Our own inaction on energy has caused...


Our own inaction on energy has caused today's high prices

What aggravates me most about the high cost of gasoline is that we as a society have done this to ourselves.

The oil shortages of 1973-1974 and 1979-1980 should have been America's wake-up call for a comprehensive policy on energy and our dependence on foreign oil.

In 1991, we went to war in the Persian Gulf to assure that our oil supplies would not be interrupted.

The oil is no longer in danger of being interrupted, but the oil-producing nations and the oil companies are making sure that they are making huge profits.

If this country had taken the previous threats seriously, we would have a national energy policy which emphasizes conservation, alternative fuels and clean and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy.

The government needs to encourage investment in these new (and not so new) technologies. Until it does, we are at the mercy of the oil cartels.

I also can't help wonder if there are political motivations for this year's huge price increases. It is an election year, and I don't believe the oil companies or the oil producing nations in the Middle East are very fond of the current Democratic administration or its potential successor.

Maybe they would like to get a Texas oilman elected president so that they can really gouge us?

Ed Hershon, Reisterstown

Every evening on the news shows, I see stories about rising gasoline prices.

They show how prices have risen 50 percent over the past year, how independent truck drivers have been forced to park their rigs and how people have had to find alternate ways to commute to work.

This is all very interesting (or disturbing), but what I would rather see is a federal official come on and say: "Here's what has caused the problem and here's what were doing about it."

Hello, Washington, is anyone home?

Herman W. Koletschke, Cockeysville

Glastonbury doesn't lie in Britain's Midlands

With the experience of several United Kingdom rock festivals behind me, I enjoyed The Sun's article about the Glastonbury Festival ("Bands to rock till the cows come home," June 21).

My main concern, however, is that readers hoping to visit may never get there, as the accompanying map put the wonderful town with its graceful, haunting abbey ruins somewhere in the Midlands.

That's some 130 miles from its true location, which is just above the "S" of the River Severn: not, incidentally, the Severn River, which is in Annapolis, some 130 miles from Richmond, Va.

Tim Marshallsay, Baltimore

Restrictions on RU-486 serve no medical purpose

The recent announcement by the Food and Drug Administration that it is considering stringent, medically unnecessary restrictions on a physician's ability to administer RU-486 (also known as mifepristone), is bad news for women's ongoing battle for reproductive rights ("FDA fuels abortion pill debate," June 12).

As a physician, I am dismayed that the FDA, as a strictly scientific institution, would make such a blatantly political decision and thus take a side in the abortion debate.

The proposed restrictions on mifepristone would severely limit access to the drug, which has been successfully used by more than 20 million women worldwide over the past 12 years, including 6,000 in this country.

It has been four years since the FDA ratified mifepristone as a safe and effective drug.

Since then, it has been proven in countless trials to be a less expensive alternative to surgical abortion and one which provides more privacy for women who have an abortion.

The FDA should abandon its political agenda -- and stick to its original purpose of keeping people safe and healthy through scientific research.

Dr. Worth Daniels, Baltimore

History achievers deserved a salute

We wish to thank The Sun and writer Rasmi Simhan for the article, "Young historians make their marks," (June 15).

The two students cited, Thomas Thompson and Michelle Gaj'ewski, were finalists in the National History Day competition held at the University of Maryland, College Park.

As a part of a statewide program to excite young people about history, this year nearly 10,000 Maryland middle and high school students worked diligently researching topics and creating outstanding projects.

Mr. Thompson and Ms. Gaj'ewski developed documentaries. In April, judges selected their projects as state winners, and they advanced to the national contest.

At that contest, Mr. Thompson's documentary about the Battle of Midway received the Special Award for Naval History.

The Maryland Humanities Council is honored to sponsor the Maryland History Day program. We commend all the students who devoted long hours to exploring our history and culture.

Maryland students deserve high praise for their accomplishments. We look forward to an exciting program for 2001.

Barbara Wells Sarudy, Hunt Valley

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Humanities Council.

Don't glorify tall ships used for torture

The Sun's editorial "Welcoming sovereigns of the Seven Seas," (June 21) notes that each ship has a history. "Some of that history may be glorious; some may be controversial," the editorial said.

In furtherance of goals promoted by our government, the Chilean ship La Esmeralda was used for wrongful imprisonment, torture and murder by Chile's Navy during the 1970s ("This tall ship has a bloody, brutal history," June 18). The editorial glossed over La Esmeralda's terrible history, characterizing it as one that merely "may be controversial." I look forward to enjoying the other tall ships while they are in town, but I will visit La Esmeralda only to protest the torture and murder that occurred aboard her and the continued efforts to cover it up.

Michael Bardoff Baltimore

The Sun's editorial "Welcoming sovereigns of the Seven Seas" mentioned that some of the histories of the ships may be controversial.

The photo within the editorial is of La Esmeralda and the focus of the "Spectators' Guide" of that newspaper was the same ship, which, after a military coup, was donated by the Chilean Navy to the dictatorship as a prison ship to torture and murder enemies of the government.

Couldn't The Sun have found some other ship to highlight?

John B. Colvin Baltimore

For shame. Not three days after The Sun vividly detailed the bloody and sordid history of La Esmeralda, a Chilean ship visiting Baltimore ("This tall ship has a bloody, brutal history," June 18), The Sun glorified it in a special section.

Buried inside this eight-page section, among the many splashy, full-color photographs, illustrations and articles exuberantly boosting OpSail 2000, there was but a brief, almost casual, observation that La Esmeralda is "reputed" to have been used as a prison and torture chamber during the reign of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

I can only hope I'm not the only reader who was struck by this incongruity, and that in Baltimore La Esmeralda will be met with the public display of the scorn and wrath this ship richly deserves.

Neil Gordon, Randallstown

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