Treaty offers hope for a world free of mines
The potential use of thale cress to detect unexploded land mines is welcome news for the millions around the world living in mine-affected communities ("Rooting out land mines," editorial, April 12). It is good news as well for de-miners engaged in the dangerous process of removing unexploded land mines.
However, any new technology or innovation in the area of mine removal would be greatly enhanced if the United States would join the majority of the world in acceding to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and committing to a ban on the use, production, transfer and sale of anti-personnel mines.
Although President Bill Clinton failed to sign the treaty, he did create a policy that put the United States on track to join the treaty by 2006. A shift in policy announced by the Bush administration in late February rejected the treaty, puts off the destruction of "persistent" land mines until 2010 and continues to allow the use of certain mines indefinitely.
For families in mine-affected countries, the greatest hope is what the Mine Ban Treaty offers - a chance to rebuild lives in a world free of land mines.
The editorial describes these devices well: Land mines are "cheap, lasting, deadly devices."
It is time for the United States to give up the use of this cruel, indiscriminate weapon once and for all.
The writer is a public policy associate for Lutheran World Relief.
If Preakness goes, so will slots foes
The Sun's editorial "NIMBY" (April 13) was an unfair shot at supporters of slot machines.
State House Speaker Michael E. Busch's childish last-minute bill would have put the slots in predominantly Republican areas. The governor's proposal to put slots at racetracks and other locations was never given a fair hearing.
With obstructionists such as Mr. Busch in power, it is likely that business sense will lead Magna Entertainment Corp. to move the Preakness and close Pimlico Race Course before the next election.
Mr. Busch and his Democratic allies on the House of Delegates' Ways and Means Committee can then seek re-election with their biggest accomplishment being losing the Preakness.
Legislature failed to cure budget woes
You've got to hand it to our General Assembly. For yet another year, it has exemplified what it means to be ineffective and irresponsible ("Assembly falls short on budget gap," April 13).
Perhaps the single most important thing the Assembly must do, each and every year, is to set the framework for Maryland's budget and future fiscal health. Instead, this year, as in past ones, it concentrated on partisan politics, bowing to special interests, inflating one another's egos and self-importance, and, best of all, doing all this for 90 days at the taxpayers' expense.
Of course, I guess I should be happy. At least it didn't pass another piece of "landmark" legislation such as the Thornton law, which will cost us millions upon millions of dollars each year with absolutely no consideration of how to pay for it.
Emphasis on slots yielded nothing
The governor of Maryland has let the people of this state down ("Assembly falls short on budget gap," April 13).
Before he was elected, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said that he would get slots for the state.
He has gotten nothing.
I am very disappointed.
I feel that our leaders should have put a referendum on slots on the November ballot.
Time to put slots to rest for good
This Easter weekend, slots died in Annapolis, praise God ("Slots bill `extremely dead,'" April 10).
Let's have no resurrection, please.
The defeat of slots imperils open space
Although it appears that Maryland legislators did not bother to visit Delaware or West Virginia to witness flourishing racetracks and communities ("`Living wage', but not slots," April 13), I encourage them now to visit Northern Virginia to see real estate development run amok.
Maryland's vast tracts of farmland remind me of the Virginia landscape of only a generation ago.
But now that the horse racing industry has been dealt a mortal blow, I invite all Marylanders to see the congestion, crowded schools and acre upon acre of prefabricated homes slapped on lands that once contained Virginia's vibrant farms.
Lawmakers disregard needs of women, kids
With the General Assembly session completed without any malpractice tort reform accomplished ("Business costs rise with new Md. laws," April 13), our legislators have chosen the following fate for the care of women and unborn children in Maryland.
The exit or early retirement of many of our obstetricians from the practice.
Little hope for recruitment of physicians to practice obstetrics in Maryland.