Meager job gains don't offset losses
Any drop in the unemployment rate is good news because jobs are the economic figure that matters most.
But July's tiny improvement leaves the nation in the worst shape in 91 months instead of the worst in 92 months. And the administration is wrong to trumpet 200,000 new jobs last month because 90,000 of them were summer jobs for teen-agers.
The number of persons working part-time but wanting full-time work increased by 284,000 in July. Adding discouraged workers and those involuntarily working part-time to the "official" unemployment rate indicates that 17.2 million Americans were affected by joblessness last month, an increase from 17.1 million in June.
Last month's meager job gains came in the low-wage service sector, as the nation continues to lose manufacturing jobs -- 200,000 over the past 12 months and a whopping 1.3 million since January 1989.
The nation needs a major change in direction toward direct job creation, revitalizing our national infrastructure, upgrading housing and education programs and relief for hard-pressed state and local governments.
That new national direction -- combined with fairer taxes, national health care and trade and investment policies to keep and create jobs at home -- is the only way out of this agonizing recession.
Ernest R. Grecco
The writer is president of the Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO Unions.
My wife and I are frequent visitors to Harborplace. The recent assault in the Light Street Pavilion is proof that no one is safe anywhere in Baltimore City. We watch the news on TV every night as it shows the fear and suffering of the innocent families.
The spectacle of Mayor Kurt Schmoke and his police commissioner, Edward Woods, constantly making excuses for their failure to stop the daily killings and drug abuse is frightening.
If they can't perform their jobs, they should have the courage to resign so that more competent leaders can take over.
Many actions can be taken to attack these problems. Wringing their hands in public and decrying their inability to do their jobs is a deplorable way to treat a public that is pleading with them for leadership.
Summer is coming to a close and a new school year is about to begin. All summer we heard about a private Minnesota firm being hired to run nine city schools under a five-year contract estimated to cost the city $26.7 million next year.
As a teacher, I would like to know why is there money for Tesseract but not for teachers' pay raises?
Why will Tesseract classrooms have a teacher and a student teacher -- but not my class?
Why will there be high-tech equipment in each Tesseract classroom but not in mine?"
When a Tesseract classroom needs a substitute teacher, will they have one? Not all schools can get a substitute when they are needed. How will children with behavioral problems be dealt with? Will they be sent to feeder schools?
To quote City Council President Mary Pat Clarke, "If we're going to create some kind of model, let's do it right." Only if I or any other teacher in Baltimore City were given the same things Tesseract schools will have would it be a fair comparison.
Give all teachers the proper class size, a student-teacher in every class and high-tech equipment -- including books -- for all students to use, not just for testing purposes.
Then help us with behavioral problems and we will show you a city that reads, writes, solves math problems and can stand up to any Tesseract school.
Ellen M. Soltz
The writer is a teacher in the Baltimore City public schools.
S.B. 162, the abortion bill on the state's November ballot, repeals a crucial aspect of a woman's right to make an informed choice regarding her pregnancy.
The law repeals a provision in the 1979 abortion law which stated that every woman be informed of her options before making an abortion decision. To do so, women would be given a pamphlet containing information about alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, and listings of various agencies and support systems that exist.
Why is this provision so critical? Because women need to know that abortion is not their only choice. They have a right to know that agencies, both public and private, have available resources and support to help any and every woman in a crisis pregnancy.
Surprisingly, it is those who call themselves "pro-choice" who are opposed to this provision. The definition of "choose," as given by Webster, is "to select freely and after consideration."
Women must be presented with options in order to make a choice at all. A decision made, because of lack of other options, is clearly not a freely selected choice.
What is the rationale for opposition to this provision? Perhaps the abortion industry is afraid that, given information about support and alternatives, women will choose life for their babies, thus reducing their profit considerably.
Or perhaps they must prefer to keep women in the dark, enslaved to the only choice that keeps them coming back.
I strongly support this provision because I believe in a woman's right to know and equally consider all of her alternatives. I have seen the look of sadness and desperation too many times. I have heard too many voices say, "If only there had been another way."
S.B. 162 takes away a woman's right to know her options and to make well-informed choices. It is further protection for the abortion industry, and a step backward for the women of Maryland.
The 'veteran QB' in foreign affairs has fumbled often
Since George Bush is having a difficult time making a case for his re-election based on his handling of the U.S. economy, he has been emphasizing his expertise and experience in foreign affairs.
He calls Bill Clinton a "rookie quarterback" when it comes to foreign affairs. Well, if Bill Clinton is a rookie quarterback, at least he can be considered a Heisman Trophy winner.
After receiving his B.A. in international relations from Georgetown University, he worked two years for the Foreign Relations Committee of the U.S. Senate. Bill Clinton knows that foreign and domestic policy are inseparable in today's world.
But what about the Bush foreign policy record?
Vice President Bush, head of the Counterterrorism Task Force, chairman of the Crisis Pre-planning Group and the Special Situation Group (with oversight authority for public and covert actions related to terrorism policy) and former CIA director (1976-77), claimed that on foreign policy decisions under President Reagan he was left out of the loop.
According to the Iran-contra committee's report, "The vice president attended several meetings on the Iran initiative, but none of the participants could recall his views."
However, John Poindexter, then President Reagan's national security adviser (and Oliver North's boss), had written a memo on Feb. 1, 1986, which stated in reference to the Iran initiative, "The president and vice president are solid in taking the position that we have to try." Are we really to believe that George Bush had nothing to do with the Iran-contra scandal?
And if Mr. Bush is so competent in foreign affairs, why did he sign National Security Directive 26 on Oct. 2, 1989?
The CIA has acknowledged that it knew about Iraq's world-wide effort to buy nuclear weapon technology a month before Mr. Bush signed the order (NSD 26) mandating closer economic and political ties to Saddam Hussein's criminal regime.
Why did Mr. Bush ignore the warnings regarding Iraq's atomic bomb program from mid-1989 until just before Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990?
After the massacre in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 3-4, 1989, Mr. Bush, the former U.S. ambassador to the People's Republic of China, perched uncomfortably on a political fence by suspending $500 million in military contracts, but also sending the message to his old friend Deng Xiaoping that the U.S. wanted to maintain Red China's most-favored-trade status.
And are we to forget about Mr. Bush's less-than-successful trip to Japan, his half-hearted efforts at the world environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, his tear-gassing in Panama City or his mishandling of the Haitian refugee crisis?
It is true that President Bush deserves credit for helping to reduce the insane threat of nuclear war with the former Soviet Union, but George Bush, the old veteran foreign policy quarterback, has fumbled the ball in some critical games.