Strict rules for welfare are good ideaAt...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Strict rules for welfare are good idea

At the risk of sounding mean spirited, I do not share Laura Lippman's sympathy for the long waits and the seas of paperwork in Baltimore's welfare offices (The Evening Sun, July 21).

In fact, I am gratified there is so much information demanded from applicants, as the money the clients ultimately receive will come out of the taxpayers' pockets.

Maryland's 80,000 welfare cases are a staggering load, and this provides a rich environment for fraud. Building an all-inclusive data base for each recipient is an excellent way to cross-check and verify.

Although questions about inheritance, trust funds, houses, boats and other property may amuse applicants, they are absolutely valid. Who hasn't heard horror stories of welfare abuse and deception? As for all the "waiting and fuming," what's the rush? Even if the clients are "driven wild by delays" they are not working and will eventually be reimbursed for their patience.

Visit downtown Baltimore any first Saturday of the month and study the welfare clients lined up at the automatic teller machines.

For the most part they are young, strong, healthy and capable. The same can be observed at the checkout line. The man or woman presenting an "Independence Card" (the politically correct electronic version of food stamps) usually is able bodied and could hold down a job. If nothing else, the automation of welfare lets taxpayers see the faces of those they are supporting . . . Frankly, welfare is disgusting and many taxpayers are tired of feeling used.

No, I have no sympathy for the delays, the forms and hassles. Maybe in the long run they will act as a deterrent and make getting a job appear more attractive.

Rosalind Ellis

Baltimore

All-Star city

My husband, our son and I just returned from the All-Star Game in your city. We had a wonderful time.

Except for the heat (there is no escaping it anywhere), everything was great.

We stayed in Baltimore five days at a hotel near the harbor. We found it very easy to get around your city by foot. Places to eat, things to see and do, Camden Yards -- all were so easily accessible that we could come and go as we pleased.

The layout of your city makes it enjoyable to be a visitor. We also met many pleasant residents of Baltimore. We came away from Baltimore with such good memories that we feel that we can highly recommend it.

Mary Walsh

Atlanta

History lesson

Barbara Smithson's letter (July 13) claimed that the Republicans ruled Congress for 12 years and avoided raising taxes by dipping into Social Security. Ms. Smithson needs a history lesson.

The Democrats have controlled the House of Representatives, where all spending and taxes must originate under our Constitution, since Harry Truman was president -- 40-plus years.

Except for 1981-1983, the first two years of the Reagan administration, they also controlled the Senate.

As Casey Stengel used to say, "You could look it up."

Chuck Frainie

Woodlawn

Lost drug war

Innocent bystanders shot, bank hold-ups, women shoppers kidnapped, muggings, children being killed, murders execution-style -- and it is claimed that the motives are not known.

Isn't it possible all of the above are drug related? How long are the powers that be going to bury their heads in the sand? Where are their consciences? They have the answer, why don't they use it?

It appears that some people in high places do not want to stop the drug dealings. Someone reaps a handsome profit by evidently (or obviously) looking the other way.

Drug lords have only one weapon -- sales. Take that away from them and they are out of business. Legalize their commodity. Beat them at their own game.

Al Capone, Pretty Boy Floyd, Legs Diamond, Lucky Luciano and all the other scum found this out when the sale of alcohol was legalized. Bribery, corruption and fear came to an abrupt halt. The people had their cities back. It's that simple.

Anyone can see that we have lost the drug war using present methods. Drug dealing business will go on and on, getting worse and worse unless we do something now.

We have already lost a whole generation. Let's not lose the next one. Legalize drugs.

Nicholas F. Mullin Sr.

Baltimore

Would-be juror

Part of each citizen's responsibility is to serve on jury duty when called.

I have been a registered voter in Baltimore County for at least 30 years; why have I never been called?

Call the jury commissioner's office in Towson and you're told, "We don't take volunteers. It's a random selection."

I feel this is a stupid joke. I have relatives and friends who have been called several times, but I have never been. People say the stipend costs them normal job pay, but I want to find out first-hand what goes on as a juror.

I've asked lawyers how to get on a jury and they tell me they have clients who offered them money to have their names bypassed. Why are people willing to do anything to shirk their taxpayers' responsibility, and others like myself cannot work on the side of the law?

Perhaps I should have my name removed as a voter? Or the powers that be should change the procedure for selecting jurors.

Harry I. Kleiman

Owings Mills

Right-wing radio's prejudices

In his July 19 Other Voices article on talk radio, Robert Wolfe accuses yours truly and other right-wing radio talk show hosts of "mindless prejudice against all things liberal."

I assure you my antipathy toward what passes for liberalism these days is the result of much considered thought and I would be more than delighted to match my reasoning, with all its "huge gaps that only a true believer can span," against that of Mr. Wolfe any time.

It's quite remarkable that only we of the right are guilty of framing every issue as a liberal versus conservative matter.

This assertion is shown to be in error every day in The Baltimore Sun, which employs a stable of columnists not one of whom strays very far from the standard liberal catechism, and on the radio talk shows hosted by Allan Prell and Dan Rodricks on WBAL, hosts not disinclined to berate challengers to liberal dogma.

I will concede that talk shows are not "lessons in humility." They are vehicles of entertainment and as such must strut their stuff to attract enough attention to survive.

One of the chief difficulties faced by conservatives whose fate it is to utter their sentiments publicly is that conservatism is by its very nature a pessimistic sort of thing. Some call it a cynical way of looking at life and the way things are ordered (or disordered), but I prefer to describe it as a world view emphasizing the tragic side of existence.

This is not the kind of thinking that attracts people who like to consider themselves clever, since to be clever is to always believe one can somehow figure a better way to do things than all those people who preceded your own time of consciousness. So clever people, having imbibed "progressive" theory through their schooling, cling obstinately -- against all historical evidence -- to the thought that things can be made to change for the better.

Sometimes this is even true. No one would want to return to the days of slavery or to do away with indoor plumbing, trash collection, painless dentistry, electricity and so on.

But this truth is a partial truth. Some mystic once explained that even as light is shone on something that was dark, something that was lit is darkened. There is no smooth path leading ever upward that we can call "progress." Despite phenomenal technological developments, life remains difficult, marked by pain, loss and change. And to pretend otherwise is folly.

However, nothing is cherished so much by people as folly, and they don't very much like being deprived of it.

Maybe that's at the heart of the passionate desire to diminish the rapidly growing phenomenon of talk radio, or at least that considerable portion of it that can be described as right wing.

The Times-Mirror study of radio talk show listeners concluded that few of the listeners to these programs tune in because of the particular host. If that's the case, why worry about us? Worry about those compelled to take advantage of the last true free speech zone in what's left of America.

Ron Smith

Baltimore

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