Editor: The spectacle surrounding Clarence Thomas is symptomatic of the pollution of government by political interests.
Can we really be surprised by any of this when judges are nominated due to their ideology rather than quality, when ideology dictates whether senators vote for or against confirmation, or when the best strategy for a nominee to gain confirmation is to remain silent on the major issues of the day so as not to give anyone reason to vote against him?
It will be a long time before any nominee repeats Robert Bork's mistake of speaking his mind.
Meanwhile, our state legislators all but ignored the state budget crisis, preferring to concentrate on congressional redistricting and whose seat to protect. Is it any wonder that the voters don't care any more?
Kurt T. Taube.
Editor: Having spent the last four and a half years as the director of school and adolescent health services, I left Baltimore with many warm feelings about Maryland, Baltimore City and its health department.
During my years, the program flourished. The number of school nurses from the third party billing project increased; there was tremendous growth in the utilization and number of school-based clinics; new attention was given to medically fragile children, teen parents and the special health needs of adolescents; nursing leadership was invigorated; and commitment to primary prevention was renewed. The staff at the health department taught me much about the realities and promise of public health.
So it was with great anguish that I revisited Baltimore recently. The entire school nursing program and the school clinics, all are threatened to balance the state budget.
What wisdom is this? Americans talk each day about prevention, yet we destroy the infrastructure for prevention for our children.
The role of the school nurse has expanded to meet the challenges of our day.
More than the dispenser of smiles and Band-Aids, she must cope with the struggling single parent family, the asthmatic child without medicine, the depressed teenager experimenting with drugs, the oxygen-dependent child whose very existence is her responsibility. Likewise, Baltimore school clinics struggle and succeed each day in fighting the epidemics which are destroying our youth: drug addiction, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS and school dropout. These epidemics rob young people of their future.
In the long term, these budget cuts will save little. If we neglect our children now, we will pay the price later -- in emergency rooms, welfare programs and jails.
John Santelli, M.D.
Editor: The article Oct. 21 describing the "Buddy-Buddy" program at Shipley's Choice Elementary School in Anne Arundel County was terrific. It's encouraging to read about non-disabled students learning to appreciate the abilities and friendship of students with disabilities.
There is a new program, coordinated by the Maryland Student Service Alliance in several area schools, that takes this concept a step further -- it involves students with disabilities as the volunteers.
Elementary, middle, and high school students with developmental disabilities volunteer as companions to the elderly, forming friendships. Working together with non-disabled
students, they clean up around school and recycle. They serve in hospitals, assisting patients. They serve as pen pals with younger students. They sort and mend clothes for needy families.
As in the Shipley's Choice program, the students gain self-esteem. they also enhance their own social and functional -- skills and feel proud of being the helpers.
Congratulations to Shipley's Choice! It would be great to see them take their program one step further -- to have the students with disabilities be helpers, too.
Editor: Members of Congress live in a privileged world of traffic-ticket fixing, bounced checks, free travel, huge staff allowances, free mailing, lush pensions, cheap restaurants, high salaries. Their every whim is catered to by sycophantic lobbyists and supplicating constituents. Their insulated, bloated lifestyles blind them from the problems of ordinary working Americans.
I propose that if members of Congress are going to act like an aristocracy, they be compelled to wear silk knee britches, powdered wigs, lace cuffs, belted shoes and travel in gilded coaches attended to by at least two footmen. Washington will be renamed Versailles-on-the-Potomac.
Perhaps one evening they will look out their windows and see the peasants marching uphill carrying staves and pitchforks.
Don't Blame Them
Editor: Your editorial, "Racial Bias in Mortgage Lending," comes as no surprise to people of color. We've known about this for many years.