Global warming a well-founded scientific theoryFred...

LETTERS

January 25, 1998

Global warming a well-founded scientific theory

Fred Sebly's letter "Global warming theories are questionable" in the Jan. 11 Perspective section applied the label ''ill-founded" to current theories of global warming, claimed a lack of ''firm evidence of global warming" and said "no scientific consensus on the theory of man-made global warming" exists.

This letter appeared two days after a brief news item that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had found that 1997 was the warmest year on record and that most of the 10 warmest years were among the past dozen.

The large majority of those who work in the atmosphere sciences consider that the global-warming theory is well-founded, and that if the surface temperature of the Earth remains where it is for a few years, the evidence of warming will reach 95 percent probability that the variation is nonrandom.

If he has a better theory for the cause of the warming, he should publish it.

Irving L. Chidsey

Havre de Grace

Sinai Hospital's 'ER-7' deserves recognition

Baltimore, the hospitable city of hospitals, can now claim a new kind of fame.

Sinai Hospital deserves all the national and international publicity it is getting for its new ''ER-7," which houses seven care centers for emergency patients under one roof.

The directors, medical staff, planners and architects deserve much praise and national recognition for the fruition and opening of this state-of-the-art emergency center.

Ann Merrill-Berman

Baltimore

Laws restricting ties with Cuba are outdated

It does not make sense for U.S. laws to continue to prohibit Americans from touring Cuba and making business investments there.

The U.S. economic blockade hurts Cuba, the Cuban people and U.S. citizens. If the United States does not authorize U.S. firms to do business there this year, Cuba may be economically controlled by foreign countries and there will be no piece of the Cuban trade pie left for the United States.

Cuba is trading with 125 countries and has embarked upon projects ranging from construction of five-star hotels to enterprises in mining, oil exploration, telecommunications and biotechnology.

I just returned from Cuba, where we, on behalf of Catholic Relief Services, took antibiotics and vitamins to the Cuban people who so badly need them.

Neither Cuba nor Fidel Castro is the same as when our laws were enacted. Cuba no longer has the big, bad Soviet Union as a partner.

George W. McManus Jr.

Baltimore

Column misses mark on Scottish politics

Lloyd George Parry's description of Scottish politics and identity was little more than facile ("Scots' nationalism -- fixated on historic grudges," Jan. 4).

He tells us that the Scots are seriously debating a major retrograde maneuver: pulling out of the United Kingdom and establishing their own republic, contrasting this with the British government's commitment to full participation in the European Union.

In fact, half the Scottish population voted for the Labor government, and three-quarters subsequently voted for a "devolved parliament" (there is little support for independence).

Scottish political nationalism (representing only a fifth of the population) is not an ethnic chauvinism akin to that of the Serbs, but is based on the simple justice of self-determination (as he later notes) claimed for all inhabitants, regardless of ethnic origins.

Most Scots wish greater democratic control of government that is already devolved (to the Scottish Office, which controls health, education, social security, etc.).

Scotland is a small nation, but its people should be free to decide their future.

I hope this will be within the Union, secured by the accountability and autonomy provided by a Scottish Parliament.

The prospect of armed conflict that Mr. Parry holds up is scarcely credible; the Scots are a civilized and democratic people who have made a disproportionately large contribution to the best aspects of Britain and the United States.

Paul Tonks

Baltimore

Treat inmates equally but don't execute them

To my surprise, I find myself agreeing with Cal Thomas -- almost.

In his column "When the death-row defendant is female" (Jan. 15), Mr. Thomas argues that murderer Karla Faye Tucker should not be spared just because she says she has been born again or because she is female.

Like Mr. Thomas, I believe that prisoners should be treated equally regardless of sex and religious affiliation. I cannot agree, however, that the death penalty is either morally correct or useful.

His argument that the death penalty is "the only way society can ratify the value of" the victim's life doesn't make sense to me.

I may feel some satisfaction at seeing the murderer get a taste of his own medicine, but what does this really accomplish? At worst, it is as ineffective (for the death penalty seems useless as a deterrent) as it is simple-minded and brutal.

I keep hearing the words of folk-singer Holly Near: "Why do we kill people who are killing people to show that killing people is wrong?" Moreover, as even Mr. Thomas admits, the death penalty is not, in practice, applied fairly and consistently; nor has it ever been shown to bring back to life a single murder victim.

Janet Goldstein

Baltimore

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