Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 04, 2004

Bush's backing for 9/11 report comes too late

I was pleased to read that President Bush is responding fairly quickly to the 9/11 commission's recommendations ("Bush endorses post of intelligence czar," Aug. 3).

However, it should not have taken almost three years to get to this point. President Bush delayed this commission's work repeatedly - first by opposing its creation, then by denying the commission access to documents and placing limits on the testimony of administration officials.

FOR THE RECORD - Correction
The hometown of letter writer Stephan B. Brooks was misidentified yesterday. It is Reisterstown. The Sun regrets the error.

And this obstinacy is part of a larger pattern of behavior on the part of the president.

Mr. Bush tries to portray himself as a strong leader, but he lacks a much more important qualification for fighting terrorism that Sen. John Kerry seems to have in spades: common sense.

Peter Fitton

Baltimore

Intelligence director would change little

I don't quite see the point of appointing a new national intelligence director ("Bush endorses post of intelligence czar," Aug. 3).

What good will it do to add another level of bureaucracy to the anti-terror effort if the same people who got us into this mess - the ones who were asleep at the wheel on Sept. 11, 2001, and who engineered the disastrous war in Iraq - are still at their posts?

If the administration would fire National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft and then appoint a new national intelligence director, that might make some sense.

Denise Barker

Timonium

Medicare reforms save seniors money

It is misleading to imply that Medicare beneficiaries will face higher out-of-pocket costs when Medicare has just expanded benefits to cover drugs, preventive medicine and other services in ways that will cause far greater reductions in out-of-pocket costs many beneficiaries previously had to pay entirely on their own ("Democrats hit GOP over prescription drug benefit," July 22).

Until now, many beneficiaries have seen their Social Security checks eroded year after year because they get no help with high and rising drug costs. For many years, the cost of drugs and other services not covered by Medicare have been rising far faster than their cost-of-living adjustments. Now, with Medicare drug coverage that provides benefits that far outweigh any new payments for most beneficiaries, the income of beneficiaries will be better protected than before.

The one-third of all beneficiaries with limited incomes will pay little or no premiums or deductibles for their new drug benefits - and no premium means no premium increase. For many other Medicare beneficiaries, this new benefit will lower their drug prices, pay (on average) for about half of their drug costs and protect them from very high drug expenses, which means they will have more disposable income.

If not for the new Medicare law, seniors without drug coverage would continue to pay the highest prices for their medicines.

Now, for the first time, all beneficiaries will have guaranteed access to Medicare drug coverage that, for many, will give them more protection than ever against high and rising health care costs.

Tommy G. Thompson

Washington

The writer is secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Evans exemplifies culture of corruption

It is very telling indeed that Gerard E. Evans, who was convicted of fraud, continues to work in Annapolis - with the blessings of the Maryland Court of Appeals ("Lobbyist convicted of fraud allowed to continue career," July 31).

Despite the fact that he broke the law, served a prison sentence and was sanctioned by the State Ethics Commission, Mr. Evans is allowed to influence state lawmakers on behalf of the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association.

It seems to me that the "culture of corruption" in Annapolis is alive and well, and Maryland citizens shouldn't expect much in terms of tort reform or disciplinary action for lawyers who bring frivolous lawsuits to court.

Dr. John A. Prodoehl

Havre de Grace

The writer is president-elect of the Harford County Medical Association.

What did schools pay for oversize check?

It is nice to learn that the city school system was able to pay back part of the money the city advanced to it to avoid bankruptcy ("Schools repay most of city's $42 million loan," Aug. 3).

However, one must wonder how much the large "check" city school officials presented cost - in money that could have been better used elsewhere in the schools.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

A fitting sentence for teenager's killers

As I read about the heinous murder of Quartrina Kisha Johnson, and then saw the picture of that little girl on TV - a little girl of only 15 - I wondered what the sentence for those who committed this evil act will be ("Man charged as accessory as burned body is identified," July 31).

I would suggest that her killers be required to go to the morgue and view her remains and then come out and tell me if their life should be spared.

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