Letters To The Editor


July 11, 2008

Hallucinogens a risky quick fix

Before The Sun weighed in on the medicinal value of hallucinogens ("Tuning in, not out," editorial, July 6), it would have been worth its while to engage in some scientific investigative reporting. A publication by Hopkins researchers should not be accepted blindly as the truth.

LSD for victims of trauma?

This recommendation despite the increased risk of suicide documented among LSD users?

Ecstasy for post-traumatic stress?

Ecstasy may provide short-term relief, but it can cause long-term defects in the brain's systems for transporting and receiving serotonin, the very systems most important for stable mood.

In our overmedicated society, we once again seem eager to provide a quick fix for problems that really require hard work and time - such as extensive counseling, a healing, emotionally supportive lifestyle with plenty of exercise, a diet rich in mood-enhancing vitamins and a daily routine that is productive.

With the tight budget that prevails at National Institutes of Health, it is surprising that research into the effects of hallucinogens in humans has been funded at all after all that was learned from their recreational and "medicinal" use in the 1960s.

Timothy Leary is doing more than smiling; he is laughing, and the laugh is on us.

Christine Miller, Baltimore

The writer is a molecular neuroscientist with a doctorate in pharmacology.

Failing to protect abused women

In "A right to asylum?" (July 8), we have a case of a young female who was tragically hurt in her country, trying to stay here in the United States to go to school to become a taxpaying member of society. Yet we are not protecting her.

I wonder two things: Was the tribunal within the Department of Justice that ruled on her case all male?

And if this same person had been male, and had his genitals so mutilated that he could not live a normal life, would the outcome of the asylum decision have been different?

Margaret Grimes, Ellicott City

Acting to deter hiring of illegals

I, for one, am grateful to Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold for his outspokenness on illegal immigration and his initiatives to deter the employment of undocumented immigrants by local businesses ("Immigration politics," editorial July 3). He is listening to the people and taking the rule of law seriously.

As elected officials, we all pledge as part of our oath of office to enforce the laws of the land, even laws enacted by another level of government.

An individual who has entered the United States illegally has broken the laws of this nation and must be held accountable.

The fact that many businesses employ such individuals is a national travesty, as it creates an unfair business environment and leads to increased costs passed on to the taxpayers at all levels of government, all for the sake of personal profit.

On top of that, undocumented immigrants often reside in overcrowded homes and cause a great disturbance in the community in which they reside as they cling to their culture even when it is at odds with our own.

If there are no American businesses employing illegal immigrants, there will be no illegal immigration.

Julie M. Stankivic, Annapolis

The writer is an alderwoman for the city of Annapolis.

McCain endorses 'voodoo economics'

The article "McCain pledges broad-based tax cuts" (July 8) shows that Sen. John McCain remains a proponent of Ronald Reagan-style "voodoo economics" even though the experience of the past 25 years has shown it to be an absolute disaster.

The value of the dollar has fallen sharply, the gap between the wealthy and poor in this country is now the largest in the developed world and our economy is on the verge of collapse.

How much more evidence is needed that a theory based on a curve drawn on the back of napkin by supply-side economist Arthur Laffer is a complete sham?

How much longer will the public fall for the same old poisoned carrot?

Larry Brooks, Phoenix

Further tax cuts defy fiscal sense

Sen. John McCain has promised new broad-based tax cuts in addition to making President Bush's tax cuts permanent ("McCain pledges broad-based tax cuts," July 8).

He and his fellow Republicans need to get a grip on reality. With Mr. Bush having increased the national debt by more than 50 percent to $9.5 trillion, Americans can't afford to continue adding $500 billion a year to the national debt.

Sooner, not later, we need to have a balanced budget and pay our bills - before we're driven into bankruptcy by Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain's borrow-and-spend policies.

Jay Ziegler, Catonsville

Poor dental care hurts kids, adults

The need for dental care is painfully visible to those of us who work with low-income people ("Not in vain," Commentary, July 1).

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