Block blackouts by emphasizing energy efficiency
As the Northeast slowly turns the lights back on, Maryland must take steps to prevent similar power disruptions. Thursday's blackout emphasizes the consequence of our overreliance on a large centralized power system ("Aging grid ripe for more troubles," Aug. 17).
There is no question that our electric grid needs some modernization. The emphasis, however, should not be on more business as usual - building more power lines to link more large power plants. And it should not be on further energy deregulation. The states that suffered the blackout are among those where energy is most deregulated.
Now is the time to re-evaluate this system and strive for one that recognizes the economic value of energy efficiency and puts an emphasis on smaller, local generation sources that do not rely on fossil fuels.
Recent studies show that energy efficiency is the quickest and cheapest way to promote reliability in our electricity grids, while reducing pollution and saving money.
Now is the time for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and the General Assembly to set minimum energy efficiency standards for products sold or installed in Maryland and to re-establish the state's once-lucrative energy efficiency programs.
The writer is an energy advocate for the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.
A taste of what the Iraqis suffer
The Northeastern power outage should help us understand the people in Baghdad who suffer every day without power ("For Iraqis, blackouts are a way of life," Aug. 16).
Cavalier statements about appreciating freedom rather than worrying about power should be reconsidered. Having no power is more than an inconvenience - and it certainly obstructs freedom.
Teresa A. Caruthers
The people rejected further tax hikes
House Speaker Michael E. Busch suggests it's the state legislature's "responsibility" to raise our taxes ("Busch supports tax increase to fund states' public schools," Aug. 15).
I think it's the other way around: It's the legislature's responsibility to listen to the people. And when the people elected Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. as governor, we said no to higher taxes and an obese government.
But as usual the Democrats of this state think you can tax your way out of any problem - showing fiscal restraint is not an idea in their pseudo-intellectual heads.
And what is really disgusting is how Mr. Busch led the defeat of Mr. Ehrlich's slots bill, which could have funded at least the majority of the Thornton bill, and now he wants gambling on his terms so he can take credit for education funding if gambling does come to Maryland.
Can anyone delay his trial date?
According to The Sun's article "Chapman's federal trial delayed until next summer" (Aug. 15), "Nathan A. Chapman Jr., the Baltimore investment banker accused of defrauding the state pension system and his own companies, agreed yesterday to a delay of his federal trial until next summer to allow more preparation time for his new attorney, high-profile Washington lawyer William R. 'Billy' Martin."
Can anyone get his or her trial delayed by 10 or 12 months simply by hiring a lawyer who's too busy to work on the case right away?
Or do you have to be someone who has a lot of money and friends in high places?
Arabs victimized in name of security
The plight of Palestinians was vividly and accurately described in reporter Peter Hermann's article "Israeli security fence becomes big barrier for some farmers" (Aug. 12). I would like to thank The Sun for having the courage to publish it.
What is happening to the Palestinians in the name of Israeli security is immoral. It is ironic and deeply troubling that Israelis can justify such actions given their own history of persecution.
Exaggerating decline of American fisheries
Timothy B. Wheeler's article on declining fish stocks was an interesting look at fishery management ("Fewer fish swim the sea," Aug. 11). However, the article included some environmentalist rhetoric that the facts simply don't support.
Mr. Wheeler cited an article in the journal Nature that says industrialized fishing "has reduced the number and size of [large fish] by as much as 90 percent over the past half-century."
The Nature article actually states that 90 percent of the large fish within a stock of fish are missing - not 90 percent of the fish stock. And the article has since been rebutted by a team of respected, non-industry scientists who address several flaws in its methodology and refute its conclusion.
Also in the Sun article, "conservationists" claimed that "60 percent of commercially important U.S. fish stocks are severely depleted." Nothing could be further from the truth.
In its "Status of U.S. Fisheries" report to Congress for 2002, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said overfishing is occurring in less than 10 percent of U.S. fisheries, and the industry is bringing that to an end with rebuilding plans.
While the fishing industry acknowledges that problems exist, industry-government cooperation is vital to sustainable fishery management. And no one has more interest in ensuring the supply of seafood to America than the men and women who want to pass their businesses on to their children and grandchildren.
The writer is vice president of the National Fisheries Institute.
Holly Neck area should stay pristine
I just returned from a survey drive along Holly Neck Road to examine one of the last remaining pristine waterfront areas in Baltimore County. I find it deplorable - and unbelievable - that the leadership of this county is going to permit the despoiling of yet another area that should remain development-free ("Holly Neck plan circumvented zoning process," letters, Aug. 15).
How can these leaders be brought back to their senses?
Franklin W. Littleton
Commodore chose to back Confederacy
How absurd the quest to "restore" Commodore Isaac Mayo's "good name" ("Death Before Dishonor," Aug. 11)
He and other Confederate sympathizers welcomed being dismissed from the U.S. military. It was a badge of honor.
His descendants imply that, because he died before being formally notified of his dismissal, he somehow remained a loyal citizen in good standing with the U.S. Navy.
Commodore Mayo would certainly feel that the only blot on his "good name" is the attempt to cloud his enthusiastic support of the Confederacy.
John G. Barry