Soup kitchen not to blame for business woes
Now that Baltimore's downtown business leaders have succeeded in ejecting the soup kitchen, Our Daily Bread, from their midst, I wonder whom or what they will blame next for their economic woes ("Soup kitchen picks site for relocation," Sept. 15).
The problem downtown is certainly not the patrons of Our Daily Bread. The great majority of the men and women who go to the soup kitchen cause no harm. They have just as much right to eat downtown as the businesses have to operate there.
I love downtown Baltimore and abhor being forced to visit malls, but most stores in the central business district have so little quality merchandise that I'm forced to look elsewhere to do my shopping.
When I do enter a downtown shop, clerks usually give the impression that I'm more of a nuisance than a customer who might want to spend money in their establishment. Some businesses keep erratic hours.
Parking is impossible, and cavernous potholes make navigating streets dangerous. The police allow traffic to become so clogged on byways such as Charles Street that driving downtown is a nightmare.
So, as I regret that many hungry men and women will be forced to stray even farther to get a decent meal, I await the next excuse from downtown merchants as to why their businesses are failing.
Congress must ask the tough questions
It's good news that President Bush has promised to attain congressional approval for a pre-emptive attack on Iraq ("Bush vows to seek Congress' OK to act," Sept. 5).
But if we truly want the return of weapons inspectors to Iraq, the Bush administration should stop complicating things with talk of overthrowing or killing Saddam Hussein. Are we preparing to fight a total war against Iraq -- when Iraq is only a small part of the threat of weapons of mass destruction?
Congress should seriously consider the risk of escalation if the United States attacks Iraq. Saddam Hussein will know he is fighting a battle to the death and if he does have weapons of mass destruction, he would no doubt be determined to use them. And without the strong support of our allies in the region or a clear game plan, is launching a war a wise idea?
I surely hope Congress takes a long, hard look and asks all the tough questions.
Hussein is stalling, with U.N.'s help
Allowing inspectors back into Iraq is nothing more than a delaying tactic ("Iraq agrees to return of inspectors," Sept. 17). Once in the country, the inspectors will be blocked from doing their work. Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein will claim to be adhering to the U.N. resolutions. And U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will allow the whole charade to continue so that Europe and the rest of the world can continue hiding their heads in the sand, and will claim that the United Nations is doing its job.
The United States will again be forced to be the bad guy by proclaiming the emperor is wearing no clothes, which will force the United Nations to start debating the meaning of the word "clothes."
Attack would raise ethical quandaries
It would be a safer world if Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. It would be a much safer world if all countries had less weaponry.
But if any nation bypasses the United Nations, the structure for peace is weakened.
And if the only country that has used atomic bombs circumvents the United Nations to attack an Arab country that may be developing weapons of mass destruction, ethical issues arise, such as: Is it right for some countries to stockpile atomic weapons but immoral for other countries to develop such weapons?
And does an attack on any nation foster peace?
Robert Y. O'Brien
Cheers for everyone who mentors youths
I couldn't believe it when I read "Gay Big Brothers send wrong signal" (letters, Sept. 2). No one should be judged by his or her sexual orientation.
Don't believe the stereotypes: The majority of gays were raised in heterosexual households, just like everyone else. Spending time mentoring a child does not teach homosexuality; no one can make another person gay.
I applaud the Big Brothers for allowing gays to mentor. And anyone who has an interest in mentoring our youths deserves a standing ovation.
Dying for lack of clean water
We the citizens of the United States don't understand the magnitude of the fight over clean water because most of us have never been without it.
The editorial "Fight over clean water" (Aug. 30) identifies high costs as the primary reason for the U.S. government's reluctance toward providing clean water for underdeveloped nations.
According to a recent Johns Hopkins report, 12 million people a year die worldwide from a lack of clean water and sanitation. Apparently, these people aren't worth the money.
Candidates' views matter the most
I never thought I should vote for someone on the basis of how quickly that person thinks on his or her feet.
I believe that it is more important to know what a candidate thinks than how fast he or she thinks and speaks.
Not stuck on idea of bumper stickers
If there were any doubts about the foundering state of Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's gubernatorial campaign, they were put to rest with the revelation that her campaign has mailed thousands of unsolicited bumper stickers to voters, accompanied by a plea that they be displayed immediately ("Townsend agrees to a pair of TV debates with Ehrlich," Sept. 7).
In Maryland, no Democrat should be reduced to begging over something as basic as displaying a bumper sticker -- and if people wanted to display the stickers, they would have requested them. This latest effort by the Townsend campaign reveals just how befuddled they have become.
A terrific tribute to Prince of Gonzo
Stephen R. Proctor's well-researched and incisive literary genealogy showing Hunter S. Thompson as the spiritual successor of H.L. Mencken was nothing short of brilliant ("Heir Aberrant," Sept. 8).
For me, it was the most interesting and entertaining newspaper feature article of the year.