Slow PostI read with interest the July...


Slow Post

I read with interest the July 9 article concerning the poor postal service in Baltimore and elsewhere.

I have experienced four- and five-day delivery, not only between Baltimore and Ocean City, but between Towson and Pikesville. Beside these, late delivery of a few hours pales.

The excuse is always lack of personnel or something similar. I believe the real excuse is poor management as well as disinterested personnel.

I have written repeatedly to the postmaster general, with no results.

In Baltimore, I frequently encounter surly personnel and Post Office stations lacking stamps which I require.

In Baltimore, the Post Office converted a simple temporary change of address to a permanent one, causing change notices to go to my banks and credit card companies, although the form was properly completed.

In Baltimore, delivery of wet mail left in the rain, torn mail, mis-delivery, have been treated lightly by Post Office managers.

A simple out-of town subscription to The Sun, mailed every day, was held up in St. Simons Island, Ga., so that five or six papers were delivered at once.

For some reason, in Ocean City, Md.; Tipp City, Ohio, and Bedford, N.H., I have been treated with courtesy and pleasantness by Post Office clerks; rarely in Baltimore.

To me, this all adds up to poor management, poor supervision and disinterested personnel. The addition of more personnel under the same conditions can hardly improve the service.

Frank B. Hall



In response to the July 3 article concerning the certification and regulation of therapists:

Certification does not ensure quality. As recipients of services, we, too, are liable for the quality of care received. The responsibility does not and should not rest solely on the shoulders of the provider and/or the state.

Alice B. Tracy


Single Payer

. . . Members of the Health Care for All Coalition are concerned with The Sun's July 4 front page story by John Fairhall, which described alternate health plans now before Congress.

We were dismayed to see that the single-payer approach was not even mentioned. I guess that conventional wisdom is that the single-payer plan does not have a real chance to pass and therefore can be ignored.

We would argue that a single-payer system will become an increasingly important option for three reasons. First, some of the proposals have single-payer options which individual states may adopt.

Second, we would argue that none of the other approaches to health care reform have enough votes to carry the day, and the need for a single-payer approach which achieves universal, comprehensive and affordable health care will become apparent.

The final and most compelling reason that single-payer must be given more, rather than less, attention is that it really can give the American people "more bang for the buck."

It preserves our current approach where consumers have a choice of provider, and providers' medical decisions are not hamstrung by bureaucratic restrictions. It is financed more progressively.

It is judged by the Congressional Budget Office as having the best cost containment features. A single-payer plan has the most comprehensive benefit package including prescription drug coverage, mental health benefits and long term care.

In brief, the single-payer plan should not become the victim of self-fulfilling prophecies of the media, dying simply because the media expects it to die.

I strongly encourage the The Sun to give a detailed treatment of the single-payer plan to your readers and to discuss it as a co-equal when covering the debate.

Albert P. Cohen


Haiti Objective

Roger Simon's column about Haiti, July 15, encourages me to put pen to paper. Though I am not an expert on Haiti (anybody seen one yet?), my military background (West Point, '50) leads me to suggest there is no military objective in Haiti.

If there were a Soviet Union (which there is not), and if it were preparing to invade Haiti (which it is not), and if there were likelihood of success (which is doubtful), then there might be a military objective. But none of these conditions exists.

If Bill Clinton has a conscience (which is not a given) and wants to invade Haiti, I would help him buy a rifle and a ticket so he can go.

If Congress agrees with an invasion and votes for this insanity, I would require its members personally to accompany him.

But as far as putting a single member of the United States defense establishment in harm's way for a purely political scenario, I ask: "Where is the authority?"

If Mr. Clinton wants to do this, let's make it voluntary. Put it to a vote.

In some way keep track of those who are for it, so they can go. If they can't personally go, collect the necessary funds from them to pay for it.

And when the money runs out, the party is over. That's what voluntary means.

Lloyd E. Darland

Bel Air

Inhumane Greed

Sometimes, most of the time, I don't understand our culture, or maybe I just don't understand human beings as a species.

Certainly, I don't understand the lack of compassion that our society is based upon, and its acceptance that humans have a right to hurt each other, animals and the environment in the name of the almighty dollar, the reigning god since the industrial revolution.

On July 13, two articles caught my eye: The first made cute of the fact that a cat had been trapped for 12 days without food and water on a Tower Air plane.

One can only assume that greed was the simple reason that the jet wasn't immediately grounded when the cat wasn't unloaded as expected.

I guess it was just a cat. One can only imagine the hue and cry if it had been just a toddler, although I, for one, prefer cats to toddlers.

In the same section was an article on the Environmental Protection Agency backing off on commuting rules that would reduce pollution because the rules might have an adverse financial affect upon Maryland National Bank, Merry Go Round and Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory.

These businesses have got to be more important than the rest of us mere humans who breathe air that we would prefer to be unpolluted. Could we even survive without a Merry Go Round store? Come on.

I just returned from working with local people in Namibia, Africa, this past year, and I guess anyone who doesn't work for money, like myself, and who scrapes by is a nut according to our culture.

But I came back concerned that this philosophy, of economics as god, is being exported. For some reason there is a belief out there that economic growth is a divine panacea.

Actually, it is a man-made theory and rather dated, particularly if you read any economics and begin to understand shadow subsidies and the like, which basically means that there is no free lunch -- something business likes to say, but, hey, businesses are always looking for free lunch, whether letting a cat die or polluting the air.

I wish the public would stop buying into this myth, and I wish that The Baltimore Sun would try and step out of this same myth and report from a more objective stance.

That Tower Air wouldn't stop the jet is not a cute story about a frequent flyer cat. And that the EPA has backed off on commuting rules means that some big executives are going to take home nice paychecks while we breathe polluted air.

I have a feeling the people who work as tellers and sales clerks won't benefit from the ruling. No, they'll just be able to keep their jobs. So, why not read economists Paul Elkin or Marilyn Waring and wake up to the fact that greed is not a divine panacea? Or try something simpler, empathy.

Would you have wanted to be that cat? Do you want to be the air that is polluted?

If you can imagine that, which most people in our culture can't, then maybe you can decide to just say no to greed. Fancy that.

Tara Lumpkin


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