Editor: I doubt that Germany can ever be trusted by the nations of the world no matter what kind of respectable facade they hide behind.
First they sell, at a huge profit, outlawed chemical warfare and other military technology to a brutal dictator with a history of belligerence. Then when hostilities break out, they claim they are pacifists and can't get involved. The fact is that they became involved years ago when they sold dreaded contraband to the tyrant Saddam Hussein in the first place.
It seems they are willing to "get involved" when there is a profit to be made, but prefer to stand on the sidelines while the rest of the allies pay the price in blood and resources to neutralize the threat they helped to create.
The stench of German duplicity brings back memories of the national dishonor during the rise of Hitler when the so-called good Germans conveniently turned a blind eye to the moral persecution of segments of their own population because it was of economic benefit to do so.
I, for one, have decided what I will do. Since the only thing today's German seems to care about is his pocketbook, I will never again knowingly purchase anything made in Germany.
I suggest other Americans do the same.
Send Troops Home
Editor: The way in which media stories often frame the differences between opponents and supporters of the gulf war is dangerously misleading.
The coverage of the first national anti-war demonstration Jan. 19 provides a good example. Every channel I watched did a story on the demonstration "against the war" and then another on rallies held to "support the troops."
This framework is decidedly wrong. It suggests that one must be pro-war to support the women and men fighting in the gulf. The difference is not about attitudes toward the troops. It is a matter of support for, or opposition to, the Bush administration's policy of war.
As Coretta Scott King stated in her "State of the Dream speech," protesters are "against the war, not the warriors." Opponents of the war feel very strongly about the troops in the gulf and are intensely sympathetic with their families. After all, troops and their families are often friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives of protesters.
One important anti-war group, led by Alex Molnar, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is made up of members of families of troops in the gulf.
Opponents of the war want to support the troops by getting them out of a war that never should have been and a place they should not be. As the Rev. Jesse Jackson declared in his speech at the Jan. 19 demonstration: "Stop the bombing. Start the talking." One sign at the demonstration stated the position eloquently: "We love our troops. We want them home." We want them home now, before the toll of casualties mounts on both sides.
John H. Sinnigen.
Taxpayers as Peons
Editor: The aristocrats of France were insensitive to the plight of the "peons." It appears obvious to me that the aristocrats of Maryland are equally insensitive to the plight of the taxpayers.
Amid all the talk about the deficit, actual state income is greater than it was four years ago when we had a surplus.
Our aristocrats can only talk of tax increases as a remedy -- but they insist that all things remain the same in the area of individual perks, individual benefits.
We still have a state yacht that costs $186,522 a year to operate. We find ways to spend almost $10,000 to renovate it.
We found $1,700,000 to renovate the Governor's Mansion.
We found ways to increase the salaries of the top six state officials by a total of $170,000 a year. That's a commitment of $680,000 over four years.
We found money to give a 7 percent increase to the various cabinet secretaries. Then there are the judiciary and the General Assembly.
This paints an obvious picture: business as usual.
Let them eat cake.
Editor: Bouquets to the Maryland State Teachers Association, the Archdiocese of Baltimore Catholic Schools and The Baltimore Sun.
You all contributed valuable information in "A Student's Guide to The Persian Gulf War."
You performed a public service by printing a large, easy-to-read map which helps us to follow events in the Middle East.
Editor: Thank you for the article by Maria Mallory on the steps that companies can take to assess their employees' demand for child care services.
One solution to the need which such an assessment may reveal was not highlighted in the article: a consortium approach to group child care center construction and operation.
Downtown Baltimore Child Care, Inc., a non-profit agency, operates two high quality centers in the city which were made possible by a number of employer contributions, including the University of Maryland Medical System, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Baltimore Gas & Electric Company, First National Bank of Maryland, Waverly Press and AT&T; (through its Family Care Development Fund).
The consortium approach ensures that employers are removed from the liability issues and from the demographic challenge of keeping a center fully enrolled. (Many on- or near-site single-employer centers have closed because of inconsistent annual demand.) Resource and referral services are great, but will frustrate parents when good child care is not available.
Employers and communities need to focus on creating more of this very scarce resource.
Nancy L. Kramer.
The writer is executive director of Downtown Baltimore Child Care, Inc.
Unreasoning Fears of the 1960s
Editor: "Is Race Steering History?"-- your Jan. 25 editorial -- voices skepticism over U. S. District Court Judge Alexander Harvey's conclusion that "the practice of blockbusting no longer exists in Baltimore County." You pointedly assert that "house-hunters should not hesitate to change agents" if they suspect them of racial steering, thereby implying that steering is in fact practiced by the real estate industry.
Your editorial does a grave disservice both to the industry and to the community which it serves.
For years, the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors has actively campaigned to promote equal housing opportunities throughout the Baltimore area. The board has conducted extensive educational activities and has participated -- with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development -- in the creation of a wide-ranging program to ensure the implementation of fair-housing programs throughout the Baltimore area. The board has recently earned the recognition from HUD's Baltimore office for promoting the most progressive fair-housing program in Maryland.
Given the industry's concentrated effort to ensure fair-housing practices, it is not surprising that, in the recent litigation with Baltimore County, the county could not cite a single instance of racial steering or unfair housing practices against Realtors to justify the non-solicitation law. The complete absence of any such evidence fully supported Judge Harvey's conclusion that "the practice of block busting no longer exists in Baltimore County."
Nor was Judge Harvey alone in reaching such a conclusion.
A few years ago, the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors successfully challenged the ban imposed in certain areas of Baltimore on the posting of "For Sale" signs. In striking down that prohibition, U.S. District Court Judge Herbert Murray stressed that Baltimore has "progressed far beyond the fears which characterized the 1960s." He concluded that the community is "too strong and vibrant to hide behind a regulation which deliberately seeks to limit knowledge about an important event in the community, sale of a home."
I sincerely believe that The Sun erred by resurrecting the ghost of "race steering" and by failing to recognize the extent to which the community and the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors have surmounted the unreasoning fears of the 1960s.
Brandon F. Gaines.
The writer is president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors.