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Letters to the Editor

The Baltimore Sun

As I read "Slow down or say cheese" (Aug. 1), I anticipated the usual reactions from those who claim their right to speed would be violated.

But leave it it to state Sen. Andrew P. Harris to bring out the "Big Brother is watching you" argument.

What I find ironic is that those who scream the loudest against public safety enhancements such as photo speed radar and red-light cameras seem to have no problem when it comes to illegal government wiretapping and surveillance.

It seems that the big difference is that in this case they might be caught.

In the Towson area Mr. Harris represents, for instance, the police are hopelessly overwhelmed, with just one dedicated speed enforcement unit to cover a huge area.

As I watch cars routinely exceed 50 miles per hour on streets with a posted speed limit of 30 mph, I dream of a day when my neighborhood is safe from these scofflaws.

Let us stop making excuses for speeders and reclaim our neighborhoods.

Tim Eastman

Baltimore

Cameras could calm Canton's traffic woes

As a Canton resident, I would like to volunteer Boston Street as a pilot site for use of the speed cameras ("Slow down or say cheese," Aug. 1).

Boston Street is both a high-density residential street and a major city thoroughfare. It has a 30 mile per hour speed limit posted but it is common to see cars, trucks, and even buses, traveling at speeds in excess of 50 mph down this street, even as pedestrians try to cross Boston Street.

The street is a deathtrap waiting to happen.

The police seem uninterested in traditional traffic enforcement; so let's get the cameras rolling.

Will Kostelecky

Baltimore

Attacking Iran isn't the path to peace

In his column "Is America today morally paralyzed, like 1930s France?" (Opinion

Commentary, July 26), Thomas Sowell expresses his contempt for diplomacy and suggests "the Iranian leaders are not going to stop unless they get stopped."

In essence, he recommends that the U.S. adopt a strike-first, negotiate-later policy toward Iran, so that we can get them before they get us.

Like Mr. Sowell, let's forget that we might not have the military capacity to back the tough talk of hawkish academics.

But even so, the inconvenient reality is that when you create a power void, something fills its place - and it is often something worse.

You don't need to travel to Mr. Sowell's fantasized version of 1936 Europe for proof; you need only look at the foolish foreign policy that led to our pre-emptive war on Iraq.

The consequences of the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq are still unraveling the delicate balance of power in the Middle East, notably by freeing theocratic Iran from its bitter rivalry with the secular neighboring Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.

Our subsequent no-win occupation of Iraq, combined with our cursory efforts in Afghanistan, have surely emboldened Iran and other enemies by stretching our military razor-thin and increasing hatred for the United States around the world.

After our defeat of Mr. Hussein, the United States ironically has become less safe.

And I shudder at the thought of the world after a U.S.-Iran war, win or lose.

Bill Geibler

Fallston

Even a superpower has to mend fences

If we continue along our current path, the American empire might soon be over.

The euro is more powerful than the dollar in many markets, and India is right behind China in vying for position as a future global financial leader.

As William A. Rugh correctly noted, "Americans assumed that public diplomacy was no longer needed because we were the sole superpower and could do what we wanted" ("Quiet progress in public diplomacy," Opinion

Commentary, July 31).

But even Paris Hilton doesn't get invited back to the party if she behaves badly enough.

William Trolinger

Ellicott City

Moving monuments distorts our heritage

As a distant relative of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, I would like to comment on C. Fraser Smith's column "Words that will never die" (Opinion

Commnetary, July 22).

Mr. Taney was one of the most distinguished Americans of the 19th century. He served his country with distinction for more than 30 years, early on as President Andrew Jackson's secretary of the Treasury and then as chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Earlier generations of Americans decided it was appropriate to recognize his achievements with a bust in Frederick, a statue at the State House and a monument at Mount Vernon Square in Baltimore.

It is not for others, years later, to undo this recognition in the name of political correctness, changing views of history or even if a vocal few choose to be offended by such monuments.

And as to the Dred Scott ruling, the decision was completely in accordance with the times and the Constitution of the United States of 1787.

The court's vote backing Mr. Taney's ruling was 7 to 2. It wasn't even close.

It might also be remembered that Mr. Taney attempted to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution against the tyranny of the Lincoln government in our state in the case of Ex Parte Merryman (1861).

All Americans deserve to see, enjoy and learn from the entire spectrum of America's history.

Moving or destroying monuments does nothing to advance that effort.

G. Elliott Cummings

Baltimore

The writer is an adjutant for the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Lucky to witness the Ripken era

Raymond Daniel Burke's column "Thank you, Cal, for everything you stood for" (Opinion

Commentary, July 29) was a wonderful reflection of how we all feel about Cal Ripken and his family.

Many years ago, Lou Gehrig proclaimed that he was the luckiest man on earth.

But today we are the lucky ones - lucky that our children, our game of baseball and all of us were here to see Mr. Ripken.

I would like to add my thank you to Cal for his love of the game, his integrity and the example he set for all of us.

Marge Griffith

Pasadena

O'Malley hasn't met his energy promises

The writer of the letter "Did O'Malley pledge to roll back rates?" (July 31) criticizes The Sun for stating that then-Mayor Martin O'Malley pledged to hold the line on the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. rate hike if elected governor.

The writer asserts that Mr. O'Malley only promised to fight the rate hike, not stop it.

To the contrary, Mr. O'Malley not only made such promises, but ran campaign commercials with the following tagline: "Martin O'Malley: Taking on BGE to stop the rate hikes."

Unfortunately, Marylanders are now being forced to pay the price for Martin O'Malley's broken campaign promises.

John Flynn

Annapolis

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Republican Party.

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