Turning an act of charity into a political stunt

The Sun's coverage of the Dec. 24 food delivery at the headquarters of Moveable Feast was a disgrace ("In conciliatory move, Schaefer helps bring meals to HIV-affected families," Dec. 25).

Instead of doing the article in the true spirit of the holiday season, showing the 100-plus volunteers from the Beth El Congregation giving of themselves from the heart, The Sun chose to focus on state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer's politically motivated, self-serving, fence-mending expedition into areas about which he has scant knowledge.

My group's volunteers have gladly undertaken this project for a good number of years, even braving a horrendous snowstorm in the process. They have no agenda other than to give from the heart.

Some bring their children so they might learn about a fact of life that is seldom viewed by many residents of the surrounding counties. Some bring their children to teach them what "giving" is all about.

Some even get upset if I fail to call them to volunteer.

The Sun was asked to cover this event to show the true spirit of Christmas, but instead chose to take the low road and waste print on a purely political outing.

Ken Aaronson


The writer is co-chairman of the Social Action Committee of Beth El Congregation.

Glad to see Schaefer reach out on AIDS

Although I do not have AIDS or HIV, I am happy to hear that Comptroller William Donald Schaefer is reaching out to people afflicted with this terrible disease ("In conciliatory move, Schaefer helps bring meals to HIV-affected families," Dec. 25).

Cruel and totally untrue statements are not what is needed in the face of a worldwide epidemic that affects millions of people.

What is needed are education, understanding and compassion.

Murphy Edward Smith


Baseball will boost capital's revenue

I am sure Adam B. Summers has an excellent background in economics, but he is off base on two points in his column "Baseball boondoggle" (Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 23).

He states that people would have to see a jump in their income to spend money on sporting events and continue to spend the same on other forms of entertainment.

But most consumers today live on credit. Approximately 60 percent of Americans maintain a balance on their credit cards, paying only part of the full balance due each month.

It's a safe assumption that people who spend money on baseball will continue to spend on other entertainment. They will simply increase their credit card balances.

Mr. Summers is also ignoring the fact that baseball fans are overwhelmingly suburban. Even if his assumption that money spent on baseball in Washington would be deducted from spending on other forms of entertainment is true, those other forms of entertainment would be a suburban movie theater or concert.

There is no question that sales to merchants and tax revenues to Washington will increase when baseball returns to our nation's capital.

Harold Emanuel


Instead of Iraq war, fund aid to homeless

I think that the government has no sense at all if there are 3,000 homeless people in Baltimore alone ("Raised voices offer homeless glimpses of joy," Dec. 28) - and meanwhile hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent on forces in Iraq that, in my opinion, do not even need to be there.

The money the president spends on war should be used instead to help homeless people be homeless no more.

What is the point of men and woman returning home victorious if they have no home to return to?

The president should look to America before looking to make war in another country.

Morgana Jenkins-Houk


The writer is a fifth-grader at Lutherville Elementary School.

Covering up nudists as we raze forests?

So nudity in an isolated corner of a national park is not OK ("Nudists told to cover up on Assateague," Dec. 23), but logging and drilling for oil in national forests is ("White House scaling back rule protecting wildlife," Dec. 23)?

Hey, I'm sure glad I live in a moral nation.

Kathryn J. Henderson


Disbanding chorus still hurts symphony

In the column "Heavenly chorus" (Opinion

Commentary, Dec. 24), Tom Hall salutes millions of choral singers and their major contributions in many ways to communities across the country.

Baltimore is blessed with many singing groups, large and small, which perform all types of music throughout the metropolitan area. Until recently, one of those groups was the Baltimore Symphony Chorus, a highly acclaimed chorus with a collective membership of nearly 1,700 during its 32-year history.

It was disbanded in 2002 because of a questionable decision by the management of the Baltimore Symphony.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra needs all the support it can find these days, but the BSO management may find it difficult, if not impossible, to create the type of deep connections to the community that were severed when the chorus was disbanded.

Barbara Galletti


Sontag expanded our vision of world

As a young student at Columbia University, I approached Susan Sontag, who was the teaching assistant in a religion course, to re-examine a paper I'd just written that I felt hadn't received the attention it merited ("Writer was never shy about speaking her mind," Dec. 29).

She liked the paper, pointed out some things about it that I wouldn't come to understand more fully until years later, and promised to intercede with the main instructor, which she failed to do.

"It's sometimes refreshing to get away from the academy for a while," she added.

So I did, and although I had never planned to do so, I became a photographer. Then she came along and gave the people-centered photography I'd learned to revere the worst thrashing it had ever received from a significant intellectual.

I cite these things because each, in its way, forced me into the real world, and that world - whether or not we agree with her interpretation of it - was always at the center of Ms. Sontag's analysis.

Whatever she talked or wrote about - politics, peace, illness or even the movies - Ms. Sontag made us ruminate about things many considered either too remote or too everyday to think about.

And in this way she greatly expanded the extent of our perception, just as she helped to mold the kinds of questions we ask about the world in which we live.

Jack Eisenberg


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