SupercolliderYour article Oct. 1, describing the Senate...


October 08, 1993


Your article Oct. 1, describing the Senate vote on the superconducting supercollider, was a shoddy piece of journalism. It was so distorted that I cannot help but wonder whether all your stories are equally off the mark.

The most obvious bias was the amount of space given to opponents of the project. The article did not quote any supporters and implied that they are under the spell of special interests.

It did not mention any of the legitimate reasons to support the collider, such as its benefits to Maryland or the nation.

In fact, your reporter called the supercollider "pork." As far as I know, pork is inserted into the budget by congressional earmarks, outside of the usual budget process. The supercollider has been supported by three presidents.

It is the most reviewed project in the history of science. While we might disagree whether the country can afford the collider, it is certainly not pork.

The article made it seem like the Senate was voting $13 billion for the supercollider. In fact, the Senate only voted on this year's allocation, $640 million. In addition, the article said the $13 billion figure represented a factor of three increase from the initial cost. That is also not true.

The initial cost of the project was $5.9 billion. A redesign of the magnets pushed the price to $8.25 billion. The price stayed fixed until this year, when the administration proposed a stretch-out of the construction by three or four years.

The Department of Energy has not finished calculating the increase due to the stretch-out, but most estimates are in the range of $2 billion. The $13 billion figure has no basis in fact.

Your article left the impression that the collider is afflicted with massive cost overruns. I think that the record shows that the project is on time and on budget. In her recent testimony, Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary has said that the supercollider is 20 percent complete and about 7 percent under the $8.25 billion budget.

The latest cost increase due to the stretch-out cannot be counted as a cost overrun. It was a conscious decision by the administration to shift costs to later years.

I am saddened by the cynical view of your paper toward this inspiring scientific project. Rather than explaining its potential for education, for technology and for the future, you insist on unbalanced reporting and irresponsible journalism.

You should send a reporter to Waxahatchie to see the collider and talk to the people who are building this inspiring scientific project. Then you can make informed criticisms, and not just lash out against something that you know very little about.

Jonathan A. Bagger


The writer is professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University.

NAFTA Benefits

I have been reading with interest comments made by national figures such as Ross Perot, Rep. Helen Bentley, R-Md., and Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., on the subject of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the loss of jobs to U.S. workers.

I am in complete agreement with NAFTA. The problem of lost jobs will not happen because of NAFTA. It has already been caused by all of us, including me.

When anybody buys any foreign product in preference to a product that is made in this country, we are creating the problem that causes a company to open a foreign plant, thus losing U.S. jobs.

United States companies have plants all over Southeast Asia, including many in China, and there are many U.S. plants already in Mexico that are doing a very good job. The General Motors plant in Mexico has the least defects per vehicle of any of their plants.

The reason that NAFTA is the best thing that could happen to us is that our two best trading partners today are Mexico and Canada.

As their markets grow, they will be buying more from us, which will create more jobs in this country. As their industries and economies increase, there will be more demands for workers in Mexico, and fewer Mexicans will cross our borders to take low-paying U.S. jobs.

In addition to the notion of a loss of jobs as a reason to be against NAFTA, there may be another reason that Ross Perot would like it defeated.

He and his son are building a very large industrial park in Fort Worth, Texas, that is based on an enterprise zone which benefits from tariffs rather than free trade.

The question here is: Is he against it because of the loss of U.S. jobs or because it will hurt his project?

Oscar Schabb


Olesker Fan

How I wish the world had more Michael Oleskers.

He tells news as a true journalist should. I do truly admire him and his style and wisdom. His answers to the East Baltimore neighborhood (especially around Patterson Park) are very true.

May Mr. Olesker keep writing his views and opinions.

E. M. Erdorssy


Making a Killing

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.