Letters To The Editor


December 20, 2007

Don't wait for 2010 for weekend trains

While I heartily applaud the news that the MARC system will add trains ("MARC set to add 3 trains to Penn Line," Dec. 13), I would also like to implore the Board of Public Works not to wait until 2010 to add weekend train service between Washington and Baltimore.

I would strongly urge the MARC system's authorities to try running one morning train and one evening train each way between the two cities, starting next spring. I'm sure they will be surprised at the mobs of people who board these trains.

Lack of weekend train services to these two cities is a serious deterrent to people taking advantage of the tremendous cultural events and opportunities the cities offer.

Seniors who hate to drive and park in either city will find the addition of weekend services one of the greatest health benefits that they can get.

Sudha Trivedi


Illegal immigration sparks the real furor

As president of an engineering-consulting company with a staff composed of nearly 50 percent non-U.S.-born individuals, I am very angry that reporter Paul West is trying to confuse the illegal immigration issue with that of legal immigration ("Immigration looms as presidential campaign issue," Dec. 16).

Our company is continually faced with expensive and time-consuming issues surrounding maintaining legal visa status for some of our key employees. But dealing with this is worth it, as our company thrives on legal immigration.

Yet from reading Mr. West's article, one would think that there is a large group of people, particularly among conservatives, who think all immigration is bad.

Why can't Mr. West simply recognize the difference and use the proper term for what upsets many people - "illegal immigration"?

Jeffrey P. Beale


Fear of illegals gets out of hand

I agree with Steve Chapman's blast at the Republican Party's current hysteria over illegal immigrants ("Why the right shifted stance on immigration," Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 14).

Illegal immigration is a problem, but the current fears about it go way beyond the rational.

Take the issue of language, for example.

When I lived in Florida, I frequently took a commuter train between Boynton Beach and West Palm Beach. Many Hispanic kids, the children of immigrants from all over Latin America, rode the train as well on their way to school, and they spoke English.

And so the tradition continues. My German great-grandfather hardly spoke any English during his adult life while he ran a shop in Baltimore. But his children and grandchildren never had any English-language problems, even if their speech was blessed with Baltimorese.

Throughout our history, too many Americans have at one time or another become hysterical over immigrants from Ireland, China, Japan, Eastern Europe and now Mexico.

We should love our country and at the same time look our sins in the eye - including the sin of needing to fear something to buttress our identity.

So in the spirit of Christmas, let's splash some cold water on our face and lighten up: We have little to fear from the sons and daughters of Mexico, and much to gain.

Jay Hilgartner


What if 9/11 halted with waterboarding?

In "House speaker undermines Democrats' fight against torture" (Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 17), John Nichols describes the "torture" of waterboarding and how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have contributed to the use of this interrogation technique.

I think it's finally time we put the discussion of waterboarding to rest, and stop the sanctimonious hand-wringing over it among our political elites, by asking one simple question: "Had Mohammed Atta been captured on Sept. 10, 2001, should he have been waterboarded to obtain information about the terror plots?"

Who in his or her right mind would answer "no"?

Case closed.

Joel Rosenberg

Ellicott City

Destroying tapes looks like a crime

The Sun's editorial "The law is clear" (Dec 12) was great but incomplete.

The United States recognized "controlled drowning" (i.e., waterboarding) as torture and a war crime until President Bush authorized using it.

And we recently learned that the CIA destroyed videotapes showing possible evidence of crimes ("White House lawyers discussed destroying CIA tapes," Dec. 19).

Federal judges issued at least two court orders requiring the CIA to catalog, preserve and produce interrogation tapes upon request. Congress also requested the tapes.

The destruction of these tapes was a crime.

If we are to survive as a country of laws, it is time for congressional hearings and an independent counsel to look into this matter.

Richard L. Ottenheimer


The wrong solution for homelessness

A recent Sun article attributes the increase in the number of people who are homeless, in part, to state psychiatric hospital bed closings since the 1980s ("City's homeless get frozen out," Dec. 6).

To some, this suggests a need to reverse the trend and increase the number of beds in state institutions. That would be a costly mistake.

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