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Holocaust deniersIf seeing Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower...

Holocaust deniers

If seeing Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gen. Omar Bradley walking through the Nazi death camps with thousands of GIs is not proof enough, denying the Holocaust is as criminally disturbed and guilty as the Nazis themselves.

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By denying the Holocaust, they are discrediting the honor of Eisenhower and Bradley and making liars of all the thousands of GIs who liberated those camps.

oseph Kryszpel

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Baltimore

No war bonus

Over the last few weeks there has been a preponderance of celebration concerning both Memorial Day and the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

Maryland has officially expressed its respect and gratitude for the veterans of the war.

As a Maryland veteran of World War II, I feel slighted by the state's adoration. Maryland is the only state in the country that did not honor its veterans with a state bonus for serving in the war.

It is not the financial "reward" that is at issue but the simple lack of consideration.

Perhaps the state government, 50 years later, believes it has cleared the slate by offering these verbal tokens for those who risked their lives for this country.

I don't think it has.

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John Funk

Baltimore

U2 vs. the pope

The latest concern over Pope John Paul's visiting Baltimore this coming fall raises a question that needs to be answered.

A problem that may arise if the Orioles make it to the World Series is how to protect the baseball field at Camden Yards. The pope will be giving a mass during the day while the Orioles will be playing in Baltimore that night.

What is so perplexing is that a few years back, the city of Baltimore had the opportunity to host a concert by the rock group U2, with the proceeds going toward AIDS research.

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The concert would have been held at Memorial Stadium days before a sports event was scheduled. Baltimore City chose not to host the very important AIDS research benefit concert for fear that the playing field would suffer damage.

Pope John Paul's visit will certainly create much excitement in Baltimore. The question is, does one person take precedence over millions of people suffering from AIDS? The answer is obvious.

Let's hope in the future that Baltimore City will not miss the opportunity to help not just the city but all of mankind.

Kristie Kozenewski

Churchville

Whom to trust?

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Recently, I took part in a survey of 14 residents of the metropolitan area, many of us already retired and others approaching retirement, to find out what we thought of the trend by local hospitals to form alliances for the purpose of delivering health care.

We were asked if we thought such alliances would deliver better, equal or worse health care.

Some thought that bigger may mean less personalized care; others that hospitals competing for patients by attempting to provide all services through expensive high technologies tends to drive up the cost of care; and others thought that lack of competition would have the same effect.

The subject inevitably brought up the matter of the national health care debate and of the levels of trust in the major players: insurance companies, drug manufacturing companies, doctors, hospitals, employers and government.

Unanimously the participants placed doctors at the top of the list, followed by hospitals.

I was astounded to find that 12 out of the 14 participants placed government last, after insurance and drug companies.

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Does it not follow then, that we do not trust ourselves since we are the government -- or should be -- by exercising our citizen's right in choosing the elected officials who serve at our pleasure?

ZTC Charles H. Devaud

Baltimore

Resolving conflict

Recently, I was in a room with representatives from several state agencies and a few students talking about ways to prevent teen violence.

The students were trained peer mediators. As peer mediators, they have learned how to help angry fellow students resolve their conflicts constructively instead of escalating into violence.

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One of the student mediators talked about teachers. "Why don't teachers learn conflict resolution skills?" she asked. "Too many teachers say the wrong thing when there's a conflict and just make things worse.

"With all the conflicts that teachers have to deal with, you'd think they would have to take a course in conflict resolution before they became teachers. Why don't they have to?" she asked.

Good question.

It makes sense for teachers to learn creative conflict resolution skills. All teachers have to take a courses to maintain their teaching certificates.

With conflict with and between students so much a part of their jobs, it seems appropriate teachers also should be required to take a course in creative conflict resolution to maintain their certificates.

Bob Krasnansky

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Ellicott City

Social Security meets crucial social goals

I am responding to Michael Soloway's June 7 letter to The Evening Sun, titled "Socialistic Social Security." Mr. Soloway says ". . . It angers me to know that I could do a lot better if I invested that money on my own for my retirement."

Of course, the payment of Social Security taxes is mandatory, so it is a moot point.

But what if Mr. Soloway had the option? Perhaps he would invest his money wisely, avoid disability or early death and realize a greater return on his investment than he would get from Social Security. But then again, perhaps he wouldn't.

What would happen to Mr. Soloway and his family if his investments failed? And what would happen to those millions of other people who, if given the option, would never invest their money in the first place?

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Even relatively safe investments such as state or local government bond mutual funds are subject to potentially significant risk for an individual investor.

And, of course, there is the chance that Mr. Soloway could die or become disabled before his investments had a chance to grow. Social Security taxes are pooled, rather than credited to individual accounts, and workers and their families are guaranteed the benefits to which the law entitles them.

Also, many private plans do not include protection against increases in the cost of living. Social Security does.

And, Mr. Soloway should remember that his Social Security taxes are paying for more than just retirement benefits.

They also pay for potentially valuable benefits for him and his family if he becomes unable to work because of a disability, as well as "life insurance" benefits for his widow and children should he die.

Unfortunately, this is not a remote possibility. Statistics show that 42 percent of young men and 28 percent of young women will die or become disabled before reaching retirement age.

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Still another part of Mr. Soloway's Social Security taxes pays for the Medicare coverage he will one day need.

Mr. Soloway complained that ". . . the worst part of Social Security is that it was the first of many socialistic government programs which have shifted responsibility from the individual to the federal government and in the process made them unwilling wards of the state."

Apparently Mr. Soloway is troubled by the fact that a program called "Social Security" has some social aspects to it. Social Security's founders very carefully chose the name of their program to remind citizens that Social Security was never intended to be a personal investment plan.

Instead, it was set up as, and still is, a "social insurance" program. The word "social" in Social Security means that, unlike private retirement plans, social objectives -- such as raising the standard of living for lower-income workers and offering financial security to the families of all workers -- are integral parts of the program.

Thirty-six percent of older Americans are kept from living in poverty by their Social Security checks. I do not think they consider themselves to be "unwilling wards of the state."

Finally, I must remind Mr. Soloway that Social Security was never intended to be his sole source of income when he retires or become disabled, or his family's only income when he dies.

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When considering private investments, he should think of them as supplements to, not replacements for, his Social Security benefits.

Shirley S. Chater

Baltimore

The writer is the commissioner of the Social Security Administration.


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