April 29, 2009

Time to move ahead with light rail line

Any time a worthy project comes along, there will be NIMBYs who oppose it, just as is now the case for the Red Line ("Canton organizing to oppose transit plan," April 26). But much of this opposition is based on ignorance.

Some people don't want "trains" on Boston Street. But there is an enormous difference between a light rail vehicle and a 100-car coal train.

People are also concerned about noise and vibration on the streets. Well, just stand at the corner of Howard and Lexington streets. Listen to the light rail vehicles slide by. Then to the buses, crashing over potholes, making buildings vibrate and belching diesel exhaust.

Philadelphia, Boston and San Francisco have had light rail systems running underground downtown and above ground in neighborhoods for years, and the sky did not fall.

In those cities, people actually use the light rail and buy property because it is close to the lines.

If I could get the bus in front of my house replaced by a light rail line, I'd jump at the chance.

Baltimore is already too far behind the curve on decent transit.

Let's get on with the Red Line.

Theodore Feldmann, Baltimore

Coercion helped protect the nation

I am disgusted that the Obama administration could be, as the editorial "Bring it on" (April 22) puts it, "going after the government lawyers who crafted the legal rationale for the Bush administration's torture policy."

Indeed, Richard Saccone's column, "Confusing coercion with torture" (Commentary, April 22) - a welcome relief from the usual "blame Bush" rhetoric - makes a good argument defending the Bush policies.

And whether or not we love President Barack Obama, we should all be greatly concerned that we are more vulnerable since he released top-secret information about our interrogation techniques to extract information from the terrorists that kept us safe from another attack while the tactics, as Mr. Saccone put it, fell "below the threshold of torture."

Elizabeth G. Brown, Woodstock

Cheney learns late virtue of openness

What chutzpah: The poster boy for secrecy for eight long years now champions transparency ("Bring it on," editorial, April 22)?

But never mind. Each time former Vice President Dick Cheney opens his mouth, he reminds us what a mess he and his neoconservative coterie made.

Grenville B. Whitman, Rock Hall

Focus on building a brighter future

As a liberal Democrat, I appeal to my fellow progressives to back off their obsession with investigating potential criminality in the interrogation of al-Qaida prisoners by the Bush administration ("Bring it on," editorial, April 22).

Former President George W. Bush's gang has departed the government. We have a brilliant young president whose ambitious program could be overwhelmed by many months or even years of bitter political strife over the subject of torture. It is profoundly against the interests of our country, our party and President Barack Obama to pursue investigations that could lead to prosecutions of Bush administration lawyers for their opinions and possibly of those who had ultimate responsibility for the policies.

We don't need the ferocious political strife that could be ignited by such backward-looking vindictiveness.

I want President Obama to succeed in fulfilling his agenda for universal and affordable health insurance, affordable college education and new energy investments that diminish our dependence on foreign oil.

Let's focus on building a better future for America.

Raymond S. Gill, Crownsville

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