Fragile coastal bays incubate life, but need greater protection
When members of the General Assembly visited Worcester County's bays last summer, it was obvious that the Assawoman, Isle of Wight and the Chincoteague bays needed greater protection. Consequently, Del. Daniel K. Morhaim has introduced a bill to protect Chesapeake Bay critical areas.
Biologists have pointed out that there is a ring of life around these bays which helps contribute to good water quality, species diversity and healthy aquatic vegetation.
Yet, little is being done to maintain wooded buffers or retain indigenous species adjacent to these waterways. Trees continue to be cut and ground is graded or tilled near sensitive spawning areas and flood-prone shorelines.
Maryland's coastal bays need help. Support for Mr. Morhaim's bill can help save these bays, which are more vulnerable than the mighty Chesapeake because they are less than six-feet deep, more saline, warmer and take much longer to experience water exchange or flushing.
The writer chairs the Worcester Environmental Trust.
Nonprofit health insurance is best protection we have
At a time when adequate, affordable medical insurance is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain in our state and too many citizens are completely uninsured, I find the news about CareFirst's proposed conversion to for-profit status very troubling ("CareFirst eyes a shift to for-profit," Feb. 14).
Until we adopt single-payer medical coverage in the United States, we ought at least to maintain the closest thing we have to it: the nationwide system of traditionally nonprofit Blue Cross plans.
Above all, under no circumstances should we trade CareFirst for a separate-but-unequal insurance program for the "uninsurable." Instead, we should include the uninsurable in the same risk group as those who pose a lower risk, thus minimizing premium prices.
Margaret A. Ross
Handling of the mentally ill leaves much to be desired
Finally, someone has written the column on Maryland's system of care for the mentally ill we clinic operators have been waiting for ("Maryland ignoring needs of mentally ill," Opinion * Commentary, March 2).
I have directed mental health clinics in New York City, urban New Jersey and Virginia. Never have I seen a more redundant and arcane system than Maryland's.
It appears very little strategic thought went into its design or implementation. And the private sector has been treated in an almost contemptuous manner.
For example, among the volumes of correspondence from state agencies to our clinic, my favorite is a letter from the deputy secretary of the Mental Health Administration denying payment because we treated children on a Saturday after a snowstorm forced closure during the week.
This despite the fact that our state license requires us to be open on Saturdays.
The writer chief operating officer of Delmarva Family Resources.
Partnership bill stamps approval on homosexuality
I agree with Michael Olesker: "The things that happen in private are nobody else's business" ("Gay-partners bill was right thing to do, says D'Adamo," Feb. 27).
However, while it's easy to see how privacy concerns argue against the state's sodomy statute, it's hard to see how they support City Councilman Nick D'Adamo's bill offering gay and lesbian couples $50 certificates of domestic partnership that would be much like marriage licenses.
Far from expressing indifference to the things that happen in private, the D'Adamo bill would put the government's stamp of approval on homosexuality.
It's right to regard rape as a war crime
For thousands of years, rape has been used during war-time as a sign of terror and a way of invoking fear in the enemy. I feel a sense of relief that this age-old act of brutality is finally attracting attention ("Rape ruled a war crime," Feb. 23).
Innocent women should never be forced to endure such violence.
Despite the dire conditions of war, men who rape and sexually enslave women must be charged as war criminals.
Can Sen. Clinton really see no evil?
Sen. Hillary Clinton's comments regarding her husband's pardons remind me of Sergeant Schultz on the television show "Hogan's Heroes" when he said, "I know nothing, nothing!"
Jerry Caldwell Jr.
Turkey is an abusive and unreliable ally
The Sun's assessment of Turkey was confused ("As Turkey goes, so go we all," editorial, Feb. 27).
An unreliable ally who did not join the Gulf War coalition against Saddam Hussein, reluctantly permits limited NATO use of its Incirlik air base and continuously abrogates international sanctions against Iraq by illegally allowing 100,000 to 140,000 barrels of Iraqi oil to flow through its territory per day.
Spending huge sums to maintain a huge military to threaten all its neighbors, terrorize its minorities and surprise its own dissidents.
Misappropriating at least $350 million annually to maintain an illegal regime on the illegally occupied northern sector of Cyprus, in addition to large sums for its illegal army of occupation.
In truth, Turkey is America's albatross.
Dean C. Lomis
U.S. embargo on Cuba only hurts small business
Kudos to Peter Bowe for his column "Time to end embargo against Fidel Castro" (Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 25).
Ironically, the embargo really only hurts America's small businesses. If a large U.S. company had a subsidiary in a foreign country that trades with Cuba, it can circumvent the embargo.
In Cuba, one often finds an American product such as cereal, but only after reading the back of the box realizes the item was made in Mexico. Likewise, if you rent a foreign car in Cuba, don't be surprised if its tires are American.
Trading with China is encouraged and we welcome that country into the world's economic community. Why aren't we doing the same thing for Cuba?
Be angry at those who dump the trash
While I understand Alton and Geneva Smith's rage at the city, where is their rage at those responsible for the trash ("Trash: city's recurring nightmare," Feb. 24)?
I grew up in a city housing project many years ago. There was no trash around and the people, although poor, took a great deal of pride in there neighborhood and homes.
People should be angry at those who throw the trash.