Stress: Better for Us Than We Think

On 'Promises, Promises': "Pompous naysayers and nitpickers on the left, right and in the middle are busy looking for things that are not perfect. The American people know better--that President Obama is doing extremely well, and they are thankful."
Moritz Kundig
Spokane, Wash.

An Upside to Stress?
I am stunned and dismayed that your Feb. 23 cover reads "Stress Could Save Your Life." The United States is facing a period of massive layoffs, home foreclosures and record deficits. Many of our citizens lack health insurance, and people's loved ones are getting killed overseas in two wars. In light of these circumstances, it seems, at best, highly insensitive for NEWSWEEK to suggest that stress is somehow good for us. The cover story might as well have been entitled "America: A Nation of Whiners!" or "Suck It Up: Things Aren't Really So Bad."
Mary Bloser
Portsmouth, N.H.

Good stress and bad stress certainly do exist ("Who Says Stress Is Bad for You?"). Good stress has motivated me to solve innumerable problems by putting together disparate ideas to form acceptable solutions. I love to "clean up messes" and find alternative solutions of every sort. On the other hand, bad stress descends when every conceivable alternative has been explored, but there is no acceptable solution. That's when bad stress causes health problems. I've lived happily through much good stress that gave me scads of opportunities to be challenged to find acceptable solutions, but a couple of bad stress situations have resulted in medical problems.
Eloise m. Stendal
Burlington, Wash.

Safe Landing in the Hudson River
Capt. Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger needs to know it was more than the happy outcome that thrilled America about that landing in the Hudson (" 'All I Wanted Was to Talk to My Family, and Get Some Dry Socks'," MY TURN, Feb. 23). It was the dazzling display of sheer competence. America gets it that he and all his crew were just doing their jobs. Doing them at that level of excellence took our breath away. Our country fell in love with a crew that made us proud to be Americans.
Donn Cole
Denver, Colo.

If Captain Sullenberger doesn't like the label hero, he would probably like sage even less. But he has done us all a service by letting us in on the "secret" that partially enabled him to save all those lives: you are never helpless! You can always do something … no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.
Roslyn Reid
Bernardsville, N.J.

Honoring Our Fallen
As the mother of spc. William L. Edwards, killed in action on Aug. 11, 2007, I must respond to "A Matter of Honor," (Feb. 23). I feel that to honor our dead heroes no press should be allowed at their arrival in Dover, Dela. After Billy arrived at Dover, he was escorted home in a private aircraft. Billy was carefully removed from the plane by an eight-member honor guard from Fort Hood, Texas. Along our route to the funeral home, there were wonderful people who stopped their cars and trucks, saluted or placed hands over their hearts to honor Billy. Our family was treated with utmost respect by our local newspaper and other media. I hope the bill to lift the press ban presented by Rep. Walter Jones will not be passed. I don't need a reminder of the costs of the war, and neither do most Americans.
Marykay Edwards
Somerville, Texas

As a father of two army infantrymen who serve our nation today, I see in the Feb. 23 issue that heroes who live get positive press, but our dead heroes who have given their "full measure of devotion" are not discussed nationally. I am appalled by the dichotomy. Your essay about the U.S. Airways crash in New York with the safe recovery of all passengers is compelling; our fallen warriors deserve the same full public honor upon their arrival home. If we hide their sacrifice and commitment to service, we have lost accountability and our humanity.
Col. Vince Snyder, usaf (ret.)
Colorado springs, Colo.

Foster Kids and Identity Theft
As the nonprofit organization helping former foster youth Tyrome Sams with his identity-theft case, we were glad to read "Sabotaged by the System" (PERISCOPE, Feb. 16). To follow up: we've placed Tyrome's case with the law firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP on a pro bono basis to help in clearing his credit. We've also helped seal his juvenile records and find stable housing. While Tyrome's issues will resolve, larger problems remain. Despite the passage of Welfare and Institutions Code section 10618.6, there seems to be no implementation of this law. We have yet to meet a former foster youth who has had a credit check while in foster care. Identity-theft issues constitute almost 25 percent of our cases; it is frightening to think of the thousands not connected to a free legal-services organization.
Janis Spire, CEO
THE Alliance for Children's Rights
Los Angeles, Calif.

Nursing Someone Else's Baby
When Salma Hayek Nursed A Hungry African baby, it was altruistic ("The Dignity Index," PERISCOPE, Feb. 23). Doing so in front of a camera crew was brilliant. Why report that it was "just, well, weird"? African women and American women are under social pressure to stop nursing babies much earlier than is good for them. Hayek used her fame to dispel social myths about nursing while she used her heart to help a baby in need.
Liz Diesel
Albuquerque, N.M.