Population strains most basic resource
The Sun's thorough coverage of the outlook for Maryland's water needs gave readers an extremely serious warning about the prospect that we could run out of our most important natural resource because of the sheer number of people here ("Running dry?" Feb. 5).
State Sen. Roy P. Dyson showed his awareness of the approaching disaster when he said, "The way we're going now is not working. Some day we'll wake up and say, 'Oh, my God, where are we going to get our water?'"
Everybody who is aware of the coming water shortage should be talking and writing and demanding that the U.S. Congress work toward stabilizing our country's population.
This must start by really controlling our borders and returning the rate of legal immigration to pre-1965 levels.
We must control population growth or suffer the consequences of severe water shortages.
Carleton W. Brown
Changing lifestyles to conserve water
The Sun's article "Running dry?" (Feb. 5) is an excellent summary of how growth is straining one of our most essential resources.
There is a water cycle that is appropriate for each ecosystem.
Beyond thinking about the issue of what a sustainable level of population is, we have to think about the issue of our lifestyle.
So far, we have faced few restrictions on our profligate behaviors. But in many parts of the West where annual rainfall is small, many communities have mandated low-flow toilets and cisterns to collect rainwater from roofs so it can be recycled. In some cases, all household water is treated and becomes recycled gray water for gardens or lawns.
We have too many impervious surfaces in Maryland, and too much of our rain finds its way to the sea rather than into our groundwater.
Better technologies can help, but Smart Growth can also help by increasing density and leaving more land open so nature can do her thing.
J. Russell Tyldesley
Stay of execution stops more cruelty
I think the Maryland Court of Appeals made a prudent decision about the execution of Vernon Lee Evans Jr. ("Evans' death sentence on hold," Feb. 7).
The evidence I have heard suggests that lethal injection does constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.
I take little joy in this victory, however, as it is quite hard on the families of Mr. Evans' victims.
The death penalty does not deter crime, and I doubt that it brings closure to anyone.
I wish Maryland would abolish this barbaric institution.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. opposed violence in all forms. It's strange that we give him a holiday but continue to do that which he found repulsive.
How can we trust Bush to spy on us?
Are the people in Ohio who were interviewed for the article "Security, rights split swing state on NSA spying" (Feb. 6) living in another universe?
Anyone who would trust this administration not to use wiretaps against its political enemies should talk to former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.
President Bush and his political adviser Karl Rove count on collective national amnesia and the public's instinctive desire to trust the president.
They have honed this abuse of the public trust to an art form, emboldened by each lie to tell the next, bigger lie.
Mr. Bush must have to pinch himself each day to remind himself it is not a dream, that this grossly cynical manipulation keeps working.
Retirement age unfair to elderly
Instead of speculating about who will replace retiring judges, Maryland should be abolishing the mandatory retirement age for judges ("Judicial picks at issue in Md. race," Feb. 4).
It's blatant discrimination. Saying someone more than 70 years old can't be a judge is no different from saying an African-American or a woman can't be a judge.
Missing real story on vote verification
The Sun missed the real story in the coverage of the briefings on vote-verification studies ("Paper trail for voting machines unlikely this year," Feb. 2).
The conclusion reached was predetermined by the State Board of Elections because the only systems it allowed to be studied were prototypes.
The most widely used, time-tested and economical type of voting system that provides voter verification, access for the disabled and the ability to conduct recounts was not part of the study.
This is the optical-scan voting system, which was used in 19 counties in Maryland for decades before those areas were forced to switch to paperless, touch-screen machines.
Maryland's present voting system is riddled with security vulnerabilities and does not allow for reliable recounts or audits.
A broad array of respected citizen groups, including the NAACP, Common Cause, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization for Women, the Sierra Club, the League of Women Voters, Progressive Maryland and several labor unions testified in favor of voter-verified paper ballot legislation later that afternoon at a packed hearing.
But The Sun failed to cover the real story.
The writer is a co-founder of TrueVoteMD.org.
Cod liver oil can be dangerous to health
The Sun's brief note about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids suggests that fish sources rich in omega-3 fatty acids include cod liver oil ("Omega-3 fatty acids' benefits questioned," Feb. 3).
While it is technically true that cod liver oil is rich in omega-3 acids, it is not the fish oil recommended as a substitute for eating fish. The reason? It also delivers four times the recommended daily intake of preformed vitamin A, and too much vitamin A can lead to hip fractures, birth defects and cirrhosis of the liver.
The good news is that cod liver oil tastes so bad no one would take it that long.
The usually recommended oil is fish body oil made from salmon, herring, menhaden and other fatty fish. It contains no preformed vitamin A, so it is safe to take in reasonable amounts.
The writer is a licensed and registered dietitian.
Walking is path to a longer life
Thank you for the inspiring obituary describing the active life of Matthew Hilton Conway, who recently passed away at 104 years of age ("Matthew Hilton Conway, 104, factory worker for 40 years," Feb. 4).
It is inspiring because it may encourage more older people to become active walkers. This is one of the best ways to stay healthy and achieve a long life.