Arts & Society section brightens up SundaysFrom one Sunday...


August 01, 1998

Arts & Society section brightens up Sundays

From one Sunday to another, I never had checked the society page, the advice columns or the wedding and engagement announcements. But now I will not miss a single one.

Last Sunday presented me with the retooled Arts & Society section, and it has been a joy to behold.

I want to call attention to the two-page color spread from July 26, with photos by staff photographer Doug Kapustin. These two pages together are probably the finest piece of photojournalism I have ever seen. I'm undecided whether to Scotch tape them or frame them. But it's difficult to anticipate what will show up next week.

I have suggestions. There should be a full-color book on the making of the Ravens stadium (by Mr. Kapustin, with Sun editor help), which could be available for or near the opening game. Any photo published in The Sun should be marked so that a person with a credit card can call to order a copy, in any size, even large enough to hang over the living room couch.

The down side, and what I am really hating, is that to cut out Laura Lippman's comparative lists of 20th century English-language novels, I shall have to deface Mr. Kapustin's "the art of construction" on the previous two pages.

Maybe I'll have to go out and buy another paper.

Nancy Moran


I'm writing in response to the article "Real readers don't need a list" (July 26) regarding the lists of 20th century novels.

I am a high school English teacher who is desperately trying to instill some sense of reading in my students. I agree that not every student in my room will one day be an adult who frequents libraries, can quote Faulkner and Hemingway or even remember what a sonnet looks like; but somewhere in all of this is a dead tradition called reading.

Students feel overwhelmed by the number of books and the number of authors. They want advice; they want guidance.

Never will there be an agreement on books. Everyone has different tastes and enjoys different stories.

I wouldn't be teaching these books if they had not endured as classics as long as they have. There is wide selection here and a variety of authors. If no one makes suggestions, you are facing a nation of teen-agers who will simply pick up the remote and watch "Jerry Springer."

Heather Rae Henry


Planned HMO changes no remedy for costs

Froma Harrop's Opinion Commentary "Republicans and Democrats want to fix HMO mess" (July 28) suggests we should do away with profit-oriented managed care. She notes that the "public is very angry at the results."

What she does not do is discuss who that public is. Certainly, it is going to be people who have been hurt by a managed care company. But reform is being driven by those who have been shut out of managed care programs, such as physicians who are not on the HMO lists for referrals.

Opposition by physicians is as old as the movement toward managed care, which is simply a way of organizing resources so that they are optimized.

Ms. Harrop should understand that physicians used the same tactic of requiring open referrals to make managed care programs illegal in most states as recently as 25 years ago. What is happening now is simply another attempt.

To examine the merits of the political fixes being proposed, we need to look at why managed care, or the less pejorative name, health maintenance organizations, developed in the first place. They were an attempt to contain costs caused by the wasteful use of health care resources.

The strategy supported by the government was to promote HMOs while protecting consumers against abuses by allowing a choice of HMOs by consumers. What needs to be recognized is that the strategy has succeeded in reducing the rate of cost increases while generally meeting the health care needs of the public.

The new arrangements have produced abuses, as anything does. For the most part, there are remedies for correcting the abuses, including the consumer's right to change HMOs or to take legal action against medical professionals where malpractice occurs.

What should not be done, and what appears to be the thrust of reform, is to diminish the ability of HMO managers to manage resources available to consumers. Allowing self-referrals is not going to improve care, and it is going to increase costs.

Allowing lawyers to get their hands in the pockets of consumers and HMOs would increase costs for everyone.

Herman Schmidt


Find right place for Bubba Gump, but don't put it in the waterways

The National Aquarium in Baltimore applauds the successful revitalization of the Power Plant, and we are working cooperatively with the Power Plant's tenants to continue Baltimore's renaissance. The aquarium welcomes the proposed Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant to Baltimore but not as a structure in the waterways.

We also take exception to some of the claims made by David Cordish ("Bubba Gump's an asset, not a liability to harbor," July 27).

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