Europeans not the only exploiters
In a letter published on Sept. 23 entitled "Racial history should not be oversimplified," Eric James implied that Europeans are the sole source of racist, barbaric exploitation and stated that it is a historical pattern for Europeans to bankrupt nations to benefit their own selfish tribe.
European "tribes" are far from the only groups that have been aggressors. In recorded history, strong tribes from every continent have attempted to enforce their will and cultures as far as existing technology would allow.
The Carthaginians and Zulus from Africa; the Chinese and Japanese from Asia; the Mayas, Incas and Iroquois from the Americas; the Norse, the Huns, the Mongols, the Moors, the Germans, the Polynesians -- the list of those groups that attacked and expanded their territories encompasses virtually every recognizable geographic or political entity. . . .
Western culture shares one achievement with no other. It was the first culture and society to recognize and declare the equality of every race and culture, to make discrimination illegal and to outlaw slavery, which was legal in some Saharan states until 1967. . . .
Unfortunately, now that racism is deplorable and illegal in our governments, it still resides and flourishes in individuals. I do not believe this country is perfect, or even close, but our only hope is to persist in fighting blind bigotry and racism, no matter the source.
Lewis Lorton Columbia
Throw this suit out of court
If a trial is held as a result of Baltimore City suing the state for additional school funding, it should not last long enough for the lawyers to open their briefcases.
The suit should be immediately thrown out after the judge instructs the plaintiffs to come back after they (as do hundreds of cost-conscious school districts nationwide) start using the billions of dollars worth of educational resources currently entrusted to them year-round, not just nine months a year.
Bill Rieg Seabrook
Where are the police?
For nearly a week I made numerous calls to the police department about suspected drug dealing in my neighborhood.
From Sept. 17-21, I called 911 on several occasions to no avail. Not one time did anyone respond from the police department.
As a taxpayer, I am paying for a service that is not there. I've witnessed drug deal after drug deal on the same street corner, called the police every time and got the same result every time.
# Anthony D. Cero Baltimore
No-parole policy makes no sense
Gov. Parris N. Glendening recently announced that he will deny parole to practically all prisoners serving life sentences (Sept. 22, "Life-term inmates to remain in prison").
This one-size-fits-all policy is harsh and unjust.
For the past three years, I have worked as a volunteer college instructor at the state penitentiary in downtown Baltimore. I have seen that certain people can and do change.
Having committed their crimes as young men, some of the inmates have since finished the equivalent of high school, earned a college degree, joined religious groups and worked with troubled youths.
There are some exceptional "graduates" of the Maryland penitentiary system. For example, Charles Dutton, star of the "Roc" television show, and H. B. Johnson Jr., two-time winner of WMAR-TV's award for black playwrights.
Such men often work hard for years, even decades, preparing themselves for a new life.
Governor Glendening's no-parole policy sends the message: "Don't bother; change doesn't count; there is no hope." I can only hope that he reconsiders.
Drew Leder Baltimore
Health of children threatened by cuts
Among other things, Medicaid pays for nursing care for the elderly. It also provides the only access to health care for millions of low-income children.
In recent years, Medicaid coverage has been extended to the children of many low-income, working parents. This progress is now threatened.
If cuts are not made very carefully, children could be the principal losers in this budget battle.
' Joan D. Cooper Baltimore
Should treat all people with respect
While at a county fair recently, I saw something that really upset me: A sign outside a tent read, "Two-foot Tall Woman." A man with a microphone announced that inside the tent was an amazingly tiny woman who had a son who was bigger than she was.
He said if we paid a dollar to go inside, we could speak to the 2-foot-tall woman in person. It sounded so intriguing that I wasted no time putting my money down and going into the tent. Once inside, I was instantly appalled and ashamed of myself. I saw a real, live human being who just happened to be short.
All my life I have been taught to be respectful of all people, regardless of religion, race, age or handicap. I have been taught that it is impolite to stare at people who are different from me. The tent at the fair hardly enforced this idea of respect for life.
I feel terrible that the short lady felt that she had no other alternative than to allow herself to be treated like a freak.
Ann Y. Zink Baltimore
What's love got to do with it?
"A loving father's tragic solution" blares the headline of a story on the front page of The Sun (Sept. 18).
I am astounded. Tragic indeed, but loving? No, not in the wildest stretch of the imagination is that an acceptable definition of love.
To glorify this brute of a man, Mark Clark, who cold-heartedly calculated and carried out the murder of his wife, Betty, and their three children, and to headline it as an act of love, is an outrage.
Republicans are best hope for the city
In the next six weeks, Republicans will be doing far more than going through the motions of general election politicking.
Maryland is moving toward a genuine two-party system, even in Baltimore City.
Competitive politics ensures liberty and freedom in a way that a one-party system can't by offering checks and balances on power and corrupting influences. Republicans have worked hard a unifying platform that decentralizes government power back to the city's neighborhoods and to citizens and parents. Elections are about the exchange of ideas. Listen to them.
It takes guts for anyone, no matter the party, to commit to a political race.
