Recall election will invigorate our democracy
The Sun's characterization of some of California's gubernatorial candidates as "wing nuts" is way off the mark ("Cattle call in California," editorial, Aug. 12).
Democracy is messy by nature, and not all candidates fit the traditional two-party mold. California's governor's race is just the democracy we need to make elections more representative of the people they serve.
We should celebrate the fact that at least 150 Californians from all across the political spectrum care enough to register to run for the thankless job of saving California.
Gov. Gray Davis, a career politician, has not governed effectively. But who is to say that either a Democrat or Republican do a better job?
Maybe the "wing nut" candidates can solve the state's $38 billion deficit without being cozy with all the special interests in Sacramento which are strangling California's economy and political system.
This race is the first major signal from the populace that "politics as usual" needs to be changed -- and rapidly.
The two-party system is stifling true citizen debate and is not offering the people enough diversity. We have become too locked into the myth that our political parties propose the most effective solutions and offer the best options for voters. They don't.
Elected officials represent the people -- wing nuts and all. And this experiment in democracy will ultimately be good for all states and all citizens.
'Turtle Lady' really makes a difference
Regarding the flippant and dismissive comment by a Maryland Department of Natural Resources official that "the Turtle Lady" is merely a "cheerleader" for the species ("Some worry progress will slow as 'Turtle Lady' laid off," Aug. 11), I would greatly prefer that my taxes pay for one fewer spokesperson, chauffeur or "cheerleader" for our elected politicians or political appointees if we could retain this one individual who actually serves a valid purpose.
I believe that the state is better served by this conservation-minded individual who makes a difference on behalf of its citizens.
Bush's bad economy causes state's woes
Many readers have written to suggest that the need to reduce the state budget is because of overspending by the previous governor and the General Assembly ("Who will pay for Maryland's budget crisis," letters, Aug. 9).
To a limited extent, this may be correct. But then, how come almost all state legislatures, most of which are controlled by Republicans, now face similar budget deficits?
The truth is that the budget shortfall is because of our miserable Bush economy in which incomes, corporate profits and stock market performance have fallen dramatically, resulting in lower federal and state tax receipts.
If one must find fault, point your finger at a president who has stumbled badly in trying to manage the U.S. economy.
NPR doesn't exclude conservative voices
In David Folkenflik's article on Fox News and its CEO Roger Ailes ("Fair Game," Aug. 13), he quotes Mr. Ailes as saying: "NPR is liberal. Never are there conservatives on NPR. Give me a break -- who are they kidding?"
This is patently and demonstrably untrue. There have been a long list of conservatives on NPR, including Fox's own Bill O'Reilly, who was the guest for an entire hour of NPR's "Talk of the Nation."
And in Mr. O'Reilly's case, it is interesting to note that he declared many times on his television show that he could not get on NPR, even after he had been invited several times.
Fair and balanced?
The writer is vice president for news at National Public Radio.
Israel's security wall is another land grab
I applaud The Sun's effort to compose a fair editorial position on the Israeli "security fence" being constructed on seized Palestinian lands. However, I don't think The Sun has gone far enough in emphasizing the destructive and appalling effects that this fence is having and will have on the Palestinian population.
The construction of this wall, under the pretext of security, is really an affirmation of the bantustanization of the whole region.
The wall segregates unequal populations, illegally annexes East Jerusalem, separates Arabs from their lands and families and is yet another well-disguised land grab.
If Palestinians are to be expected to end their armed resistance, then the causes of that resistance -- occupation, racism, and Israeli expansionism -- need to be ended.
The "security wall" makes both Israelis and Palestinians less secure than ever.
Markets work better to control costs
I loved Jay Hancock's article on Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's dumb investment decisions ("Mikulski shows why one keeps the day job," Aug. 10). Mr. Hancock was humble -- he lost money, too. But what I especially appreciated was the insight the article gives us into improving the efficiency of our large public sector.
The senator and her colleagues in both houses play a role vis-a-vis public agencies (through oversight) which is comparable to the role that markets play in disciplining private enterprise.
On average, the market clearly does a better job of generating cost-cutting measures. And that's one of the reasons public goods and services are generally much more expensive than those from the private sector.
Even Ms. Mikulski might want to give privatization more consideration after her recent unsuccessful efforts to beat the market.
The writer is a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University.
'Healing words' offer true Christian vision
Dan Rodricks' column "Healing words of 17 years ago still echo today" (Aug. 7), was moving in several ways.
As an Episcopal priest who was in the Cathedral Church of the Incarnation when Edwin G. "Ted" Bennett was preaching at my seminary classmate the Rev. Ricardo Palomares' funeral, I was deeply touched that anyone, let alone a member of the "media establishment" would remember what was said 17 years later.
Mr. Rodricks did not have to write this piece and be subject to the kind of criticism it has already garnered ("Causing schism instead of healing," letters, Aug. 14). But he correctly reminds us of just how long it has taken our denomination to take some first steps toward living in the vision Mr. Bennett put before us, which I believe to be the vision Christ Himself brought to the world.
I thank Mr. Rodricks and The Sun for the gifts of both Mr. Bennett's memorable words and an equally memorable piece of true Baltimore journalism at its very best.
The Rev. Kirk Alan Kubicek
The writer is rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church.