Hypocrisy. . . Did we not have in 1860 a president named...

the Forum

January 20, 1995


. . . Did we not have in 1860 a president named Abraham Lincoln who took exactly the same political position on his breakaway republics (we call them states) as Boris Yeltsin has taken on his?

And is not Mr. Lincoln portrayed in our history books as a hero for doing so?

Also, why are bombing deaths of civilians in Grozny "atrocities" when the ones we caused in Baghdad were only "collateral damage"?

And how does Russia's attempt to protect its oil supply in Chechnya differ from ours in Baghdad?

Perhaps, too, you could give me the name of the American human rights commissioner -- Sergei A. Kovalyov's counterpart -- who criticized Mr. Lincoln for General Sherman's march through Georgia.

The end of the Cold War may have changed a lot of things, but hypocrisy remains hypocrisy no matter who is guilty of it.

Alfred H. Funk Jr.


Consumer blues

There has been much discussion recently between Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the physician community over a reduction in fees for services.

Who is going to benefit from this latest cost-containment approach? I seriously doubt that the savings will be passed to the consumers.

Beginning in January, my monthly premium for health insurance with Blue Cross and Blue Shield increased from $508.65 to $610.91, a 20.11 percent increase.

Now Blue Cross plans to reduce fees to my physicians by some 25 percent after my annual deductible of $1,000 a person is met and increase my premium by 20.11 percent.

In my book, if revenues are increased and costs are reduced, profits increase. Who is Blue Cross going to share this profit with?

Benjamin J. Dubin


Motor madness

Regarding the proposed changes in the speed limit, the issue is not speed limits but the selfish, dangerous and often callous manner in which Maryland drivers operate their vehicles on our ++ highways.

I write from experience. I drive an average of 3,000 miles a month on business.

I think Governor Parris Glendening needs to discuss the ramifications of raising the speed limit with experts and concerned citizens.

The speed limit is ignored by the majority of drivers, and it is certainly not enforced.

Maryland drivers have a habit of running through red lights, stop signs and pulling in front of you at entrance ramps; they drive through "yield" signs as if they were written in a foreign language.

They are selfish and totally disregard everyone else's right of way or safety.

I discussed the speed limit with two Maryland state troopers last week over a cup of coffee. Both of them said that raising the speed limit to 65 mph would give drivers access to 75 mph and wondered how it could be enforced.

These men have a tough job to perform, and we will not help them unless we are willing to put some teeth into our existing laws and practice some common-sense driving habits.

We who drive defensively -- that is, as if our lives depended on it -- are called obstructionists, laughed at and threatened. I thank God my wife prays for me every day I am on the road.

But I get a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach when I contemplate facing another year on our highways.

Thomas H. Manning

Glen Burnie

Where was Berger?

An historic Baltimore County elementary school burns down, over 400 concerned parents, children and teachers get together two days later to get the details of their relocation plans, and Superintendent Stuart Berger was nowhere to be seen.

As a parent and business professional, I would think it not only prudent but a show of support that Dr. Berger would have come to the Jan. 10 meeting at Cockeysville Middle School in regard to relocating the students from the destroyed Sparks Elementary School.

It absolutely amazes me that he was not in attendance, especially in light of all the controversy that he has undergone.

With all the tears shed, salvageable items recovered, my hat goes off to all the fine people from the school board, Sparks PTA, other Baltimore County schools, Fire Department (even they were at the meeting), local businesses -- but mostly to the parents, teachers, and administrators of Sparks Elementary.

Only five days after this devastating fire our students were back in class.

Paul A. Struzziero


Litter city


Recently, while driving around Baltimore City, I observed:

* The man in front of me at a fast-food drive-through toss his straw wrapper out the window as he drove away.

* A man at another fast-food restaurant throw his wrapper to the ground as he walked back to his car.

* Three people, each on a different street, toss lighted cigarette butts out their car windows.

* A woman at a traffic light on Frederick Avenue pitch two chicken bones from her car,

* A driver on Broadway empty the car's ashtray onto the street.

I hear people complain all the time about how dirty and trashy Baltimore is. Baltimore is our home; everyone must behave responsibly and take care of it, and that includes not littering on public or private property.

Bea Haskins


Disabled vets get short shrift from agency

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