That Banner Still Waves
Editor: I am proud to be an American. It is so gratifying to live in a country where leaders are not only interested in military endeavors but also consider the people at home and in combat. Everyone has handled this war so well -- both at home giving support to one another throughout the nation and in our leadership.
The United States has credibility, and that Star Spangled Banner still waves over the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Editor: Now that the war is over and our brave men and women are on their way home, it is time for reflection of the past two months. We as Americans were united at long last on a singular issue, as united as our forefathers dreamed of so long ago. The few protesters did not hinder the patriotic fever that swept this United States.
Let this not be a fad as other countries have accused us of doing. Where is the harm in keeping our flags flying year round in front of home, business and elsewhere? Let's keep those small flags on our cars, on our desks and walls. There's nothing wrong about getting a lump in your throat listening to the "Star Spangled Banner," and "God Bless America."
So come on, America, stay united, stay supportive, now that we've beaten the odds of war, let's work to beat the odds on the home front.
Debra M. Cotter.
Sediment Control Does Help
Editor: I was genuinely surprised to read David C. Bramble's Feb. 20 letter from Chestertown concerning sediment control. Mr. Bramble is the owner of David A. Bramble, Inc., a major contractor on the Eastern Shore.
We certainly agree that every effort should be made to not allow poorly implemented or ineffective sediment controls to be constructed. State law requires that approved sediment-control plans be implemented on construction sites.
However, it is disturbing that Mr. Bramble should feel that the erosion and sediment control program is not beneficial to the state.
I believe the recent enforcement actions taken against Mr. Bramble's company and the stiff penalties assessed for its sediment-control violations are representative of the major enforcement actions this program is taking to insure compliance with the state's sediment control law.
For many years we have known that the two major causes of problems in the Chesapeake Bay are excessive nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus, and sediment. An uncontrolled construction site without erosion and sediment controls can discharge up to 100 tons of sediment for every acre that is disturbed in a given year.
This is 50 times greater than the sediment load that would be expected from a meadow or forest area. Sediment discharges are responsible for smothering the aquatic and vegetative life of our streams and esturaries. This in turn impacts valuable commercial and sport fin and shellfish populations in the bay -- our crabs, oysters, clams, fish, etc.
The Corp of Engineers has estimated that in the next 20 years, from 1990 to 2010, more than 83 million cubic yards of maintenance dredging will have to be done in the Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore Harbor areas. A significant portion of these sediments come from construction sites. As a contractor, Mr. Bramble should be well aware of the costs of dredging sediment back out of our waterways, somewhere between $10 and $30 per cubic yard. Perhaps he also should talk to more watermen and sport fishermen for an appreciation of the costs to them of bay pollution.
Finally, Mr. Bramble is aware that the governor has made the state highway initiative in erosion and sediment control to be one of his Chesapeake Bay goals for 1990 and the future. It is the governor's desire to have the State Highway Administration be the model public agency to design, install and maintain erosion and sediment control on public works projects in Maryland. Our administration is also encouraging all other municipalities and counties to develop similar initiatives for their public works agencies.
In conclusion, erosion and sediment control is the law and is not only economical, but is good for the Chesapeake Bay and our local tributaries, helping to preserve and restore the resources Marylanders value so much.
Vincent H. Berg.
The writer is director of the Department of the Environment's Sediment and Stormwater Administration.
Editor: If someone accepts a governmental office, he is automatically opening himself up for the ridicule of those whose views are different from his. Most importantly, in a democracy, those who disagree with the politics of the current government have a right to express their views.
When a politician such as Gov. William Donald Schaefer opts to take actions such as oral criticism of the region in which he serves, writing nasty letters to those who oppose him, and even visiting the homes of those who have criticized him, he shows he is unable to allow those persons their right of free speech. In effect, he is negating one of the primary purposes for which he was elected. This is not to say that he does not also have the same rights. However, as he is in a public office, he must use restraint when exercising that right.
Throughout the life of any given individual, there exists the need to constantly take stock of oneself. Everyone must recognize that in order to maintain positive growth changes may happen only within the individual and only with their effort, no one else's. Perhaps the time has come for the governor to admit he cannot change people, places, or things, only himself.
Editor: With all the media attention paid to congressional ethics, I felt sure the Senate Ethics Committee would judge the Keating Five objectively. I should have known. How can people with skeletons condemn other people with skeletons?
It's a sad day for American politics. Given the chance to redeem themselves, to silence the critics who accuse them of favoritism and self-aggrandizement, our senators have again chosen the low road.
If I was among the senatorial ranks, I would hang my head. Responsible for inflicting immeasurable financial pain and suffering upon thousands of Americans, Senators Riegle, D-Mich.; DeConcini, D-Ariz.; Glen, D-Ohio; and McCain, R-Ariz.; and even Senator Cranston, D-Calif., will not be denied the privilege of remaining in office. Each will continue on with the pretense of looking after the best interests of the people who elected them while feathering their own nests.
This arrogance is a slap in the face of every American who is trying desperately to believe in the system. I really expected more, but I should have known.
Editor: This letter is in response to an interesting article which appeared recently in The Sun. One cannot provide on one page all the arguments necessary to refute the impression of reputable scholars that the Gospels are unreliable as historical witness to the events and teachings of Jesus' life.
Neither does one have to be a fundamentalist insisting upon exact literalism in order to defend the integrity of the Gospel record. A person only has to understand a sometimes fatal flaw among professional scholars. They argue their own complex ideas which often ignore the simpler Biblical record.
For example, early in this century, Albert Schweitzer, a sainted soul, concluded that the historical Jesus could not be found behind the Gospel record. This thesis accepted, it became reputable to accept the critical approach and to develop other views which re-interpreted the Scripture.
The latest thesis in this development is that the writers composed Jesus' teachings and purposes in response to the problems and struggles of the early Church. Certainly this provides some insight on what stimulated the memory of the Apostles, but it is at a price of denying the central idea and purpose of the Gospels and the Church that grew from it: to tell the story of Jesus.
Luke stated it quite clearly: "That you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed."
The first letter of John declares: "That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you. . ." The letters of St. Paul speak to the problems of the early Church. The Gospels present the ministry and teachings of Jesus.
Perhaps these citations are sufficient to make clear there are reputable reasons for affirming the historical validity of the Gospels over the novelty of some scholars. More would have to be written in a book -- a project which I am completing -- on a topic that has surprising historical and theological implications.
The writer is pastor of Aldersgate United Methodist Church.
At Last, a Real One
Editor: Perhaps it's time to put this business concerning Gov. William Donald Schaefer to rest.
I find it ironic that the primary complaint about today's politicians is that they have perfect blow-dried hair, speak in sound bites and can't discuss the day of the week without multiple sessions with their media advisors.
At last, there's a real human being beneath the outer package. The governor gets hyper. He gets ticked off. He goes right to the source if someone bad-mouths him. He's honest and he's
Finally, he's competent and visionary. Maryland is a state that resents progress. Without Schaefer there would be no Harborplace, no aquarium, no convention center, no new stadium and no pollution progress on the bay. In addition, he's put untold effort and planning into the Washington suburbs, Western Maryland and -- yes, folks -- the Eastern Shore.
This guy wears his heart on his sleeve. I think it's great. Schaefer for president? Why not?
With all due respect to President Bush's superb handling of the Gulf War, maybe it's time, with other than lip service, to address the plight of the cities. Name someone more qualified.
I hope the citizens of this state wise up and chill out. History will treat this man kindly. There is no reason for us not to do the same, now.
Howard B. Caplan.