A REPLY FROM the page opposite, which...


A REPLY FROM the page opposite, which was falsely accused last Monday of committing a solecism:

Dot or no-dot is the question. Is it Harry S or Harry S. Truman? The prosecution case rests on the undisputed fact that the 33rd president was born with only a middle initial, not a middle name. Ah, but Harry adopted a middle name.

During what we now call a "photo op," Truman donned a feather bonnet and was made an honorary member of the Snohomish Indian tribe. Graciously accepting, the president joked that at last he had a middle name to hang on his "S."

Time magazine took him up on it. For the rest of his presidency he was, in Time's columns, "President Harry S. (for Snohomish) Truman."

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ANOTHER ASPECT of the HST dot or no-dot controversy: Truman sometimes signed his name "Harry S. Truman," but the initial legally stood for nothing. This caused constant confusion.

When Truman was sworn in as president in 1945, Chief Justice Stone began, "I, Harry Shippe Truman. . .", and the new president replied, "I, Harry S Truman . . ." Shippe was one ancestral name. Another was Solomon.

Truman's parents led both branches of the family to believe the initial stood for them. In the 1940 Senate election, some of Truman's opponents referred to him in anti-Semitic precincts as Harry Solomon Truman, insinuating he was Jewish.

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OUR STATE'S Democrats never seem to learn. What does the Donkey Party do after suffering a humiliating setback in most of Maryland's largest counties last month? It holds a $250 a ticket black-tie dinner to celebrate the wondrous election results of Nov. 6.

The high-priced booze flowed freely. Speaker after speaker stood before the gathering to praise the Democrats as the "party of the working man and woman."

Question: Do real working men and women dress up in tuxedos and gowns and shell out $250 for a dinner at one of Baltimore's premier banquet hotels?

Answer: Not very often.

Perhaps party leaders need a reminder. Or perhaps voters already delivered that reminder on Election Day -- but the state's Democratic honchos didn't hear the message.

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ACCORDING to a recent poll, Americans have a tough time filling out documents that affect their finances and well-being -- college financial-aid applications, medical claims and income-tax forms. But when it comes to credit-card applications, no sweat. Folks say that's a snap. Maybe they forget those credit-card IOUs will come due some day.

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