Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 18, 2005

State stalemate on stem cells is bad for patients

The Maryland Senate has done the citizens of Maryland a disservice. Suffering from a lack of leadership, it failed to take up the Maryland Stem Cell Research Act of 2005 during the session that ended last week ("Stem-cell bill dies in Senate," April 12).

The bill, which would have funded embryonic stem cell research - the great hope for those of us who live with certain diseases - was supported by 78 percent of Marylanders.

The bill was passed by two House committees, two Senate committees and the full House of Delegates by a strong majority.

I was present in the gallery during the final session when certain members of the Senate used stall tactics to keep the bill from being heard, at the same time making jokes about time running out.

This childishness went unchecked by the Senate leadership and the bill died, along with the hopes of the patient advocates present.

Time is now running out for all of us.

John L. Kellermann III

Towson

The writer is a member of Families for Stem Cell Research in Maryland.

A continuing effort to stifle science?

Maryland conservative Republicans have blocked our state, with its high concentration of premier biomedical research institutes and companies, from joining other states in reaping prestige and economic benefits from stem cell research ("Stem-cell bill dies in Senate," April 12).

They did this by blocking state funding to encourage research in this promising area.

These yahoos would have been right at home in sweltering Dayton, Tenn., 80 years ago, clamoring for John Scopes to be convicted of teaching evolution in the celebrated Monkey Trial.

Edward Leslie Ansel

Owings Mills

Consider human face of stem cell research

Although "Stem-cell bill dies in Senate" (April 12) noted one senator's lament that this bill's failure will further promote an exodus of leading biotechnology scientists from Maryland, it missed the opportunity to report the tragic human side to lost medical research to help diabetics, people with Parkinson's disease and others in need of critical new therapy techniques.

My wife and I attended one of the many parties during the 2005 General Assembly's closing hours. There I met my former boss, former Gov. Harry R. Hughes. He looked younger than his age, and I noticed the stem cell button on his suit.

His grandson suffers from Type 1 diabetes, and the governor who solved the state's savings and loan crisis was again in Annapolis to help his grandson and thousands of others who hope stem cell research can bring them a new life without pumps and needles.

Mr. Hughes adds his wife, Patricia, to those who could be helped by stem cell research, as she has Parkinson's. He also introduced a lovely 5-year-old girl, who lit up the room but is now on the diabetes pump.

Although the possible loss of researchers is a concern, it is the need to place a human face on the real impact of the loss of this bill that must take center stage to engage the next General Assembly to move this research forward.

Edwin S. Crawford

Baltimore

Living Constitution advances our rights

In "Who dares criticize the mighty judiciary?" (Opinion * Commentary, April 14) Thomas Sowell hews to a strict-constructionist line, suggesting the Constitution is a static document, the obvious presence of the Bill of Rights notwithstanding.

The slippery slope he rails against is the same perilous slope that brought us civil rights and a host of other advancements that made us feel rightly proud of our country.

Under Mr. Sowell's logic, Brown vs. Board of Education would have been judicial activism.

Tim Eastman

Baltimore

Attacking `activism' for partisan reasons

Leaving aside Thomas Sowell's discussion of federal protection for judges and others, let us look at the real issue as he, once again, parrots the right wing's tiresome "judicial activism" argument ("Who dares criticize the mighty judiciary?" Opinion * Commentary, April 14).

The real issue here is the unwavering hypocrisy of the right wing.

To the right, the media are "liberal" and judicial practices "activism" only when their actions are contrary to the regressive agenda.

Bob Kneebone

Towson

No reason to attack motives of slots foes

Gregory Kane had his right-wing blinders on when he wrote "`Ethical' hardly describes Democratic opposition to slots" ( April 13)

Mr. Kane opines: "You can't use the word `ethical' and `Maryland Democrats' in the same sentence, unless it's to point out they don't have any."

I do not usually pay attention to this kind of mindless rhetoric, but in this case, it demonstrates the power of ideology to make us fear and suspect our neighbor.

I am Mr. Kane's neighbor, a liberal Maryland Democrat, and he thinks he knows my motives. He cannot believe I oppose slot machines in Maryland for ethical reasons.

I must be up to something. I must covet my fellow citizens' savings. There could be no other reason for a liberal Democrat to detest government-sponsored gambling.

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