The wrong time for city to bet on hotel business

The private sector doesn't want to fund a convention center hotel ("Deals secure council votes for city hotel," Aug. 12). Could it be that investors can see the storm coming?

The storm is the oil factor and its effects on tourism and our entire economy.

The world is running out of cheap oil. A select number of countries are addicted to cheap oil, and it is the Achilles' heel of the so-called developed nations.

The tourism industry is fueled by oil. Hucksters encourage tourists to fly and drive to Baltimore. Come see the land of pleasant living. But it is risky business to build an economy on the back of tourism.

And, nationwide, attempting to maintain our outrageous American standard of living can lead to only more violence and more Iraq-style wars. And war is the ultimate terrorism. We must understand that the cheap oil party is over.

The lack of cheap oil will cause all of life's necessities to skyrocket, and only the rich will be on the tours.

It's time for Baltimoreans to look forward. We've made some terrible blunders in the past.

We didn't plan on losing more than 100,000 blue-collar jobs during the last few decades. Did anyone predict in 1950 that by the turn of the century Baltimore would lose one-third of its population?

Who knew that Bethlehem Steel would fold its tent, or that in many of Baltimore's ZIP codes, more than half of the working class would become idle?

Let's not make another dumb mistake by publicly financing a hotel.

The sly old private sector sees the storm coming. You won't see private money being poured down a rat hole.

Mayor Martin O'Malley and the Baltimore Development Corp. won't be here when the project comes tumbling down.

No, we the citizens will have to deal with all the ramifications of this bad deal: We built it, but they couldn't afford to come.

Brendan Walsh


The writer is a co-founder of Viva House, Baltimore Catholic Worker.

Illegal immigrants changing the nation

When 58 percent of Mexicans believe our Southwest belongs to their country, something is seriously wrong ("Closing door on illegal immigrants," Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 10).

Even after 9/11 and the war on terror, any effort to stem the tide of illegal immigration has failed.

Although a growing number of Americans view this as an invasion, others welcome the lawbreakers with compassion.

And when religious leaders, the business community, the Bush administration and so-called compassionate Americans aid and abet illegal immigrants, the kind of efforts taking place in New Hampshire are meaningless.

In June, Catholic Charities opened a larger Hispanic Apostolate to assist Latino newcomers in downtown Baltimore. Their legal status is of no importance to the church.

Whether we like it or not, America is changing. In 10 years, we won't recognize our country. A few of us have tried to make a difference, but we are branded bigots and racists.

Sadly, the efforts of Police Chief W. Garrett Chamberlain of New Ipswich, N.H., will be a forgotten footnote to history.

Rosalind Nester Ellis


Science is rooted in a form of faith

Cynthia Tucker's column "American scientific ingenuity shackled by the religious right" (Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 8) is right on, in a literary sense, but way out in left field in its substance.

American ingenuity is not dead. Resourcefulness is a given. And harping on stem-cell research is misguided. The research continues, but will be better with better ideas, responsible plans and acceptable ethics.

President Bush is too smart to declare "war on science." The concept of science stands alone; you can't war against it and expect to win.

I've spent some 55 years as a research scientist; I'm a Christian, an evangelical, and I have no objections to the teaching of evolution or "intelligent design" or whatever moniker is applied to explain creation. What are we afraid of?

Believe it or not, science is a religion based on faith - a faith that the theories and laws currently in vogue are applicable to the physical, biological, chemical and nuclear states. But those theories are not chiseled in stone.

William F. Seip


Brutality alone doesn't win wars

Gregory Kane's thesis that "brutal tactics make the enemy quit" is counterfactual ("Hey, Mr. President: War is all about the brutality," Aug. 6). Does he believe, for instance, that the United States was more brutal than the Nazis during World War II?

And if brutality really decides the outcome of wars, how does Mr. Kane explain the U.S. defeat in Vietnam even after we killed millions of soldiers and civilians?

More perplexing is Mr. Kane's advice that President Bush be more brutal in Iraq to win the war, while simultaneously reminding Mr. Bush that the French experience in Algeria demonstrates the "futility of occupying Iraq."

I suspect it is muddle-headed thinking like this on the part of the Bush administration that got us into the Iraq debacle.

What we need now is creativity and compassion in order to get us out of Iraq.

Dave Goldsmith


Steroid inquiry barks up wrong tree

Members of the Republican-led House of Representatives are mad as hornets because they have been misled - regarding steroid use ("Congress asks for Palmeiro details," Aug. 10). They are talking about subpoenas and hearings to get answers - about a professional athlete's steroid use.

It seems to me that Congress may have previously been misled, and the stakes were much higher.

Still, Congress doesn't seem particularly interested in getting to the bottom of the missing Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the various prisoner abuse scandals and the Downing Street memo, to name just a few issues.

It makes me wish the Republican leadership took national security issues as seriously as those relating to the national pastime.

John Lewis


Balloon offered panoramic vista

I am very sorry to hear that the big balloon at Port Discovery has permanently been grounded ("Options sought for site of balloon," Aug. 10).

I am sure that it was a harrowing experience for the riders who were trapped in the air on the balloon, helplessly swaying back and forth. But when the balloon functioned correctly, it was a great attraction for countless people.

The balloon gave a view of Baltimore and the Inner Harbor that was very scenic and breathtaking to behold.

I feel very fortunate to have experienced such an enjoyable and unforgettable moment.

Murphy Edward Smith


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