Letters To The Editor


November 01, 2006

Ad evades stance on embryonic cells

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's new campaign ad featuring his sister, who reveals that she has multiple sclerosis, deceives the public by stating that the Republican Senate candidate endorses stem cell research ("Steele ad hits back on stem cell issue," Oct. 28).

Mr. Steele, in fact, supports only adult stem cell research. The ad does not mention that Mr. Steele sides with the president in opposing embryonic stem cell research.

Experts agree that because adult stem cells are highly specialized, or "differentiated," they have limited ability to repair diseased and injured tissue and organs. Only embryonic stem cells retain the potential to become all of the 200 cell types in the body.

Therefore, embryonic stem cell research holds the most promise for discoveries that will lead to prevention, better treatments and cures for disorders such as diabetes, Parkinson's, MS, heart disease, ALS, cancer, Alzheimer's and spinal cord injuries.

The embryonic stem cell research bill supported by Democratic candidate Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin proposes to use only existing embryos from fertility clinic freezers that would otherwise be discarded.

How can anyone in good conscience deny the millions of people who suffer from debilitating and life-threatening conditions the opportunity for an extended or improved quality of life when these embryos would otherwise just be thrown in the trash can?

Margaret Conn Himelfarb


The writer is a member of the board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Pelosi's partisanship would be divisive

The Sun's article on the rise of Rep. Nancy Pelosi in the Democratic Party is very well done, and conveys essential facts and impressions about this woman that voters need to know ("Tough style of leadership," Oct. 27).

Heavy-handedness, extreme partisanship and a take-no-prisoners attitude have gotten her where she is today, not to mention the influence of a strong family.

It is not logical to conclude that such a person, after coming into power in the Washington culture, would magically change into a true, bipartisan wonder woman who would help engineer a better America.

It is more likely that the habitual patterns of interaction that have worked for her so far would persist as she attempts to rule the unruly House of Representatives.

Washington is all about power before service. The acquisition of the first is supposed to lead to the second, except that the transition never finishes after an election is over, and old ways of behaving recur.

Many will recall President Bush's pledge early in his first term to restore bipartisan cooperation. Whatever his intentions, it didn't work.

It won't work for Ms. Pelosi either. No one should be naive enough to believe otherwise.

In national politics, it never really matters, in the end, whether you come from the left or the right or even whether you are "conservative" or "liberal."

A leader who unflinchingly opposes bipartisan compromise in the name of party unity and ideology is just as useless to the country either way.

Frank O'Keefe


Smoke-free bars will boost the city

I am writing to support smoke-free bars and restaurants in Baltimore ("Dixon `leaning' to smoking ban," Oct. 26).

It's a proven fact that smoking causes cancer, and so does secondhand smoke. Everyone is at risk when smoking is going on, and smoking is a disgusting, deadly habit.

I am a Baltimore resident, and I would welcome the chance to go out to smoke-free bars and restaurants to socialize, eat and drink.

When I go out, I spend just as much money as a smoker. And I have the right to a non-cancer-causing outing in Baltimore.

The idea that a smoking ban will hurt area businesses is ridiculous. Some of the largest cities in America have implemented smoking bans, and these cities have established that they cause little, if any, impact on businesses.

The Baltimore City Council needs to step up, realize that this is a serious issue and vote for a smoke-free city.

Karin Heineman


Cold remedies pose a very small threat

While every word in The Sun's front-page article "Parents warned on cold remedies" (Oct. 27) is accurate, this is a fear-mongering article which could cause parents to worry about a relatively inconsequential health decision.

The second paragraph of the article states that four children in Baltimore have died as a result of these medications over the last six years.

But this is far fewer children than have died in house fires, in motor vehicle accidents or by homicide in Baltimore in that time.

Baltimore is a city where the rate of low-birth-weight infants is 50 percent higher than the rate for the state of Maryland; a city where the rate of infant mortality and the child death rate are almost twice the rate for the state; a city where the violent death rate for teenagers is more than twice the rate for the state of Maryland.

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