For $22, you can weather apocalypse
In Other Voices Feb. 17 Ron Smith reviewed "The Great Reckoning" by James Davison and Lord William Rees-Mogg. The book concludes (and Mr. Smith concurs) that we are headed for economic and social instability that will make the Depression of the 1930s pale by comparison. Many factors are cited but the primary one is the end of the Cold War, which saw the collapse of the Soviet Union and left that nation bankrupt and the West deeply in debt.
The proposition that 20th century Western civilization can't survive without continued dependence on a war economy is a subject too vast to contest in these spaces. Nevertheless, the authors then move us on to their list of chilling consequences of this forthcoming collapse: "crumbling centralized power ... threat terrorism ... increasing violence from the underclass." And look out! There is another bogy man loose in the '90s: "Islam is uniquely suited to the world of the 1990s."
Included in the book are "hundreds of investment tips ... to not only survive ... but actually thrive" during the apocalypse.
Let me see if I've got this straight: Catastrophic world conditions are on their way but you can be one of the chosen few to profit from the coming years of pain and suffering simply by shelling out $22 for this book. Sound like the Reagan years? Is it possible that this kind of economic Darwinism is what got us to this crisis in the first place? And if so, are not the authors part of the problem? At $22 a crack, they have assured themselves a place among the select few to be positioned above the fray. Apocalypse books rank third in sales after books about sex or violence ' and are about as enlightening.
Kenneth A. Willaman
I am writing in regard to Ron Smith's review of "The Great Reckoning: How the World Will Change in the Depression of the 1990s."
If Mr. Smith's review accurately reflects the content of this book, then I heartily disagree with the authors' viewpoint. Our nation can turn the innovative brain power, manufacturing capacity and funds expended on military hardware and personnel to creation of new and improved manufacturing and services. Money made available from reduced military outlays can fund renewal of our bridges, water and sewer systems, and expand our roads and highways.
For an example as to how a nation freed from burdensome military outlays can prosper, one nee only look at Japan. Development of the potential productive resources of countries such as Russia and China can only be a positive factor in the world's economy. Finally, the underdeveloped nations of the world will benefit from all this industrial activity and become consumers of other nations' products and services. I believe that the above scenario is as likely to occur as the gloomy predictions of Davidson and Rees-Moog.
Having read the column of Juan Sabalones (Other Voices, Feb. 5), I wonder what makes him think that his comments were really responsive to Dan Rodricks' Dec. 27 column or to the many letters from citizens who do not appreciate how obtuse and stubborn the operators of the National Aquarium are.
It matters not whether the aquarium makes money. It is probably true that it provides a small contribution to public education about the environment, that the staff makes relatively modest salaries and that individual staff members are very fond of the aquarium's creatures and feel pain when they die.
The real issue is how many more whales, dolphins, seals, etc. must die prematurely before aquarium officials face the fact that these large, sensitive creatures are meant to live in the wild, that they cannot thrive in captivity and that it is not necessary to keep them in captivity in order for humans to study and learn from them.
rwin H. Desser
Your insert on black history, "Focus on Education" (Feb. 4), indicates a seriously flawed approach to education. The material described concerning black history and social sensitivity is important, but the fundamental subjects are not mentioned any place in the insert.
Further, on the following day, the front page featured an article indicating that U.S. students are among the worst in the civilized world in at least two of these fundamentals.
Is this not an indication that these subjects are being neglected? The subjects which are so important are communication
(reading, writing, and speech), mathematics and science. These are the tools that students must have to continue learning, coping with conflicting information and making appropriate judgments for the remainder of their lives. Methods for teaching them were well known many years ago. They do not require expensive programs to teach well, and they should be emphasized in education programs.
I called WBAL to discuss the crime issue and the banning of firearms with Governor Schaefer on his weekly call-in program. I was shocked by his statements about the gun bills now pending in Annapolis.
Governor Schaefer claims that his assault weapon ban will ban "Uzis," but when one reads the actual bill, one finds something entirely different. Several semiautomatic handguns are on the list of banned weapons, and the Handgun Roster Board will have authority to add any guns to the banned list that it feels are similar.
Governor Schaefer also claimed that criminals use these firearms. But FBI crime statistics show that criminals prefer small, concealable handguns. The governor's own spokesman said, "There is not a problem with these guns in this state yet, but . . . we didn't want to wait until here was one."
Maybe the governor should compare notes with his spokesperson more often. He is either lying or is totally ignorant of his own legislation.
Eye for an eye
In recent weeks crimes committed by teen-agers seem to have been on the increase. I don't understand how the judicial system just slaps these teen-agers on the hand and puts them back on the street.
To say that some of these teens were deprived or abused as children does not justify breaking the law. Plus, the law has been abolished with the use of plea bargaining.
Under God's perfect law of "an eye for an eye," age or mental state are not considered in carrying out the punishment.
People talk about Judeo-Christian values. Why not look into God's law on punishment for the crime committed?
Teacher pay cuts threaten reforms
Teachers in Baltimore County and across the state will be furloughed this year. In Baltimore County, this will amount to five days pay, or some 2.5 percent of our income.
For the average teacher, this will amount to about $1000. This is money that families count on to make ends met and because it was promised in our contract for the 1991-1992 school year.
Yet, I heard on news report that $6 million would be maintained for the Maryland Senatorial Scholarship Fund.
This is money that allows senators to give scholarships in order to win political good will.
Why was this money maintained while money to education was cut?
These cuts are being made at at time of education reform Maryland's Schools for Success Program is an important aspect of the reform movement.
Is this the time to cut money to education and specifically to cut teacher's salaries?
Do we went our reform package to be administered by demoralized teachers?
Is this a wise investment in our state's progress and our student's future?
Teachers understand that these are hard times. We quietly accepted no pay raise for the current school year. We have been told there will be no pay raise for the coming school year. A loss of 2.5 percent of our income means that we are losing ground and losing buyer power.
Furloughing teachers means, in essence, that educators in Baltimore County are subsidizing education by paying an education tax of about $1000.
Teachers are being penalized by paying more tax than any other taxpayer in the county just because we chose education as a profession.
How much will we lose next year?
How long do people expect teachers to work under these tenuous conditions?