Sprawl ruins the rolling hills of Maryland
Some 50 short years ago, my brother and I would be picked up by a family friend on a July afternoon and begin an annual adventure, traveling from Towson through the Greenspring Valley out to Glyndon and Reisterstown and then onto Westminster and Taneytown, and ending up just shy of Emmitsburg at the friend's Hidden Valley Farm.
At that time, Baltimore County and Carroll County were awash with greenery, canopies of trees, rolling hills and farm after farm.
But looking at The Sun's map of zoning and development, I am sickened by the transformation that has taken place in five decades ("Md. farm preservation effort losing ground," Jan. 24).
A young couple, given a choice, will opt for a large home on two acres and expect stores and gas stations to follow their move. Developers will anticipate this and buy any land available. As demand increases, homes will be built farther and farther away from the city.
This scenario was apparent 50 years ago, 30 years ago, 10 years ago and now. The only thing that can block it is enlightened leadership.
If you look at the map, it is quite evident that such leadership has been found in Baltimore County but is lacking in Carroll County and completely lacking in Harford County.
To add insult to injury, the governor has been raiding the land preservation trust since he has been in office.
What a perfidious insult to the next generation of children.
Restrictions on aid protect Indonesians
The Sun is right to urge the United States not to resume military assistance to Indonesia ("War and aid in Aceh," editorial, Jan. 19).
The Indonesian military has failed to meet sensible conditions placed on cooperation by the U.S. Congress. These included justice and accountability for past human rights violations in East Timor and elsewhere, and an end to its backing of fundamentalists and other militia, such as those that have recently arrived in disaster-stricken Aceh.
However, long-time observers might question The Sun's assertion that "U.S. training would serve as a civilizing influence on the Indonesian army."
Senior Indonesian officials have repeatedly made clear that they are not interested in human rights training.
More telling is the fact that the military's worst abuses took place when the United States was fully engaged. During that period, President Suharto, Indonesia's dictator, brutally seized power, Indonesia invaded East Timor and martial law was first imposed on Aceh.
These actions and others took the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Since restrictions on aid were put in place, some progress has been made. For example, East Timor is now independent after a U.N.-conducted referendum in 1999.
John M. Miller
The writer is media and outreach coordinator for the East Timor Action Network.
No reason to guard against Muslims
In his column "Letting our guard down" (Opinion
Commentary, Jan. 19), Cal Thomas leads us to believe that Muslim terrorists are lurking around every corner, waiting patiently to take advantage of our complacency. But his thesis - that an Islamic threat is quietly metastasizing among us - is unsubstantiated and smacks of racism.
Mr. Thomas' argument for increased vigilance is based in part on a TV drama (24) celebrated for its improbable plotting. That alone is absurd. But then he proceeds to cite evidence from a new book by Harvey Kushner (Holy War on the Home Front: The Secret Islamic Terror Network in the United States) that is more alarmist than compelling.
Should we really be afraid because the number of Islamic religious schools in the United States is growing? Or because the number of mosques has increased?
Such reckless insinuations just feed the misconceptions most Americans have about Muslims or, for that matter, about anyone who doesn't look like us or worship like us.
And for those of a wrong mind, the fear-mongering simply validates their racism.
Robert J. Inlow
Anonymous charge unfair to ex-chaplain
I was dismayed to read an article about alleged abuse of a student by Father Jerome F. Toohey Jr. ("Former Catholic school student claims priest sexually abused him," Jan. 21).
As a Calvert Hall student during Father Toohey's tenure as chaplain there, I have never met a more honorable person.
"Father Jeff" was a friend and mentor to countless students. He personified God's love for other people, and he is one of the most amazing people I have ever met.
While I am embarrassed by the recent history of abuse in the Catholic Church, I am frustrated also by The Sun's policy of not reporting the name of the alleged victim in such incidents.
While Father Toohey's name grabs the headlines, the alleged victim can hide behind the newspaper's policy and avoid any connection to the incident.
Think about this: A teacher might teach thousands of students over the course of a career, and all it takes is one student from any time in his or her career to accuse a teacher of abuse.