Insult to shore workersSen. Phil Gramm should...


Insult to shore workers

Sen. Phil Gramm should be confronted by Maryland's members of Congress over his accusation that "Eastern Shore contractors and laborers had a reputation for being unreliable."

The Senate Ethics Committee may go along with covering up his dubious activities, but our representatives should not accept his ludicrous explanation for hiring a Texas developer to do work in Maryland.

I suggest that Senator Gramm arrange for some of his special-interest friends to move his vacation home to Texas.

I am sure some reliable Eastern Shore contractor would be glad to help.

Timothy Smith

Bel Air Sharon Lin writes that she is worried Baltimore County teachers "are no longer to be concerned with teaching a set curriculum" and that specific skills will not be taught, thus endangering college-bound students ("Dr. Berger's ill wind of change," Nov. 6).

As a sometime critic of past administrations and a current Dr. Berger watcher, I feel that there needs to be some clarification of this perception.

What Dr. Berger has said in the two teachers meetings I've attended was that "curriculum guides are just guides." Children come into the school system at different levels of readiness with skills that we have had no control over. Therefore, we try to take our students from where they are to as far as we can go while we have them.

Guides that are written so that material is presented within a given length of time and then we are to move on, even though students haven't mastered the skills and concepts, are no longer sacred cows.

Children grow, develop and learn at different rates. Outside influences affect their learning. Teachers can now teach to these differences; classes can be accelerated or slowed down depending on needs.

Parents have the right to know about the material that is being taught. They have the right to question why some materials are emphasized and others aren't.

But with rights come responsibilities. It is the parents' responsibility to see that home work assignments are done and handed in on time. It is the parents' responsibility to see that their children come to school ready to learn.

Parents should talk to their children about what is happening at school on a regular basis and encourage them to do their best at all times. They should visit schools and talk to the teachers at other times besides American Education Week.

All this takes time -- but it is time well spent. As Dr. Berger has said, "Parents should have tremendous say about what happens to their child and very little about what happens to other children."

Beverly H. Lapinski


Children's House

Throughout the past 20 months of its construction, the Children's House at Johns Hopkins became a national symbol of the spirit of volunteerism which exists within the Baltimore-Washington community.

It stands completed today as a symbol of the hope, optimism and kindness that is alive within the hearts of every volunteer who worked on the Children's House project.

Throughout the course of construction, over 3,000 volunteers and 320 companies participated in the building process, which came to resemble that of an old-fashioned American barn raising. President Bush and former President Carter were among those who recognized the Children's House as one of the most outstanding volunteer projects in the United States.

It is a tribute to the Children's House and each volunteer who struggled to build it that it was completed in the midst of the holiday season. It is a time for us to give thanks to everyone who participated in the project and a time for us to look toward the promise of the future.

Within several days, children, families and hospital support groups will move into the Children's House. I am confident that the spirit of hope and optimism that created the Children's House will continue to live within it and that it will inspire the families who reside there with warmth and courage.

I am also confident that the efforts of each volunteer will always be remembered within the hearts and the prayers and the occasional smiles of joy and triumph of the families who will stay there.

On behalf of every family who will ever stay within the Children's House, I would like to say "thank you" to each of the volunteers who built it.

Brian Morrison


The writer is executive director of the Grant-A-Wish Foundation and the Children's House at Johns Hopkins.

Women priests

I believe that women are equal to men in the eyes of God. But being equal does not mean that they are the same. God created male and female. A male cannot become pregnant and have a baby and conversely a female cannot impregnate a male. They are equal but they have entirely different functions.

Likewise in the spiritual realm, we read writer after writer condemning the Vatican for refusing to permit women to become priests. I am not a Catholic, but I know Catholicism is a Christian denomination. As such, the Bible is the authority for setting forth the qualifications of all church leaders. The Bible is God's word, and even if it sounds trite, God is a majority. Even if 99 percent of Catholics in the U.S. think women should be priests and it is contrary to God's word, His word stands.

To attempt to have a church that is a product of man's reasoning is sheer folly. . . We humans should read God's word and conform our thoughts to what it says and stop trying to apply carnal minds to solve spiritual problems. If this rule was applied there would be no controversy. Men and women should respect their own uniqueness and quit trying to usurp the role of the other.

. . . When we really want to know what is best for our automobile, we rely on the manufacturer's handbook rather than a jack-leg mechanic. Also, if we really want to know what is best for us, we should rely on our manufacturer's handbook, the Bible, rather than the reasoning of men.

James R. Cook


Interminable 'X'

At some point I always fall asleep during a Spike Lee production, and watching "Malcolm X" was no exception.

His "middles" manage to keep my attention but I have problems with his beginnings and endings.

The beginning was a pseudo-Disney affair that managed to be both colorful and colorless. Who, really, needed the character of "Shorty" -- except Spike Lee, who played the role?

Mr. Lee's endings remind me of the Eveready Energizers: they keep going and going . . .

I realize that opinions are like rear ends -- everybody has one -- and who am I to argue with success and the praise of critics and moviegoers?

I offer these opinions: I found more story-telling values in "Boyz 'N The Hood" and "New Jack City," with all its violence.

Spike, you made the flick too long.

McNair Taylor


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