexual by printing a photo of her draped on some man. Why couldn't you have run a picture of her draped on some woman?
Long Island City, N.Y.
I would like to offer my congratulations and thanks for the story on Rita Mae Brown. Perhaps through good, positive reporting like this some of the barriers against homosexuality will begin to break down.
Bruce D. Milroy
San Dimas, Calif.
Was Maureen Reagan's comment about electing "incompetent women" a reference to herself? Maybe our goal should be to get both competent men and women in Congress for a change. If I were the President, I doubt that I would endorse a candidate who made such immature, irresponsible comments either.
Dr. Sidney Wolfe
Thank you for the article on Valium. I took it for three years and decided to quit cold turkey. The effects of withdrawal were devastating, not to mention the two years I've spent slowly recovering. Educating the public is one good way to alleviate the widespread abuse of this very dangerous drug. I was told, "It's not addictive and don't worry about it."
We regret that the interview with Dr. Sidney Wolfe gave a one-sided, biased and factually deficient picture of Valium ® (diazepam) and benzodiazepine tranquilizers. These contrasting statements by leading medical experts on tranquilizers appeared recently: "Although lay media and Senate hearings have decried benzodiazepines as rampantly overprescribed and dangerous...extensive surveys have concluded that reckless overprescribing is rare" (Jerrold Rosenbaum, New England Journal of Medicine); "The benzodiazepines are extremely safe drugs, and intentional or accidental overuse of benzodiazepines alone will rarely have severe consequences" (Karl Rickels, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology); "Most people who take benzodiazepines are not abusers, nor are they addicted" (David Greenblatt and Richard Shader, Rational Drug Therapy). Contrary to the picture painted by Dr. Wolfe, Hoffmann-La Roche has made prescribing guidelines widely available. We are also the only major health care company to have taken a massive educational program directly to the public on the appropriate use of prescription medication, which has resulted in the distribution of 24 million booklets.
Bruce H. Medd, M.D.
Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc.