Bureaucratic `beast' enhances our lives and protects...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 03, 2002

Bureaucratic `beast' enhances our lives and protects citizens

I wonder why The Sun gave space to Crispin Sartwell's silly diatribe about the federal bureaucracy ("The bureaucratic beast spits out only stupidity," Opinion Commentary, March 18).

Mr. Sartwell's thesis that "every government bureaucracy that deals with the public is a huge, lumbering tribute to human ingenuity in making our lives impossible" is out of touch with reality.

I have been around for six decades and have never found my life impossible or controlled on a day-to-day basis by these systems of power. And I have never lost my notion of and commitment to personal responsibility and public trust.

It is difficult to believe Mr. Sartwell has never driven on a highway built with federal dollars, visited a national park, eaten food protected by federal standards, or used the myriad services provided by federal, state and local bureaucracies.

But I guess he would rather wallow in anarchy, unprotected by public service agencies, undefended by the military and unfettered by the restraints of common law and decency.

Perhaps it is time for people such as Mr. Sartwell to climb down from their ivory towers and embrace those organizations that make their lives infinitely better than they otherwise would be.

Kirk M. Donovan

Columbia

Pet fence embarrasses the governor yet again

Just when I think our illustrious Gov. Parris N. Glendening could not embarrass himself any further, he manages to pillage the state coffers for a $5,000 fence to protect his new puppies (in Dan Rodricks column, "Towson U. president living on Easy Street," March 20).

What unmitigated gall our soon-to-be-departed governor has. He should be forced to reimburse the state treasury for every last penny, and have his greedy little paws slapped at the same time.

Gail Householder

Marriottsville

President's appointments show contempt for our laws

President Bush appointed a critic of the law to enforce campaign finance reform at the Federal Election Commission and a critic of affirmative action as civil rights chief at the Education Department ("Finance reform critic named by Bush to enforce new law," March 30).

If this doesn't point out the president's contempt for the laws passed by our representatives, I don't know what will.

It looks like Mr. Bush constitutes his own "axis of evil" when it comes to enforcing the laws of the land.

Theresa Czarski

Glen Arm

Benefits of mammography far outweigh the concerns

The recent controversy about mammograms unfortunately has left millions of women wondering whether or not they should get a mammogram.

No one disputes that mammography is an excellent tool. And while false positives can cause anxiety and some unnecessary follow-up testing, the benefits of mammography far outweigh the negatives.

In fact, the United States Preventive Services Task Force committee recently concluded that women who received mammograms routinely were 23 percent less likely to die from breast cancer than women who did not ("Mammograms reduce risk of cancer death, study finds," March 15).

As a pathologist who diagnoses breast cancer and sees the benefits of early detection, I must urge women over 20 to do monthly breast self-examinations and all women over 40 to get a mammogram every one to two years.

Early detection can save your life or the life of someone you love.

Dr. Moira P. Larsen

Baltimore

How could FBI agent make such a mistake?

After reading yet again about another FBI debacle ("The Scout, the suspect and the SWAT team," March 18), one has to wonder about a macho, gung-ho ex-Marine captain who not only can't tell the difference between a Honda Civic and a Pontiac Grand Am, but can't tell the difference between a 32-year-old man and a 20-year-old kid drinking a Slurpee.

Jean Bernstein

Baltimore

FBI has a duty to pay victim's medical bills

Joseph Charles Schultz was shot in the face. The last thing his family should be worried about is the cost of reconstructive surgery. The FBI has a moral duty, and should be legally bound, to pay every penny of his medical bills.

Priscilla Tweed

Baltimore

Free software programs further the child porn trade

The FBI and its children's crime unit should be heralded for its work in breaking up a glaringly obvious child pornography ring ("FBI shuts child porn ring on Internet, arrests 19," March 19).

Unfortunately, the FBI's work is far from over. With a smattering of computer knowledge, any user can access a number of freely available software programs to access the same material that was found on the Yahoo groups.

In programs such as mIRC, Direct Connect, and WinMX, which are all freely available on the Web (also known as "freeware"), thousands of users trade material involving minors. Most disturbing is that these programs are, for the most part, completely anonymous. They don't even require the modest registration that sites such as Yahoo ask of new users.

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