Genuine FarmerThose of us who know Howard County...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 09, 1992

Genuine Farmer

Those of us who know Howard County Councilman Charles Feaga were amused to see him described in your recent editorial ("Being a Good Neighbor," July 24) as a "gentleman farmer."

Webster's Dictionary defines a gentleman farmer as "a man of superior social position and wealth who farms mainly for pleasure rather than for profit." Funk and Wagnall's says that a gentleman farmer is "one who owns a farm but hires others to work it."

Charles Feaga took over the operation of his family's dairy farm after his father died, when he was still a high school student.

Milking 50 cows a day, twice a day, 365 days a year, for 30 years, I figure he made no fewer than 1,095,000 trips to the barn. Heaven only knows how many acres of hay he's cut and how many 75-pound bales he's lifted over his head in that time. Farming has been his life, but this is work.

Charles Feaga is a farmer, and a gentleman, to be sure. But a "gentleman farmer?" Not!

Carol A. Arscott

Ellicott City

The writer is chairwoman of the Howard County Republican Party.

Unresponsive Health Care System

I read with interest the July 19 article in The Sunday Sun regarding the 24-hour discharge policy for new mothers invoked by many health insurance companies, which The Sun followed up with an editorial entitled "Penalizing Mothers and Babies" (July 27).

Despite your contention that health insurers are forcing families alone to take on the responsibility of "follow-up medical treatment," the article cited not one anecdote where 24-hour discharge had resulted in insufficient medical care.

In fact, the primary reason given against discharging mother and infant so early -- education -- is not a function one normally associates with in-patient care in a hospital.

The merits of breast-feeding are well known, but aren't there ways short of an extended hospital stay to educate a new mother? La Leche League, a private non-profit organization, has promoted breast-feeding effectively for years.

Even the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture runs an Expanded Food and Nutrition Program which works with primarily low-income mothers.

I am indeed alarmed at the continuing unresponsiveness of the health care industry to America's medical needs.

Hospital birth is the American health care system in microcosm: It does a poor job overall (as indicated by our stagnant infant mortality rate and rising Caesarean rate, which even doctors admit should be much lower based on purely medical needs), yet it is extremely slow to change. When it changes, it seems it is rarely because of the advocacy of doctors.

For example, a major trend in giving birth, not mentioned in The Sun article, is the increasing percentage of deliveries performed by certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), and even the resurgence of home birth. I can assure you that doctors have fought such changes and submitted to them only as their patients have demanded change.

Doctors, other medical professionals, hospitals and insurance companies are in the best position to suggest better answers. But the persistence of well-known problems provides a compelling case that nothing short of a health-care revolution is going to make things better.

Don DeArmon

Frederick

Empty Promises

At a time when most Americans are desperately calling for less government, your paper ardently praises the Clinton-Gore candidacy because it promises government intervention in every social problem from length of hair to roaches in the kitchen.

Bill Clinton and Al Gore have promised to be all things to all people, embracing every special interest group in the country and pandering to every whining "gimme" voice they hear.

Social programs created during the Johnson administration have developed into monstrous bureaucracies which have swallowed our tax funds and failed to further self-reliance, ingenuity and pride Americans are entitled to develop within families.

Sadly, the Democratic Party has forgotten that historic plea delivered by John F. Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

When Mr. Clinton stands before American voters and promises to mend all the ills of society through government intervention, I hope those listening to him will ask, "How will we pay for all those promises?"

And then vote for the party that encourages Americans to succeed through hard work and self reliance. The Republican creed is profoundly important to the integrity of our country.

Too much government intrusion into our privacy leads us dangerously close to a socialist doctrine that I shall fight against with all the courage this American can muster.

Unless the Democratic Party wakes up, I will continue to vote the party of individual freedom and be thankful to have changed my affiliation to Republican.

Jacqueline Madison

Baltimore

Israel Loans

Bravo to William Bennett and Vin Weber on their excellent article (Opinion * Commentary, July 22) concerning the granting of loan guarantees to Israel.

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