Exploring space is noble purpose for human spirit
As the old saying goes, "If God had intended for man to travel in space, He would have put a moon near the Earth." And He did. So let's colonize it ("Bush charts new course to moon, beyond," Jan. 15).
Let's hope the president makes the development of the lunar base an international effort.
One of the best ways to keep the peace - whether it is among your children or among nations - is to give people higher goals.
What could be better, more noble, more useful and more uplifting to the human spirit than building a permanent colony on the moon and a system for traveling to and fro?
Think this is too dangerous, too impractical and difficult to accomplish? If so, think about how many millions of people each year travel safely at 35,000 feet in the freezing cold without enough natural air to support them.
Humans made that amazing feat fantastically commonplace. Space travel can evolve similarly.
The writer is a support contractor for the Goddard Space Center.
It's the space plan that's not 'realistic'
While the front page of the Jan. 15 Sun focused on President Bush's proposal for new manned space missions ("Bush charts new course to moon, beyond"), an inside story looked at a recommendation for universal health care ("Health coverage for all Americans by 2010 urged"). That recommendation prompted this response from a Bush administration official: "It's not realistic."
Am I crazy for thinking the placement of the stories should have been reversed - with the "It's not realistic" quote in the space program story?
More pressing needs right here on Earth
As a science teacher and former scientist, I find the thought of sending people to the moon and on to Mars very exciting ("Bush charts new course to moon, beyond," Jan. 15). Of course, I also think it would be exciting to take a month to go to Australia and study its unique geology, animal and plant life. However, I have other needs to focus on right now - namely, my family and students. Then there is the not-so-small problem that I cannot afford such a trip anyway.
This scenario is very similar to the one in which President Bush now finds himself.
Many of our schools are a mess, Social Security is in danger, we are paying for a war with no end in sight - and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Yet rather than concentrating on the needs we have, Mr. Bush is dreaming about spending billions of dollars to send a few people to the moon and beyond.
Where is the logic in that? And how are we going to pay for it? We already are looking at a record deficit, and Mr. Bush considers his tax cuts nonnegotiable.
This is all so unbelievable that I can only ask: What planet is Mr. Bush from, anyway?
After ruining Earth, we'll need new home
Thank heaven President Bush has set his sights on colonizing space ("Bush charts new course to moon, beyond," Jan. 15).
After his administration and the American consumer have completed the job of polluting the Earth so that human life is no longer compatible with its environment, we'll have someplace else to live.
Now that's a vision thing.
Quality of health care is now in jeopardy
The Maryland Academy of Family Physicians appreciates the article "Doctors reach a crisis point" (Jan. 11). I feel, however, that by highlighting obstetricians/gynecologists, the article implies that the malpractice crisis is mostly a sub-specialty matter that may not have an impact on all patients.
In fact, the public should be aware that their family doctors and other primary care physicians are being hit just as hard by soaring rates by insurance companies (as a result of exorbitant claims payments).
Also, physicians and their practices can no longer (nor do they wish to) respond to increased insurance rates and lower reimbursement rates from HMOs and Medicare by charging increased fees to their patients.
In the hope of achieving relief from the malpractice crisis, physicians are actively seeking immediate reform legislation from the General Assembly.
And we ask that the public consider that quality health care for themselves and their families is in jeopardy.
Esther Rae Barr
The writer is executive director of the Maryland Academy of Family Physicians.
New building's foes hurt Remington
The Remington Neighborhood Association and its allies in Charles Village and Peabody Heights are their own worst enemies ("Remington project violates zoning rules," letter, Jan. 10).
These groups' combined effort to stop the construction of a new apartment building on Cresmont Avenue has backfired, since they have managed to turn what would have been a much nicer project - a six-story mix of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments - into a seven-story building filled to the brim with four-bedroom units.
How much longer must the residents of Remington tolerate this group's antics?
I hope that the apartment building in question will be completed soon, so the developer and property manager can prove once and for all that their project will benefit our neighborhood and city, and will not become the fraternity house its small group of opponents says it will be.
City's fee for alarms adds insult to injury
People have burglar alarms installed hoping they will deter illegal entry into their residences or commercial properties. And burglar alarms do most likely help decrease illegal entries, which in turn helps to decrease crime statistics.
The city's new $20 annual fee for those who have burglar alarm systems makes me feel as though I am being penalized for trying to help ("Proposal seeks to change city alarm fees," Jan. 13).
What's next, charging me a fee for having too many trash cans?
Who knew ashtrays could be priceless?
John Woestendiek has made us laugh once again - even on a subject as nasty as smoking ("Ashes to Ashes," Jan. 10).
If Mr. Woestendiek's writing talent hadn't made me laugh, I'd be crying over the thought of all those ashtrays I gave away that are now collectibles selling for big bucks in antique shops and on eBay.
The article made me recall two 1959 wedding gift ashtrays I disposed of - one of which resembled a kidney but was 10 times as large and the other of which displayed a wild goose with spread wings painted in every color imaginable.
What could I have been thinking? They'd be priceless today.