Letters To The Editor


September 19, 2004

Nurse shortage impedes efforts to combat AIDS

A decade from now Africa will have descended into complete and dangerous chaos if we can't figure out how to deal more effectively with the AIDS pandemic on that continent.

As John Murphy's terrific article on Swaziland describes so well ("AIDS defies funding and good intentions," Sept. 12), millions of dollars are flowing to Africa for AIDS programs but too much of that money is wasted. Meanwhile, nurses and physicians are leaving their homelands in Africa and going abroad in search of reasonable pay and working conditions.

More than a quarter of all adults are infected with AIDS in many African countries.

Free drugs have become available for those suffering from AIDS, but with almost 60 percent of nursing positions vacant in some African countries, there's simply no one to administer them.

Providing computers is great, but providing the funds to keep nurses and health professionals in African countries would seem to be a much more urgent need.

Mary Lehman MacDonald


The writer is director of AFT Health Care, a union of nurses and other health care professionals.

Contested memos small part of story

Republican partisans such as Linda Chavez are desperate to have people pay attention to whether memos about the president's National Guard service are forgeries ("Rather, CBS News dig themselves into a hole - and may end up buried in it," Opinion Commentary, Sept. 16).

Their desperation comes from trying to keep people's focus away from the truth: the evidence that George W. Bush received special treatment in getting into the Texas Air National Guard, disobeyed orders and did not complete his service.

The specific memos in question are a small, insignificant part of the story. The story itself would have been insignificant as well, had Mr. Bush ever come clean.

Instead we are left with two images: a young man who avoided the Vietnam War but had no problem with others serving there, and a president who has dragged the nation into a similar war.

David Schwartz


Gaps in Bush record still look shameful

I wanted to respond to Douglas MacKinnon's column "Yellow journalism" (Opinion Commentary, Sept. 14) with a healthy dose of crocodile tears.

I felt terrible that our self-proclaimed "war president," who somehow managed to jump to the head of the line into the Texas Air National Guard's "champagne unit," has had this feat questioned.

President Bush's defenders insist his honorable discharge is evidence enough that he fulfilled his obligations, and decry investigations into his questionable Guard record.

But when Republicans decided to question the war record and heroism of Sen. John Kerry, Mr. Bush's Guard record, or lack thereof, became relevant again. To this day, his service in Alabama remains a mystery and there remain gaps in his record that he cannot explain.

I would be embarrassed to be unable to remember a six-month period in my life.

Tim Eastman


Kerry is too liberal for most veterans

The Sun's editorial "Spinning the Guard" (Sept. 16) suggests that Sen. John Kerry's growing unpopularity among veterans is attributable to the attacks on his record in Vietnam. I think the reality is that most veterans respect his service in Vietnam but do not support his actions since then.

These veterans were paying attention when Mr. Kerry chose to attack our military in his protests of the Vietnam conflict. They have also paid attention to his extremely liberal Senate voting record.

The bottom line is that most veterans are conservative by nature and don't believe that Mr. Kerry's voting record fits their appetite.

Rick Proctor

Forest Hill

Preserve log homes in Baltimore County

Thanks for the informative feature on log houses ("A house's best-kept secret can be that it's made of logs," Sept. 12).

Baltimore County holds an impressive collection of log structures, including not only those in rural areas but also some that miraculously survive even in Towson.

Interestingly, all surviving log houses I have found in the county are made with V notches like the one mentioned in the article.

These structures need to be preserved - so kudos to those who are working to do so.

Ruth B. Mascari


The writer is a member of the board of the Baltimore County Historical Trust.

Jones Falls Trail is long overdue

Thanks to Rob Kasper for his article on the new Jones Falls Trail ("Finding tranquillity on trail along Jones Falls," Sept. 11).

About 50 years ago, urban planners who worked for the city of Baltimore or related architectural or other civic groups implored the Greater Baltimore Committee and the State Highway Administration to include a park for the Jones Falls area in the planning then under way for the Jones Falls Expressway.

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