Elect public officials according to character, not race or sex

Regarding David E. Drew and Hedley Burrell's Jan. 5 Opinion piece, "Will another white male be elected president in 2008?": It should come as no surprise that the majority of presidents in the United States have been white Protestants, since the US was founded by people of this background. It follows that since this group has always made up a majority of the population, their candidates would have an advantage in being elected.

To vote for a minority candidate simply because he or she is a minority would be foolish. Character is still king. Everything else pales in comparison to this most important quality when it comes to electing public officials.

I for one believe that America has elected exceptional leaders most of the time. I hope that in coming elections race or sex play little role. To paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr., it is not the color of a man's skin, but the content of his character that should determine his ability to serve.
Ken McRorie
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Germany has given good to the world

Regarding the Jan. 18 article, "Take ' mein Führer' ... please!": I found this review very interesting and informative until I read the last line where Turkish-born comedian Serdar Somuncu is quoted as saying, "Without Hitler, there is no Germany." That is not true. If Germany had never been led by Hitler, people would remember the many achievements in the arts, technology, and philosophy that Germans have contributed to the world.

I lived in Germany for one year and have many German friends. Frankly, I find it is the sort of thinking expressed by Mr. Somuncu that keeps this generation of Germans trapped in their grandparents' mistakes. It is useless and ridiculous. Germany has made huge strides in the past 61 years. In some ways, Germany is a more progressive country than the United States, and the US could learn from that.
Jacob Daniel Clark
Simi Valley, Calif.

How offshore fish farms can be safe

The Jan. 10 article, "Fish farms in the ocean? Group pushes Congress to pass tough rules," provided a fine overview of offshore aquaculture's potential environmental risks, as outlined in the recent report of the Marine Aquaculture Task Force. However, another of the report's key findings was that substantial public and private investment in offshore aquaculture R&D is essential for building an industry that will benefit consumers and safeguard the environment.

At the University of New Hampshire, eight years of research and technology development have led us to conclude that a commercially viable and environmentally sound offshore aquaculture industry is an option for the US.

At the same time, our experience tells us that further R&D will be needed to address the challenges outlined in the task force's report in a way that satisfies all stakeholders.

As a nation, the US has before it an opportunity to get this right. A combination of public and private investment can create a nationally coordinated system of regional R&D programs that build on 30 years of lessons learned from coastal fish farming.

Such a system will provide technology and knowledge to develop and regulate an industry that relieves pressure on beleaguered wild fisheries, provides a healthy food source for US citizens, and ensures that the fish we eat are the result of sustainable practices with minimal environmental impact.
Richard Langan
Durham, N.H. Director, Atlantic Marine Aquaculture Center, University of New Hampshire

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