Clouded JusticeGregory P. Kane's Oct. 27 column, "Talking...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 05, 1993

Clouded Justice

Gregory P. Kane's Oct. 27 column, "Talking Melanin," was excellent. As a young African-American woman, I realize that we have become like Mr. Kane states, "a nation of ninnies" letting our melanin, or lack thereof, do the talking for us.

It was clear the policemen who committed the beating of Rodney King were guilty. Equally as guilty were the young men who mercilessly beat Reginald Denny in a sporadic and hate-filled rage. What has happened to justice in America?

We no longer believe what we see or hear. Our judgment is clouded in racial hatred and political correctness. Ms. Justice, maybe you should remove your blindfold. Or maybe not. I don't think she would like what she see.

Lea A. Gilmore

Baltimore

Don't Tax Meat

Alex Hershaft writes (letter, Oct. 22) that President Clinton should place a tax on meat.

His premise is that meat consumption is related to health risks and therefore ought to be discouraged; revenues could be used to offset the costs of alleged meat-related ailments. Both premise and conclusion are ill-conceived.

Mr. Hershaft cites a study linking prostate cancer, among others, to heavy meat consumption. From this and other studies he draws the inference that meat accounts, directly or otherwise, for "two-thirds of all U.S. deaths each year."

This is preposterous. No one today will deny the link between heavy consumption of animal fats and risks of cancer and heart disease; no one will question the value of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.

This does not lead to the conclusion that meat is bad for you -- period. Mr. Hershaft fails to draw the distinction between excessive intake of animal fats and regular, well-balanced meals which include meat and dairy products.

The latter can even be low in fat and provide the most natural and effective means for the body to receive the protein essential to our health.

Mr. Hershaft's proposal would penalize moderate consumption of a product because excessive consumption is a health risk. This makes no sense. The Clinton plan does not follow this line of reasoning, even for a substance such as alcohol.

As for the claim that a meat tax would save $200 billion in medical costs and lost productivity, this is emphatically a figure from the School of Arbitrary Statistics.

Finally, Mr. Hershaft alludes to the poor treatment and maintenance of animals reared as livestock.

I can assure him that state and national inspection standards are scientifically conceived and rigorously enforced.

I respect Mr. Hershaft's belief that animals do not belong on farms. He must understand, however, that the vast majority of Americans are not vegetarians and support the existence of farms and processing plants which give us an abundance of the world's finest meat products.

I doubt that many people would be willing to spend their day hunting for their meals.

Robert L. Walker

Annapolis

The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of

Agriculture.

Question of Money

In her Sept. 27 letter, Nancy Costanza is upset because CHAMPUS refunds her overpayments of one cent. Obviously she thinks the overpayment should be higher to warrant a refund but does not suggest an amount.

Issuing a refund is one of the last steps in processing a claim. Ms. Costanza's estimate of $50 to prepare a refund check appears extremely high.

Once an overpayment is determined in this computer age, it is unlikely any human intervention is involved until the check is delivered to the post office.

Ms. Costanza is concerned with saving the taxpayers money. Perhaps CHAMPUS could adopt a policy of not issuing checks for overpayments of $10 or less and not processing bills for $5 or less.

James Dolehanty

Baltimore

W Words

While reading the article (Oct. 27) on the television coverage of the National Football League expansion announcement, in which the writer states that two new Ws ("wigging out" and "whipping into a frenzy") had been added to who, what, where, when and why, I was pleased to see that someone on your staff had actually heard of the journalistic credo.

I already was aware your staff was intimately familiar with the concept of creating much ado about nothing, as you accuse your television brethren of doing. I'm sure you wished that one of the local stations had not sent reporters to Chicago, so you could have accused them of not caring about Baltimore.

In truth, this whole NFL expansion thing is just so much sound and fury.

What difference does it make if there are two new teams or four? Or even six?

What difference does it make which city is selected when the owner can pack up and move anywhere he wants?

This expansion has gotten 500 times the coverage you have given welfare reform, which actually affects the real lives of Maryland's citizens.

The only new W words to come out of this fiasco are wimps, weasels, and wusses. The wimps and weasels are the NFL owners, who will continue to refuse to select a bride until they are sure they have gotten everything they can from those who will remain bridesmaids.

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