Stem cell research holds great promise
The Sun is right to call on the state to support embryonic stem-cell research ("Cultivating cures," editorial, Nov. 2). This public investment could serve as a catalyst for the local biotechnology industry, building on the established strengths of the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University.
It would also help to dissuade other top-notch scientists from closing their labs and moving on to brighter futures in other states.
While this policy would support economic growth and our research institutions, we should also factor in the most human element: Today, thousands of Maryland residents suffer from terrible medical conditions that might be mollified as a result of stem-cell research.
I myself have lived, since the age of 9, with insulin-dependent diabetes, and my future is bleak. Diabetes can lead to blindness, stroke, kidney failure, amputation and premature death.
I would like to be rid of diabetes, of course, and we would all like to reduce the health care costs associated with treating chronic diseases and their complications.
A cure for diabetes is not around the corner, but embryonic stem-cell science has already advanced the research.
Since the federal government is not adequately supporting this research, the states must fill the void - and Maryland should not miss the opportunity to be a leading participant.
Arctic refuge is priceless reserve
I was deeply saddened that the Senate narrowly passed a bill which would authorize drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) ("Senate acts to trim Medicare, Medicaid," Nov. 4).
Forget that the oil from the refuge will only save us a penny at the pump during peak production, that much of this oil could be shipped to China and Japan or that the government has grossly overestimated revenue projections from oil and gas leases.
The refuge is a priceless window into our ancient past and a priceless national treasure on par with the Statue of Liberty or the Washington Monument.
It is true that millions of people a year visit the Washington Monument and only a tiny fraction of that number will ever visit the ANWR. But, to me, the true value of these national endowments is more than the number of visitors that enjoy them each year.
These special places are a clear reflection of our values and timeless symbols of who we are and what we stand for.
A hundred years from now what will a rusting oil rig in what many call the American Serengeti say about what we value?
This is not the first time our country has dealt with energy and resource shortages.
And I refuse to believe that turning ANWR into an industrial oil field is the best our elected officials can do.
I will probably never visit the ANWR, but it does my heart good to know that, somewhere in the far northern reaches of our country, there is a place that looks just as it did when the first North Americans arrived.
The Arctic refuge is more than a haven for rare and endangered species.
It is America's living monument to temperance, foresight, humility, and compassion - values that are in short supply these days.
Recklessly ruining planet's resources
Drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is not going to solve any problems at all ("Senate acts to trim Medicare, Medicaid," Nov. 4). It will, however, create many new ones.
For one thing, the drilling will be very costly and will take a long time. When it's done, the amount of oil retrieved will be insignificant, especially when one considers the enormous plundering of this vital and necessary preserve.
This country can no longer afford to continually exploit and destroy any and every available natural resource of this planet.
This practice is recklessly irresponsible and dangerously immoral. It has to stop.
Illegal aliens hurt poor Americans
I found the article "Banks reaching out to Hispanic market" (Nov. 6 ) about "undocumented immigrants" to be offensive to American citizens, especially those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
What is an "undocumented" worker? Is it someone who forgot his or her immigration visa or work permit when they left the home in the morning?
No, it is an illegal alien who entered the United States and stepped in front of all the thousands of immigrants who have filed for legal immigration status and are waiting their turn.
The illegal alien (or "undocumented immigrant" as the article calls such laborers) is someone who enters our country and undermines the bargaining power of our citizens by accepting jobs at lower wages and not speaking out about substandard working conditions if they exist.
He or she imposes a social burden in costs for education, health and other social services which are paid for by the taxes from all American citizens.
There are tens of millions of illegal aliens taking jobs from Americans citizens and from the working poor of our inner cities who are struggling to escape poverty and a cycle of welfare.