Letters To The Editor


November 11, 2005

Poor families need more than charity

The Sun's article on the largest one-day food drive in the Baltimore area let us know of an exemplary attempt by the private sector to help poor families stave off hunger ("Food drive in Carroll exceeds goal," Nov. 8).

But those working in food banks and soup kitchens know that this is not enough.

Here in the Baltimore area and throughout the country, they tell us that the 13 million children living in poverty in the United States also need the services provided by federal programs such as food stamps and Medicare.

I would hope that if most Americans could vote on the budget bills before Congress this week, they would not drastically cut the funding for food stamps, Medicaid, child support enforcement, federal student aid - all the programs that help children of low-income households to be healthy and educated enough to break the cycle of poverty.

The Congressional Budget Office tells us that if the proposed cuts are enacted, almost 300,000 people, mostly from low-income families with children, will be denied food stamps.

I would hope that most Americans, including the wealthiest, would say "no" to an extension of tax cuts to those with the highest incomes, and "no" to cuts in social programs such as food stamps.

Brother Jerry O'Leary


The writer is a member of the Xaverian Brothers, a Catholic religious order.

Democrats reveal hypocrisy on race

Cal Thomas' column on the treatment of Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele at the hands of Maryland Democrats was excellent ("An American success story," Opinion * Commentary, Nov. 9).

Shortly following the poor response of federal officials to the plight of New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina, accusations of white racism were rampant, and many pundits called for a new discussion and examination of racism in America.

Democrats were among the loudest of those who accused the GOP, headed by President Bush, of being insensitive to blacks as they claimed the moral high ground for themselves.

But apparently spouting racial epithets and stereotypes is no vice when those casting stones are black Democrats and the target is a conservative black Republican.

I agree that a new discussion on racism is needed in America. But I suggest the Maryland Democratic Party start it by examining the apparently pervasive attitude in the party that all African-Americans must conform to liberal Democratic ideology or be deemed "not black enough."

Scott Appelbaum


Leaders need course in humility

The Bush administration believes that it can cure the persistent malignancy that ails it by holding a one-day civics class ("Indictment leads White House to give crash course on ethics," Nov. 9).

This is a publicity stunt, no doubt in response to ebbing support at home and abroad for the administration and its ruinous policies.

But the root cause of the administration's disasters, from Iraq to New Orleans, goes much deeper.

This administration does not allow dissenting opinion, a basic American value, from within or without. It attacks dissenters, stifles debate and drowns out voices that caution against its unwise decisions.

No, an ethics course is not the answer. Remedial courses in civics and humility, with the president and the vice president also attending, would better serve the Bush administration and the country.

Eric F. Waller


High time for Bush to get ethics course

Two immediate questions come to mind hearing after President Bush's order for his staff to attend a refresher course on ethics: Who will teach this class? And will the president himself attend ("Indictment leads White House to give crash course on ethics," Nov. 9)?

Oh, one more question: Will it cover the ethics of lying, robbing from the poor to give to the rich, torturing prisoners of war and killing civilians?

If so, then it's about time a course like this is held.

John Oliver


Torture violates Christian values

The Bush administration has betrayed the values of our country and the values of Christian faith in its support of torture ("Torture ban added to 2nd bill as backup," Nov. 5).

I was taught that in America, we honor justice, truth and respect for human life - and that our values are what make our country great.

President Bush has chosen to abandon these principles by imprisoning people without a trial and without evidence and then subjecting them to horrific acts of brutality.

And how does torture square with the administration's claims that it embodies Christian values?

Wasn't it Pilate who tortured Jesus without a trial and without evidence?

Espousing torture is neither an act of patriotism nor an act of self-defense; it is treason against the very foundations of the United States.

David Chipkin


Medical plan pays for asbestos costs

Andrew Schneider's recent article "Grace, town fight over illness claims" (Nov. 2) contains various unfair assaults against the medical program that W. R. Grace Inc. voluntarily set up in Libby, Mont., five years ago.

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