Not So 'Cold'
Editor: The excellent, even-handed commentary by Arthur Caplan, "Cold Cash for Warm Transplant Organs," is worthy reading for everyone. He very fairly lays out most of the issues. He concludes that offering money to the estates of deceased people will negatively affect the number of organs available for transplant.
I think his conclusion is in error. His conclusion assumes that if it were legal to pay people's heirs for their consent to use deceased persons' tissues, that the people could not decline payment and donate the tissues. Such options are always available if the law doesn't stand in the way.
A dual system is possible and might substantially increase the supply of tissue. There may of course be some unanticipated undesirable side effects of this, but the only way to find out would be to try it on a small scale.
William A. Mackey Jr.
Editor: Regarding the attempts by the Bush administration to change the scientific definition of a wetland: The alteration of objective definitions for subjective reasons is not without precedent. In 1987, after the worst year (from a safety standpoint) in the history of U.S. civil aviation, the definition of a near-miss was changed, from one mile to 500 feet. Problem solved, right?
William Sipple of the Environmental Protection Agency hits the nail on the head when he points out the problems of changing scientific definitions for political reasons. The definition of wetlands is by necessity a scientific issue; if and how the wetlands should be regulated are policy issues and should be addressed separately.
The broader definition of wetland was made as such for sound scientific reasons, including the fact that these lands, though they may not be sopping wet the entire year, serve to filter pollutants, excess nutrients and sediment from runoff entering the Bay. The definition should under no circumstances be changed merely so Mr. Bush can have his wetlands and develop them, too.
Timothy C. Rule.
Editor: Your editorial of March 17, "The Race From Hell," is yet another uninformed slur against the people of Louisiana, and particularly state Rep. David Duke.
You implored President Bush to help Gov. Buddy Roemer (a recent convert to the Republican Party) in his re-election bid, by using his "newly won popularity by personally campaigning not only for Governor Roemer but against David Duke and all he represents."
All of your simpering, however, will not change the fact that David Duke represents an awful lot of people, including me.
Mr. Duke, who you and the rest of the mainstream press continue to bash, got 44 percent of the vote statewide, or 61 percent of the white vote. As the establishment in Louisiana is finding out, you cannot go around alienating that many people, by ridiculing their candidate, without adverse consequences.
Republicans are soon to discover this. Duke voters see a clear chance of victory, and will be at the party's upcoming convention to nominate him.
I hope they do, and tell Mr. Bush to stuff it.
Stephen M. Kranz
Editor: I am writing in response to an article that appeared in The Sun Feb. 27, "Maryland Venture Capital Firms Invest 90 Percent Out of State."
We have an outstanding concentration of venture capital talent in the state. That's why I've worked for the last several years with the venture capital and high-tech industries as well as with the Department of Economic and Employment Development and Del. Pete Rawlings to create the Maryland Venture Capital Trust. The trust uses both public and private money to encourage development of "seed" venture capital that will finance new, entrepreneurial businesses in Maryland to further attract investment from venture capital firms from Maryland and elsewhere.
My observation is that Maryland-based venture capital firms such as those mentioned in the article are very interested in investing in Maryland companies. They've done so already, and I'm optimistic they'll do more.
Maryland's venture capital industry is a great resource for the state, and I'm glad they are working cooperatively with government and high tech industry to help develop our economy.
James C. Rosapepe.
The writer represents a Prince George's County district in the House of Delegates.
Cost of Prison
Editor: Your recent editorial "What's Being Done about Crime?" needs to be followed up with "What's being done about repeat criminals?" We taxpayers who want to reduce government waste know little about our expensive prison system that breeds repeat offenders.
I understand that less than 10 percent of ex-offenders are able to find jobs about six months after prison release. Some even have to receive public assistance. Could this low employment rate be blamed on the correction system? Maybe lack of job skills leads to repeat criminal activity.