Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 23, 2007

Turn back the hands of Doomsday Clock

Kudos to The Sun for the editorial describing and bringing attention to the advance of the Doomsday Clock ("It's late," Jan. 18).

However, one connection the editorial did not make explicit is the one between global warming and its effects on the national security situation of nuclear-armed countries.

As populations are displaced, and ecosystems and access to resources such as food and water change, it is not difficult to imagine these situations pushing countries into a nuclear "resource war."

As far out as that may seem, the Defense Department is already planning for such a contingency - which is part of the reason for the push for "more usable" nuclear weapons described in the editorial.

Some people may applaud this foresight.

I would applaud instead the foresight that works to solve the barriers separating the peoples of the world, such as religious extremism here and abroad, and that takes advantage of our technical capacities and ability to conserve resources to give us options other than risking annihilation.

Richard Pritzlaff

Arnold

The state can't solve everyone's problems

If Gov. Martin O'Malley takes Dan Rodricks' advice from the column "O'Malley's first speech was too ordinary" (Jan. 18), Lord help anyone in this state who works and pays taxes.

Mr. Rodricks wants the governor to wipe out poverty and drug abuse. Why stop there? Why not also ask the governor to find a cure for cancer and AIDS and the common cold?

It never seems to occur to people like Mr. Rodricks that no politician can stop drug abuse and poverty. That has to come from individuals who decide they want to do something with their lives besides taking drugs and committing crimes.

No amount of money thrown at problems can do that - as the utter failure of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society programs proved.

Michael Richardson

Parkville

Wintry mess posed hazard for schools

It was foolish and reckless for Baltimore schools CEO Charlene Cooper Boston to allow our public schools to open on time despite the dangerous wintry mess and blinding fog that blanketed our city Monday morning.

As a Baltimore teacher, I believe this is one of many examples where the school system seems to care more about its image than the well-being of our children.

While the school districts surrounding Baltimore had the foresight to provide their students ample time to arrive safely to school and their public works staffs the time to adequately clean the roads and sidewalks, our students, parents and teachers were met with a disrespectful and dangerous decision to open schools on time.

The well-being of the children of Baltimore should be the top priority of every citizen in our city, especially Ms. Boston.

Rob LaPin

Baltimore

State smoking ban now long overdue

The Sun's editorial advocating a statewide ban on public smoking is on the mark ("No smoking, consistently," Jan. 15). With the huge expenditure on medical costs caused by smoking each year, this point would seem self-evident.

However, most people are resistant to change no matter what it is, and with the FOTs (Friends of Tobacco) leading the charge, and framing this as a freedom-of-choice issue, the opposition has thus far been able to forestall the inevitable.

The stand of many restaurateurs on this issue, however, is mystifying.

About 80 percent of the adults in Maryland are nonsmokers. If you were directing your business to the segment of the population with the most profit potential, it would be to that 80 percent, not the 20 percent who indulge in smoking.

But some restaurateurs say, "A lot of my patrons smoke, and they may be driven away."

What they are not crediting are the vast numbers among the nonsmoking 80 percent of the population who don't show up because of the smoky atmosphere.

Sig Seidenman

Owings Mills

Youngest students lost in large schools

The Sun's editorial "No middle school magic" (Jan. 17) points out that the shift to K-8 schools does not help older students perform any better than they would in traditional middle schools. But that's not the only problem with moving middle school students into elementary schools.

What often gets overlooked amid the enthusiasm for K-8 schools is their impact on their youngest children.

In a school that has to concern itself with pumping up the test scores of older students and preparing them for high school, there is a greater chance of younger students' needs being overlooked.

I have found in my research that schools best serve the youngest pupils - from prekindergarten through third grade - when they put those children in a separate building, or at least have a special assistant principal and a program with its own integrity for the younger children.

Gene I. Maeroff

Edison, N.J.

The writer is a senior fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Impeach president for his wiretaps

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