On the issue of flag burning it has been suggested that the easiest solution would be to make flags out of non-flammable material. That solution is way too simple to create an election-year wedge issue. Though I disagree with the flag-burning amendment, I do want to see us all come together, and so I have devised an argument conservatives can use to push the issue on liberals. Here goes:

Because, as Republicans have proven, flag burning is rampant and is occurring on almost every street corner in America, we liberals must face the fact that all this burning is causing pollution. That's right, Al Gore: the inconvenient truth is that CO2 emissions from flag burning will soon melt the polar ice caps, kill the caribou, and destroy our civilization.

If Republicans can swing some liberal votes their way with this argument, the amendment will pass and they can invigorate their base by taking credit. At the same time, they can take credit for saving the environment.

It won't win the war, won't save the economy, or do much for the environment, but it will win elections and will bring people together over something trivial. Which seems to be what elections are all about.

Jeffery Commaroto, Raintree Lane, Hilton


The expanded Strong Museum surely will provide significant economic, educational, and social benefits to the community ("Inside the New Strong," June 7). But the museum has missed a significant economic and educational opportunity by choosing Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Subway as the new food choices for museum visitors.

In addition to passing up the chance to provide the healthiest and freshest food for our children, Strong has also bypassed the chance to support local farmers and independent local businesses. Plus, Strong will be sending the message that franchise fast food is what's available, what's fun, and what's good for children. This sad choice of our National Museum of Play is, ironically, devoid of creativity.

There was a golden opportunity here to make food, food systems, and nutrition part of the learning at Strong. That learning may still occur in some isolated cases --- but unfortunately through examining Strong's poor example.

In their recent promotional brochure, Strong trumpets its new food court, extolling the "featured national brands." Maybe Strong will realize this deviation from its mission to make healthier, happier children and provide instead wholesome local food that nourishes not only the children but their community too.

Evan Lowenstein, Arlington Street, Rochester


The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle shrank the Sunday comics to microscopic size, and it made Edward Curtis hopping mad (The Mail, May 24). And why shouldn't he be? Is there a newsprint shortage? Will tiny funnies house the homeless? Feed the hungry? Support the troops? No, no, no, and no. It will help the shareholders, saving a fraction of a cent per hundred papers.

Truth be told, we were all furious that horrible Sunday morning when we saw what the misers had done. We all wanted to give them a piece of our minds, but we were afraid to. This type of letter is tricky.

Deep down in our heart of hearts, we all know that the funnies aren't that important. Maybe our letter of protest will hit on a heavy news day. The Opinion page will be stuffed with gut-wrenching letters about genocide, AIDS, earthquakes, stock-market meltdown --- and right in its midst will be our silly little letter sniveling about the funnies.

It can be done, but you can't be clumsy. You must saturate your letter with humor, self-deprecation, and mock outrage. That way, if it appears alongside weighty stories, it is the editor who looks like a dork, not you.

Mr. Curtis has brilliantly met the challenge. Thank you, sir, for you did what we all wanted to do but didn't have the guts.

Unfortunately, Mr. Curtis's letter reached the D&C too late. They had already published a letter of protest from a less experienced writer, who fell headlong into the above trap.

"Dear Ms. Editor: "How truly tragic that a feature which brings all of us so much joy each week, the Sunday funnies, has been reduced in size. It's now so hard to see the detail in drawing that brings us so much delight. Of course, we all must cut costs, but surely not at the expense of something we hold so dear. I am not angry, and I can forgive, for I feel you do not know what you do. But please, oh please, reconsider and restore our beloved Sunday funnies."

The letter was printed on a day of heavy news. The editors sandwiched it between a letter from Osama Bin Laden and another from a group of Far East earthquake victims. That night, the embarrassed author left town and hasn't been heard from since.

Tom Hartlieb, Erie Station Road, Rush


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