Letters To The Editor


October 17, 2006

Rebuke Reid to show difference on ethics

The Democrats hope voters are fed up with the Republican "culture of corruption" and give them the opportunity to do better.

But because Congress is held in low esteem and Democrats have failed to clearly distinguish themselves from the Tom DeLays, the Randy "Duke" Cunninghams, the Mark Foleys, the friends of Jack Abramoff and other ethically challenged Republicans, that outcome is not a slam dunk.

And now it has been confirmed that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Democratic leader and spokesman, failed to disclose a shady 2001 real estate deal for which he received $1.1 million ("Reid failed to tell Congress about payoff from land sale," Oct. 12).

Although this promises to be a problem for Mr. Reid and the Democrats, it can also be an opportunity for Democrats to demonstrate their seriousness about reform and higher ethical standards for everyone.

What's required is for the Democrats to immediately (if not sooner) force Mr. Reid to give up his leadership position and face the Senate Ethics Committee.

Such an unequivocal action (or its absence) would send a clear message to Republicans, Democrats and the voters.

Roger C. Kostmayer


Pushing enemies into nuclear club

Thank you for pointing out the far-reaching, if unintended, consequences of President Bush's "axis of evil" speech for our relationship with Iran and North Korea ("Korean tremor," editorial, Oct. 10).

Taken together with our disastrous invasion of Iraq, this rhetoric telegraphed our intention to impose regime change on our enemies, thereby greatly increasing the likelihood that they would accelerate the production of nuclear weapons to avoid such a fate.

Kim Ritter


Policy train wreck alienates even allies

Observing President Bush's foreign policy is like watching an imminent train wreck: You can see looming disaster from a mile away but there is not a thing you can do about it.

Critical observers knew the reasons given to justify the war in Iraq were bogus and that the invasion would be a catastrophe for the United States and the Iraqi people.

Similarly, critical observers knew Mr. Bush's doctrine of military "pre-emption" coupled with his short list of countries ripe for "regime change" would accelerate the push by Iran and North Korea to develop nuclear weapons.

As predicted, we have North Korea announcing "publicly for the first time that it had nuclear weapons" ("Failed tactics leave U.S. policymakers facing `rough go,'" Oct. 10).

How is it that in the span of six years, the U.S. has gone from being the "indispensable nation" to being a country that is reviled by some allies and disregarded by its enemies?

The short answer is that our chief executive is totally out of his depth with regard to foreign policy.

Dave Goldsmith


The writer is Baltimore County coordinator for the Green Party.

Consumers do care about food safety

The Sun's editorial "Clearing the air" (Oct. 12) seems to ignore the growth of the natural foods industry.

Yet The Sun itself has reported numerous times on the tremendous growth of this industry. And just ask any shopper at Whole Foods or in the natural food aisles of any grocery store whether he or she cares about what happens in chicken houses.

We do care and are willing to put our money where our consciences are.

The "average consumer" is waking up to the ills of mass food production, whether it be E. coli in the water supply or inhumane treatment of animals.

Deirdre Smith


Religious extremism always fearful force

The writer of the letter "No reason to fear Christian camps" (Oct. 12) is pretty naive if he thinks these places are teaching their kids to "love thy neighbor."

Next perhaps he'll tell us that that's what the Crusades were all about.

Religious fanaticism is always a scary thing.

Charles Rammelkamp


Diversity of UMBC is nation at its best

Thanks to reporter Joe Burris for his feature story on the University of Maryland Baltimore County, the university I have been pleased to serve as a professor of visual arts for the last five years ("Initial impressions," Oct. 11).

I agree with Mr. Burris that the name of the university is highly problematic, particularly the word "County," which makes the university sound, to outsiders, like a glorified community college instead of the wondrously diverse international campus that it is.

But even after a half-decade teaching here, when I return to campus after going away to give lectures or conduct research, I still feel tears welling up as I walk into the library or along the campus pathways and behold a thrilling sight - clusters and pairs of young people of every color of skin, every religious persuasion or none, speaking Amharic or Mandarin or Hindi or French, wearing scarves, peaked Orioles caps turned backward, shorts, saris and T-shirts, and all laughing and learning together.

The place might not have the right name, but it's a school that represents, at least to me, the United States at its very best.

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