False HopeAs a female with multiple sclerosis, I feel it...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 14, 1993

False Hope

As a female with multiple sclerosis, I feel it necessary to address your recent article concerning the experimental drug beta interferon. The March 23 article left out very important information, thus creating a very deceiving air of hope for MS sufferers. . .

At this point in the research, beta interferon is not for use for all MS sufferers. In actuality, it is only known to show promise in the 30 percent of people with MS showing a mild-to-moderate, exacerbating-remitting form of the disease.

Shirley Goren

Baltimore

Comparative Costs

Maryland is a state of democrats, which should mean that the rights of the many are held sacred. In practice, Maryland allows the plundering to enrich a few, who rob us of money, health and quality of life.

Recently, The Sun reported on a swimming pond polluted by one farm's runoff of cattle manure. The state said "stop." After five years, the pond is still polluted and unusable.

The stump dump burned for more than a year, during which the state ordered the owner to stop feeding the fire. Now it costs us taxpayers about $1 million to extinguish a fire that enriched only one man and made thousands miserable.

Another Sun story tells of an auto crusher in the city. Its neighbors have endured pollution and chunks of hot metal thrown through the walls of their houses for 20 years.

The state whispered "Stop." The state should require the auto crusher to operate inside a closed building -- with its exhaust cleaned and its pollution kept from us -- or require the crusher to move to a place where people do not care.

I hope it is so far downwind from us. In Towson, I cannot hang wet clothes outside when the wind is from the south. Pollution makes my skin red and my eyes itch.

"Costs money," you say. This area has the highest cancer rate in the country. That costs far more -- in money, suffering and early death.

Harry Leffmann

Towson

Educational Bog

I ran across a Sun editorial from 1978 concerning the two colleges on the Eastern Shore. It seemed to mention some of the same problems facing the state today.

Dr. Sheldon Knorr's recommendation that his board (Maryland Board for Higher Education) ''take 'all reasonable action within its legal authority' to eliminate duplication and waste in programs at UMES and Salisbury State'' might have been stated today. Has the situation really changed after 15 years?

A later statement by The Sun also seems to be appropriate today. ''Certainly if there is to be a UMES, it should be much stronger educationally today. But the burden of proof remains on the higher-education board to demonstrate, politics aside, that the best course for Maryland taxpayers is to continue to support two separate, close-together campuses, one mostly white and the other mostly black, with the latter relying heavily on out-of-state students to stay alive.'' Is the situation any different now?

The Sun's final remark -- ''And we hope Maryland legislators will insist on a progress report before their current session ends'' is interesting. What about an accounting for the taxpayer by someone without a vested interest before the end of the century?

This is why Maryland continues to wallow in a bog of educational mediocrity. It is simply because the educational and political bureaucracies, coddled by the press, have become firmly entrenched and define progress as the retention of their jobs and fiefdoms. Just give them more money and we will have a world-class systems in the future!

R. D. Bush

Columbia

Birth Rates

The Associated Press article (March 2) reporting a decline in Third World birth rates due to increased availability of birth control is good news, but it contained a few misleading statements.

The number of people alive today is not just "heading for 6 billion." It is almost there. We passed the 5.5 billion mark some time in the fall of 1992. Experts predict the population will double again in about 40 years, with dire consequences for the environment and the health and well-being of all of us.

A 1974 study ordered by former President Nixon concluded that over-population poses "a major risk of severe damage to world economic, political and ecological systems and, as these systems begin to fall, to our humanitarian values."

It also concluded that expenditures for family planning are generally one of the most effective investments a less developed country can make to improve overall welfare and per capita economic growth.

A fertility rate of four children per couple is still too high. Even at "replacement fertility" of 2.1 children per couple, the population would take years to become stable because there is currently a high proportion of young people.

The article was very accurate in the statement that there is still a long way to go.

Marion C. Mashburn

Owings Mills

The Endangered Maryland Farmer

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