Congress must keep up with medical researchCongratulations...


September 02, 1997

Congress must keep up with medical research

Congratulations to Dr. Bert Vogelstein, Dr. Kenneth W. Kinzler and the other Johns Hopkins scientists for their landmark discovery of a genetic mutation that causes colon cancer.

As scientific discoveries enhance our knowledge of health care, it is important that Congress re-evaluate coverage to ensure that medical benefits keep up with scientific knowledge.

In this case, Congress has taken such action by the adoption of my proposal to include colorectal screening as a covered benefit for Medicare beneficiaries who are age 65, starting in 1998.

Now, thanks to Johns Hopkins scientists, individuals who are identified with this genetic mutation will be able to obtain the appropriate preventive screening that may save their lives.

Benjamin L. Cardin


The writer represents Maryland's 3rd Congressional District.

Officials covering up bay health problems

Is it just me, or are state officials striving to brainwash Maryland citizens into believing there are no health risks related to fishing, swimming or eating seafood from the Pocomoke and surrounding areas?

It astonishes me how several articles in The Sun (Aug. 8 - 27) tried to convey a sense of utopia associated with the Pocomoke area, despite serious concerns about Pfiesteria and other health related issues surrounding these waters.

I'm not falling for all this. They say we should eat fish, seafood, swim and be happy.

Officials are obviously more concerned about perception and its effects upon the water-related businesses than they are about people's health and well-being, but do I as a citizen have to be continually insulted and misguided by inept attempts at covering up the real problems that exist?

Leigh A. Keller


Tobacco's harm was long known

The Aug. 2 Perspective article, ''Teeth-staining, puking habit," suggested these phrases be used to discourage youngsters from smoking.

The knowledge that tobacco was a scourge in many ways was known long, long ago.

In the 1600s, when legions of ships were engaged in the trade, King James of England said: ''It is loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain and dangerous to the lungs.''

Little did he know how prophetic his words were, and what a grand argument when cigarette company executives say they had no idea this was a harmful product.

Cooky McClung


A dangerous military strategy

In ''Expensive dinosaurs'' (Perspective, Aug. 10), William E. Odom argues that the United States should replace aircraft carriers and Marine expeditionary forces with Army and Air Force units that fly into a foreign country to marry up with prepositioned equipment and supplies.

Underlying his argument is the assumption that regimes in conflict-prone regions are sufficiently stable to guarantee both the security of the material stored in their countries and the safety of transport aircraft bringing in the troops. The countries we most fear in the Persian Gulf, for example, were once our allies.

The regimes Mr. Odom would have as custodians of our stores in the region are notoriously unstable. A revolution, a coup or even the succession of a monarch with different ideas from his predecessor, can convert vacuum-packed air bases and warehouses full of tanks into strategic liabilities.

A change in alliances, which usually results in the trading of one set of enemies for another, can render prepositioning facilities obsolete with the stroke of a pen.

In contrast to fixed installations, naval forces are far less vulnerable to the fickle winds of political change.

In a world where those governments tend to pursue their own interests rather than supporting ours, such strategic flexibility is a great virtue.

Bruce I. Gudmundsson

Quantico, Va.

Mechanic Theatre is alive and well

I am addressing the reference in your Aug. 22 editorial about the Mechanic Theatre being outdated.

Nowhere in this country is there a more intimate performance space than this theater. The Mechanic is a favorite stop on the "Les Miserables" itinerary, as it is for many companies appearing here. The audience "shares" the performance experience with those on the other side of the curtain, which is something sorely lacking in larger, colder theaters throughout the country.

We all recognize the economics of show business dictate the need for a larger theater and we hope some day to have a new one, as some shows are presently unable to play Baltimore. In the meantime, we want everyone to know we are alive and well and in the process of preparing a wonderful line-up of the best Broadway has to offer.

Brian Liddicoat


The writer is general manager of Baltimore Center for the Performing Arts and manager of the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre.

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