Bush's 9/11 PR push exploits the tragedy
I am offended by the behavior of the Bush administration.
The Sun's article "America safer, not yet safe, Bush says" (Sept. 6) describes the administration's "weeklong public relations offensive leading up to Monday's fifth anniversary of the 2001 attacks."
What is offensive here are the continuing attempts to exploit and manipulate that tragic event as a political show.
But we should not be distracted by the political show from the awful cost and futility of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - in the case of Iraq, a war that has been justified by untruths and twisted logic - and from the tremendous, ever-growing deficits to which the cost of those wars has contributed while this administration has showered tax advantages on a wealthy few.
Meanwhile, many other Americans suffer from inadequate social services such as a lack of adequate health care and low-paying jobs.
And we have all suffered from this administration's war on the environment and the steady erosion of civil liberties.
Nancy L. Craig
Don't let president trash Constitution
Perhaps in President Bush's simplistic world view it is reasonable to think that Congress must rubber-stamp his demand to be allowed to break national and international laws and treaties as he sees fit ("Bush says CIA has prisons overseas," Sept. 7).
But while the president himself does not appear to have much use for the Constitution he is sworn to uphold, the co-equal legislative branch has a duty to follow it, and to make laws within its restrictions.
Let's hope members of Congress in an election year have the will to do what is legal and what is morally sound.
There are ways to deal with suspected terrorists within the bounds of current laws and treaties.
Codifying the use of torture and the abandonment of the Geneva Conventions would be a hideous mistake.
Factory farming intensifies disease
Although the bird flu virus found in Maryland is a low-grade form of the disease, when chickens are intensively confined in unhygienic conditions, harmless viruses can mutate into deadly ones ("Bird flu strain in Md.," Sept. 7).
The United Nations has called on all governments to fight what it calls "factory farming" to prevent the spread and mutation of these viruses into more dangerous forms.
Yet on any given day, Maryland poultry producers cram more than 50 million birds into huge, filthy sheds. Often the birds lie beak to beak in their own manure, which creates a veritable breeding ground for disease.
The poultry industry needs to move away from this industrial model - for the health and welfare of birds and people.
Dr. Michael Greger
The writer is director of public health and animal agriculture for the Humane Society of the United States.
Prescription abuse really isn't amusing
I am most disappointed that someone at The Sun didn't see how inappropriate Tanika White's aside about the added benefit of scoring a prescription for hydrocodone when she had oral surgery ("Setting herself straight, finally," Sept. 3).
As a pharmacist, I understand, support and appreciate the need for adequate analgesia. However, her remark suggests that The Sun tacitly endorses recreational pharmacology.
Did it occur to anyone that there may be a relationship between that endorsement and another story in the same edition that mentions the estimated 60,000 heroin users in Baltimore ("Fentanyl is deadly mix," Sept. 3)?
R. Dennis Hager
All children deserve first-rate schools
As a mother who recently put her youngest child on a bus bound for middle school for the first time, I was an anxious mess. This is a kid who couldn't hold onto a pencil last year and had one taped to his desk.
But the reality is that he will survive and flourish.
That's because we are blessed to be in the district for Ridgely Middle School, a state award-winner. However, I do not take my family's good fortune lightly.
After reading in The Sun's article "A focus on needs of school 'tweens" (Aug. 28) about the improvements being attempted at Woodlawn Middle School, I say brava.
That is not because some of the students from that area are now being bused to Ridgely. I welcome any student and parent who feels it is worth the long commute to get a blue-ribbon education.
I just think that it is shameful that all students do not receive a blue-ribbon education from highly qualified teachers.
I acknowledge the privilege my children have because we have the means to live in this school district.
But with that privilege, I think more parents should demand not only that their children get the best possible education but also that all children get the best.
Until then, my family's good fortune feels somewhat hollow.
Susan A. Seim
Uniforms put focus back on learning