Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five



Bill combats a shortage of life-saving cells

Research on the use of stem cells from umbilical cord blood to treat disease is not, as The Sun suggests, "at an early stage" ("Stem-cell bill opposition surprises sponsor," Feb. 19).

Thousands of people, mostly children, have been cured of leukemia, sickle-cell anemia and other blood-related diseases using the stem cells in umbilical cord blood.

The reason even more lives have not been saved is because umbilical cord blood is in short supply. House Bill 398 seeks to remedy that problem.

The Sun's article also says that research "is much further along on embryonic stem cells." That's also not so. Not a single person has been cured of disease using embryonic stem cells. The truth is that embryonic stem-cell research is the research that's highly experimental.

HB 398 is about curing children of devastating diseases. That's an important purpose that might at least have been mentioned in the article rather than overlooked entirely.

It's a shame that some people seem to be willing to hand a death sentence to children with leukemia rather than support a bill to increase the supply of stem cells that could help them.

Nancy E. Fortier


The writer is associate director of the Maryland Catholic Conference.

Give council credit for the Hedwin pact

The Sun's article "Workers get the business" (Feb. 21) failed to mention the role that the city had in helping the Hedwin Corp.

As a member of the City Council representing the area where Hedwin Corp. is located, I met with the officials of Hedwin to figure out a plan to keep the 300 jobs in the city. I initiated the talks between Hedwin and the governor and lieutenant governor's office to help the company stay in the Fourth District and, more important, the city of Baltimore.

It was disappointing that the article failed to mention the role of the City Council representative and the spirit of cooperation between the city and the state that I mentioned at the event.

Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr.


Nader paved the way for Bush presidency

Ralph Nader should be ashamed of his decision to run for president again this year ("Nader rejects pleas, will run for president," Feb. 23). His votes in Florida and New Hampshire elected George W. Bush in 2000 and brought us all the disastrous policies of the Bush administration.

Mr. Nader's decision this year is especially wrong because the likely Democratic nominee, Sen. John Kerry, is a real progressive leader who fought powerful special interests and protected our children from them.

In the 1980s, he was one of the first senators to take on the contras in Nicaragua, incurring the wrath of the Reagan administration and right-wing terrorists.

In 1998, Mr. Kerry worked with Sen. John McCain against the tobacco lobby to enact national tobacco control legislation. Although this bill was defeated by a Republican filibuster, the actions of Mr. McCain and Mr. Kerry helped inspire a national movement of tobacco control activists.

Vincent DeMarco


Is Nader driven only by his ego?

There are only two possible reasons why Ralph Nader would be running again: He is either indulging in a manic ego trip, or he is being paid by the Republicans ("Nader rejects pleas, will run for president," Feb. 23). It must be the former, but that cannot excuse his destructive, but honest, wackiness.

George W. Bush is in the White House today because Mr. Nader's 2000 candidacy took 3 percent of the votes and tipped the Electoral College to Mr. Bush.

It could happen again, but we can hope that most of the people who threw votes to Mr. Nader the last time will be smarter in 2004.

Raymond S. Gill


If the Bush administration remains in power another four years as a result of another close election, then I recommend that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be renamed the "Ralph Nader Oilfields."

Michael Ziegler


Slots in Baltimore but not Ocean City?

What makes families who vacation in Ocean City more important than families who live in Baltimore ("Senate GOP could reject bill on slots," Feb. 20)? If slots are unacceptable in a predominantly white vacation spot, why are they acceptable in a predominantly African-American community?

Until our state legislators can answer those questions, I suggest that the slots issue should be put to rest.

Fred Furney


Liberals distort texts to push their causes

Norman Allen's "Many paths to God" (Opinion * Commentary, Feb. 22) mirrors liberal thought and strategy in virtually all political and social endeavors. The central tenet is: When constitutional law, or biblical Scripture, denies liberals legal or religious support for their beliefs or activities, the Constitution or, in this case, the Bible, becomes, as Mr. Allen puts it, "a living document, full of rich metaphors that transform themselves and resonate anew as our culture and society progress."

In other words, the Constitution and the Bible somehow transform themselves from what is written into whatever the beholder wishes them to be.

Such a ludicrous philosophy is the only path liberals have to advance many of their prime causes, for what is written in the Bible and the Constitution, more often than not, denies them moral and legal support.

Jack Thomas


Don't blame state for city school woes

In reference to the article "Why debt at schools ballooned unnoticed" (Feb. 22) by Liz Bowie, I feel it is ridiculous to suggest that the state should share in the accountability for this problem. The city school system and Baltimore officials alone need to be held accountable for these shortfalls.

Blaming the state is the easy way out and should not be tolerated.

Jeff Button


City school board oversaw misdeeds

The dominant news story in recent days has been the financial and cash flow crisis engulfing the city school system ("Neall resigns; school rescue in jeopardy," Feb 26). We have heard much about the mismanagement of the school system's finances by former city schools CEO Carmen V. Russo. Where is the outcry against the mismanagement of the situation by the body established to provide oversight of the system, the school board?

This body, which was established in 1997 by the city and the state, was supposed to carry out "reform" and make the school system accountable to the citizens of Maryland as well of Baltimore.

Why are we not holding the school board members accountable for the managerial misdeeds at North Avenue?

Philip H. Grantham


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