Genuine FarmerThose of us who know Howard...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Genuine Farmer

Those of us who know Howard County Councilman Charles Feaga were amused to see him described in your recent editorial ("Being a Good Neighbor," July 24) as a "gentleman farmer."

Webster's Dictionary defines a gentleman farmer as "a man of superior social position and wealth who farms mainly for pleasure rather than for profit." Funk and Wagnall's says that a gentleman farmer is "one who owns a farm but hires others to work it."

Charles Feaga took over the operation of his family's dairy farm after his father died, when he was still a high school student.

Milking 50 cows a day, twice a day, 365 days a year, for 30 years, I figure he made no fewer than 1,095,000 trips to the barn. Heaven only knows how many acres of hay he's cut and how many 75-pound bales he's lifted over his head in that time. Farming has been his life, but this is work.

Charles Feaga is a farmer, and a gentleman, to be sure. But a "gentleman farmer?" Not!

Carol A. Arscott

Ellicott City

The writer is chairwoman of the Howard County Republican Party.

Unresponsive Health Care System

I read with interest the July 19 article in The Sunday Sun regarding the 24-hour discharge policy for new mothers invoked by many health insurance companies, which The Sun followed up with an editorial entitled "Penalizing Mothers and Babies" (July 27).

Despite your contention that health insurers are forcing families alone to take on the responsibility of "follow-up medical treatment," the article cited not one anecdote where 24-hour discharge had resulted in insufficient medical care.

In fact, the primary reason given against discharging mother and infant so early -- education -- is not a function one normally associates with in-patient care in a hospital.

The merits of breast-feeding are well known, but aren't there ways short of an extended hospital stay to educate a new mother? La Leche League, a private non-profit organization, has promoted breast-feeding effectively for years.

Even the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture runs an Expanded Food and Nutrition Program which works with primarily low-income mothers.

I am indeed alarmed at the continuing unresponsiveness of the health care industry to America's medical needs.

Hospital birth is the American health care system in microcosm: It does a poor job overall (as indicated by our stagnant infant mortality rate and rising Caesarean rate, which even doctors admit should be much lower based on purely medical needs), yet it is extremely slow to change. When it changes, it seems it is rarely because of the advocacy of doctors.

For example, a major trend in giving birth, not mentioned in The Sun article, is the increasing percentage of deliveries performed by certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), and even the resurgence of home birth. I can assure you that doctors have fought such changes and submitted to them only as their patients have demanded change.

Doctors, other medical professionals, hospitals and insurance companies are in the best position to suggest better answers. But the persistence of well-known problems provides a compelling case that nothing short of a health-care revolution is going to make things better.

Don DeArmon

Frederick

Empty Promises

At a time when most Americans are desperately calling for less government, your paper ardently praises the Clinton-Gore candidacy because it promises government intervention in every social problem from length of hair to roaches in the kitchen.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore have promised to be all things to all people, embracing every special interest group in the country and pandering to every whining "gimme" voice they hear.

Social programs created during the Johnson administration have developed into monstrous bureaucracies which have swallowed our tax funds and failed to further self-reliance, ingenuity and pride Americans are entitled to develop within families.

Sadly, the Democratic Party has forgotten that historic plea delivered by John F. Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

When Mr. Clinton stands before American voters and promises to mend all the ills of society through government intervention, I hope those listening to him will ask, "How will we pay for all those promises?"

And then vote for the party that encourages Americans to succeed through hard work and self reliance. The Republican creed is profoundly important to the integrity of our country.

Too much government intrusion into our privacy leads us dangerously close to a socialist doctrine that I shall fight against with all the courage this American can muster.

Unless the Democratic Party wakes up, I will continue to vote the party of individual freedom and be thankful to have changed my affiliation to Republican.

Jacqueline Madison

Baltimore

Israel Loans

Bravo to William Bennett and Vin Weber on their excellent article (Opinion * Commentary, July 22) concerning the granting of loan guarantees to Israel.

The confines of this letter do not allow the reams of paper that would be required to explain how important a strong Israel is to the American people. Messrs Bennett and Weber, however, succinctly offer perhaps the most poignant realism: "Israel will remain our only proven, reliable ally in the Middle East."

Richard and Debby Neuman

Baltimore

Hopping Mad

The July 26 article by Dan Fesperman in the Sunday Sun on Smith-Corona moving its operation to Mexico got my attention.

Instant action is needed by our national legislators to stem the loss of the most important sector of any economy -- manufacturing. When I read such a story of betrayal about a profitable company exporting jobs, it makes my blood boil.

To paraphrase Paul Revere:

"The jobs are going, the jobs are going!"

Rich Beyer

Baltimore

Tainted Money

Although the Republican Party initially brought up the subject of "family values," it recently experienced the flattery of imitation by the Democratic Party. We, in Maryland, have an urgent need to closely scrutinize what family values means to incumbent Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

Only recently have voters learned that some of her contributions came from people working for, and associated with Time Warner Inc. This is the company responsible for promoting and marketing a recording by the rapper Ice-T calling for the murder of policemen.

It would be difficult to contrive of a more inflammatory or a more anarchistic piece of trash hiding behind the facade of free speech. Time Warner should be extremely ashamed that it lowered itself to the level of this recording.

The very fact that Senator Mikulski is accepting campaign support and backing from Time Warner is, indeed, indicative of what tainted money the Maryland senator will stoop to pick up.

Senator Mikulski's six-year term must end this year, and voters ,, should replace her with a candidate who practices family values. Alan Keyes will return respect, decency and valuable service to all Maryland and America.

Paul K. Gladfelder

Hebron

Counterproductive

The Sun's editorial, "Guzzling Power, Not Fuel," (July 4) has come to my attention. It asserts that one of the "underlying objectives" of Maryland's proposed gas guzzler law would have been to "reduce pollution by cutting gasoline consumption in the state." In fact, quite the opposite is true.

Fee/rebate programs tied to vehicle fuel economy ratings have no bearing on state pollution control efforts since all automobiles -- regardless of their mileage capability -- are subject to uniform dTC gram-per-mile emissions limitations. These programs amount to little more than restrictions on the types of vehicles that are available to consumers.

Congress' rationale in refusing to allow states to experiment with regulating basic characteristics like fuel economy was based on sound reasoning and had nothing to do with "pandering to Detroit," as The Sun asserts.

Federal lawmakers understood that 50 different state regulations this area would impose serious limitations on consumer choice and safety as well as an undue burden on automakers.

That is precisely the sort of regulatory mishmash Congress set out to prevent in enacting the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

Thomas H. Hanna

Washington, D.C.

The writer is the president of the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association of the United States.

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