Editor: Re: the U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force to compel Iraq to leave Kuwait. It is indeed gratifying to note that our allies are willing to fight to the last American to see that justice is done and international order is preserved.
Keep the KDP
Editor: I am writing to protest the recent budget cuts in health care, namely the elimination of the Kidney Disease Program of Maryland. As a kidney transplant patient, I am fully aware of the devastating effects of chronic kidney failure.
There are approximately 4,000 dialysis patients in the state of Maryland, one third of whom depend on coverage from the Kidney Disease Program. For nearly 20 years patients who were unable to obtain private insurance yet were not eligible for Medicaid have relied on KDP. This program allowed patients a means to stay financially independent without having to impoverish themselves to qualify for Medicaid.
The eradication of KDP will force those who do not qualify for Medicaid to pay for costly medical prescriptions, access surgery to begin dialysis, Medicare co-payment, Medicare premiums, and pre- and post-transplant evaluations and treatment. The financial burden is simply an impossibility to these patients, the majority of whom are disabled and on a fixed income.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer's efforts to balance the state's budget should be applauded, but can we afford to do this at the expense of needy kidney patients? KDP's fiscal records prove that it is a well-run program that has returned money to the state for the past four years.
Without the KDP there will be fewer transplants (many patients cannot afford the anti-rejection drugs needed), more dialysis patients (due to fewer transplants), and more frequent hospitalizations for patients who cannot afford such things as medication and nutritional supplements. Will this solve Maryland's budget problems? It appears to me that it will prove to be even more costly in the long run. Kidney patients must endure the debilitation of their bodies; let's not force them to suffer the deterioration of their financial independence.
George A. Ward.
The writer is president of the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland.
Christmas Away from Home
Editor: This is a season for reflecting upon the rest of the year and years past. For remembering the good and letting the bad fade, at least for a while.
I remember a Christmas at a remote electronic-intelligence outpost in another part of the world. My mother had shipped me a small but tightly packed "Care" package which included two three-inch Christmas trees which had tiny, battery-operated, blinking lights.
Thinking that my roommates might laugh at my two tiny trees, I waited until they had left to attend the post's Christmas Eve party. When I was alone in the room, I got out my two Christmas trees, set them on either side of the room's small desk, turned them on and then turned the room lights off.
Then in the dim, flickering light of these two pretty little reminders of Christmas back home, I opened the presents my mother had packed with great care into the box with the trees.
I don't know how long I sat there in the light from my trees, sad because I was not at home with my family, happy with the reminders of the spirit of Christmas and enjoying the gifts. After some time I heard the door open and thought it was my roommates coming back early from the club, but people kept coming into the room quietly.
I looked around and found a good percentage of the base personnel sitting or standing around the room quietly looking at my two little trees. They were the only Christmas trees, as far as we ever knew, in northern Turkey that year.
Someone started singing "Silent Night," and with tears running down our faces we all sang, then another carol and another until we had sung every song we knew. Then quietly, in voices barely above a whisper, each man in the room thanked me for sharing my trees as he left, until I was again alone with my Christmas trees.
I put them in the window so that everyone passing could see them, and went out under the stars to thank my God for giving me two of the greatest gifts I have ever received -- a wise, loving mother and a room full of joy and love and friends on a special Christmas Eve.
May we all have a merry Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever, and may we also remember with a prayer those who are doing their duty far away from home this season.
Robert N. Cadwalader.
Editor: The Mother's Milk of the so-called activists is the media. Media, unfortunately, are only too willing to publicize their protests and, thereby, give them the notoriety which they must have to sustain themselves.
Initials commonly identify groups. For those now coming out of the woodwork because of the Persian Gulf situation, I suggest FOE, which stands for Friends of Enemies which, of course, they are.
Edgar J. Altvater.
A Texas Model for Maryland Students
Editor: I agree with Hardev S. Palta (Dec. 1 letter) that Maryland needs a residential state high school of mathematics and science in order to help youths especially talented in those areas get the special kind of education they need in order to use their academic potentialities most effectively.
Shortly after beginning his first term, Gov. William Donald Schaefer tried to hurry such a school of his own design into being. Because, however, the new governor did not pave the way toward consensus among various interested parties such as state legislators and influential educators, the legislature rather quickly killed the proposal. I'd like to see the idea tried again, but along somewhat different lines.
On his first attempt, Governor Schaefer was following the model of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. As I have learned over the years since first helping North Carolina plan its school in the late 1970s, any free-standing state residential high school, not part of a public school system or well articulated with a college or university, is vulnerable to a number of problems.
It is costly, both for initial capital cost and for year-by-year student expenses. State legislators tend to impose on it racial, ethnic, gender, county and other "goals" that readily become essentially quotas. This usually leads to a student body quite heterogeneous with respect to scholastic aptitude. Providing adequately for the wide range of talent increases the costs.
There is, I believe, a much better model -- far less expensive and much less vulnerable politically. It is exemplified, uniquely in this nation thus far, by the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS) at the University of North Texas, near Dallas/Ft. Worth. Able students enter TAMS after the 10th grade, spend two years taking only college courses, and emerge as full-fledged college juniors. (Two from its first graduating class are juniors at Johns Hopkins now, a young man majoring in bio-psychology and a young woman in mechanical engineering.)
Academically they start as college freshmen pursuing a rigorous, mostly required academic program. For social and emotional purposes they reside together on the university campus and have their own high school atmosphere, complete with senior prom and formal graduation from high school. They are age-in-grade high schools juniors (190 this academic year) and senior in virtually all respects except the level of the courses they take.
This model could be implemented well on the University of Maryland Baltimore County campus. As few as perhaps 25 students could start the academy. They would enter UMBC in the usual way, paying all fees not covered by the school's regular financial aid program. Non-Marylanders could be included; they would pay the usual charges for our-of-staters. This program should not require any special financial appropriation by the legislature.
I could even envision its being the National Academy of Mathematics and Science. How greatly that would probably boost the educational image of Maryland across the United States! Think BIG, Governor Schaefer!
Julian C. Stanley.
The writer is director of the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth at Johns Hopkins University.