Tallying the toll of tobacco
I'd like to express my thanks for and support of your recent editorial about raising the tax on cigarettes more than 25 cents per pack (Sunday Sun, Feb. 9).
In my 47 years, I have seen my father-in-law die of emphysema. He was a three-pack-a-day smoker. My aunt had to have bypass surgery at the age of 51. She had to stop smoking and is now 82. I was a pallbearer for one of my best friends just three years ago. He didn't quit smoking until after his second heart attack. By then, it was too late. He was 53 when he died. And, a friend of mine at work had bypass surgery about a year ago. He was 48 then. The doctor specifically said that smoking was the cause. My friend has quit smoking.
Your readers don't know those people, but some of them might recognize the name of Carlton Williams, a top-notch standard-bred (harness racing) trainer-driver at Rosecroft and Freestate for years. In 1987-1988, Mr. Williams was the trainer of a couple of horses of which I was an owner. He developed what is known in Germany as "smoker's leg," which occurs when a leg goes numb due to loss of oxygen in the blood. To avoid amputation, Mr. Williams had six to seven vein/artery transplants. He died after the last operation. He was 59 years old. I'll never forget several visits I made to see him in the hospital. He was puffing smokes in the lounge, said he couldn't ** quit. He was as addicted an any smoker I've ever know.
If raising that tax helps stop one kid from smoking or forces one adult to quit smoking, it's worth it.
I take exception to your Feb. 12 editorial endorsing Baltimore County Executive Hayden's decision to withdraw county-provided nursing services from parochial and private schools.
You exhort the taxpaying parents of non-public school children to accept the fiscal reality of budget reductions and argue that "free" nursing services will still be available to every student through the public school system. While theoretically this should be the case, you conveniently ignore the reality that Baltimore County would have neither the money nor the facilities to educate every child under its jurisdiction.
Moreover, the transfer of fewer than 100 students from parochial or private institutions into county public schools would nullify the savings to be realized by removing nurses from the non-public schools.
Instead of indulging your obvious bias against private and parochial education, you should be addressing the greater issue of why the well-being of our children irrespective of which school they attend seems to be such low a priority in the budget restructuring process.
!Patricia H. Leimkuhler
Kevin Cowherd's column, "Barbara Walters: two perspectives" (Feb. 10), lets me know that Mr. Cowherd needs to learn a lot about the real world.
Doesn't he know that Barbara Walters is popular because she is very intelligent, a real fascinating, lovely lady and a wonderful television personality?
Wake up, Kevin!
Betty D. Edlavitch
Black history month
Did I miss something? Weren't there other groups who contributed to our country's founding? Black history month? Why aren't any of the other numerous ethnic or racial groups afforded 5/8 5/8 TC a month in their honor? And why does it have to be an entire month?
With the exception of Thomas Jefferson, no one person or group is entitled to monopolize an entire month. Wasn't Martin Luther King's birthday made a holiday? Doesn't it suffice?
Joseph L. Bishop Monkton
Brave new world?
The president and both parties in Congress want to hand out tax breaks the national debt be hanged so that we will have a few more dollars to spend. And the delighted "governmental industrial complex" will coax, cajole and try to coerce us into spending our way out of the current recession-depression.
Remember Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel, "Brave New World," in which the Soma-drugged population had one main function to consume, consume, consume? Huxley called this global utopia's economic policy "the conscription of consumption . . . every man, woman and child compelled to consume so much a year in the interests of industry [because] . . . industrial civilization is only possible when there's no self-denial otherwise the wheels stop turning."
Richard R. Rodes