CoercionIn his April 5 commentary "The Cost...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Coercion

In his April 5 commentary "The Cost of Banning Abortion Funding," Carl T. Rowan describes the American public's role in abortion funding in words we should closely examine.

Mr. Rowan asks what it cost the nation "to coerce" poor women to carry pregnancies to term. The "coercion" in pregnancy takes place between the sexual partners, not between me, as a taxpayer, and the women.

John J. Tamer

Timonium

Aid to Schools

If one believes Nicholas Varga (letter, April 16), private colleges and universities in Maryland will be forced to close without continued state taxpayer subsidies.

Unfortunately, because there is no sign that such subsidies will be discontinued or even substantially reduced, we won't soon see whether he is right. But I don't believe it for a minute.

I was one of the plaintiffs in the Roemer case cited by Mr. Varga (who is described as a professor emeritus of history at Loyola College). Challenging state aid to religious colleges in Maryland, we lost one of those 5-4 Supreme Court decisions that points up how important is who sits on our court of last resort.

Although the extent of religious influence or indoctrination is not as pervasive in religiously-associated colleges as it is at pre-college levels, it has always been my assumption that the First Amendment was supposed to protect us taxpayers from being forced to pay for any of it.

Although religious institutions and private persons have a right to create and operate their own educational-indoctrinational establishments for their own reasons, they do not have a right to make us pay for it. Yet, here we are, 16 years after the Roemer decision, still paying.

I continue to maintain that the educational responsibilities of taxpayers should stop at the schools that are controlled by us or those which represent us.

No matter what the fate of other schools, I will happily pay my share of whatever it takes to provide an excellent education for all potential students at whatever level in our public schools and universities.

Kenneth A. Stevens

Savage

Out of Touch

Your April 14 lead story, "Clinton's popularity dips," reveals both voter dissatisfaction with President Clinton's political agenda and the media's blindness to the real source of this dissatisfaction.

Mr. Clinton's failure to propose any significant reduction in government outlays or the deficit, his $16 billion pork barrel "jobs" bill, his waffling on Bosnia, Haiti, gays in the military, welfare reform, the middle-class tax cut, the North American Free Trade Agreement, campaign and congressional reform, and budget-busting health care package looming over the horizon are all directly responsible for his low standing in the polls.

It is noteworthy that he has vacillated or changed his position on all of these issues since the campaign.

Your attempts to soft-pedal reasons for voter distrust by euphemistically alluding to his "political activism" and pointing to his "high negatives" at the conclusion of the November campaign are what we, in reader parlance, call media bias.

Moreover, your assertion that Mr. Clinton's unpopularity has "nothing really to do with Mr. Clinton's performance, and everything to do with Americans' attitudes toward their leaders . . ." resonates with a decidedly "kill the messenger" theme.

Ascribing Mr. Clinton's problems to a "polarized electorate," a "fickle" public, "poor sportsmanship," or, "pop cynicism" (how novel!) are all ways of placing the blame for Mr. Clinton's unpopularity on your readers.

A suffocatingly tight circle of journalists, lawyer-elites, academicians, bureaucrats and self-styled "progressive" activists are running this administration.

Their mutually reinforcing views are dangerously out of touch with what most American voters expect of this president.

Continue to deceive yourselves and this administration, continue cheerlead Mr. Clinton along his current course, and you will all have to go back to your real job of "reporting" the news in 3 1/2 years.

oward S. Klein

Bel Air

Costly Pen

Perhaps there's still some caring Baltimorean who is not aware of the fact that the South Wing of the Maryland Penitentiary is being razed and will be rebuilt -- at a projected cost of $16 million -- only because our governor and public safety chief Bishop Robinson wanted it that way.

The emphasis is one the word "only" since everyone else involved with this project over the past five years wanted the South Wing renovated at a savings of $6 million.

Messrs. Schaefer and Robinson insisted that the wing be demolished as far back as 1989. However, the Maryland Historical Society felt that it should be preserved because of its historical significance as well as the fact that $6 million of taxpayer money could be saved by renovating it.

Under an agreement made back then, several experts were called in to view the edifice and to make recommendations as to what should be done with the wing.

Every expert's report said the same thing: retain and renovate the South Wing. The governor ignored these reports and got the legislature's approval to demolish the historic South Wing.

Personally I feel that the governor owes all of us an explanation as to why he and his appointee, Bishop Robinson, were so adamant about tearing down the South Wing and rebuilding it at a cost much higher than the alternate proposal.

Louis P. Boeri

Baltimore

Traffic Control

Upon driving back to Maryland recently from an out-of-state visit, I was reminded of a Sun article. The article discussed the state's decision to install electronic traffic monitoring devices as a more cost-effective method of traffic management than the construction of newer, bigger highways.

I'm wondering if a possibly simpler, cheaper solution has been overlooked by the state.

Driver education, coupled with traffic law enforcement, are other ways to combat the state's growing traffic problem. In the many states I have traveled through and lived, I have never seen as little driver courtesy as in Maryland.

For example, many of Maryland's motorists seem to have a fixation with leisurely left-lane cruising when they are not passing others.

Not only won't these drivers move to the right to let others pass, they often make would-be-passers pass on the right. I have even seen instances when a police car had to flash its bright lights on a left-lane lounger in order to pass.

Do Maryland drivers know the true purpose of the left lane on our highways? Perhaps education and enforcement are other ways to ease increasing traffic flow on highways while saving Marylanders a few dollars.

Todd W. Lafayette

Baltimore

Modern Holocaust

A modern Holocaust is being enacted in the former Yugoslavian republics.

What is the difference between the Nazi Holocaust and the current mass torture, rapes and slaughter of thousands of civilians by the Serbs?

Once again, nations are standing by, clicking their tongues and shaking their heads. Maybe in 50 years' time our children will have another name-reading and candle-lighting ceremony to attend.

Carole L. Marcus

Baltimore

____________

As a World War II veteran I am going to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum with severely mixed emotions.

There is no doubt that this memorial is long overdue. I thought when I returned from the war that this gargantuan atrocity of attempting to annihilate an entire race of people could never happen again.

The irony of our situation is that while President Clinton was dedicating this memorial the same atrocities are being committed by the Serbs in Yugoslavia under a new name, "ethnic cleansing."

By what manner of justification can President Clinton attend this memorial dedication having turned his back on the Bosnian people?

It is the Holocaust reborn as we see the killing and maiming of men, women, children and old people, suffering, bleeding and dying without any genuine help from the United States to stop this bloodshed.

The Serbs are just as ruthless as Hitler, and yet we are standing by as witnesses to this "ethnic cleansing," seeing it more vividly and alarmingly due to television bringing atrocities into our living rooms.

If we can help the starving people of Somalia and free the people of Kuwait, we can certainly put an end to the pain, suffering and bleeding of the Bosnian people.

The Serbian leaders should suffer no less a fate than Hitler did for his cruelty and inhuman acts.

Walter Boyd

Lutherville

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