After watching my fellow Baltimoreans prepare for the recent snow storm, I don't know whether to laugh or feel embarrassed about the way everyone reacted.
I visited three major food stores to buy my weekly loaf of bread and one gallon of milk only to find long lines, short tempers and empty shelves.
I even had ringside seats at one supermarket where the main event was two grown women fighting over the last available pack of Esskay Oriole Franks.
Now I know what it must be like to grocery shop in Russia. Chill out, Baltimore. It was a snowstorm, not Armageddon.
In the March 14 column by Barry Rascovar, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller implies that the passage of the scholarship bill "will eliminate a major source of financial aid."
Is Senator Miller talking about the bill that was passed by the House of Delegates?
Surely the senator knew that this bill did not eliminate aid but transfered the responsibility for administration to the non-partisan State Scholarship Administration.
Why did he claim otherwise? In the article by Marina Sarris and Thomas Waldron on March 17 on the scholarship issue, several senators suggested potential reasons for not supporting this bill.
Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell, D-Baltimore County, believed that if the bill passeds there would be needy kids who fall through the cracks. If this is true, he should suggest changes in the way the non-partisan body now administers the money.
Sen. Clarence W. Blount D-Baltimore felt that black students would suffer if the bill passes.
The news article quoted recent statistics that indicate otherwise. Senator Blount should back up his claim with germane statistics.
All of the senators on the Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee should explain their positions in detail.
They should explain to us why it is or is not desirable to have the money handed out by the Senate, whose members as a group have a history of abusing this privilege.
Obscuring the issues, intentionally or otherwise, only serves to the enrage the citizenry.
Charles P. Bragdon
During the recent "no-name" blizzard, the call for all 4-wheel-drive vehicle owners to take health care workers from their homes to their hospitals came over the airwaves.
I commend these people and praise them for their kind unselfishness.
But wouldn't it make more sense if some of the doctors trade in their Mercedes, Jaguars, BMWs and Bentleys and buy American-made Broncos and Blazers?
The Brady bill is a lie some are trying to make into a law.
This bill if passed into law would establish a seven-day waiting period before you would be allowed to purchase a handgun.
That may not sound too bad, until you stop and think. When governmental assets break down (as did police during the Los Angeles riots or after Hurricane Andrew), then you are on your own.
And the right of self-defense is an inherent right of all men, even older than states or constitutions.
In the Rodney King verdict aftermath, no one could tally the number of calls made to police by citizens seeking protection.
But the only response given by officials was: "Defend yourself! We can't be there! You're on your own!"
Yet when law-abiding citizens raced to purchase a gun for
protection, they found their rights locked up behind a type of Brady bill waiting period.
Guess what? The looters and robbers were not denied. The criminals did not fill out forms and wait days.
They stole what they wanted, vandalized what they wanted, and burned to the ground what was left.
Brady bill or not, criminals do not obey laws. In that moment, Brady bill supporters became Second Amendment converts who joined the American majority that believes law-abiding citizens should not be denied the right to buy a gun.
Unfortunately, some misguided politicians (Senators Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski, both D-Md.) believe only the police should have guns, or that you should be required to wait days before purchasing a gun. But during the L.A. riots, where were the police?
When all hell breaks loose, do you really want to rely on the police for your protection? Or can you afford to wait days to purchase a gun? I guarantee the criminals won't wait.
Don't let a lie become law. If you value your Second Amendment right to own a weapon for self-protection, I urge you to request your senators and representatives to vote against the Brady bill.
Robert L. Totten
Westinghouse Electric Corp. has terminated over 4,000 employees over the past months. A large number are not able to meet such expenses as house, car and health care payments. They receive little or no pension.
In spite of the above hardship, Westinghouse has seen fit to give Paul Lego, retired chairman, who is 62 years old, a very lucrative retirement package of $910,000 pension per year, plus a possible $1.1 million bonus, plus stock options which would net him a sizable profit.
Mr. Lego's retirement could amount to over $18 million if he lives to be 82, which is very possible.
I, for one, feel that Mr. Lego's pension is very excessive and unfair to all the employees of Westinghouse who have been terminated with little or no pension.
It should be held up until a study can determine a reduced and more economical pension for him.
I= Note: I am not an employee of Westinghouse Electric Corp.
Frank J. Weber
There is a continuing and growing disregard for the use of appropriate descriptive language in both print and visual media.
It appears that when persons, lay and professional, are speaking for public broadcast, they feel obliged to use vocabulary of the extreme.
A Columbia resident, interviewed on television, described the recent earthquake there as "terrifying." I do not intend to diminish the significance of the occurrence of an earthquake, but what is left to describe the impact of a truly destructive one if the tremor at Columbia is terrifying?
One of the local television news personalities made the statement, while commenting on the snow storm, that "everyone hates shoveling it." Certainly not "everyone" even dislikes shoveling snow although, unquestionably, some find it very uncomfortable and disagreeable. But "hate" it?
There are actually those who find it to be fun on occasion. The TV broadcaster's editorializing was misleading and inaccurate. I accept that it was not his intention, but it was his result.
The continuous use of words that impart extraordinary implication to the ordinary and imply exaggerated emotional response to the simple and natural has the effect of creating false understandings of reality and prompting inappropriate responses.
I would wish that this practice cease and that the language be used more accurately, especially by those who use it as a professional tool.
Skill Building and Thinking in High School
As a present industrial arts/technology education teacher, I was intrigued by a column by Neal R. Peirce, "States Learn the Value of Apprenticeship Training Program" (March 16). This appears to emphasize skill-building activities in high schools so that "school-to-work" transition can take place.
It is apparent why our high school students are not receiving these skills.
* All federal money earmarked for this type of activity goes to vocational technical schools. None goes to high schools where students may elect to take drafting, machine shop, electricity, electronics, carpentry and the graphic arts.
As a result of this lack of funds, leaders in industrial arts/technology education are de-emphasizing these courses and skills so more students will enroll in these technical schools.
High schools could do much of the same training if federal money were available to equip the high schools with computer-aided drafting equipment, computer-aided manufacturing machines and more advanced equipment for )R electronics. To receive these skills, students are bused to these tech centers, wasting an hour of travel time.
* Traditional skill-building courses are being replaced with "technology challenge" type activities, where students build Rube Goldberg-type devices, model cars from mousetraps, carbon dioxide cars, model rockets, etc.
These "leaders" are caught up in the "thinking, meta-cognition" theories and developing activities that deemphasize skills in favor of model building. Many of these activities are no more than science fair projects which cost little money and compel students, who desire skill- building, to enroll in vo-tech centers.
* These courses are mainly elective courses, but students cannot fit them into their schedules. More requirements are constantly being added, but the school day remains the same length.
Many students would like these courses, but are reluctant to travel one hour a day to the voc-ed centers. Even college-bound engineering types would benefit from these skill activities. Many engineers today have never drilled a hole in a piece of steel or experienced a drafting class.
I propose the following:
* Approve the $1-2 billion President Clinton proposed and earmark this money to high school tech-ed programs, not just voc-ed programs, to purchase certain electronics technology.
* Return high school technology education classes to the skill-building activity, where students can again achieve pride in workmanship, self-esteem and develop skills they can transfer to apprenticeship programs or whatever endeavors they choose.
* Lengthen the school day by adding a period or eliminate one or two requirements so students will have the opportunity to build these courses into their schedules.
To emphasize thinking is good, but apparently some experts don't think "thinking" is occurring when skill building is taking place.
Julius G. Angelucci