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Food pyramid is a taxpayer rip-offIt was...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Food pyramid is a taxpayer rip-off

It was reported recently that the Department of Agriculture spent $855,000 to develop a government food pyramid. Whoever authorized such an expenditure should be charged with grand theft and prosecuted accordingly.

At a rental rate of $500 per month, 142 homeless families could have had a roof over their heads for one year. Or at $100 weekly for groceries, 164 families would have been able to provide some nutritious meals for their families.

Instead the American people were provided with a government food pyramid. I am unable to determine the exact benefit we have received from this grand expenditure except to learn that Agriculture Secretary Edward Madigan is the latest Bush court jester.

Charles E. Monell

Baltimore

Let them eat cake

Marie Antoinette, are you listening? The city's crumbling schools need money, libraries need funding and the mayor tells the Orioles they can wait to pay their back rent -- no interest charged. Tell me, Mr. Mayor -- would you be so generous to your tenants in the projects?

Evelyn A. Deckelbaum

Baltimore

Ever upward

Poverty increases, the stock market goes up. Homelessness increases, the stock market goes up. Infant mortality increases, the stock market goes up. Unemployment increases, the stock market goes up. The environment deteriorates, the stock market goes up. Race relations get worse, the stock market goes up. The cities are dead or dying -- and still the stock market goes up.

If the stock market predicts the future, how are we supposed to know whether things are getting better or worse?

Joe Krauss

Baltimore

We are all infected by racism

Here I am - a white housewife living in the enlightened, safe, comfortable suburb of Columbia. What could possible know of racism? Precious little, I admit.

However, I've begun to notice. I can remember a trip to the Kennedy Center, a graduation gift to my daughter. As we looked around at the audience, we both realized that few blacks were represented.

Then, just a few weeks ago, I took my younger children to the National Aquarium. As we were sitting in the snack bar, I asked the children, "What do you notice about the make-up of the people in this room?" It didn't take them long to realize that the room was filled with white and Asian families enjoying their outing. The few black people in the room were sweeping the floors and serving behind the counters. "Why is that?" I inquired. "Money," they chorused, wonder sociologists that they are.

So many statistics speak to the economic gap between blacks and whites, but these two incidents spoke to me more than any magazine article. It is becoming more and more clear to me that there is a disenfranchised class in the United States.

However, the really scary element is the attitude of underlying racism that lurks beneath the surface of our platitudes. I can remember overhearing a middleaged white woman in a bakery complaining angrily that the colors on the decorated cake she had ordered were garish - "the kind colored people like," she pouted. Her words were chilling and telling.

In the lead article on May 3, your paper quotes lawyer John H. Morris Jr. saying, "[The incident in Los Angeles] shows us that the world really is as black people have always known it to be, and for white people it is a spark of awareness that maybe it is as black people say it is."

I hear Mr. Morris that he wants us to acknowledge the reality. I want him to know that I am beginning to hear him. It didn't take an unjust verdict or equally unjust violence for me, but those events certainly reinforce my awareness.

My prayeris that the Lord would turn these events to good, so that whites will hear and understand and will somehow enter into the feelings of legitimate rage and frustration at blatant and insidious injustice. And that we will not just hear, but that we will do what is just and right.

Only God can heal our nation of this disease of racism. We are all infected by it -- black, white, Hispanic, Asian and other. We need to seek forgiveness from Him and from each other. It begins with acknowledge how woefully callous and indifferent we've been to FTC those who have suffered wounds that go deeper than we "privileged" can possible imagine.

Karen Michener

Columbia

Tax hell

I extend thanks and congratulations to those members of the Maryland General Assembly who voted against the recently passed tax increase, the largest single tax hike since 1947. As for the members who voted in favor of this increase, I hope they are appropriately rebuked by their constituents at the next general election.

If there were any questions prior to this, Maryland now certainly qualifies as one of the top "tax hell" states in this country. Both Money Magazine and the Retirement Letter had rated the state in the top five "tax hell" states prior to this most recent raid on the economic well-being of the citizens and businesses of Maryland.

Somehow the difference between a want and a genuine need has got to be indelibly impressed on our elected and appointed officials at all levels of government -- local, state, and federal.

The overall tax burden in the state of Maryland is now so oppressive that I believe that it will become difficult to hold onto the businesses and people who provide the economic foundation for the state. It will be even more difficult to attract new businesses to the state.

Thus it appears that our politicians must relearn, at the expense of the citizens of Maryland, the old and proven economic truth that a repressive tax system does not in the long term produce more money, but instead stymies individual initiatives and real economic growth.

Paul and Anne Twining

Princess Anne

Justice needed

Before His Honor Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke displays too much shock and indignation over the events that have transpired in Los Angeles, may I refresh his memory? He may or may not choose to recall an incident in our own once-fair city that happened not too long ago.

A man was arrested for either the sale or possession of drugs. Sometime between the time the man was put into the patrol wagon and his arrival at the police station, he received a severe beating while in policy custody. His spleen was ruptured, his dentures were shoved down his throat. Subsequently, the man died.

The grand jury quietly swept the matter under the rug. The police commissioner did not lose his job. The city did not burn.

No one, not His Honor the mayor, not the police commissioner (who is supposed to be responsible for the actions of his department), not the city council, not the newspapers (the conscience of our society), not TV, radio, churches, the NAACP, ACLU, etc., gave a damn, except maybe the family of the man.

Could the answer be because the victim was white? So Mr. Mayor, instead of trying to butter up Bill Clinton for a cabinet post or preaching justice to L.A., how about a little justice for all the people here in Baltimore -- The City That Bleeds?

Pete Theodore

Baltimore

Earthly concerns

This year Earth Day came and went quietly. Most Americans failed to observe this national holiday, if they even knew it took place on April 22. That's a contradiction to the worldwide Earth Day 1990 bonanza. And even though there were no rallies or parades this year, the concerns of Earth Day remain important to most Americans.

Recycling, for instance, has escalated to an astronomical status among all Americans. Anything from paper to plastic is being recycled in an attempt to save our endangered earth. Big-name companies are getting into the groove by creating products using recycled products. Recycled paper has become a hot item on the market, as have trash bags made from recycled milk jugs. And disposable-diaper companies are beginning to develop new ways to recycle their products.

Yet, it is the attitude of Americans that's saving the world. Now, more than ever before, people are concerned with the endangered earth. Perhaps the attitude of the 1990 Earth Day celebrations have provoked this.

At any rate, this new concern for preserving the environment is here to stay, becoming a theme of national conferences and even political races. Even if Earth Day 1992 was a forgotten holiday, its principles remain an active part of everyday life.

Nicki Kassolis

Ellicott City

Supreme justice

It concerns me to think the absurdity of Russell Baker's satirical self-indulgence in "Roe, Wade and mayo" (April 28) could even be imagined by someone who claims to be an intelligent, "free thinking" citizen. What concerns me even more is that a news organization would print such nonsense.

Thomas E. Metzler

Pasadena

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