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Letters to ther editor

October 22, 2005

Ramadan open house is set for Oct. 24



To the editor:

The Islamic Society of Western Maryland will hold a Ramadan open house on Monday, Oct. 24, at 6 p.m. at the society's mosque at 2036 Day Road in Hagerstown.

Ramadan is a month-long period of sacrifice designed to enhance spirituality and break bad habits acquired during the year. It is a time to focus on the hereafter instead of the pleasures of the here and now.

Believers fast during Ramadan, taking no food or water during daylight hours.

On Oct. 24, believers at the mosque will break fast at 6:30 p.m. with a prayer for world peace, followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

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Imam Yahya Hendi will be the guest speaker.

To make sure there is enough for all, please let us know if you are coming and how many will accompany you to the meal.

To do so, you may call 301- 791-2510, or e-mail

shahabnoor@hotmail.com.

This night will also be a chance to collect blankets, jackets and other warm clothes in good condition to send to victims of the earthquake in Pakistan.

Thank you.
Dr. Shahab Siddiqui
Hagerstown

Drug plan won't help



To the editor:

I have never bashed our president George Bush about anything, but I just got my first information on Plan D: Medicare New Prescription Drug Coverage and am very unhappy. I feel the plan may not help people like myself who are middle class and cannot take a great many generic drugs.

The following are the reasons I am upset: Those already on Medicaid and Medicare already qualify for assistance. An individual with an income of less than $14,355 and a couple with an income of $19,245 may also qualify for assistance. For all others, here is the scale for what you could pay in the "standard" plan:

Annual premium - $445.

Step 1 deductible - $250.

Step 2 co-insurance, 25 percent - $500.

Step 3 coverage gap - $2,850.

Step 4 catastrophic coverage - 5 percent.

The second reason is Plan D will be run by private insurance companies - not Medicare. Plans will usually require participants to get their drugs from specific pharmacies within a network of pharmacies that have agreed to special low prices. There probably go our small pharmacies for us to use.

The third reason is Plan D drug plan will have a government-approved list of drugs it covers called a formulary.

You are to compare the drugs on the plan's formulary with the drugs your currently take. If you take multiple drugs, you probably won't find every one on a single formulary. If a drug you take isn't on the formulary, talk to your doctor about updating your prescription to a drug on the list.

Next, none of the plans will pay for many drugs, but the ones I am concerned about are central nervous system depressants. What about all of the people who are on Medicaid and need these drugs?

The fifth reason is they say we can stay with our present private plan if we choose. But my plan has already said I will not be insured by them after Jan. 1, 2006.

I heard what was supposed to be a joke the other day. They said the government had found a solution for Social Security - cut out prescription drugs. There is more truth to this than you think with Plan D.

I urge everyone who is as unhappy as I am to contact their congressman.

Louise Dawson
Hagerstown

A liberal writer offers response



To the editor:

Progressive readers of The Herald-Mail no doubt join me in thanking Harry Himes of Williamsport for his gracious encouragement (Oct. 16) of liberal expression. He was very kind to ask for more letters from liberal writers.

He also showed downright liberal curiosity in wondering what liberals favor. Perhaps our leaders haven't been clear, so let me take a shot at it.

Liberals believe that "commonwealth" should be our government's priority instead of private wealth; that public schools deserve our tax support more than private schools; that public parks, public highways, public hospitals and public libraries are preferable to private ones and benefit the entire community instead of just those who can afford privacy.

The Republican movement to privatize public services alarms us. If it all becomes private, only those with money will be served.

Liberals believe in strong national defense. But from years of watching the NFL, we've learned the difference between offense and defense.

We supported the war in Afghanistan, an appropriate defensive response to 9/11. We opposed the offensive war in Iraq, a response to no threat or attack on the United States. We support our children, nephews and nieces in the military and we mourn those killed in the offensive.

Liberals do not, as Himes suggests, want Christ out of Christmas or Christmas out of schools. We want government out of religion and vice-versa, and appreciate James Madison's heroic lifelong efforts to institutionalize separation of church and state. Call us conservative, but we think he got it right 217 years ago.

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