Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 19, 2005

Cutting food aid is dreadful choice

The birth of a fiscal conscience on the part of the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, is certainly commendable - we all need to be better fiscal stewards ("Feeding hunger, not greed," editorial, Oct. 10). But the lack of a moral conscience among the members of that committee is abhorrent.

At a time of increasing need caused by higher levels of poverty and the fallout from natural disasters, what is called for, if anything, is an increase in funding for effective programs such as food stamps that meet the basic needs of Americans.

Any policy that would deny aid to more than 300,000 hungry children, seniors and displaced families is simply immoral.

Mr. Chambliss and other supporters of cuts in social programs need to recognize the intentions of Americans everywhere.

We care and we want to help those who need help putting food on the table.

Loran Walter

Catonsville

Hoyer right to vote against energy bill

I applaud Rep. Steny H. Hoyer for voting against the deeply flawed energy bill that narrowly passed the House by a vote of 212-210 ("Bill to expedite construction of oil refineries passes House," Oct. 8).

This backward legislation does nothing to promote energy independence, nor does it provide any relief for Maryland families facing rising energy costs.

In addition, this pro-polluter bill will limit the use of cleaner fuels and delay cleanup deadlines for harmful smog.

Mr. Hoyer also deserves thanks for recognizing this bill for what it really is: an unconscionable use of the tragedies of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to push forward an agenda that spurns the American people in favor of more handouts to Big Oil, which is already raking in record profits.

Deb Callahan

Washington

The writer is president of the League of Conservation Voters.

Does loyalty to Bush match Miers' faith?

In the confirmation hearings for Harriet Miers, I would like Congress to ask her how she reconciles her Christian faith with her loyalty to President Bush ("Miers, Specter talk on privacy rights," Oct. 18), given that Mr. Bush apparently lied to us about the reasons for going to war in Iraq - resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and increasing numbers of U.S. troops - condones torture, has cut taxes for the wealthiest while cutting programs for the poor and presiding over an increase of Americans living in poverty, has decreased our safety by appointing unqualified cronies to high-level positions, and retains advisers who seem to recognize no limits when it comes to silencing critics of the administration, even if that means outing a CIA operative.

Daniel Sussman

Marriottsville

With hostile friends, Miers needs no foes

So far, what is most clear about Harriet Miers is that this is a woman who does not need any enemies ("Miers' intellect praised by Rice," Oct. 17).

The help that she is getting from her friends is truly awful.

Bernard J. Hayes

Baltimore

O'Malley's record bodes ill for state

The Sun's article "Public-private partnership to take on Inner Harbor care" (Oct. 13) offered an accurate overview of Mayor Martin O'Malley's fine management of the city.

Private businesses have been forced to manage the Inner Harbor because the city won't pick up trash, while raw sewage pours into the Gwynns Falls and Jones Falls waterways.

Do we really want Mr. O'Malley to spread this type of record across the state?

Christopher Callaghan

Baltimore

Foreign teachers fill crucial gaps

My heart is full of thanks for Aileen Mercado and her fellow Filipino teachers working in the Baltimore school system ("Helping Pupils, Other Teachers," Oct. 13). And it is full of shame that they have to work in such deplorable conditions.

If The Sun does nothing else, it must continue to report stories such as this one until our elected "leaders," local businesses and parents have eliminated these conditions.

Randolph L. Hutter

Catonsville

Not every school can work miracles

Frustrated by years of failed efforts to improve academic achievement, education reformers understandably want to believe in the miracle of replication ("What we need to do to make schools work," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 7).

If one school has been able to do the seemingly impossible, why can't others?

The answer is that the widely publicized achievement gap between exemplary and execrable schools is a phenomenon of averages.

That doesn't mean all schools populated by impoverished children don't stand a chance, any more than a pitcher can't hit a home run.

What it does mean, however, is that schools at their best alone cannot be the sole vehicle to educate disadvantaged children who continue to be the hardest to teach.

It will take an unprecedented collaboration between schools and community to break the persistent cycle of failure.

Walt Gardner

Los Angeles

SIDS is less likely in breast-fed babies

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