Lost MissionAfter reading the Feb. 6 article...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Lost Mission

After reading the Feb. 6 article about the questionable role of the Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. in non-utility business, I am concerned that the company is jeopardizing its primary mission -- to produce electricity and gas so vital to the lives of the citizens of our state.

I also note how in the past some companies in New Mexico, Arizona and California nearly foundered due to their ill-advised ventures into other non-energy enterprises. How was this allowed by the state regulatory bodies?

The answer, in my opinion, lies in the legislative, bureaucratic and even judicial interference of the federal government in the operation of purely state functions.

This action has subverted the intent of our founding fathers, which was to allow the local populace to control its own destiny. This debasement of our Constitution seems to me to be the root cause of many of our problems today.

The federal government has usurped the power of our state and forced it to allow non-utility companies to take over production of energy in Maryland and thus encourage the utility to compete in fields in which it should not be operating. It seems that Maryland has been derelict in not fighting this takeover.

No, I do not blame BG&E; but rather our politicians and bureaucrats both in Maryland as well as in Washington. It again demonstrates to what length Washington has gone in destroying the federal-state relationship mandated by our Constitution.

Otto C. Beyer

Ellicott City

Criminal Acts

I am appalled and sickened by the extensive coverage the Bobbitt case has received in the newspapers and on television.

This media circus has turned the tragedy of two peoples' lives into a farce. The publicity that accompanies violent behavior also sends a double message.

On the one hand, we send people to jail for violent, criminal acts. On the other hand, we reward people for violent behavior by giving them publicity.

People can become famous, for a month or only a day, because they have committed an alleged crime. They can also become rich by selling their story for a book or movie.

I think journalists have sacrificed their responsibility and integrity for sensational stories that attract readers and viewers.

They should examine the effects this kind of publicity has on public attitudes toward crime and on our criminal justice system before they continue providing stories based on speculation and innuendoes and little else.

Laura Waters

Columbia

Mfume Is Not a Censor

The Sun reports (Feb. 2) that many of Rep. Kweisi Mfume's constituents "don't want to write off the Nation of Islam and the good works that they do in the community" despite the unsavory leadership of that organization.

One must presume that these people are too young to remember that Mussolini's Fascists made the trains run on time.

Robert C. Tompkins

Towson

Regarding your coverage of the remarks made by Khalid Muhammad, I am at a loss to understand why The Sun holds Representative Mfume responsible for the comments and actions of another.

He is not a member of the Nation of Islam, nor in TC decision-making capacity in their organization. Mr. Mfume is not able to force a retraction from Mr. Farrakhan or Mr. Muhammad. To suggest that he should answer for the actions or comments of anyone else is biased and hypocritical.

Not once have I seen the same righteous indignation emanate from your columnists regarding the coded racist diatribes from the likes of Rush Limbaugh or Pat Buchanan. I have not seen The Sun demand that any white leader renounce the venom which frequently spews from the Klan.

What I do see is a double standard being applied to the congressman. Your paper largely ignored Kweisi Mfume as he worked and earned the position of respect he now holds on a local and national level.

Enter now The Sun to cast aspersions and sully his reputation with a series of furious articles demanding from him what you would not dare seek from other public officials.

One individual can never represent the thoughts and aspirations of an entire group of people. To insist that Representative Mfume be the censor of all African-Americans is irrational and just plain wrong.

Denise Andrews

Baltimore

A Hot Dog Is Not a Mutilated St. Bernard

In his Jan. 26 letter to the editor, Donald K. Tag lambasted the Clinton health plan as being "pure hard-core socialism" and said that there is no health insurance crisis in this country, even for the "supposed 37 million uninsured wretches who are frequently mentioned."

Mr. Tag appears to be yet another graduate of the Don't Know, Never Been There, Only Know What I've Heard From Other People Who Don't Know School of Political Analysis. His inept correlation between socialized medicine and socialism, is equivalent to arguing that hot dogs have something to do with multialted St. Bernards.

Three of my four children have birth defects and there is nothing "supposed" about the health care crises we've faced. I have been there, through both American and European medical systems. There is a definite health care crisis in this country and the statistics don't even include tens of thousands of "wretches" who don't fit the statistical profiles.

My son was born in a European hospital in 1986. My prenatal care, the delivery, six days in a private room, a tubal ligation, 31 days in prenatal intensive care for my premature son, all of our food and medications cost a total of $10,000.

My room was scrubbed from top to bottom, including the window and bed frames, three times a day. It would be amazing to find a local hospital that would offer the same quality and quantity of service for five times as much.

A year later, I had surgery in another European hospital to remove a fibroid tumor. Again, with six days in a private room, the total bill was under $2,500, and I was not covered by their health care system. Although the average European salary is somewhat lower than our average, the comparative cost of our medical care is exorbitant.

Mr. Tag states that he has never seen anyone turned away from an emergency room regardless of their ability to pay.

Assuming the emergency room he mentioned is one from his home county, where I grew up and two of my children were born, I can state positively that each of those facilities has signs posted stating the minimum charge for services. Nowhere does it state treatment will be free to anyone. Also, where was Mr. Tag when the baby of a good friend of mine died in her arms as they rode on a bus to her hometown because none of the local hospitals would accept the infant? Where was he when my daughter's chin was slashed open in a bicycle accident and she was refused treatment because of her heart condition?

And what about the poor insured "wretches" who have debilitating and life-threatening illnesses that are not covered by their insurance? What good is my friend's insurance if it will cover a broken arm but would allow her to die from untreated diabetes? What good is the insurance that costs my mother more than my house payment, but doesn't cover her leukemia? And what about the police officer who owed over $200,000 in medical bills for two surgeries on his infant son -- with more surgery needed in the future? Would Mr. Tag prefer that these people lose everything they have to pay their medical bills so that we might maintain the highest rate of sick and homeless people in the industrialized world?

During my work in a congressional campaign last year, I had the opportunity to study Clinton's health care proposal. No, it is not perfect. Yes, it will cost money. However, it is time we dropped the arrogant and self-defeating attitude that "if it hasn't been done here, it won't work." Universal health care is a working reality in nearly every industrialized nation in the world. But people like Mr. Tag wouldn't know about such things. They've never been there. They've never done that. They only give uninformed opinions about it.

J. L. Payton

Pasadena

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