Letters To The Editor


November 26, 2003

Keep striving to limit wastes that befoul bay

The column by Kendl P. Philbrick, acting secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment, on nutrients and the bay was a constructive addition to the debate on the subject ("Efforts to rid the bay of harmful nutrients paying off," Opinion * Commentary, Nov. 18).

As he noted, Maryland has made progress in reducing nitrogen pollution from sewage treatment plants. And it is heartening that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s administration places a high priority on the further improvements needed to reach the goals of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement.

This will require a significant investment -- one we not only can afford, but cannot afford not to make. The value of the bay as an economic, natural and cultural resource far outweighs the cost of upgrading these plants.

We must also act to prevent excess nutrients from crops and pastures from entering our groundwater and polluting our streams. A concerted effort must be made throughout the bay watershed to, among other things, use cover crops and manage the application of fertilizers and manures.

For agricultural pollution sources, the challenges are great, but tools to combat the problem exist.

Brigid Kenney


The writer is a member of the board of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

Pakistan didn't share nuclear technology

It is only appropriate that we point out that the allegation against Pakistan is nothing but a regurgitated, unsubstantiated canard ("U.N. names three nations as likely suppliers to Iran," Nov. 21).

Pakistan stands by its repeated, solemn public declaration that under no circumstances will it share nuclear technology with anyone, and that this has never happened.

And the U.S. State Department has made it clear that there is no incontrovertible evidence of proliferation by Pakistan.

Talat Waseem


The writer is a press counselor for the Embassy of Pakistan.

Medicare reform bill won't help seniors

The Medicare modernization bill passed by Congress is not favorable to senior citizens ("Senate is set to pass Medicare bill today," Nov. 25).

It prohibits the negotiation of drug prices or any reimbursement controls to force drug prices down to reasonable levels. And it will push more people to enroll in HMOs, which have been discredited. This bill also has no real incentive for companies with employer-based health programs to keep their programs available to their retired workers. Millions of retirees could be dropped from their health insurance over the next decade.

This bill is obviously part of the Republican strategy to phase out Medicare. It will direct funds to insurers and pharmaceutical industry executive salaries and profits instead of to the medical services needed by senior citizens.

AARP's support for the bill shows me that its primary interest is the income it derives from insurance and its own drug purchase program, not the interests of the 35 million members it represents.

Ronald P. Bowers


Bill goes too far and not far enough

I believe our government usually has our best interest at heart when it attempts to solve a problem. However, it always seems to either go too far or not far enough.

With the current Medicare reform bill , it has finally managed to do both things at the same time.

Jerry Dean


Dean shows acumen by opposing the war

Contrary to Justin Cawley's assessment ("Dean's dearth of experience," Opinion * Commentary, Nov. 19), Howard Dean has a very acute grasp of foreign policy.

He was among the first to foresee the problems that would arise from our nearly unilateral, pre-emptive incursion into Iraq. In the same vein, Dr. Dean understands that to make peace in the Middle East requires the participation of both Israelis and Palestinians, and that for the United States to be effective in the war against terrorism it needs to address the regional issues in the Middle East.

And as for Dr. Dean's ability to handle domestic issues: As I recall, the Founding Fathers were from small, rural states, and many had less governing experience than Dr. Dean. Yet that didn't seem to affect their ability to grapple successfully with issues beyond their immediate ken.

Thomas Hicks


A common-sense sentence reduction

Those bemoaning the reduction of a life term for a woman who, when she was 17 years old, was involved in the death of Toni L. Jordan appear to be moved only by vengeance ("Sparing killer defies victim's family," letters, Nov. 19).

The woman incarcerated, although present at the time, did not physically kill anyone. By all accounts, she represents no threat to society and has proved to be a model prisoner.

The feeling that the reduction of her sentence is very unfair to victims and their families and friends can only be understood in the context of vengeance. And that alone should not be the reason to keep a person incarcerated.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. should be commended for having reintroduced common sense to Maryland politics.

Fred Everhart


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