November 18, 2008

City, families must face grim financial realities

It's frightening when "the chickens come home to roost," and that's what seems to be happening now.

But please don't blame the credit card companies because families spent more than they should have and "accumulated staggering amounts of credit card debt" ("Credit card trouble," editorial, Nov. 17). Congress should stay away from this issue - we don't need to legislate common sense.

The city of Baltimore has been profligate with its budget as well - just take a look at the "Government Offices - City" in the phone book.

I live in the city and pay a huge property tax, along with all the other costs of city living. So I support belt-tightening policies ("Budget woes," editorial, Nov. 17).

Perhaps it's time for families and local government to be more realistic. I'm just sorry people are getting hurt because the future didn't turn out as they were led to believe it would.

Rosalind Ellis, Baltimore

No more junkets for city leaders?

Does the city's new austerity program mean the end of junkets to, say, Egypt ("Officials' travel expenses decline," Nov. 12)?

F.P. Cordell, Lutherville

Swift punishment exacts true justice

Kudos to the Baltimore police for the arrests in the murder of former Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr. ("Two men held in Harris' death," Nov. 15). I hope justice will prevail for his family and the community of Baltimore.

But how ironic it is that these arrests follow closely on the heels of the recommendation by Gov. Martin O'Malley's Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment that the state repeal the death penalty ("Repeal of death penalty urged," Nov. 13).

When will the citizens of Baltimore and Maryland and their elected leaders realize that justice is best served when criminals face swift and certain punishment, including the death penalty?

R.W. Kocher, Churchville

U.S. policy change could court Tehran

The obvious reply to the suggestion in The Baltimore Sun's editorial "Two-faced Tehran" (Nov. 16) that "Iran should change its rhetoric if it wants a change in U.S. policy" is that the United States should change its militaristic foreign policy if it wants to see a change in Iranian policy.

Iran is surrounded by the U.S. military, which has invaded two of its largest neighbors, Afghanistan and Iraq, over the last seven years.

Although there is no proof that Iran is building nuclear weapons, it should not surprise anyone if it has plans to do so. If Iran wants to protect itself from the largest military machine in the world, a nuclear weapon would be one way to do so.

After all, if Iraq had the weapons of mass destruction our government falsely claimed it did, the United States would not have invaded that country.

Michael Melick, Baltimore

Right to prosecute a dangerous driver

The actions of the Harford County state's attorney's office seem more than appropriate to me given the results of the very avoidable accident that Christopher H. Lentz allegedly caused ("Driver is denied bail in fatal crash," Nov. 15).

Attorney C. Stephen Basinger's statement says Mr. Lentz "never intentionally harmed anyone." But the preliminary reports on the accident suggest otherwise.

Mr. Lentz's alleged actions certainly seem to make him a danger to others.

James Christhilf, Glen Burnie

Charmed by account of bats and bicyclists

Never before have I taken any particular interest in bats, recreational cycling or railroad tunnels, but Frank Roylance's superb article "Bats versus bicyclists" (Nov. 15) made me reconsider.

And encountering with the word "hibernaculum" in the article for the first time was a pleasant bonus.

For the most part, I'm saddened by the incredibly shrunken Baltimore Sun, but at least it's giving the best remaining writers more opportunities to show their stuff.

Clinton Macsherry, Baltimore

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