The Baltimore Sun

Nagging small price to pay to save planet

The Sun deserves its own eco-scolding for characterizing environmentally aware people as annoying wackos ("Squeaky green," Nov. 4).

As the editors of The Sun should know well, our planet's future, and hence our own, faces dire threats.

The many decisions, large and small, the billions of us humans make each and every day have an enormous collective impact on the planet that sustains us. So why malign the good people who are environmentally aware and are changing their personal habits for the sake of the planet?

How about doing a follow-up article about self-absorbed, environmentally unconscious dunderheads?

Take for example, one man cited in The Sun's recent article about hybrid SUVs ("Price could determine success of hybrid SUVs," Nov. 4)

He drives a gargantuan SUV and complains about the cost of filling it with gas. He appears to be clueless about his vehicle's environmental costs.

Why aren't people like this man changing their wasteful and environmentally destructive ways and making different choices?

We all share this planet and its fate. I don't want my children and their children to live in a degraded and environmentally impoverished world.

It falls to the environmentally conscious to wake the environmentally unconscious from their self-induced comas.

It's an urgent need, and if doing something about it takes leading by example, being politically active, cajoling, scolding, nagging, etc., to wake up the environmentally unconscious, so be it.

George Maurer


More time is needed to face budget woes

I have many concerns about the process of the General Assembly special session. Foremost among them is the lack of time and information available for voters to review and reflect on the legislation being considered ("Panel reworks revenue package," Nov. 7).

Increasing Maryland's state taxes must be given serious and thoughtful consideration so that we understand all the related concerns.

Once the decision to increase taxes is made, it will be difficult to go back and revisit these increases.

But just look at how many new taxes are being considered, even though their full impact is not clearly understood.

I love my state. I love my nation. I realize that government needs funding to function.

However, I expect no less from our government than I do from my family - and that is to spend within our budget and be accountable for how we spend our hard-earned dollars.

Please take this budget process more seriously.

Patt A. Parker


The writer is president of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women.

Don't put huge tax on liberty to gamble

In a free society, liberty should trump all other considerations. To that end, gambling should be legal in any community that wants it, in any form (slots, casinos, poker parlors, etc.), in places where the zoning is appropriate.

Citizens should be allowed to spend or waste their money in any way they see fit, and the state should not be wasting its time and money enforcing gambling laws or worrying about gambling addictions.

But having said all that, I don't think the state should be in the gambling business or be entitled to any more of the receipts from gaming than it gets from a shoe store, jewelry store or candy store ("Slots casinos would pay 70% tax," Nov. 1).

And certainly, the state should not use the receipts from one business to subsidize another foundering enterprise.

Dave Reich

Perry Hall

Indecent to impose hatred on others

Even if the members of Westboro Baptist Church were within their constitutional right to stage protests at military funerals, where is their sense of decency ("Father won suit, lost his once-quiet demeanor," Nov. 3)?

To interrupt a ceremony honoring a family's lost loved one is despicable, to say the least.

And whatever their opinion is about gays in the military, church members don't have the right to impose this view on others.

I am 54 years old, and at no other time in my life do I recall so many groups on the left and right trying to tell other people how to live their lives as I see today.

Ken Leary


Abetting wiretaps merits no immunity

Lee H. Hamilton is wrong about immunity for telecommunications companies involved in wiretapping ("Immunity for wiretap assistance is right call," Opinion

Community, Nov. 4).

The administration's wiretapping program broke the law, and the communications companies were co-conspirators in that effort.

So what excuse does Mr. Hamilton come up with to claim immunity for corporate lawbreakers?

First, that the companies acted "out of a sense of patriotic duty," and second, that they believe their actions were legal.

This is illogical. If what was asked of them was legal, why was the practice concealed?

Mr. Hamilton does get one thing right: "Government actions require public review."

But it can be argued that this is the most secretive government in U.S. history.

Based on the Bush administration's record, I cannot imagine why any corporation would do its bidding.

However, if the communications companies involved in spying on citizens do get immunity, others are apt to become lawbreakers.

Max Obuszewski


Ripken represents nation's better side

Congratulations to Rick Maese on his excellent articles on Cal Ripken in China ("He's at the Wall," Nov. 2, and "Leading off," Nov. 1).

Congratulations to the public relations group that sent him to China. And congratulations to Mr. Ripken and his staff for their excellent work there. The smiles on the faces of those boys in the pictures of the baseball field are worth a fortune.

Mr. Ripken, fellow former Oriole B. J. Surhoff and their group are really role models.

We need such people to show other countries we have worthwhile people here.

Leo McDonagh

Perry Hall

Epidemic's priority turns to prevention

The Sun's prize-worthy series on the causes of the city's AIDS epidemic very powerfully underscores the fact that HIV prevention must be a priority ("An epidemic's unseen cause," Nov. 4-5).

The prevention process is two-pronged:

By providing HIV education, counseling and testing, we can prevent the uninfected from becoming infected.

Through early detection, treatment and support services for people with the disease that ensure adherence to medical protocols, we can prevent the virus from developing resistance to medication and spawning mutations.

Thank you to The Sun for this vivid series.

Frank Sullivan


The writer is a clinic manager for the Health Education Resource Organization, an HIV/AIDS service agency.

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