The Baltimore Sun

Howard County earns kudos on health care

The Maryland Health Care For All campaign heartily commends Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and county health officer Peter L. Beilenson for doing all that they can to provide health care for all citizens of Howard County ("Aim to rescue uninsured wins praise," Sept. 14).

Although there are certainly limits on what a local jurisdiction can do, Howard County leaders are right to try to do everything they can within those limits.

The basic concept they are exploring - which involves maximizing the use of the money now in the health care system - is a smart one.

We look forward to learning from their experience as we update our plan to guarantee quality, affordable health care for all Marylanders.

Vincent DeMarco


The writer is president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative.

Give Petraeus' plan a chance to succeed

I do not believe that starting the war in Iraq was just or that the conduct of the war has been competent or that the sky would fall if we leave Iraq. And I do not believe President Bush on the war ("Bush sees success in Iraq,' Sept. 14).

But I do believe Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus.

Their assessment that things are getting better, albeit slowly and unevenly, and that there is a chance our continued presence in Iraq will minimize the harm we have done to the Iraqi people rings true.

I do not like the cost in lives and treasure that this war has exacted. But I do believe we must make right our mistakes to the extent that we can.

I am willing to give Mr. Crocker and General Petraeus my support until we can better see whether their plan is working.

Pat McGregor


Criticizing general an act of free speech

Although I found the "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?" ad by MoveOn.org an immature wordplay, Kathleen Parker carelessly throws around suggestions of treason, as Republicans so often do these days, when she charges: "One may disagree with the war - and even find informed fault with General Petraeus' report - but impugning the character of the war's commanding officer while American forces are still fighting is what's known as betrayal" ("The good, the bad and the very ugly," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 13).

MoveOn.org simply exercised its freedom of speech (which is not listed as betrayal in the Constitution) in questioning what the entire world (except a dwindling number of hard-core Republicans) knows to be President Bush's penchant for "cooking the books" and demanding the same from his subordinates to support his preconceived policies.

Many of us recall how our Bill of Rights has been eviscerated by this administration.

The terrorists could never take our freedom. But we seem willing to throw it away.

Ours is such a great country that we can survive the unjustified 9/11 attacks.

Time will tell if we are great enough to survive this incompetent administration's bungling of our response to the challenge of terrorism.

James G. Trautwein


Nothing disloyal about a rude ad

I take the most strenuous exception to Kathleen Parker's statement that "impugning the character of the war's commanding officer ... is what's known as betrayal" ("The good, the bad and the very ugly," Opinion * Commentary, Sept. 13).

Ms. Parker is clearly offended by the writers of an ad that called Gen. David Petraeus "General Betray Us."

And while I agree that this is rude wordplay on the man's name, I can hardly see this name-calling as a betrayal.

If the ad Ms. Parker cites had called for the court-martial of the general or the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, a betrayal would have been clear.

But conflating rude name-calling with actual betrayal (a.k.a. treason) is ludicrous at best.

Thad Paulhamus


Judicial spoils go to the victor

The Sun's article about Republicans concerned about Gov. Martin O'Malley's choices for the bench ("Judicial choices concern Md. GOP," Sept. 17) offers me a chance to comfort them by citing one of my favorite political aphorisms: "Elections have consequences."

Lloyd J. Lachow


Epileptics can lead fully engaged lives

I would like to thank John M. Freeman for his letter "Epilepsy not always a disabling disease" (Sept. 8).

As Dr. Freeman stated, epilepsy doesn't have to be a disability or a handicap. But many readers might be surprised at the number of educated people who are under the impression that someone diagnosed with epilepsy cannot function normally in today's world.

Although I have had epilepsy my whole life, I have raised and am still raising four children; I am the wife of a soldier who is away from home often, sometimes for long periods of time; I hold a job at the University of Maryland that involves attention to detail; I attend just about all my children's home sports games; and I have been given an award by the Maryland Senate for my volunteer work at my children's elementary school.

Having epilepsy means taking prescribed medication, seeing a doctor on a regular basis, having the level of medication in one's blood tested and having other required tests.

But while there are types of epilepsy that can be debilitating, many of us with the disease are viable members of society.

Patty Warren

Perry Hall

Too late to protest outsourcing of toys

I find it quite ironic that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission called the chief executive of Mattel Inc. to give testimony about unsafe toys imported from overseas ("Testimony on toys points to China," Sept. 13).

Where have our elected officials been over the last 30 years? Have they done anything to prevent the outsourcing, the off-shoring or the loss of the manufacturing base in this country?

Just saying that China let us down is like saying "buyer beware" or closing the barn door after the horse has run away.

This whole mess spits in the face of every American worker who has been downsized or laid off as companies seek to find lower costs by moving production elsewhere.

Bettye Frantz


Shootings enforce the code of silence

Remember our outrage when the Baltimore-created "Stop Snitching" video came out? It was a national story and a local embarrassment.

However, the fact that the names of witnesses in criminal cases has become public information amounts to a de facto "Stop Snitching" policy from our very own judicial system.

And when a man is assassinated outside his home, his only crime being the reporting of a shooting ("Witness' mother speaks out," Sept. 13), it is time to find a better way.

Carter Michel Brigham


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