Greedy lawyers cause the crisis in malpractice

Columnist C. Fraser Smith whines about the rising cost of medical malpractice insurance and its destructive effect on the quality of health care and the doctors who are quitting the baby-delivering practice ("Malpractice insurance crisis? Send in the nerds," Opinion * Commentary, July 11).


He cites a "blame" game gone out of control in Annapolis. But everybody who pays attention knows the real reason for the problem: The trial lawyers have Democratic politicians safely in their pockets.

Both in Maryland and around the country, trial lawyers make huge contributions to the political campaigns of their friends. Until there is real tort reform, health care will continue to deteriorate and more doctors will give up their practices.


But how do you pass tort reform when there are far too many lawyers in the legislature and in Congress?

Ask the Democrat who has joined Sen. John Kerry on that party's presumptive presidential ticket. He may be the worst offender of all.

Harry R. Shriver

Owings Mills

Senate committee did not blame Bush

Reading Steve Chapman's column "The truth about our presidents: All of them lie" (Opinion * Commentary, July 13), I could not help but notice something: Either he writes his articles well in advance or he does not bother to keep abreast of the news.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence recently came to the conclusion that President Bush did not exaggerate or lie about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction but instead was given faulty intelligence by the CIA.

The report went on to say that there was no evidence the president pressured the CIA to produce false reports, but that the CIA was guilty of a "group think" mentality in analyzing intelligence about Iraq.


One would hope a journalist would know such facts.

Yet in his article, Mr. Chapman describes Mr. Bush's Iraq policy as based on "half-truths, deliberate exaggerations, and false claims."

Either Mr. Chapman knows something that the Senate committee overlooked, or he's pushing his own ideology irrespective of the facts.

Chris DeAdder


Our lying leaders deserve no trust


Thanks to The Sun for printing Steve Chapman's column "The truth about our presidents: All of them lie," (Opinion * Commentary, July 13). His humorous and scathing descriptions of deceit in the White House were a refreshing dose of reality.

In an era in which "honest politician" is perhaps the world's greatest oxymoron, I find it shocking how many people still accept the words of our leaders as unerring truths.

Many of my classmates fail to realize the subtle art of lying that so many of today's politicians have mastered. Their continued deception of the American public is a direct contradiction to the "honor" and "prestige" that supposedly accompanies their positions.

As an 18-year old, I find it unfortunate that my first presidential election offers no candidate worth voting for.

Dan Piepenbring



Bush's dishonesty proves more costly

Perhaps the main point of Steve Chapman's column, "The truth about our presidents: All of them lie" (Opinion * Commentary, July 13) is correct. However, he made the mistake of equating President Bush's untruthfulness with President Bill Clinton's.

But how many people died as a result of Mr. Clinton lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky? And what's the current body count in Iraq?

Bob Jacobson


Isn't Schaefer also free to criticize?


What am I missing in the recent letters that criticize Comptroller William Donald Schaefer for criticizing Mayor Martin O'Malley ("Treason charge fails to respect right to criticize," letters, July 13)?

According to the writers, Mr. Schaefer is wrong for criticizing Mayor Martin O'Malley's exercise of his freedom of speech (guaranteed by the Constitution) in criticizing President Bush. But what happened to Mr. Schaefer's freedom of speech?

Isn't he also guaranteed the right to criticize the mayor under the Constitution? Or is that right guaranteed only to the mayor?

Wanda Hurt


Situation in Sudan no parallel to Iraq


Maybe we should help Sudan. But our troops are a bit squeezed right now. Maybe the countries not helping us in Iraq should step in - or, better yet, maybe some Arab countries should help their fellow Muslims.

But to ask why the situation in Sudan is any different from that in Iraq, as one reader recently did, is incredibly ignorant ("Why have we done little about Sudan?" July 8).

Sudan didn't invade a neighboring country, and then agree (as Iraq did in 1991) that if U.N.-backed forces stopped bombing the dickens out of that country, it would give up its most dangerous weapons and prove it had done so.

Sudan didn't then repeatedly inhibit, obstruct and refuse access to inspection teams trying to check its weapons sites, refuse year after year to cooperate with inspection teams, kick inspection teams out of the country, repeatedly attempt to shoot down our military planes, destroy pertinent weapons documents and violate U.N. Security Council resolutions, all without ever proving that it had destroyed its weapons.

The 1991 Persian Gulf war was never formally ended. Hostilities were stopped through a cease-fire agreement, and Iraq never came close to meeting the terms of that agreement.

There is no comparison of that situation to the one in Sudan.


Jean Palmer


Zoo may take away what makes it special

I am an 11-year-old girl who loves visiting the Baltimore zoo. I also went to zoo camp for the past three years and had a great time. I was very upset when the zoo canceled this summer's camp because of lack of money. Now I've found out that some of my favorite exhibits are going to be canceled as well ("Plans for 'new' zoo based on hope that less becomes more," July 9).

I'm not blaming the zoo for losing money, but I just think that its leaders are making the wrong choices and taking away the wrong animals. Whenever I visit the zoo, there is always a crowd in front of the gibbon cage. But the gibbons and snow leopards are among the special animals the zoo may take away.

I've grown up loving animals, and I want everyone else to love them too. But how can they if they come into the zoo and see empty cages - and plastic dinosaurs where the flamingos and hippopotamuses once were?


Elisheva Mittelman