"Round and round" is a good metaphor for the Maryland Transit Administration ("Round and round," editorial, Nov. 15). After two years under the Ehrlich administration, the MTA is still spinning its wheels.
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has shown little interest in public transit. But the Baltimore region needs a transportation system geared to the demographic, work and leisure time of the 21st century.
To get there, the MTA desperately needs the voice of the consumer -- the transit riders who use public transportation on a regular basis.
If the governor and Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan took the time to talk to transit riders, they would find a group of folks who are ready, willing and able to help creatively address the need for a vision of what public transportation could be in the Greater Baltimore region.
And The Sun is absolutely right about the need to focus on the "very basic." Great customer service, outstanding on-time performance and a clean system are at the core of what transit riders care about.
In the long term, using the Baltimore rail plan as a guide, we can begin to build a vision for what a truly flexible transit system -- built upon the principles of connectivity, ease of access and a rider-friendly environment -- could be.
But we can't get to this vision without the input and active support of transit riders.
Let's hope the new crew in charge at the MTA understands the need for public involvement.
The writer is the chairman of the Transit Riders League of Greater Metropolitan Baltimore.
Rice's achievement obscured by politics
Although we won't hear similar praise and congratulations from prominent African-American organizations such as the NAACP, or from notable black leaders such as the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton, or from leaders in the Democratic Party, or from major national and regional newspapers such as The Sun, allow me to recognize one of the most significant accomplishments by a black woman in modern times.
I am speaking, of course, of the nomination of Condoleezza Rice to be U.S. secretary of state ("Bush picks Rice to follow Powell as top diplomat," Nov. 17).
This momentous move by President Bush will put a black woman in the highest position of power and influence in our entire history.
Ms. Rice overcame incredible obstacles being raised in the segregated Deep South and, through sheer hard work and determination, has held positions of responsibility in some of America's most prominent institutions.
Unfortunately, she will not be held up as a role model for young black women. Instead, most black leaders will likely hold her in contempt and scorn for one simple reason: She is a Republican.
How sad that a life spent overcoming huge racial and gender barriers, one that should encourage and motivate America's young black population, will instead be condensed into a hatred for a particular political affiliation.
Powell was right to make his exit
If we are known by the company we keep, then Secretary of State Colin L. Powell did the right thing by resigning from the Bush administration and its conservative mentality of dehumanized, unmerciful politics ("Powell quits Bush Cabinet," Nov. 16).
As an Afro-centric feminist, I feel Mr. Powell was the moral conscience of the Bush administration in his work with world leaders and with the ordinary people with whom he came in contact each day.
Larnell Custis Butler
Brutal killing in war comes as no surprise
As we see footage of an American Marine shooting a wounded, unarmed Iraqi, are we really surprised ("Killing by Marine sparks Arab outrage," Nov. 18)? Welcome to war. It's about killing. It should be unsettling and disturbing.
Perhaps we need to be reminded what our president created. This administration has done everything in its power to keep us from seeing the true face of war.
Maybe the country should have watched highlights of the coverage of the Vietnam War before we went into Iraq.
Cloning, abortion led to vote for Bush
Susan Reimer's second column on values insulted me enough to prompt this letter ("Comments overturn belief system," Nov. 16).
She pictures people who voted for President Bush as mindless. But Ms. Reimer knows nothing about what motivated the majority of Americans who re-elected the president.
Here are my reasons.
First of all, this was a "clothespin vote" for me: I held my nose and voted. There is much that upset me about President Bush's first four years in office. The war in Iraq was something I opposed from the beginning with letters to the White House.
Why then did I choose him? Because my conscience and my reason forced me to do so.
Partial-birth or late-term abortion is infanticide. No civilized nation should allow it. President Bush did not veto the ban on this type of abortion.
He also banned the use of federal funds for human cloning in the United States.
I could not risk having Sen. John Kerry reverse these bans.