Re: Monks like Oreos too

Thanks for the great article on the Oreo (cover story, Aug. 24). I read the story about Mr. Turnier’s design of the Oreo emboss to my son and his friend as a bedtime story; they listened with great attention through to the end.

It reminded me of one summer when I found myself away in the Catskills as a teenager on a weeklong fast. As a little field trip, the director of the fasting place took us to a Buddhist monastery down the road. We sat at low tables on tatami mats for a lunch of miso soup; then we were given a tour of the facility by the head monk.

When we entered the kitchen, we saw a young monk eating an Oreo. The bag was sitting out on the counter. We hungry visitors honed in on that package. Surely there was a spiritual explanation for the presence of such decadence in a place so austere. Someone asked the monk, “I suppose you use Oreos to contemplate the yin and yang, the darkness and the light.” The head monk smiled and said, “No. Sometimes we just like a good cookie.”

Amy C. Spaulding

Re: Stam & school vouchers

I would like to correct a few statements in your article, “When school vouchers attack” (Aug. 24). HB 344, “Tax Credit for Children with Disabilities,” provides a $3,000 per-semester tax credit for parents who move their child from a public school to a private school or home school. The credit goes directly to the parents and is claimed on tax returns each year. If the bill created a voucher program, the funds would go to the private school or service provider.

The requirement that the child have an IEP was in the bill from the beginning and is not intended to be removed. Children with special needs in the public schools receive an Individualized Education Plan that recognizes their special needs and lays out a framework to address those needs in the public schools. An amendment was later added to base eligibility on whether or not the child receives daily special needs services.

Rep. Paul Stam

Re: Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand: The person who single-handedly took greed out of the Seven Deadly Sins column and put it in the Beatitudes column, where it is now worshiped by the far right (cover story, Aug. 17).

Tuck Schneider