Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

The Next VeepNeither Susan Baer ("If the...


The Next Veep

Neither Susan Baer ("If the House Picks the President," May 23) nor Theo Lippman Jr. ("Scenario for Wakefulness," May 24) points out the ultimate absurdity in the procedure to be followed if no candidate for president has a majority in the Electoral College.

If Mr. Lippman's numbers are more or less accurate, Gov. Bill Clinton becomes president, as I hope he does, even though he has fewer Electoral College votes than either Mr. Perot or President Bush.

But who will become vice president? The Senate will have to choose between Mr. Perot's and President Bush's running mates. Governor Clinton's will not have received enough Electoral College votes to be considered.

Will President Clinton have Dan Quayle or, possibly, Jeane Kirkpatrick as his vice president? (How awkward it would be to exclude a vice president from Cabinet meetings and other policy discussions!)

Or, if the House deadlocks over the choice of a president, will Dan Quayle be elected vice president by the Senate and then become acting president? For how long? Long enough to do any of the dumb things that millions of Americans believe he would do if he succeeded President Bush by less bizarre means?

Thomas McElhiney


Worth the Gamble

It's interesting, Bill Buckley, William Safire, Malcolm Forbes Jr., many others, all claiming that Ross Perot's campaign will collapse by September, by October, by November.

Methinks this may be wishful thinking influenced by each other's opinions.

Several years ago, my daughter had an opportunity for a job in California and asked my advice. I told her if she took the job and didn't like it, she could always come home; but if she didn't take the job, she would always wonder what would have happened.

I talked with her by phone this past weekend and she told me that the only bumper stickers she sees in California are for Mr. Perot -- none for Mr. Bush or Mr. Clinton.

We know what we'll get with President Bush: more gridlock. We know what we'll get with Bill Clinton: a sharp turn to the left. But if we don't pick Ross Perot, we'll always wonder what would have happened.

I think it's worth the gamble. Maybe four years from now we'll have some reasonable choices to make.

James G. Watson


Shopping Carts

Ever since moving to the Baltimore area, I have been bothered by the barricades around the local grocery store entrances and exits that prevent shoppers from carting purchases to their cars.

I realize that people are very careless about the carts. Left in parking lots, carts might be stolen or cause a safety hazard. But surely one of the rights of patronage should be the uninhibited transfer of food to car.

One upscale chain has teens ready to help customers load at the curbside. The valets' shirts proclaim that the store "cares." But what do they care about?

Surely, not the environment and the fossil fuels burned while engines run at the loading dock. Surely, not the convenience of the patron assaulted by this extra task in the procurement of sustenance. Surely, not the environmentally conscious shopper who makes two or three encumbered trips from the incarcerated groceries to car, while the food awaiting transfer defrosts in the sun.

I recently visited my home state of Illinois and was pleased to see that the local grocery stores had not yet initiated this facetiously "caring" service that is careless of the environment. In the breadbasket of the nation, one can still emerge from a food store and proceed uninhibited into a smogless sunset.

Joan M. Crabb

Ellicott City

Bentley's Stand

A letter by John Nunn to The Sun (June 9) asks where Rep. Helen Delich Bentley stands on the mustard gas incineration at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Mrs. Bentley's position has been clear and consistent: She supports the safest method of disposal. She has followed closely the issue and has traveled to Utah, Arkansas and California to receive briefings.

Mrs. Bentley has also worked with constituents by arranging a fact-finding trip for concerned citizens to the Army's pilot plant in Utah. She has also been instrumental in keeping open lines of communication between the Army and state and local authorities.

As the member of her staff assigned to this issue, I have attended numerous briefings; I have spoken with many citizens, including Mr. Nunn (for more than half an hour), who agreed Mrs. Bentley was following a sensible, prudent course of action.

Nobody, including Mrs. Bentley or I, wants the mustard gas incinerated at Aberdeen Proving Ground. However, there is an international push to do away with chemical weapons -- an effort she supports. The only question is: What is the safest way?

As for Mr. Nunn's letter, it was referred to Rep. Wayne Gilchrest. Mr. Nunn lives in Mr. Gilchrest's district and congressional courtesy dictates that a letter be referred to the member who represents the constituent in question. This is standard procedure for House offices -- and there are many letters referred to us -- not only from out-of-state members, but also from those within the Maryland delegation.

Christopher Griffin



The writer is Representative Bentley's staff legislative director.

Bentley and Serbia

I am writing in response to the editorial, "Aiding Serbia," regarding Rep. Helen D. Bentley's activities in the Yugoslav crisis.

I am not Serbian nor have any other ethnic or political interest in this tragic matter. However, as a constituent of Mrs. Bentley, I am not "appalled," as your editorial writers would have me be, with her efforts to bring about a peace to this troubled region of Europe. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the victory of the West in the Cold War, it is this type of dangerous regional conflict that our country must be watchful of in this new era.

Mrs. Bentley -- who has never shrunk from controversy or doing the dirty work of our port and region -- has shown courage in trying to make reason prevail among the Serbian leadership.

She is to be congratulated and urged on in her efforts, rather than condemned by your editorial page, which seems intent on taking the party line of the State Department and administration.

If her fearless work can contribute to bringing about a peaceful resolution of this sad saga, my nephew and countless other young Americans will not have to become involved in war for our government or peacekeeping operations for the United Nations in that volatile venue.

Francis J. Levay


Talent Shows

The eloquent letter from a middle school teacher about mandating exposure to television advertising in Baltimore City classrooms reminds us not only of the real person-to-person needs of these children, but also of what a treasure we have in the talented teachers within the system.

Mary O. Styrt


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