The men and women on this year's Republican ticket have some solid ideas that all citizens of goodwill want to hear. They are not funded well, but they are out there pounding the pavement, talking about their ideas on education, like expanding the private Calvert School curriculum, which works, to other public city schools.
They are talking about privatizing housing programs. They are talking about neighborhood-based decision-making. They are promoting a future of economic growth for the city sparked by dramatic reductions in property taxes and stifling regulations. They are talking about growth of jobs and opportunities for all residents.
The future can either be more of the status quo, or it can be bright.
Listen to these brave Republican candidates. They are not great in number, but they offer new ideas for change -- and hope for the future.
Dee Hodges Baltimore
Who are the Russians to criticize the U.S.?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Russian government that is now accusing the United States of genocide in Bosnia the same Russian government that sent massive numbers of troops into Chechnya not too long ago and slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians?
Donald Klein Ocean City
Effects of SSI reform on children and seniors
The Sun's Sept. 22 article on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) reform written by John B. O'Donnell and Jim Haner has me fuming. Tom Joe's statements about parents "dumping" their children in institutions is, in my view, perverse.
Who is this man to judge any decision by parents of a disabled child?
I am the mother of a seven-year-old with cerebral palsy; severe mental retardation; cortical blindness; a seizure disorder known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome; the need to be fed by a gastronomy tube because she can no longer swallow, and the inability to communicate in any manner. I have cared for my daughter at home her entire life.
She has never had nurses or aides coming into the home for any of her care.
I initially went to the SSI administration to try to get health benefits for my daughter when she needed her first wheelchair. I was told that I made too much money ($15,000 annually).
I stated that I did not want money, I wanted only to get medical coverage that would pick up what my current health insurance wouldn't.
My daughter had to have a gastronomy tube placed in 1993. I found out that my health insurance would not cover any of the medical supplies relating to her gastronomy-tube feedings.
The formula is roughly $15 a day; the bags for her feedings are $8 each, not to mention the rental of the feeding pump, adapters, syringes, etc.
When I found out how much the supplies would be for my daughter's gastronomy feedings, I had no choices left.
I resigned from my job making $20,000 annually so that my daughter could get the medical supplies she needed.
I am tired of seeing only negative things in the paper about the people who receive SSI benefits.
Is there anyone out there who can honestly believe I gave up making $1,200 a month so that I can "kick back" and collect a whole $458 a month? Life has been a genuine struggle for my family, emotionally, physically and now financially.
& Carlita L. Rodgers Baltimore
Kudos to John B. O'Donnell for his well-researched and concise article (Sept. 19) on future options for Medicare beneficiaries.
One issue not brought out in the article was the possibility that managed care may not save Medicare much money.
Senior citizens with complicated medical problems who use many medical providers are less likely to give up choice and join a health maintenance organization.
Naturally, these are the highest-cost beneficiaries because of their high utilization of services.
Currently, HMOs receive monthly payments from Medicare for any beneficiaries who choose their plans. This payment is simply based on age, place of residence, sex and whether the recipient is a nursing-home resident. The payment is not based on the medical condition of the beneficiary.
If the beneficiaries signing up for these HMOs are the healthier seniors with fewer physicians and fewer medical problems, Medicare is paying the HMOs too much and is left holding the bag for the care of the most expensive seniors.
The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) is investigating other methods of reimbursing HMOs by basing the payments on the medical conditions of the individual beneficiaries.
If the country is to decrease the cost of caring for our senior citizens, we must find a way to truly manage the care of those seniors with higher utilization patterns, seniors with multiple chronic illnesses, hospitalizations and many medical needs.
% Gary E. Applebaum Baltimore
Congress threatens science
I wish to take exception to some of the points in Daniel S. Greenberg's Sept. 13 column.
Mr. Greenberg contends that "basic science has eluded the [budgetary] ax."
He uses a proposed 5.7 percent increase in the National Institutes of Health budget and a 1.6 percent overall increase for basic research (although he fails to show how that figure was reached) to support his claim.
He also states that "the federal research enterprise is roughly divided between basic science and activities directed toward hardware development and commercial applications."
Mr. Greenberg totally neglects the so-called applied research conducted by environmental agencies, such as the National Biological Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and similar agencies.
Much of this research is directed at real-world problems such as pollution, declining populations of wildlife and fish and degradation of habitat in the United States and throughout the world.
Through the research of these agencies we are in a much better position to make informed decisions on the management of our natural resources than we were 20 or even 10 years ago.
Despite the direct and indirect benefits of this research, environmental agencies have taken it on the cuff from the current Congress.
For example, Congress has proposed that the EPA can anticipate a 34 percent cut in its budget which will lead to eliminating 5,000 employees. Similarly, the House variously recommended that the NBS be disbanded entirely or that it take a 29.4-percent cut from its 1995 budget.
The original 1995 budget for the NBS was only $160 million; the entire agency employs fewer people than a modern aircraft carrier.
Thus the proposed cuts would have negligible effect on the national debt but would severely affect NBS's ability to conduct research on natural resources.
Less reliable information will lead to poorer decisions by those who manage our natural resources.
In the end, the nation's environment and people will suffer from the excesses of the current Congress.
& Donald W. Sparling Bowie