Letters To The Editor


July 06, 2004

Give task force on malpractice chance to work

It's truly unfortunate that some of the individuals quoted in an article about the governor's new medical malpractice task force chose to denounce the appointees rather than work with the governor to find a solution to a problem that continues to grow in Maryland ("Ehrlich names task force on malpractice," June 26).

The task force, chaired by retired Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr., has been asked to review the situation and make recommendations that could lead to a broad consensus on keeping liability insurance affordable and available for the health care providers we rely on every day.

The task force is an outstanding group of individuals that includes two judges, a highly respected attorney who sits on the American College of Trial Lawyers Board of Regents, the regional director of the National Seniors Coalition and several members of the legislature with widely divergent views on the subject.

This is an independent-minded panel looking for answers. Its recommendations will not please everyone, but they could well form the basis for a much-needed compromise.

Let's not prejudge the Thieme task force. Health costs will increase and access will decrease if we let Maryland's deteriorating outlook for medical liability insurance worsen.

Albert R. Counselman


The writer is chairman of St. Agnes HealthCare.

Angelos himself fails to execute

It appears that Peter G. Angelos has forgotten the old proverb about people who live in glass houses.

Mr. Angelos refers to Mayor Martin O'Malley as a "small-time politician" who couldn't "execute properly" if he achieved higher office ("O'Malley's comment draws Angelos' ire," July 1). The fact is that Mr. O'Malley put the brakes on the rapid decline of the city under his predecessor.

Mr. Angelos, on the other hand, acquired what was the best organization in Major League Baseball and, through his own unique blend of arrogance, nepotism and incompetence, turned it into the laughingstock of the league.

It is Mr. Angelos who lacks the ability to "execute properly."

Dennis W. King


Laws can't control driving distractions

Washington's latest law with a "much broader prohibition against various forms of distracted driving" goes too far ("Watch where you're driving when you talk on the phone," July 1).

While the law is too broad and vague, the district apparently forgot to add "rubber-necking" to the list of distractions. Sneezing, scratching and coughing were also omitted. Navigational systems, radios and kids watching DVDs in the back seat are also distracting. There are billboards on Interstate 95 I find distracting as well.

Perhaps the best solution would be to borrow from our maritime practices of tug-boats and pilots, under which an experienced captain brings each ship into port.

Perhaps Washington could hire thousands of unemployed people - who would be specially trained to watch for the stoplights hidden in inconspicuous poles on the city's street corners and know where the city's speeding cameras are hiding - to drive some of the many cars that move through that city each day.

David Rhinehart


Let families decide about coffin viewing

Nancy Reagan and her family had the right to decide to invite the public and the media to view President Ronald Reagan's coffin.

Why shouldn't the families of those Americans killed in Iraq have the same right?

Ray Hamilton


Palestinian terror led to Israel's wall

The writer of the letter "Israel must accept a Palestine, too" (June 29) ignores Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's offer of 97 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians for a country of their own back in May 2000.

But that wasn't enough for the Palestinians, so they launched a terror war against Israeli men, women and children - which required Israel to put up a security barrier to defend the lives of its citizens.

Make no mistake: The Palestinian terror came first, not the security fence.

Michael Berenhaus


Singing captures rhythm of speech

As a speech-language pathologist at the Hearing and Speech Agency, I eagerly read Mike Bowler's article about our Gateway School's three newest graduates ("Small class, big accomplishment," June 26).

What first appeared to be a negative comment about the students' singing - "There was hardly a voice on key and little sense of rhythm. But the boys had memorized the song, an accomplishment to be proud of" - registered much differently with my colleagues when we reread the article.

Mr. Bowler insightfully captures two key elements about Gateway School and language disabilities. First, Gateway School is a place where children are free to sing for the joy of expression rather than the need to be on key.

Second, the rhythm of speech (called prosody) is very difficult to learn. For our students the first challenge is to learn the words and their meaning (semantic tasks) before they can learn the subtleties conveyed with the rhythm of the language.

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