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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Baltimore Sun

Rejection of Wright comes way too late

Sorry, but I don't buy the thesis of The Sun's editorial "Rejecting hate" (April 30) that "we believe the candidate when he says with some emotion that his goal is to bring Americans together, not divide them, as Pastor Wright's rhetoric would."

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. was Sen. Barack Obama's minister for 20 years, a person Mr. Obama has described as "a sounding board for me to make sure that I am speaking as truthfully about what I believe as possible" and someone who he could "no more disown ... than I can disown the black community."

Pastor Wright was correct when he said, about Mr. Obama, "He's a politician, I'm a pastor. We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. ... I do what I do. He does what politicians do."

Mr. Obama is doing what politicians do, which is pandering to what they think the voters, and The Sun's editorial board, want to hear.

Is this change? Hardly.

Twenty years of keeping Pastor Wright as his pastor and spiritual adviser speaks much louder than Mr. Obama's recent denunciations of the man.

Douglas Dribben, Woodstock

At long last, Sen. Barack Obama distances himself from a 20-year relationship with his hate-mongering pastor, whom he has referred to as "family," and The Sun would have us believe that this is not a matter of political aggrandizement.

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. is wrong about many things. But his assertion that Mr. Obama is saying what is necessary for political purposes is exactly right.

Jerrold L. Brotman, Timonium

So, Sen. Barack Obama spent a decade or two listening to the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.'s racist rants and conspiracy theories, but apparently never gave an "amen."

I couldn't help but recall President Bill Clinton explaining that he had tried pot but never inhaled.

However, I applaud Mr. Obama's belated condemnation of Pastor Wright's musings. That is change for the better.

Philip M. Wright, Elkridge

It's quite ironic that the Rev Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. wrongfully used the adage "chickens coming home to roost" regarding the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Now we find that Sen. Barack Obama sat through 20 years of race-bating, U.S.-hating, false accusations by the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. as he began his political career.

Mr. Obama either agreed with what he heard in those 20 years of poisonous messages or he bit his tongue and kept silent for political reasons.

His tacit approval of Pastor Wright's vitriol is now indeed "chickens coming home to roost" for Mr. Obama, as Pastor Wright's rantings are being made public.

It's not enough now for Mr. Obama to say that he didn't agree with Pastor Wright's poison without answering the question of why he stayed in a church 20 years when such hateful speech was going on.

There is a price to pay when you compromise your principles.

James R. Cook, Joppa

I just cannot understand why on Tuesday the article "4 U.S. soldiers killed in Baghdad" (April 29) didn't get front-page treatment but "Wright media blitz could hurt Obama" (April 29) did.

I agree that the latter article is news worth reporting. But the media help determine the significance of a story by its treatment and positioning.

Was it responsible to accord the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. story more prominence than the one informing us that the heartbreaking price we are paying in Iraq continues?

Mary Beacom Bowers, Baltimore

Medical privacy still isn't protected

The Sun's article on the Senate's vote to bar discrimination based on the results of genetic testing ("Measure would bar use of information by insurers, employers," April 25) failed to address the key problem with personal medical information in America: Why do insurers, employers and others have access to the data in the first place?

A person's genetic test results, and all of his or her medical data, should not be available to anyone without the patient's consent.

One's employer should not even know he or she has had testing done, let alone know the results.

The sad fact is that the regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which were intended to extend patient privacy as we moved from a paper-based system of medical records to a digital system, are a sham.

HIPAA allows the routine release of personal health information without patient consent or knowledge, and even over a patient's objection.

If our data were kept private in the first place (in accordance with the centuries-old traditions of medical ethics), Congress would not need to pass a law to bar discrimination based on the results of genetic testing.

Janis G. Chester, Bethesda

The writer is president of the American Association of Practicing Psychiatrists.

Report invaded Schaefer's privacy

I was saddened and angered by the article in Saturday's paper by Laura Vozzella about former Gov. Donald Schaefer's forced move to the Charlestown Retirement Community ("Schaefer moves, reluctantly," April 26).

Did the story have to be told in such an insensitive manner, with every embarrassing detail spelled out?

The insensitivity of the writing was also reflected in the demeaning photograph.

I didn't always agree with Mr. Schaefer in his long service to his city and state, but I feel that he is entitled to a dignified private life.

The article and accompanying picture undermined that right.

Cornelia M. Ives, Reisterstown

The Sun's imposition on former Gov. William Donald Schaefer's privacy was more than disappointing.

Mr. Schaefer dedicated the major part of his life to public service. He deserves the respect for his dignity that anyone would expect after retirement.

To barge in on a person of 86, take a picture of him in his pajamas and then claim that he consented is disingenuous.

I hope we can count on better from The Sun in the future.

Robert Hillman, Baltimore

Lower speed limit to stop wasting oil

The Sun's editorial "Stop wasting oil" (April 27) calls for oil to be used more efficiently.

Why not begin with a 55 mile per hour speed limit? This is a well-known way to increase fuel efficiency in vehicles.

If put into practice, this would save many gallons of fuel immediately. It would also save money in the operation of government-owned cars. And good enforcement of the speed limit could also generate revenue from fines.

Just as important, the new speed limit would make Americans see the urgency and seriousness of the fuel crisis every day.

Arthur Milholland, Baltimore

Ugly hotel dampens downtown's renewal

Last week, I was on a tour of downtown Baltimore on a duck boat. What a fun way to see the city. But we rounded a corner and there in front of us was the ugliest new building I've seen in quite a while, the new Hilton Hotel.

It looks like a cheese grater turned on its side.

Then I read the comments in Friday's Sun ("Unattractive hotel ruins city skyline," letters, April 25). All I can add to those comments is, "Amen, brother."

The city committee that approved this design must have just come back from a drinking party in Fells Point.

Kenneth E. Larash, Linthicum

Improving the view on field and beyond

There has been quite a bit of discussion concerning the view from Oriole Park at Camden Yards being obscured by the soon-to-open Hilton Hotel ("Unattractive hotel ruins city skyline," letters. April 25).

Being a partial season-ticket holder, the view I am most concerned of is that of the game on the field. But the hotel is indeed an eyesore.

For a city that can boast a wealth of architectural treasures to allow the hotel to be built with a large wall with nondescript windows is an insult to the people of Baltimore, as well as to the visitors who flock to the stadium.

For the past 10 years, the view on the field has forced people to look at the skyline.

I am glad the view on the field has shown improvement.

Perhaps the city will take steps to ensure that the city skyline will also improve as well as to avoid allowing such ugly structures in the future.

Scott C. Straw, Wilmington, Del.

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