Letters To The Editor


April 30, 2007

Book Thing a boon for `City that Reads'

We were shocked but not surprised to read the front-page article "Book Thing cashes in online" (April 25).

Here the old saying, "No good deed goes unpunished," rings true again.

Russell Wattenberg provides Baltimore, "The City that Reads," with a unique and wonderful facility, yet criticism and innuendo are printed on Page One of the newspaper.

The reluctance of people to throw away books speaks to a special value system we should nurture. And The Book Thing provides exactly what book donators want - a chance to share a precious commodity with others, freely and without cost.

If you visit The Book Thing, you will see what a great equalizer it is - with everyone there, from homeless people to wealthy people, standing side by side as they pore over the precious printed words they may possess free of charge.

We just hope that this article works to spread the word about the good work of The Book Thing and bring more donations to it to help continue Mr. Wattenberg's work, which cannot exist without some financial backing.

Baltimore should be proud and supportive of this wonderful resource.

Pamela Wilson Christian Wilson Baltimore

Sales just support a positive project

Why should we begrudge Russell Wattenberg the right to sell donated books online to interested buyers ("Book Thing cashes in online," April 25)?

Is the uproar simply a matter of his lack of disclosure of this information? Or are other dealers concerned because they are missing out on a good thing?

There are plenty of dealers, locally and regionally, who visit local book sales with exactly the same thing in mind - acquire books cheaply and sell them for a profit.

The fact that Mr. Wattenberg's sales support what has become an important local service should be applauded.

The Book Thing is a great resource, and any penny (or donation) that goes to support it is more than well-earned.

Amy Kimball


As someone who has, along with my wife, donated and taken hundreds of books from The Book Thing over the years, I have to ask: Am I supposed to be upset that a nonprofit organization is practicing the fiduciary responsibility to ensure that it has enough resources to continue serving the public in future years?

Gee, I wonder if I can find some of my mother's autographed Edna St. Vincent Millay books to donate to the cause?

Alexander D. Mitchell IV


The real criminals still walk among us

Clarence Page's column "200 reasons to test DNA" (Opinion * Commentary, April 26) described the efforts of the Innocence Project in obtaining the release of 200 people who were wrongly convicted and, in some cases, served long prison terms.

As troubling as this is, what is really scary is that the real murderers, rapists and other criminals responsible for these crimes may still be in society.

Robert J. Dvorak


Fearmongering won't help Giuliani

I think Rudolph W. Giuliani's recent speech in which he basically said, "Vote Democratic and people will die," is foolish.

Such fearmongering once worked very well, and helped get President Bush re-elected. But Mr. Giuliani should take note that when Republicans tried to use similar themes in the 2006 midterm elections, they lost control of both chambers of Congress.

When will people stop trying to politicize the war on terror?

Steven M. Clayton

Ocean, N.J.

Leaders right to tell military to go home

President Bush recently said, "I believe strongly that politicians in Washington shouldn't be telling generals how to do their job."

That's a smoke screen and he knows it.

I believe it's incumbent on the Washington politicians to tell the generals what their job is.

The Democrats propose to tell the generals that their job is to get troops out of Iraq ("House Democrats' bill orders Iraq withdrawal," April 26).

Sen. Harry Reid is right: Our military won what could be won by force, but our continued military presence in Iraq is counterproductive.

The president is destroying our military and American credibility in a desperate and callous effort to obscure the failure of his policies.

David L. Hollander


Reid's defeatism undermines troops

The message of surrender from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said that the Iraq war is lost, not only should be rejected but Mr. Reid should be asked to resign from the Senate ("Buildup is working, Bush says," April 21).

His disgraceful and defeatist comments are a full and total abandonment of our brave troops fighting the war against terror and will only embolden the enemy even more.

Mr. Reid showed a total lack of confidence in our fighting men and women. Such shameful comments are appalling.

Al Eisner


Self-care is real key for diabetes patients

Wow, how noble of the pharmaceutical companies to offer financial support to programs that promote the use of their diabetes medications ("Switching tactics on diabetes," April 22).

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