The Baltimore Sun

Avoiding questions on global warming

Real questions exist regarding Earth's planetary energy balance and the contribution of carbon dioxide to that balance at the low levels seen in its atmosphere ("Global divide," editorial, May 17).

Yes, low levels - the greenhouse effect was developed to explain the high temperature on Venus, which has atmospheric carbon dioxide levels far exceeding those on Earth or Mars.

The scientific method is not theocratic, democratic or judicial; it is objective and requires real consideration of dissent.

The Sun's use of terms such as "believer" and "myth" with respect to global warming serves as an example of the way that the pseudo-religious nature of the beliefs of many of those who say humans are causing global climate change interferes with answering the very real concerns about that theory raised by qualified skeptics.

The Sun should consider sponsoring a public forum where qualified, properly credentialed dissenters get to be heard openly, fairly and without rancor.

Paul Spause, Hanover

The writer is an aerospace engineer.

I fully understand that the editorial column is the area in which the editors of The Sun promote their biased point of view. However, in the editorial "Global divide," The Sun used a ploy designed, in my opinion, to mislead its readers.

The Sun's positions regarding global warming were designated as "fact." Contrarian views were labeled "myth."

Additionally, the editorial listed a number of Web sites it obviously believes will bolster its point of view. But it didn't list any Web sites where readers can find opposing views.

Readers of The Sun who wish to see hundreds of Web sites that oppose The Sun's positions on global warming can do so by simply Googling "Opposition to IPCC claims regarding global warming."

Richard Seymour, Baltimore

ROTC wrong choice for UMBC students

The forums held last week at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to discuss a proposal to introduce a department of military science on campus were not announced until last Thursday and were scheduled for the last day of classes of the semester and the first day of exams ("Proposed ROTC unit at UMBC protested," May 9).

Thus the discussion was limited and was organized in such a way that the administration's advocacy of a department of military science was difficult to challenge.

Now UMBC President Freeman A. Hrabowski III and Provost Arthur Johnson will decide whether or not to apply to the Army to host a department of military science.

As The Sun reported, other area universities, apparently including Towson University, have declined the offer to apply. UMBC should do likewise.

Mr. Hrabowski and Mr. Johnson avoided placing this discussion in the context of the debate on the Iraq war.

While most of the country is trying to find a way out of that disaster, Mr. Hrabowski and Mr. Johnson seem to want to support it.

If they proceed with the application, they will end up with blood on their hands.

John Sinnigen, Baltimore

The writer is a professor of Spanish and intercultural communication at UMBC.

Military training just dehumanizing

As a member of the Baltimore chapter of Veterans for Peace, I read with interest The Sun's editorial on ROTC at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County ("ROTC at UMBC," May 18).

I attended a college in North Carolina in the 1960s where we were required to take ROTC the first two years. Those who took it for four years could become officers.

Today, we do not have a draft, but we do have many young people looking for ways to pay for higher education, and ROTC scholarships are tempting options.

But I encourage the UMBC faculty and administration to seriously think about the militaristic mindset and training ROTC brings to a campus.

Beneath the propaganda and the big bucks the Pentagon has to offer, the reality is that ROTC is training for a system of conflict engagement that instructs trainees to dehumanize, if not demonize, the enemy. In the process, the trainee is dehumanized.

After all, a soldier is being prepared to kill other human beings.

This training is in contradiction to a university's purpose of respecting human personhood by enabling students to learn more about themselves and to learn how to lead harmonious and fruitful lives.

John Oliver, Catonsville

Now time to tap our own oil supply

It looks like it's time for America to make a decision: Do we want to continue to be gouged by OPEC or do we want to tap into our own oil resources and force the price to fall to affordable levels ("Saudi oil production unchanged," May 17)?

Chuck Edghill, Baltimore

Lobbying offers citizens a voice

I read with dismay the letter "Ban all lobbyists from halls of power" (May 14).

While there may be some inappropriate behavior from certain organized lobbyists, to promote an outright ban on advocacy before our government officials is simply misguided, and contrary to the beliefs of the framers of the Constitution.

Many people incorrectly assume that large, corporate interests are the only ones that lobby in support of or opposition to various policy initiatives.

In fact, there are countless others - community activists, volunteer organizations or just everyday citizens - who share their views with legislators in the hope of influencing the legislative outcome.

Rather than seeking to ban lobbying, which I prefer to call citizen advocacy, I would encourage more people to take the initiative and engage in a constructive dialogue with our legislators.

Jeffrey Smith, Nottingham

The writer is chairman of the legislative committee of the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association.

It's the pests that pose real danger

With the potential to destroy millions of acres of Maryland's forests and cause allergic reactions with their waste, gypsy moths are a real danger to Maryland's environment and a threat to public health ("Is spraying moths injurious to health?" letters, May 16).

Spraying by the state to kill these pests is appropriate and safe.

It is time we all remembered the problem is the pests, not the judicious use of pesticides to control them.

Allen James, Washington

The writer is president of Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment, a trade group that represents pesticide manufacturers.

Bringing lacrosse to girls in the city

I felt great sadness reading about the discontinuation of the Pacas lacrosse team ("Hope in lacrosse, for now," May 15).

As a high school and club lacrosse player, I know first-hand the fun, companionship and opportunities that the sport offers.

I was lucky enough to have the experience of meeting coach Leigh McDonald Hall and interacting with the Pacas.

Ms. Hall shared her love of lacrosse with this team and expected nothing in return.

Many of the Pacas were excited about the opportunity to play lacrosse and were eager to improve their athleticism and stick skills despite not having access to good fields or eager spectators.

Ms. Hall is to be commended for her commitment to sharing the sport with girls who otherwise might never have had the experience of playing.

Baltimore proudly considers itself a lacrosse powerhouse. But how many girls from the inner city do you really see playing college lacrosse?

The end of the team is a loss not only for the Pacas but also for society.

On behalf of all lacrosse players, I would like to say: Thank you, Coach Hall, for inspiring us to see that playing lacrosse is more than just a game. It is a way to make a difference in life.

Nealy Harnsberger, Timonium

The writer is a junior at Roland Park Country School.

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