Hallucinogens a risky quick fix
Before The Sun weighed in on the medicinal value of hallucinogens ("Tuning in, not out," editorial, July 6), it would have been worth its while to engage in some scientific investigative reporting. A publication by Hopkins researchers should not be accepted blindly as the truth.
LSD for victims of trauma?
This recommendation despite the increased risk of suicide documented among LSD users?
Ecstasy for post-traumatic stress?
Ecstasy may provide short-term relief, but it can cause long-term defects in the brain's systems for transporting and receiving serotonin, the very systems most important for stable mood.
In our overmedicated society, we once again seem eager to provide a quick fix for problems that really require hard work and time - such as extensive counseling, a healing, emotionally supportive lifestyle with plenty of exercise, a diet rich in mood-enhancing vitamins and a daily routine that is productive.
With the tight budget that prevails at National Institutes of Health, it is surprising that research into the effects of hallucinogens in humans has been funded at all after all that was learned from their recreational and "medicinal" use in the 1960s.
Timothy Leary is doing more than smiling; he is laughing, and the laugh is on us.
Christine Miller, Baltimore
The writer is a molecular neuroscientist with a doctorate in pharmacology.
Failing to protect abused women
In "A right to asylum?" (July 8), we have a case of a young female who was tragically hurt in her country, trying to stay here in the United States to go to school to become a taxpaying member of society. Yet we are not protecting her.
I wonder two things: Was the tribunal within the Department of Justice that ruled on her case all male?
And if this same person had been male, and had his genitals so mutilated that he could not live a normal life, would the outcome of the asylum decision have been different?
Margaret Grimes, Ellicott City
Acting to deter hiring of illegals
I, for one, am grateful to Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold for his outspokenness on illegal immigration and his initiatives to deter the employment of undocumented immigrants by local businesses ("Immigration politics," editorial July 3). He is listening to the people and taking the rule of law seriously.
As elected officials, we all pledge as part of our oath of office to enforce the laws of the land, even laws enacted by another level of government.
An individual who has entered the United States illegally has broken the laws of this nation and must be held accountable.
The fact that many businesses employ such individuals is a national travesty, as it creates an unfair business environment and leads to increased costs passed on to the taxpayers at all levels of government, all for the sake of personal profit.
On top of that, undocumented immigrants often reside in overcrowded homes and cause a great disturbance in the community in which they reside as they cling to their culture even when it is at odds with our own.
If there are no American businesses employing illegal immigrants, there will be no illegal immigration.
Julie M. Stankivic, Annapolis
The writer is an alderwoman for the city of Annapolis.
McCain endorses 'voodoo economics'
The article "McCain pledges broad-based tax cuts" (July 8) shows that Sen. John McCain remains a proponent of Ronald Reagan-style "voodoo economics" even though the experience of the past 25 years has shown it to be an absolute disaster.
The value of the dollar has fallen sharply, the gap between the wealthy and poor in this country is now the largest in the developed world and our economy is on the verge of collapse.
How much more evidence is needed that a theory based on a curve drawn on the back of napkin by supply-side economist Arthur Laffer is a complete sham?
How much longer will the public fall for the same old poisoned carrot?
Larry Brooks, Phoenix
Further tax cuts defy fiscal sense
Sen. John McCain has promised new broad-based tax cuts in addition to making President Bush's tax cuts permanent ("McCain pledges broad-based tax cuts," July 8).
He and his fellow Republicans need to get a grip on reality. With Mr. Bush having increased the national debt by more than 50 percent to $9.5 trillion, Americans can't afford to continue adding $500 billion a year to the national debt.
Sooner, not later, we need to have a balanced budget and pay our bills - before we're driven into bankruptcy by Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain's borrow-and-spend policies.
Jay Ziegler, Catonsville
Poor dental care hurts kids, adults
The need for dental care is painfully visible to those of us who work with low-income people ("Not in vain," Commentary, July 1).
The lack of dental care can have far-reaching consequences. For young children missing front teeth as a result of poor dental care, the problem may make it difficult to learn new speech patterns because those children lack the teeth against which they need to place their tongue to form the sounds properly. The inability to pronounce words impedes a child's ability to do well in school.
For school-age children, a long-neglected toothache can turn into an emergency room visit and missed school days.
For men released from prison and searching for a good job, missing or malformed teeth are an impediment to finding a job. The first impression a job-seeker makes (including a pleasant smile) is critical in the hiring decision.
And these are just some of the people hurt by the lack of readily available and affordable dental care.
It is time we did more to help the people so adversely affected by our health care system.
Jean Patterson Cushman, Baltimore
The writer is executive director of Episcopal Community Services of Maryland.
Arabs use Israel as easy scapegoat
The figures cited in the column "Does the conflict between Palestinians, Israelis still matter?" (Commentary, July 6) suggest that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict dominates the thinking of a majority of the Arabs polled in the nations studied.
Perhaps those polled should have a better exposure to the history of the conflict, including the expulsion of nearly 1 million Jews from Arab nations after the Arab world's failed attempt to eliminate Israel in 1948.
If the Arabs of these nations would spend more time in bettering their own lives and bringing their standard of living up to that of Israel, perhaps their concerns about the Israeli-Arab conflict would lessen.
Unfortunately, instead of trying to improve economic conditions at home, the leaders of many Arab nations look for a convenient scapegoat for their troubles and have chosen Israel to fill that role.
Nelson Marans, Silver Spring
Nothing lawless about legal guns
How can anyone suggest, as the writer of the letter "Ruling may add to gun violence" (July 5) does, that a ruling allowing lawful gun ownership will cause America to evolve into a more lawless country?
The writer also claims the Supreme Court's ruling in the Washington gun case "has opened a new can of worms."
Soon law-abiding Washington residents will at long last, and once again, have the means to defend themselves in their own home by owning a registered revolver that they will be able to keep loaded and ready for self-defense.
This civil right was stripped from them by the overzealous Washington elitists who either have armed police or armed private security at their beck and call.
The unconstitutional Washington law made ordinary, law-abiding citizens an unarmed target for violent criminals.
Charles Guggenheimer, Windsor, Pa.