Letters to the editor

July 11, 2006

Let's hear about issues that matter

To the editor:

The top three things that I'm looking for in the next president:

1. A belief that the U.S. should take a more modest role in the world - one that is consistent with George Washington's idea of avoiding entangling alliances overseas. I would need to hear, not just promises, but actual ideas about how such a business model could work for the U.S. without endangering our national security.

The candidate would be able to describe, in convincing detail how we could live securely without being "the indispensable nation," the global imperator, or the universal conquistador, just as one strong nation intent on helping others quietly and effectively and mostly minding its own business.

2. An approach to the liquid fuels problem that would get us free from dependence on Middle Eastern or West African or South American crude oil. I wish to hear technical talk about the Athabasca tar sands, their refinement capacity, how it could be scaled up tenfold, what would motivate the Canadians to cooperate fully in such a project, how the oil could be used as the 15-percent gasoline supplement needed to make Ethanol 85 fuel.


I wish to know directly from the candidate how much corn and soybeans we can grow in the U.S. - how much of it can be converted into ethanol and biodiesel, what the costs would be, what regulatory changes would be needed. A candidate who actually knows precisely what they are saying and fully intends to do it is what I seek, not vague and abstract words from Madison Avenue speechwriters.

3. A desire to clean up the campaign contribution process in Washington so that ideas can be considered based on the merits of the case rather than the merits of the bribe. I'm seeking a candidate who supports the McCain-Feingold Bill and wants to go not one, not two, but many steps beyond it until Washington is actually cleaned up.

The process by which our legislation is written is a national disgrace, but one that we could fix fairly easily, if the desire to do so was shining forth strongly from the Oval Office. I lift this lamp beside the door of rational deliberation, and from its light the secret vote buyers and law fixers slink away.

Here are things I don't care about - whether the candidate is a man or a woman, whether they are a liberal or a conservative, whether they are religious or atheist, whether they are a Democrat, Republican or Independent.

We have very serious problems - in need of serious solutions - and the person with the solution is the one I'm looking for. The rest just does not matter anymore.

Robert Gary

Medbank can help seniors in need

To the editor:

Recently you printed a letter from a lady upset with the new Medicare D program and its effect on her neighbor. Her neighbor had been receiving free medications from Western Maryland Medbank, but with the advent of Medicare D was now required to pay for medications she can't afford.

When Medicare D was implemented, the pharmaceutical manufacturers were told by the federal government that they could no longer supply free medications to seniors eligible for Medicare. The staff spent many hours working with seniors to help them move to the new program. Now, those rules are changing. Although they will probably never return to the original rules, some manufacturers are now providing medications to seniors under limited circumstances.

If you, or anyone you know, regardless of age, can't afford the prescription medications a physician prescribes, please contact Medbank. The staff will be happy to discuss your specific needs and/or arrange an appointment for you to come to the office. To qualify for this program, you must not have prescription coverage in your insurance plan and must meet certain income guidelines. Some seniors with Medicare D plans may be eligible once again.

Thanks to those in our community who continue to support this program, financially, through volunteer hours and many other ways, Western Maryland Medbank is on track to bring more than $4 million in free prescription medications to citizens in our county this year.

We could not do that without your help and without referrals of patients in need. It is important to know that this is not just a program for seniors. If anyone you know needs this help, please call 301-393-3441.

Sidney L. Gale

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