Littwin parody was offensiveI'm sure Mike Littwin meant no...

LETTERS

June 25, 1996

Littwin parody was offensive

I'm sure Mike Littwin meant no harm when he wrote his June 17 column, ''Of the Jewish persuasion: a Southern Baptist primer.'' While I do not condone the position taken by the Southern Baptists, not even the premise of satire makes appropriate the litany of anti-Semitic stereotypes that Mr. Littwin's article perpetuates. I was sickened by it.

This is a dangerous kind of ''humor'' to attempt. Sometimes it is made palatable (and funny) when it is produced by someone who is Jewish (Woody Allen, Jackie Mason), and when the audience is primarily Jewish. But whatever Mr. Littwin's religion is, his parody does not reach the level of humor and is offensive to me, as it may be to other Jews and to many Southern Baptists.

I suggest that Mr. Littwin stick to his usual appropriate topics in the future.

Ilene R. London

Baltimore

Church arsonists are cowards

When I was a voter-registration worker in Mississippi, vulnerable, rural black churches often were burned by arsonists.

Indeed, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Michael Goodman were murdered after they investigated the ruins of a church that had been torched 32 years ago this month.

In burning a black church, an arsonist targets the one institution that is solely controlled by African-Americans and tries, in effect, to demoralize the black community. The arsonists are cowards; they failed in the '60s and they will fail now.

In going directly to the problem and speaking out, President Clinton has most certainly and clearly done the right thing.

Grenville B. Whitman

Baltimore

Since 1971, school has prospered

In reference to the June 11 article, "As private schools build, public foundation shakes," the Waldorf School of Baltimore also has notable plans. A unique resource for Baltimore, the school's curriculum places equal emphasis on intellectual, artistic and practical goals and is part of the largest independent school movement in the world. Serving nursery through eighth grade, we have grown out of our buildings because interest in a Waldorf education has increased.

What makes the school's project special, though, is that it was formed as a partnership between a city neighborhood and a private institution and will add vitality and opportunity to the community. Located in Coldspring Newtown since 1971, the non-parochial school chose to remain in the city and wants to remain affordable to families.

Starting in the fall of 1997 we will joyfully share with the community a library, a gym, a theater, two athletic fields, access to arts rooms and programs for senior citizens who will live next to our new school.

Vicky Westover

Baltimore

The writer is development director for the Waldorf School in Baltimore.

Commission needed to reform Medicare

You're right. As your June 6 editorial said, the politics of Medicare has to stop. If the current partisan bickering in Congress over balancing the budget goes on, 38 million elderly and disabled Americans could find themselves without health insurance coverage.

The 1996 Medicare Trustees' report shows that, as the nation ages, Medicare rolls are swelling, its costs are increasing, and the program is running out of money sooner than expected. At the same time it has become a political pawn in the game of balanced budget chess. The problem: Congress isn't addressing the long-term future of Medicare.

The last fact should be the most worrisome to the 38 million people on Medicare today, and the millions of Americans who will need it in the future. By the year 2010, for example, when the nation's 77 million baby-boomers begin retiring, the gap between Medicare's revenues and expenses will have widened dramatically.

There's no doubt that Medicare spending must be contained. Hospitals and health systems support major reform in Medicare. But the way to get the job done is through reasonable discussions and objective information not partisan politics. The Sun suggests a blue ribbon commission to develop a "Save Medicare" plan. We agree. It's essential to strengthen Medicare for the next generation and beyond. But to do this requires not just a short-term commission, but will require the creation of an independent commission on Medicare.

An independent commission would each year provide information and advice to help Congress set a Medicare spending target. Under that target, the commission would hold public hearings, recommend how much can be spent, what the money will buy in benefits and for whom, and how to ensure quality. Then, each year, the whole package would be voted on up-or-down, by Congress. The knowledge that cuts could not be avoided would be a politically powerful argument for passing the commission's comprehensive and carefully considered package.

The commission would be made up of seven experts in all areas of health, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Serving on the commission would be their only job.

An independent commission is the best choice to ensure that tough decisions are made with an eye toward health and common sense, and not just the political bottom line. That way, America's seniors will no longer be pawns in the chess game of politics.

Cal Pierson

Lutherville

The writer is president of the Maryland Hospital Association.

Pub Date: 6/25/96

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