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Cap on BenefitsI am writing in response...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Cap on Benefits

I am writing in response to The Sun's editorial, "Perot's Deficit-Reduction Plan" July 27. The editorial talks about attacking entitlement plans such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and cost of living increases. The writer advocates a cap on these entitlement programs.

This would take away from those who can afford it the least. According to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail, one percent of the families in this country possess 90 percent of the wealth. Does The Sun approve of taking more from those who possess 10 percent of the wealth?

Perhaps the writer needs to spend time with the elderly who are struggling, who have lost their homes and those whose savings are at risk due to high medical costs. The Sun is looking in the wrong places to balance the budget.

It seems obvious that the middle-class and the poor are hurting the most in this country. If The Sun's ideas are endorsed, these individuals will continue to decline. If the middle-class and the poor decline, the country will continue to deteriorate.

Steve Rodetsky

Fairfield, Pa.

Which Choice?

As a disabled, retired, young Marylander, I would like to comment on the letter "Teaching Abortion," in The Sun (July 18), written eloquently by Karen A. Korzick, M.D.

Let's face the pro-choice issue directly in the forefront and ask ourselves: Which choice do we favor? Indeed, as Dr. Korzick stated, most people agree with the right of a woman to choose whether or not to become pregnant, or how many children she chooses to bear. But these choices should be made before an intelligent woman decides to conceive a child.

There now exists more, safer, convenient and effective means of contraception than at any point in history. Let's make every attempt to stress abstinence to the young and unmarried, yet make certain that all people who cry out "pro-choice" be aware that everyone now has a choice whether or not to conceive.

The politicians who cry out that every woman should choose what she wants done with her body only exemplify their ignorance -- for the sake of feminist votes. They purposefully choose to ignore that after conception, from a medical standpoint, there are two bodies -- the mother and conceived child.

Politicians need to be bold enough to say to women: "Yes, you ought to have the power to choose, but the choice must be whether or not to conceive, and never whether or not to terminate unborn life."

How much do we value life? Is one life -- due to age, ability, economic cost -- more valuable than any other life? Once we open the door to the expendability of life for any reasons, every life is cheapened. And inevitably, society suffers the burden where rights are spoken of only as they increase the powers of the strong and able who then choose to destroy the rights and lives of the innocent and disabled.

Arthur C. Douglas Jr.

White Marsh

Sour Grapes

Your editorial regarding "HCFA's Politically Correct Location" (Aug. 15) is not entirely correct and missed the boat on several important points. It also smacks of sour grapes.

Baltimore City was not "cavalierly ignored" by the administration. Baltimore County was not selected on the basis of politics -- as implied by your editorial.

If anything, most Health Care Financing Administration employees felt the city site would be selected because of politics and unfair advantages such as a glossy brochure touting the benefits of a city work site that was distributed desk-to-desk. And what did Baltimore County distribute? A one-page mimeographed sheet.

To imply that the city was cheated out of jobs because of politics shows a lack of understanding of the issues. You are crying "sour grapes" for the city, but should be shouting "Yippee" -- not for the county, not even for the employees -- but for the beneficiaries.

HCFA is the federal agency which administers the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The site should have been selected, as it was, on the basis of which site better serves the beneficiaries of Medicare and the recipients of Medicaid.

HCFA's loyal, faithful and hard-working employees will continue to work where they have been working since the inception of HCFA. They will continue to provide service to the American people at the location which GSA deemed the correct one for a number of reasons: fiscal, financial and environmental -- not because it was "politically correct." That is what you should have emphasized.

Mayer D. Zimmerman

Randallstown

Responsible Limits

I must admit that sometimes your editorials bewilder me. On the one hand, The Sun's editors have consistently argued for gun control, and in the process have ridiculed individuals and organizations that have used the U.S. Constitution as their argument against such an infringement.

In these instances, it seems your editors are willing to espouse and encourage a less than strict literal interpretation, held so near and dear by the National Rifle Association and its advocates in their arguments against such controls, with the hope that the carnage assisted by the use of firearms on the streets of Baltimore can somehow be substantially reduced or abated.

Personally, I don't disagree with your position. On the other hand, in your editorial in The Sun of August 4, "Censoring Rap Music," you adhere to the most stringent of interpretations of the First Amendment, even if the speech in question contributes to the carnage previously spoken of.

While I don't recall the jitter-buggers in the days of Elvis Presley ever singing words which speak of killing police officers, politicians, or even oneself, you're right that we as a society have allowed the limits of acceptable speech to expand. As such, we, as a society, have paid a price.

You suggest the birth of a "totalitarian culture" if society evaluates the evolution of "acceptable" speech and comes to the conclusion that we've gone too far. I see this as a responsible society.

I say this because everyone who reads your editorials, or listens to the words of "artists" such as Ice-T, does not have a firm grip on reality or a balanced outlook on the world and all its problems.

In a society where one could be killed for simply brushing against an individual in a crowded room, or simply sitting on their stoop as your cartoon in the same Aug. 4 edition suggests, it doesn't seem that we, as a society, need the encouragement for more murders put to music and then mass distributed.

David R. Etheridge

Hampstead

Reflections on the Afro at 100

I enjoyed reading writer Michael A. Fletcher's recent piece commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Afro-American newspapers, since I was privileged to help prepare the 80th anniversary edition of the paper in 1972.

That was when I began my professional journalism career, courtesy of then-and-now columnist Elizabeth Murphy Moss and then (now retired) President John H. Murphy III.

A little-known but relevant sidelight to Mr. Fletcher's piece is that -- like Morgan State University -- the Afro of those days routinely employed whites.

I was one of three who was employed upon graduation from then Towson State College. The other two were Russell A. Hoshall, a typesetter, and fellow-reporter Scott Ponemone, who later left for The Sun.

Ironically, neither The Baltimore Sun nor the News-American would hire me then because I lacked "experience," even though I had free lanced for both for some years. Thus I, a white, started as a cub reporter for a black newspaper.

As one who had grown up in segregated Baltimore and had taken part in many black-white street fights that were entirely senseless, I received a rude awakening about the people I thought I knew upon reading "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" and Eldridge Cleaver's "Soul on Ice." I smile inwardly now, two decades later, to think that Malcolm is still controversial.

These books prepared me for the Afro, and it was in that bastion of the great civil rights battles of the 1950s and 1960s that I got to meet, know and interview the titans of those years -- the Murphys, the Mitchells and many others, including one who still publishes, Elizabeth Murphy Oliver.

I can still hear her gentle reproof: "Child, you cannot agonize over this story any longer -- you must go with it!" We did, and my first official day on the job was to cover a penitentiary riot that threatened to be another Attica.

Besides covering politics at both City Hall and the State House, the paper permitted me to correspond with death row inmates to tell their side of a grim story.

I was also allowed to start my own column, "Black and Proud," to highlight positive things area blacks were achieving.

One of them was about a young high school student who was one of the first elected student members of the Baltimore school board. Today, Arlene Jenkins is is a high-ranking spokeswoman for the city police department.

Now I work for another famous Baltimore journalist, and I recently enjoyed showing her my old desk at the Afro, as well as meeting former co-workers and friends there.

I recalled that an honor had been granted me a few yards away during an Afro editorial board meeting in September, 1972.

There were only two white men present among a phalanx of the top black writers and editors of the day. The Democratic nominee for the United States presidency, Sen. George S. McGovern of South Dakota, was one of them, and I was the other.

I still cherish that moment, and am grateful to the Afro for it.

Blaine Taylor

Towson

The writer is press secretary to Rep. Helen Delich Bentley.

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