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Fighting CrimeOur attorney general certainly has his...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Fighting Crime

Our attorney general certainly has his hands full fighting crime in Maryland.

We often hear his name in the news, concerning such violent crimes as mail fraud, consumer protection scams and, worst of all, out-of-state lottery tickets being sold in Maryland.

Isn't it reassuring to know that we can still count on Joe Curran to take time out from his busy crime-fighting schedule to deliver an opinion in favor of more gun control?

I feel safer already, don't you?

John H. Josselyn

Towson

Health Care Fiasco

Seldom have I read a more true and well-written letter to the editor on any subject -- including the fiasco in "health care reform" today -- than that of Dr. Karl W. Diehn in the Aug. 23 Sun.

I won't attempt to embellish the wisdom displayed in his description of the trend of non-service and "capitalism" coming on like a freight train in the health care industry today. But it is worthwhile to repeat a short description of his and then try to relate it to some other, broader, discouraging societal happenings today.

Certainly, as Dr. Diehn reports, there is "a new lexicon of terms," including "health care providers" instead of physicians, "covered lives" instead of "patients" and "patient market share."

That is dismaying from a health care standpoint; but it also is very representative of a larger trend of psycho- , company- and even government-babble pushed by a strange combination of the politically correct and accountants.

For example, maybe The Sun's reporters and writers are "journalism providers" and not "journalists." In any case, it is deliberately used to soften the real truth or convert it for debatable purposes. C'mon, let's get real.

On the more purely "business over service" side, this self-serving (but very short-sighted) attitude is manifested in such ways as oil companies charging their own regular, loyal customers more for using the company's own credit card (a practice that has now substantially been booed out of existence) or banks starting to charge customers for inter-relating with a teller (sometimes $3 to $5 a pop).

That's what happens when the accountants or capitation artists (and their reams and reams of computer-generated figures) prevail over real, honest service. The poor marketing guys and gals are trying to lure new customers, clients or patients, and the numbers guys kill it all with their short-sighted look at the world. Profits first, everything else be dammed.

Talk about shooting oneself in the foot. Heck, save the money and don't promote or promise service in the first place. Meanwhile, however, everyone but a very few in the society loses.

John T. Gillan

Baltimore

'Fess Up, Dutch

Please correct me if I am wrong. Wasn't it Baltimore County Executive Dutch Ruppersberger who took $10 million away from the county schools this past April because the system had an excess?

If this is so, then it is certainly considerate of Mr. Ruppersberger not to want the county teachers to pay for his mistake.

Now be a gentleman, 'fess up and give the money back.

Nicole Fall

Sparks

Negative Attacks

Doug Stuck's Aug. 30 article on Jerusalem's anniversary is an unbalanced, inaccurate commentary on the history and politics of Jerusalem.

When Jerusalem was founded by King David nearly 3,000 years ago -- and that is what this anniversary celebration is about -- it eventually became the political capital and spiritual center for the Jewish people. This unbroken Jewish presence in Jerusalem, and the unique and eternal ties that presence represents, are historical facts; they are not, as Mr. Struck implies, politically opportune declarations.

During the first century, Christianity's bond to the City of Jerusalem was established. By the eighth century, the city's significance for Muslims was realized. None of this is denied by those planning the "Jerusalem 3000" celebration. In fact, a large number of events are being organized in recognition of the city's multi-varied traditions. The celebration is planned for everyone; no one's history is to be denied.

In further reviewing Mr. Struck's story about the "Jerusalem 3000" celebrations, and The Sun's coverage of these events, questions arise.

First, one wonders why, under a picture of Jerusalem's mayor, The Sun makes a comment regarding land ownership in Jerusalem, an issue largely irrelevant to the story's focus on the 3,000th anniversary celebrations.

Also, while so many important, newsworthy events are taking place around the world, why is it that an assault on Jerusalem's anniversary celebration is placed on the front news page, above the fold?

It was actually refreshing that over the past year, Sun coverage reflected varied perspectives on events in the Middle East.

Now, unfortunately, continuing and negative attacks (for example, Doug Stuck's article, "A spreading stain on the purity of arms," Aug. 26) directed toward Israel, have returned to the front pages of The Sun.

Rabbi Joel H. Zaiman

Baltimore

The writer is president, Baltimore Jewish Council.

Roundabout

Regarding the proposed traffic roundabout in Towson: Recently, I had the opportunity to view a display of this proposed project. It occurred to me that there are no serious plans to protect the interests of pedestrians in this very busy community.

Already the situation for pedestrians in Towson is precarious. The intersection of York and Joppa roads is tricky even with the use of walk signals.

The layout of the proposed traffic roundabout is strikingly similar to those already in place -- most notably at the City Dock in Annapolis and at Union Station in Washington, D.C. As frustrated visitors to these cities know, pedestrian access is severely restricted at these two historic sites.

A viable alternative to Towson traffic woes would be a pedestrian walkway linking the former Hutzler's site with Towson Town Center. This would ease traffic at York and Joppa, make it easier for pedestrians to cross, and provide a use for a vacant eyesore which doesn't seem likely to have a tenant anytime soon.

Larry Hankin

Baltimore

Baltimore and Football

In 1958, the Colts and Giants played for the NFL championship. It was the first overtime game ever played and drew a large TV audience.

Dubbed "the greatest game ever played," it was generally credited with beginning the ascendancy of professional football toward rivaling baseball as America's favorite spectator sport.

It created a superhero in John Unitas, a blue-collar type guy who did his job with passion, skill and dependability.

In 1995, the Orioles played a game as also-rans, falling short of their dreams of being champions. But the game they played on Sept. 6 may be credited with stopping the skid of baseball as America's favorite spectator sport, after a sordid strike and the prima donna tantrums of some of its players.

It was another blue-collar type guy with an impeccable work ethic who made it so by playing in a record 2,131 consecutive games at his craft. Another superhero was made.

Both of these events happened in Baltimore, once the world's largest hick town. And both of the players call our town home.

Major league baseball will owe a great debt to Baltimore fans, if the sport can be turned around in public esteem by this game and this player.

Likewise, football owes these fans a team after the shabby treatment it got at the hands of prima donna owners and commissioners.

Robert Irsay, who sneaked out in the middle of the night. Paul Tagliabue, a Judas commissioner, and Jack Kent Cooke, an 80-year-old Midas who thinks he can take it with him, and the other owners who move franchises like chess pieces chasing the buck and thumbing their noses at the fans, can undo the work of Unitas & Co. as easy as pie.

Even the TV networks are wavering in their willingness to be extorted to broadcast the games, and taxpayers are thinking twice about building new stadiums for money-mad owners. It is time the NFL woke up and smelled the coffee, as they say.

I hope the CFL can get a grip on its potential. Look what Baltimore has meant to that league. In its rookie year its team went to the championship.

Once die-hard football fans realize the CFL has exciting games with far better rules, it might become the competition that the NFL needs to regain the respect of the fans and restore municipal pride in a hometown team.

Vernon Lentz

Timonium

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