LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Baltimore Sun

Ideology no reason to hurt kids' health

A Sun headline terms President Bush's veto of the bill to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program a "battle of ideologies " ("Veto of SCHIP sets up battle of ideologies," Oct. 4). As director of Maryland Covering Kids and Families, a grant-funded project to help find children eligible for Medicaid or SCHIP and help break down the barriers that prevent these kids from enrolling in the programs, I'd call it a travesty.

Can anyone seriously believe that children are better off without health care coverage?

Remember that the children SCHIP covers often have parents who are hard-working Americans who are simply not fortunate enough to have access to reasonably priced health insurance through their employers.

In the seven years the Maryland Covering Kids program has operated, our volunteers have heard harrowing stories of asthmatic kids, diabetic kids and kids with routine childhood illnesses that got much worse because of delays in treatment caused by lack of health insurance.

Their parents were tow truck drivers, beauticians, construction workers, nursery school teachers or even, sad to say, workers in the health care industry.

Some of the parents worked two and three jobs but still could not pay the $1,500 to $2,000 a month private health insurance plans for a family can cost.

SCHIP is good for Maryland and good for America.

It enjoys strong bipartisan support, and has been endorsed by the Business Round- table, AARP, American Medical Association, many religious communities and a strong majority of the American people.

The health of our children is too important to be threatened by an ideology.

Mary L. Leach

Baltimore

Health veto reveals disturbing priorities

So let me make sure I have President Bush's priorities straight: Tax cuts for millionaires are OK, but expanding health insurance for children is not OK ("Veto of SCHIP sets up battle of ideologies," Oct. 4)?

Is it January 2009 yet?

Steven M. Clayton

Ocean, N.J.

Congress can ensure kids' access to care

Every kid should have health insurance, no matter what. That's a given.

Unfortunately, the president seems to have a problem with this idea ("Veto of SCHIP sets up battle of ideologies," Oct. 4).

But it's essential that Congress override President Bush's veto of the State Children's Health Insurance Program bill and make certain all our children can get the medical treatment they need.

Jane Brettschneider

Baltimore

Deer-hunting still a rural tradition

As a land owner, I wholeheartedly support Enid Feinberg and Lierra Lenhard's right to patrol their property, and I am ashamed of fellow hunters who disregard the rules ("Seen and Herd," Oct. 1).

But I would like to point out two other issues to consider:

First, as someone who, like the ladies in the article, moved out to the country 20 years ago, I think it is important to respect the traditions and values of those who were there before we arrived.

Legal hunting is such a tradition, one that has been part of country living since before urban and suburban folks felt the need to escape to the country.

Second, the ladies in the article are animal lovers. But this should not be confused with nature lovers.

Nature lovers allows nature to follow its own course.

Humans feeding deer by hand is not the natural course.

And because man has eliminated the deer's other natural predators in the area over the last century and a half, eliminating the last predator that deer face (humans) would only further destabilize the natural balance.

Timothy O. Bach

Westminster

The neighbors want deer herds thinned

The Sun's article "Seen and Herd" (Oct. 1) was pathetic. These two pro-deer activists represent such a minority. It's amazing that The Sun wasted so much ink on them.

Why not talk to the majority of mainstream families in the area, who hate the overabundance of deer near and around the watershed and want the herds to be sharply thinned?

I wonder if The Sun will do another article featuring those of us who want deer killed in large numbers because of their overpopulation and the danger of Lyme disease, plant destruction and car accidents - to name just a few of the problems deer cause.

Richard Nason

Phoenix

Don't whitewash Blackwater's abuse

It is all very well for Andrew Garfield to write a defense of Blackwater USA and the recent involvement of its employees in an ambush in Iraq ("Justice for contractors," Opinion

Commentary, Oct. 1). But the fact remains that its employees are mercenaries.

Mercenaries are civilians who are not under the jurisdiction of military law or, in the case of the Blackwater USA controversy, subject to the laws of Iraq.

The initial response of the Iraqi government was to ban Blackwater USA from operating in Iraq.

This response was tempered by the State Department's proposal for a U.S.-Iraqi panel to investigate the matter.

My hope is that no undue pressure is placed on the Iraq government to whitewash the Blackwater affair.

Donald T. Hart

Baltimore

Bellicosity breeds nuclear ambitions

I am not a fan of atomic weapons in general or of Iran's "nuclear ambitions" in particular or, least of all, of the imperial objectives of the United States ("Dueling dictates," editorial, Sept. 27).

However, it is amazing to me that the United States' sordid history as the unchallenged leader in developing and stockpiling nuclear weapons, invading other nations and actually dropping atomic bombs on civilian populations (in Nagasaki and Hiroshima) never seems to be seen by the media as a reasonable motivation for other nations to want nuclear weapons of their own.

Why in the world wouldn't the Iranian people feel threatened by the Bush administration's saber-rattling, given the U.S. government's history of violence?

Jamal Mubdi-Bey

Baltimore

Let teachers step up for students instead

The time has come for Loretta Johnson, the co-president of the city teachers union, and the teachers of Baltimore to remember why they became teachers in the first place ("Teachers union is taking on Alonso," Oct. 2).

Ms. Johnson states that the union is "stepping it up" in its struggle with the system.

I would politely suggest that she step up to the plate and bat for the home team - the children of Baltimore.

I do not believe teaching fits a "work to rule" approach.

Our children need teachers who work together to share ideas.

The time has come for "clock watchers" to look for a different career, perhaps as meter maids.

Our children deserve better.

Barbara Lerner Blumberg

Baltimore

The writer is a former Baltimore public school teacher.

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