Readers Respond

July 13, 2009

Loan forgiveness allows graduates to give back

If you owe more than $100,000 for the loans that financed your college and graduate school education, you face some stark choices when you enter the workplace. How do you pay off that debt and also meet your daily and monthly obligations, much less start a family?

Far too many recent graduates confront that dilemma. Loan forgiveness enables these people to work for the government or a nonprofit at a lower salary, fulfilling their lifelong goal of helping others and making this a better society.

Thousands have already done so under three Maryland programs that I had the honor of sponsoring. Countless more will do so under the legislation that Rep. John Sarbanes spearheaded in Washington.

This is not a liberal, socialist Democratic plot to encourage people to join public sector unions, as your recent letter writer contends (Readers respond, July 10). Instead, to paraphrase President Kennedy's noble words, it enables countless Americans to do things for their country.

Del. Samuel I. "Sandy" Rosenberg, BaltimoreThe writer is a Democrat representing District 41.

Let's just blame Constellation

When did "capitalism" and "free enterprise" become dirty words in the American lexicon?

I appreciate that many of us have lately seen ourselves as the victims of capitalism, but I can sure recall a recent time when returns to investors were soaring and American capitalism was the envy of the world. But we've got to blame somebody for all this strife. Why not Constellation Energy? Certainly, we would all be fine if CEO Mayo Shattuck just didn't make so much money.

I'm Baltimore born and bred and have worked for BGE for nearly 40 years. I've seen new power plants constructed, old plants retired and technologies and efficiencies improve every step of the way.

I have also seen governors and legislators come and go - with curiously little improvement in either. The one constant in my work life has been the dedication of BGE employees to delivering safe and, yes, economical energy to the people of this state. Anyone doubting this need only look at the rates of our neighbors.

Enter the Maryland legislature. At a time when the legislature should be bolstering the economic climate and investment in Maryland business, our Francophobic representatives want to constrain Electricit? de France's proposed investment in Maryland's energy future.

Perhaps they would prefer Constellation going the way of General Motors or Chrysler - one hand in the taxpayer's pocket and the other escorting dedicated employees out the door.

Give us all a break. Let business tend to business, and let the legislature tend to spending the tax revenue from the EDF deal. That, they know how to do. Lin Bazemore, Perry Hall

CIA was protecting Americans

The CIA waterboarded three murdering terrorists, scared them with bugs and dogs, shaved their beards and kept them up past bedtime. If this is a cause for self-flagellation, I invite Susan Goering to get to it ("Torture must be punished," July 9).

But personally, I say, thank you, CIA, for protecting lives in the U.S. and around the globe.

As to the smug, sactimonious Bush-bashers at the ACLU, please move on past 2002.

Ralph Schmidt, Parkville

Ron Smith no climate expert

While Al Gore's rhetoric about climate change may be hyperbolic, his views are based on decades of research by climatologists around the world and on an international consensus of scientists and scientific organizations, including 32 national academies of science, the American Meteorological Society, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and, yes, even the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Ron Smith's claim that climate change is "the greatest hoax in modern times" ("Global warming alarmism enriches Gore, bankrupts the rest of us," July 10) is based on ... what? What evidence does Mr. Smith use to support his contention? Al Gore's speaking fee? This week's weather?

Scientists are not infallible, of course. But as to whom we should believe about global warming - a newspaper columnist or 90 percent of the world's climate experts - I think I'll give credence to the scientists.

Andrew McBee

How deep is Smith's denial?

When dealing with global warming denial like your op-ed page token conservative, it is always instructive to know the level of their denial.

For instance is Ron Smith denying that the planet is actually getting warmer?

If not, is he contending that greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels have no effect upon the planet? Or does he believe that global warming is actually a good thing?

It would be good to know the answer to these because, although I'm not a scientist, I have it on good authority that there is virtually no scientific debate on the answer to any of these questions.

My unscientific view is that even according the extreme benefit of the doubt that global warming poses no threat to humanity, I can see nothing but good coming from our decreased dependence upon fossil fuels. Things like less reliance upon countries in the Middle East or Hugo Chavez, more efficient energy usage in transportation, more local agricultural produce, walkable and bicyclable cities, etc.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

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