With the campaign heating up early this year, I'm certain the increasingly desperate Republicans are soon going to loudly and sanctimoniously stake their claim to being the party that truly represents "family values."
Yet for all their impending bombastic rhetoric, have they actually ever defined what these values are to the average American voter?
As someone reared in a traditional ethnic family, I'd like to help them in this defining: A cornerstone of family values is a deep, abiding concern for one's family members, one's neighbors and the trials and tribulations of one's community.
I'd also like to remind them that the policies and philosophy of the past two Republican administrations stands completely antithetical to this.
The Reagan/Bush agenda has come to promote and glorify a philosophy of shameless greed, driven self-interest and a calloused, calculated indifference and disdain toward the less fortunate.
To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, family values is the last refuge to which a failed presidency clings.
Light rail horns disturbing neighbors
I'm writing as a very irate Baltimorian who hasn't slept in three months since the opening of the Central Light Rail Line.
Living along the Conrail corridor, my neighbors and I lived in harmony with our infrequent freight train. During two years of negotiations with the MTA we were assured our new street car line would benefit our people and our neighborhood and would be completely noiseless.
Well, we now feel betrayed, for our lives are now filled with a tractor-trailer-type horn blast every 6 1/2 minutes -- 140 times a day, 560 blasts a day, 4,000 blasts a week, sometimes more depending on how late (1 or 2 a.m.) the train continues to operate for Oriole games, moving county residents through our neighborhood to and from the new stadium.
We're told this is because of federal train regulations. Is this a train? We were led to believe this was an electric street car. Were we sold out?
Our elderly residents are crying, our children are traumatized and the rest of us are trying to function on cat naps. Maybe we should pass a new federal train regulation and make it mandatory for anyone working for light rail to have to live on the line.
If their drivers had to function on 6 1/2 -minute naps the traffic accidents would be endless. Wake up, Mass Transit Administration. We aren't sleeping. Think of the city residents for a change. Come up with a solution.
Tragic baboon liver transplant
As a nurse and a survivor of hepatitis B, I view the tragic transplantation of the liver of a baboon into a human not as a sign of hope as it was called in The Evening Sun's editorial "Brave new world of transplants" (July 31), but as a failure of the medical establishment.
The medical industry failed to protect the patient from hepatitis, a preventable disease. Then it forced him to make a gruesome decision.
Had he known that the risk of rejection from a baboon transplant is about 25 times greater than the risk from an unmatched human donor, perhaps he would have opted to wait for a human liver.
The patient may have been unaware that although it was widely reported that his disease would damage a new human liver, in 18 percent of a group of hepatitis B patients receiving transplants, the new liver did not pick up the virus.
Like transplants of other vital organs, liver transplants are extremely costly. The patient at the University of Pittsburgh had his expenses paid by the hospital, which is hoping to put itself on the map with this experiment.
Spent on a less dramatic form of medical intervention -- such as routine prenatal care -- the $275,000 or so that the hospital will spend would treat thousands of patients, each with a vastly greater chance of surviving and thriving than the liver transplant victim.
The baboon-to-human transplant claims many victims: those without health insurance who go without basic care, the patients whose liver disease (or heart disease) could have been prevented and whose lives were made longer but not better by destructive experimental surgeries and the thousands of animals whose lives have been taken for Frankenstein-like folly.
Susan K. Brebner
The writer is the education director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Is America ready for Hillary Clinton?
Jackie Kennedy was a beautiful, stylish doormat.
Barbara Bush is a beloved grandmother.
Hillary Clinton is simply herself -- an independent lawyer, mother and wife.
Like an increasing number of women today, Hillary Clinton does not fit into any female stereotype. I have nothing against Jackie Kennedy and Barbara Bush. However, it makes me very angry when a person as capable as Hillary Clinton gets bashed because she may not fulfill a narrow view of the First Lady's role.
Mrs. Clinton is smart and savvy. It is sad -- especially in this "year of the woman" -- that she feels she must water down her image so as not to offend Americans who are not ready for a self-sufficient presidential spouse.
Bill Clinton says we do not have a person to waste. I believe that and see Mrs. Clinton as someone whose bountiful abilities should not be wasted at the White House.
If Bill Clinton is elected president, Hillary Clinton surely will contribute her efforts to national endeavors.
Unfortunately, she will be under close scrutiny by the press and public. It will be difficult for her to pursue projects confidently while constantly wary of traditional stereotypes.
Some Americans worry about conflicts of interest Mrs. Clinton might encounter as a working First Lady. I am confident that someone voted one of the 100 most influential lawyers in the nation has the intelligence and common sense to know when to step aside from questionable positions.
It is frustrating that America's mind set is often slow to change. By being unable to accept Hillary Clinton for who she is, we may miss out on one of the most intelligent, innovative and creative minds our country has to offer.
ary C. Mahoney