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Self HelpI read a book about eight...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Self Help

I read a book about eight years ago on how to become a millionaire by buying real estate, with no money down, of course.

The thrust being that the interest on each mortgage payment was deductible. So if you had enough property, you conceivably would pay no income tax at all.

I loved the idea and pursued it vigorously. Only trouble was, after I had acquired numerous houses and buildings, lo and behold, along came the 1986 Kemp-Roth tax law eliminating deductions on all rental properties -- at least in my income bracket. It's been very difficult to sell anything recently and I am left with a lot of mortgaged properties. Everything is rented, but it is still a losing proposition.

I find that the so-called self-help books that really work are the ones founded in spirituality. From Norman Vincent Peale forward, many of these books are dynamite if we can discipline ourselves to practice their principles. Based on the Old and New Testament metaphysics that right thinking, success attitudes and unbridled faith can accomplish anything, they lead us (often by powerful examples) step by step to health, wealth and happiness.

Two of my favorites are "The Sermon on the Mount" by Emmet Fox, circa 1934, which is really a succinct explanation of the Jesus Christ message, and "The Prosperity, Secret of the Ages" by Catherine Ponder, circa 1964. Having recently emerged from a deep depression, these two books have changed my life.

And they show you how to make lots of money.

G. Denmead LeViness

Baltimore

Some Questions

After watching the news and reading the newspaper accounts of the events that took place in Los Angeles, I am left with a few questions.

Why was the trial referred to as the Rodney King Trial when Rodney King was not on trial but four white police officers were?

Why were the passengers in the car with Rodney King handcuffed? This was a traffic violation. It may have been aggravated by Mr. King's speeding, but were the passengers guilty of being black?

As I watched the news, I saw as many Hispanic as black looters. I saw Asian and white looters but I only heard about the blacks rioting and looting. Why?

And finally, I saw what were described as Korean merchants, supposedly guarding their shops, indiscriminatingly shooting into the crowds. What will happen to them?

After all, they too were seen on national television.

Walter T. Jones

Baltimore

Gender Bias

I wish to call attention to evidence of subtle yet insidious

gender bias in The Sun's coverage of Lynn Yeakel's Pennsylvania Senate campaign. In particular, there are striking differences in the "spin" on separate articles filed by Jack Germond on April 28 and Karen Hosler on April 29.

Mr. Germond's piece -- filed before Ms. Yeakel won the Democratic nomination -- distinctly conveys the impression that Ms. Yeakel is a know-nothing spoiler who would rob the deserving male lieutenant governor, Mark Singel, of a rightful nomination.

Mr. Germond chooses words with negative connotations to characterize Ms. Yeakel's political status. He brands her a political "amateur" who is "inexperienced in politics." (Ross Perot frequently escapes such near-epithets.)

Further, Mr. Germond sets Ms. Yeakel up at the outset of his article as ignorant (because she doesn't have a position on adult education?); as lacking in meaningful skills (a social activist whose "only" public role was as director of Women's Way); and in general as a wealthy matron who chose to run "against the white male establishment" as though that were a galling presumption.

Mr. Germond treats Lt. Gov. Singel, on the other hand, as a good guy who got a bad break. Ms. Yeakel's "amateur standing drives Mr. Singel up the wall." Aw, gee, too bad. "I could be good at it if I get that chance," says Mr. Singel of his quest for a Senate seat. Mr. Germond's heart seems to bleed for him -- he lets Mr. Singel have the last word.

What a difference a day makes. Karen Hosler's article profiling Ms. Yeakel's primary win uses action-oriented, gender-neutral language to describe the campaign's outcome. In her article, Ms. Yeakel isn't an amateur, but a "political newcomer" who engineered a "smashing defeat."

Ms. Hosler also puts the campaign in a broader political context. Where Mr. Germond's piece implies that Ms. Yeakel's personal wealth was behind her freakish surge, Ms. Hosler quotes at least two female political activists who note that Ms. Yeakel's candidacy is the fruit of "two decades of women who plowed the ground before [her]."

I'd like to suggest that, for the duration of this campaign year (if not beyond), The Sun assign someone as editorial police officer in charge of rooting out gender bias in political reporting.

Amy L. Berstein

Baltimore

Points Will Missed on Public TV

When columnist George F. Will poo-poos public television as being an "upper middle-class entitlement," he completely misses the point.

Public broadcasting is not just an amusement for rich senators' children, as Mr. Will seems to believe. Many of the people I grew up with are and have been avid viewers of public broadcasting. One or two of them can afford to support it financially.

The fact is that public broadcasting can offer the one thing commercial channels can't -- true diversity, without blatantly pandering to corporate interests or sales-driven network censors. Public television and radio provide in news and commentary what the press is supposed to provide -- an alternative to and criticism of the status quo. Public broadcasting is what teaches us, far better than soap operas and sitcoms, how to think independently.

It accomplishes that remarkable feat by being the "culture" of television (though it must share that title with the Arts & Entertainment Network). Public broadcasting can and will show "Henry V" without slashing it to death, as would the networks; it can and will run documentaries about everything from ancient Troy to Reaganomics; it can and will broadcast truly informative programs that are more than headlines and surface-scratchings.

Public broadcasting is also home to a number of programs that have not, despite their proven appeal, managed to convince TV executives of their mass-market worth -- familiar PBS standbys like "Doctor Who" and "Eastenders," and such American offerings as "The Frugal Gourmet" and the endless barrage of how-to shows like "This Old House."

Most of these shows cater to such bizarre special-interest groups as science-fiction fans, one of the most powerful economic forces in this country -- check the receipts on "Star Trek" -- and people who cook from scratch, as opposed to warming ready-made meals or eating out. Granted, the number of do-it-yourselfers may be smaller than the number of people who like to watch sex and violence, but that doesn't mean we don't exist.

As for public broadcasting being targeted at intellectuals -- well, why not? There's certainly not much else available for their consumption. Besides, targeting an audience of intellectuals with real information rather than fluff is the only way that the country's ever going to get back on its feet again.

I've seen endless surveys proving that kids raised on "Sesame Street" do better in school and in life than kids who didn't watch it; those who learned young how to read and write and get along become the movers and shakers of the world. Isn't that something we want to preserve?

Or are we content to passively sit and watch whatever show best provides a vehicle for selling the latest car or breakfast cereal?

Jim Vowles Jr.

Baltimore

No Choice

In her letter of March 24, Bonnie Rachel Hurwitz describes the use of the term "pro-abortion" instead of "pro-choice" as a "dangerous and misleading misuse of language."

This is a curious assertion, since I consider the same description to be valid for the use of the term "pro-choice," as used in connection with the abortion issue. "Pro-choice" is an ingenious term, for it draws attention away from the most compelling issue -- that of life or death of a developing human being -- and places it instead on the issue of women's rights, for which there is a large and enthusiastic following.

Yet, "pro-abortion" seems completely appropriate in the sense of pro-"abortion-as-an-option." Otherwise, we would have to say that there was no choice.

Richard A. Coleman Sr.

Randallstown

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