Letters To The Editor


March 14, 2005

Taiwan exerts sovereign right to govern itself

I commend The Sun for the insight displayed in the editorial "Threatening Taiwan" (March 9).

Beijing's so-called Anti-Secession Law illustrates the fundamental difference in values that separate Taiwan and the People's Republic of China today.

The drive by Taiwan's democratically elected government to reform that country's constitution is a reflection of the principle of the rule of law that forms the foundation of democracy and human rights around the world and is completely in line with a sovereign nation's right to govern itself.

Meanwhile, the People's Republic of China's "rule by law" system twists the legal principles of fairness and equality to bring about the results desired by its central government.

The proposed Anti-Secession Law is a legal attempt to unilaterally redefine the status quo in the Taiwan Straits - in a drive to annex a nation it never controlled in the first place.

It is also another slap in the face of the people of Taiwan, who have fought hard for their democracy.

If the Chinese leadership was truly serious about bringing about a "peaceful unification," it would do best to put down the gun and sit down with the democratically elected representatives of the 23 million people of Taiwan.

Stephen C. J. Chang


The writer is director of the press division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States.

Carbon isn't cause of warming trends

Dennis O'Brien's report "More than a drop in the ocean" (March 4) is flawed. Rather than critically examining Tim Barnett's claims, Mr. O'Brien simply parroted his findings. And indeed, the data that Mr. Barnett used to argue that we have final proof that humans are behind the Earth's current warming trend actually undermine his claim.

Carbon dioxide has a long life in the atmosphere but is absorbed into the ocean slowly.

Activists have long claimed that increased carbon emissions, largely from human energy use, caused last century's rise in average temperature. Yet according to Mr. Barnett's own data, less than 10 percent of the 1.2 degree rise in ocean temperature in the 20th century occurred since 1950, while most of the atmospheric carbon dioxide increase occurred in that time. Thus increased carbon emissions of carbon dioxide can't be driving the ocean's warming.

Indeed, the ocean data and surface temperature data coincide, since more than half of the measured rise in average surface temperature occurred before 1940.

Thus something besides greenhouse gas emissions - such as the natural recovery from a mini-ice age in the late 19th century - is behind most of the ocean and surface warming of the 20th century.

But then, "Natural flux accounts for warming" neither makes for good newspaper headlines nor garners large research grants.

H. Sterling Burnett


The writer is a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Raising wage floor hasn't hurt the poor

For 60 years, first as an employee and later as an employer, I have heard the same erroneous and short-sighted complaints against raising the minimum wage Steve Chapman raised in "The myths of higher wages" (Opinion * Commentary, March 9).

The complaints are always the same: Employers can't afford it, they won't hire, the economy will suffer, etc. Yet every 10 years or so, a minimum wage has been increased with no adverse effect.

It is only the poorest manager who can't succeed when forced to increase wages at the rock-bottom level. As an employer for the past 30 years, I've learned that when I pay employees a fair and living wage, I increase employee productivity and loyalty.

Yet Mr. Chapman did not consider employee productivity or the cost of turnover in the work force.

Bob Steinberg


Will slots foes target big bingo jackpots?

Now that Anne Arundel County has increased the bingo prize limits at its bingo halls ("Betting on bigger payouts," March 7), I assume the anti-slots people will be down there shortly to make sure Grandma does not gamble away the mortgage payment.

C. M. Corbett


Eliminate the ritual of Senate prayers

As a minister who has had the honor of offering prayer before the Maryland Senate - and, I believe, without offending the sensibilities of those members of other faiths or those with none - I believe the time has come to end this ritual altogether ("New Senate prayer rules are proposed," March 9).

The Christian fundamentalists have no regard for those who are offended by the ham-handed imposition of their faith on others.

They might want to read again the admonition from the Gospel of Matthew regarding prayer: "And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray ... at the street corners so they may be seen by others. ... But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret."

Luther Starnes

Ellicott City

Death penalty ruling just brazen activism

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