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Letters to the Editor

April 20, 2010

'Progressives' are holding Democrats hostage



To the editor:

The Democratic Party of old doesn't exist anymore. It has been taken over by the "progressives" who were always lurking in the cloakroom.

Yes, they were always in favor of more social programs, abortion on demand, providing for the poor, overcoming poverty and taxing to pay for their programs. But they have now been overridden by radical concerns for protecting the environment, concentrating real power in the central portion of government, gaining ownership of industry and acting like America should be at fault for causing all wars and the world's ills.

The anti-war protagonists have taken over their foreign policy, and the interpretation of our Constitution should be tempered by the "feel-good" crowd. The Constitution should be a "living document" instead of its literal meaning as the founding fathers proposed, they believe.

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The far left has taken hold of the party, and mediation with the Republicans for any legislation is out of consideration. Their return to political dominance of Congress has resulted in overwhelming arrogance and lack of concern for the will of the people. It is as if "we know best what the country needs" and "to hell with public opinion" are their bylines. Their present approach to governing is doomed to defeat in the next elections.

President Clinton, a very popular Democratic president, although holding firmly to liberal thinking, was intelligent enough to sense the desires of the electorate. He reacted endlessly to polling results and held on to a connection with the people.

But President Obama is seemingly driven by an ideology that is unaffected by the opinion of others. It does not fit into the liking of the majority of Americans.

The old Democratic Party has been taken hostage and will not return until the voters make their voices heard.

Ned A. Garrett
Hagerstown




Thanks to volunteers who helped with cleanup



To the editor:

On Saturday, April 10, Antietam National Battlefield participated in both the Civil War Preservation Trust's Park Day and the Potomac River watershed cleanup. Both events call for volunteers to take part in a variety of conservation and preservation work projects.

This year's varied projects encompassed both natural and cultural resource conservation. A new riparian buffer along a section of Antietam Creek was established on the historic Parks Farm. Volunteers planted several hundred seedlings, which will enhance the stability of the stream bank as well as help to improve water quality by reducing silt and providing shade.

Other volunteers cleaned up a dump site and picked up trash along 3 1/2 miles of roads and stream banks, while another group spent the morning spreading gravel over a 1,500-foot stretch of trial damaged by last March's flooding. A final group of volunteers from a Connecticut Civil War Round Table worked on improvements to cultural resources by painting fences, clearing vegetation and putting wood shingles on the historic Roulette ice house.

Beautiful weather helped to bring out the large contingent of volunteers. While many of these volunteers came from Maryland, other participants came from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Connecticut, New York, South Carolina and Delaware.

It is truly amazing that volunteers from 33 different towns and cities chose Antietam to donate their efforts. This volunteer pool was comprised of members from the Civil War Preservation Trust, families, individuals, Cub Scout Packs 26 and 58, a class of home-schoolers from Martinsburg, W.Va., the Antietam Creek Watershed Association and the History Club of Williamsport High School.

Their cumulative efforts have made a very visible improvement to the battlefield and their enthusiasm and perseverance are to be applauded. To all of the volunteers, please come back and admire your work often. Thank you for answering the call and for a job well done.

John W. Howard
superintendent
Antietam National Battlefield




Cilantro haters need to advocate for change



To the editor:

Upon reading (Tim Rowland's April 15 column, I jumped at the opportunity to join him.

Over the years there has been more than one Tim Rowland column that gave me reason to voice in a strong tone to whomever was in my kitchen at the time that Tim Rowland hates (fill in the blank). Today, however, it is with a sense of honor that I join Tim and declare - my name is Ruth Anne Callaham and I am a cilantro hater.

Tim and I meet at the same place for different reasons. My reason is not one of preferred taste, but of allergy.

The cilantro plant apparently shares chemistry or DNA with peanuts. Yes, believe it, cilantro is one of the fastest growing (no pun intended) allergens around. Many people with peanut allergies have a similar allergy to cilantro. But we don't know about the allergy to cilantro until we get a mouth full at the hand of a "if a little is good, more is better" thinking chef.

My wakeup call came at a local restaurant about a year ago. Unlike Rowland's ranting, my thoughts were, "Hmmm, this tastes really different. And why am I suddenly having difficulty breathing?" A near miss with the emergency room and a lot of Internet research has placed cilantro on my list of foods to not only avoid, but ask every server if it is used in the kitchen.

Let me bear Tim's flag to the next level and lead our small band of cilantro haters to advocate for change. People need to ask if cilantro or peanuts are used in the kitchen of a food establishment. Encourage restaurants, diners and such to note on the menu if they cook with cilantro or peanuts. Caterers, please label your offerings if they contain cilantro or peanuts.

Nothing ruins a picnic or dinner faster than an allergic reaction to food and a trip to the ER.

Ruth Anne Callaham
Hagerstown

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