Editor: The administration's U.N. condemnation of Israel for responding to a lethal attack on worshipers in Jerusalem in cause for deep concern.
It appears that not only our diplomats are being kept as hostages in Baghdad, but the common sense of American foreign policy is now hostage to our temperamental Desert Shield "allies."
How would the Saudi police have responded to a plot to stone pilgrims to Mecca? In fact, how have Egyptian authorities in recent weeks dealt with Palestinian fanatics?
If anyone has any doubts about stones being lethal weapons, I am ready to show them a sample of one which was thrown at my wife and and a group of children recently in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Piles of these were thrown from the heights of the Temple Mount upon the throngs of worshipers below.
It is one thing to ask Israel to keep a low profile, but quite another to call upon it to expose its citizens to fatal peril in the heart of its capital.
Joseph M. Baumgarten.
Editor: The budget dilemma is one that directly affects all of us and I believe the following ideas should be considered:
* Initiate a national sales tax of 1 percent, exempting food, medicine and medical services.
* Allow only absolutely essential congressional overseas travel.
* Eliminate the automatic full pension for life that is given after a legislator serves just one term.
* Eliminate lifetime medical coverage. This is a "perk" we can no longer afford.
* Allow only essential limousine service.
* Limit terms to 12 years, i.e., two terms for the Senate and six for the House of Representatives.
* Limit campaign funding and spending.
* Ban lobbying. What a primitive activity this is. It reminds us of the days of Andrew Jackson, when job- and favor-seekers overran the White House.
* Cap yearly support of former presidents at $500,000.
* Finally, because of the size and complexity of government, the budget should first be drafted by professional economists and financial experts. Political input should be secondary.
Let's strive not only to cut the deficit, but to also acknowledge that we are actually more than $3 trillion in debt. Face reality we must.
Editor: While others comment favorably on KAL's cartoons I do not feel quite so charitable. I am incensed by the one depicting Richard Nixon in the company of Saddam Hussein. Hasn't the man redeemed himself to any extent in the eyes of KAL and others? Isn't it time to let the matter drop? The cartoon was small minded and in poor taste.
On another front, I resent the disappearance of the daily book review. Right now I have two old ones stuck on my refrigerator zTC for future reading (of the books). If Baltimore is "the city that reads" let's not do anything to discourage this very ambitious hope. I enjoyed the mix and the comments of the reviewers. Please bring them back.
Robert E. Greenfield.
Manage the Waste
Editor: The lack of legislative interest and action in ecology and the absence of any strong recycling policy in Maryland and )) in particular the Baltimore metropolitan area amazes me daily.
Even rural little Sussex County, Del., has several convenient sites where sorted glass and newspapers can be placed in containers for collection and the Fenwick Island Lion's Club has bins for collection of aluminum cans, the sale of which provided thousands of dollars for worthwhile community projects. Or perhaps we could take a lesson from Roanoke, Va., where scheduled municipal curbside pick-up of sorted wastes (newspaper, color sorted glass, aluminum and plastics) has been successfully in effect for three years. This gives the Roanoke area greatly reduced landfill needs and the bonus of income from the sale of its recyclables. It's a sensible alternative to burying or incinerating these resources.
And what about a bottle-and-can deposit law, perennially introduced at the Maryland legislature but never becoming law due in part to the strenuous efforts of lobbyists representing the bottling industry and its retail outlets. How many of our elected officials are the beneficiaries of campaign contributions from these special-interest groups?
The recent suggestions by the Baltimore City/Baltimore County Task Force on waste management and reduction, as reported by your paper, are but a tiny step in the right direction. The existing municipal collection service is the only logically point for recycling to begin. If it sets the policy, the public will cooperate. We need to begin today. More costly studies and task forces are absurd and a slap in the face of our collective intelligence. Ecology and waste management are the issues of '90s. Who is fooling whom?
Paul F. Phillips.
Editor: Widout Pogo, I nogo to pick up The Sun.
'Cause widout Pogo, der's no genuwhine fun
In reading your pages witch ofen come trew
Wid articles and stories aledgidly true.
So bring back my Pogo and I'll once again reed
Your great, fat editions wid swift, swampish speed.
Auburn J. Lamb.
Arthur Deserves Respect
Editor: In all the extensive festivities surrounding the birthday of Dwight D. Eisenhower, one hidden hero was overlooked. I felt betrayed when The Sun failed to recognize the birthday of Chester Alan Arthur on Oct. 5.
If any president stepped up to the occasion, it was Arthur. Arthur arose from the sheer mediocrity of the vice presidency to the oval office when James Garfield was assassinated.
Although he only served from 1881-1885, Arthur lobbied for needed legislation. He supported the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 and he launched the new and mighty Navy. He vetoed an immigration exclusion bill and an infamous pork barrel bill.
However, Chester Arthur's independent views violated his party, and he did not come up for re-election.
In the 1962 Schlesinger poll, Arthur is tied with Eisenhower in the 20th spot, submerged in the "Average" category. To put Arthur up in the "Near Great" category with the likes of Theodore Roosevelt and James Knox Polk might be considered heresy, especially to the biased liberal historians who conducted the pool, but Chester Alan Arthur deserves equal respect for his contributions to the presidency.