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Here Comes the Sun

Posted 7/20/2005

I want to thank Ralph Brave for his article “A Place in the Sun” (July 13). It was refreshing to read an article describing actual problems and policies that affect the citizens of Maryland.

Mr. Brave is, dare I say it, “brave” to write an article that so clearly describes the problem (fossil fuels), the solution (intelligent energy policies), and the impediments (the fossil fuel industry) to solving the problem.

Baltimore is consistently ranked as one of the most polluted cities in the country. A national study recently showed that Baltimore has the 20th worst smog and 12th worst soot problem in the United States. Earlier this year my wife testified in front of the Maryland State Legislature about the dangers of mercury poisoning. She read a statement from a woman in Maryland who had mercury levels 70 percent over the recommended limits, simply from eating fish. My wife, who was pregnant at the time, had to explain to the senators and delegates that she was afraid to eat fish for fear of jeopardizing the health of her soon-to-be born child.

Smog, soot, and mercury pollution are caused by coal-fired power plants. Reading in City Paper that we subsidize the coal industry to the tune of $15 million dollars a year pissed me off, to say the least. Not only does the coal industry not have to pay for the environmental and health damages it causes, it get subsidized to do it. It is time to end this insanity.

The Baltimore City Council is holding a hearing on a clean energy resolution on Aug. 4. The Baltimore Clean Energy Resolution (Council Bill 05-0050R) would help move Maryland toward developing a more intelligent energy policy. It calls on the city of Baltimore to purchase 5 percent of its energy from clean sources. Clean energy works. It creates jobs, enhances energy security, and best of all, it doesn’t damage the lungs of our children.

I urge all residents of Baltimore to contact their city councilmember and tell him or her to support this resolution. It’s a smart first step on the road to a healthier and “greener” Baltimore City.

Jeromy McKim
Baltimore

 

Thanks for the quality article on solar power in Maryland. It is important for everyone to note that our global concern for the environment cannot (and probably will not) be handled on a national level. Each state has to get started in order to create momentum. Each city and each neighborhood.

Baltimore City has a great opportunity to help that momentum. A bill is being debated in the City Council to resolve that the city should purchase 5 percent of its energy for municipal buildings from clean, renewable sources—sources like wind and solar. It isn’t asking for the world. But this is how we get started on the momentum needed to clean up the air we breathe. This is how we get started cutting down on those “687 premature deaths, 1,014 nonfatal heart attacks, and 17,325 asthma attacks each year” you mentioned. Support the bill, Baltimore: Aug. 4 at City Hall.

Ryan Scofield
Baltimore

 

Take the Long View on Terror

Russ Smith makes an excellent point by noting that those who blame the recent outbursts of Islamist militancy and terrorism on the Iraq War risk sounding like shortsighted partisans who fail to realize the scale and scope of the threat the United States currently faces (Right Field, July 13).

A longer view of the problem, however, suggests more troubling hypotheses: 1) An earlier wave of Islamist mobilization (beginning with the Iranian revolution and the assassination of Egyptian president Sadat) was largely directed against the power and policies of authoritarian regimes with declining legitimacy, many of which were backed by the United States due to Cold War geopolitics; or, 2) The post-Cold-War mobilization of such militant groups and their resort to terrorism directed at the United States (and others) has been, in part, fostered by the vast expansion of the projection of U.S. military and political power across the Middle East and Central Asia since the first Gulf War. The administration of President George W. Bush has been brave enough to largely recognize the validity of the first theory, but risks vastly exacerbating the effects of the second.

While Bush deserves credit for promoting the idea of political reform in the region, its not clear, as Smith notes, if “[tipping] over the traditional playing board in the Middle East” is really a responsible means to try to promote stable—let alone inclusive, pluralist, and democratic—polities across the region.

Waleed Hazbun
Department of Political Science
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore

 

Strong and Wrong

Brian Morton hit the nail on the head when he wrote “With all his recent appointments, Bush has signaled that he fully plans on being a divider, not a uniter, and this is his best chance to put his stamp on history” (“The Future is Now,” Political Animal, July 6).

This has apparently been his goal since he assumed office. During his June 28 speech Bush commented that when the affair in Iraq is successfully completed, it will be noted in history. During his first term Bush constantly bragged about how strong he was, and that he did not back down. He seems to adhere to the old saying, “I may not always be right, but I’m never wrong.”

Several months ago, on Washington Week, Gwen Ifill recalled a saying from her grandmother or her mother: “You can be strong even when wrong.”

About 50 years ago, the Century Theater ran a double feature. The trailer pointed out that the object was to show how Western culture approached war and how the Far East and Middle East approached war. The West’s objective was to kill the enemy and survive. The Far East and Middle East’s objective was to kill at all cost, even sacrificing your own life. A lesson we are witnessing today.

Joseph Siegmund
Baltimore

 

Your Checks Are in the Mail

I tell you, I really do miss City Paper. Been traveling back and forth to Ghana, and there is nothing like curling up on a Wednesday night at 11 to read City Paper until I fall asleep. I may not have a great “night life” anymore now that I am married with a child, but when I do get a fun night out, I just open my CP and I know just where to go. Thanks CP.

P.S. You don’t have to live an alternative lifestyle to enjoy your paper. Keep up the great work. All departments.

Stacey Quartey
Belcamp

 

As an Afrocentric feminist and an avid reader of the printed word, I am writing to say that City Paper is one of the best-kept secrets on the East Coast. The newspaper’s consistently good articles are both conservative and liberal, a learning tool about folks who know the streets of Baltimore City, provocative insights in the arts activities, weekly writers who give us their views which are like religious confessions some of the time, and a great editor in Lee Gardner who is mellow, but not a dummy of knowledge.

As a black woman who grew up in the segregated state of Virginia, my black folks had traditions that we have passed from one generation to another. Saying “thank you” for treats or compliments was a tradition taught early in childhood. Black grandparents taught us to say something “nice” about other people in their homes or in church.

I want to say something nice about Lee Gardner, who is a good white man and fair to everyone who writes to City Paper. I’ve spoken to him on the phone. His parents have raised him well. He is not conceited. He meditates deeply about the people he meets in his life. He listens to everyone.

I am a feminist. It is a struggle for me to get men to listen to what I have to say. As a woman, I feel most men put limits on my thought outside of my mouth.

I wrote this letter to Lee Gardner to thank him for accepting my intelligence as a writer and as a woman whose anatomy has not determined my incomplete destiny in life.

This letter is for reporter Judith Miller of The New York Times who is in jail on contempt charges for refusing to “tell” a source in a news report. Lee Gardner would have fought for her to write, to report, and keep tyranny at bay. It’s the only way true history is made.

Larnell Custis Butler
Baltimore

 

Corrections: There are 280 “unique” National Public Radio affiliate stations—i.e., those who produce local programming—not 780, as reported in our July 13 Media Circus (Mobtown Beat). The NPR web site does note that there are 780 NPR stations, although that figure includes “clone” stations that retransmit signals from other stations; the two statistics were confused due to an editing error.

In addition, Sydney Allen, who was murdered on June 19th in the 2700 block of North Longwood Street, was 24 years old at the time of his death, not 44 years old as reported in the June 29 Murder Ink (Mobtown Beat). City Paper regrets the error.

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