Rude FansAs one of the thousands of...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Rude Fans

As one of the thousands of Americans living abroad, I always identify my nationality with a sense of pride, but the behavior of my countrymen in Baltimore at the All-Star Game made me embarrassed to call myself an American.

The booing of the Blue Jay players was simply rude and only served to reinforce the international stereotype of the boorish American.

If the people of Baltimore wanted to send a message to Cito Gaston about his choice of players, fine, but to continue to harass those in the starting lineup, who had been voted in by the fans, was unforgivable.

Baseball is "America's game" and thus sends a message about American sportsmanship to the international community.

Sadly, I must admit that the "American" love for the game is represented with more class and dignity in Toronto (where the fans even cheered the U.S. Marine Corps color guard after their World Series faux pas) than in Baltimore.

$ Shame on all of you.

Dale Bandy

Toronto

Berger on Track

Speaking from my experience, Stuart Berger stands tall as an educator driven by a mission to make possible the best education for all the children in the Baltimore County public school system.

Not only did he make himself available on any occasions to discuss innovative learning programs with myself and other teachers, he impressed me with his uncommon abilities as a good listener, a man of action and bold innovation.

Although maintaining the status quo may be more comfortable, Dr. Berger appears uniquely qualified to lead our school system into an era which maximizes each and every child's learning potential.

Taft Utermohle

Lutherville

Privatizing BWI

In his June 23 letter, Joe Edwards mustered a spirited, if unpersuasive, defense of public ownership of Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

For example, he lauds "a good return" for the state on the $170 million of tax money spent on BWI over the past 20 years. But he fails to mention that the airport has run a deficit, after covering capital and operating costs, each of those years.

Next, he objects to allowing the airport to charge market-based fees for airport landings. In the "real world" that he praises, that's what other businesses have to do.

Could a hotel in Ocean City survive in the "real world" with winter rates as high as summer rates? If such peak load pricing is fair to Metro subway riders, why is it unfair for certain airlines? Of course, beneficiaries of government tax subsidies will tenaciously protect them. That doesn't mean they make business or public policy sense.

Finally, he defends the government-funded study of BWI privatization that intentionally ignored the potential changes a private owner might make in BWI's capital program. In the "real world," private for-profit owners have a greater incentive to carefully scrutinize capital investments than public owners do. A fair, unbiased comparison of private vs. public ownership of BWI should not assume, as the Peat Marwick study did, that a private owner would continue every capital project on BWI's wish list.

Privatization of BWI may or may not be a good idea. But what separates BWI from the "real world" of market-driven management is its current public ownership structure, not the possibility of privatization.

Jim Rosapepe

College Park

The writer represents Prince George's County in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Inexplicabe

Two almost simultaneous decisions handed down by the Supreme Court on June 25 appear to justify the American public's distrust of our legal system -- particularly when it comes into conflict with our ethical and moral values.

While the Supreme Court reaffirmed that there should be no cap on punitive damages to deter or punish harmful conduct by companies, the court agreed at the same time, albeit by 5-4, that it would be permissible for a corporation to lie about the causes for dismissal of an employee in an effort to avoid discrimination suits.

Perhaps the Supreme Court is not aware of the anomaly that these two decisions taken in conjunction present to the average citizen.

The conclusion is that all outrageous conduct can be condoned since you can avoid the consequences by lying and if inconceivably you could be convicted of these transgressions, there would be no limit on the financial punishment that could be imposed. By these two decisions, the court immediately took away what it had given.

Certainly by any ethical code the aggrieved litigant should both be allowed to sue for egregious treatment as well as collect just punitive damages for such corporate actions. To do any less makes a farce out of our judicial system.

Nelson Marans

Silver Spring

Judge Ramsey

How much less could you have said in your cursory June 18 editorial noting the death of former federal Judge Norman P. Ramsey?

You were presented with an unwelcome opportunity, but an opportunity nonetheless, to commemorate a life filled with tremendous professional achievements and extraordinary community service.

You had the chance to celebrate an outstanding member of the bench and the bar, a role model for lawyers and non-lawyers alike. You could have encouraged others to aspire to lives of such distinction. But you didn't.

Instead, you gave us a perfunctory, two-paragraph resume and a glib reminder that we might associate Judge Ramsey's name with his representation of corrupt politicians, although "he was better known to his peers for his professionalism."

I am not sure what The Sun finds unprofessional about the practice of criminal law, especially as Judge Ramsey practiced it before ascending the bench. I am sure, however, that you did little justice to a man who understood what it meant to be a citizen in the truest sense of the word, and whose life and career exemplified this understanding.

$I am deeply disappointed.

Jon Laria

Baltimore

Strange Values

Your editorial, "Don't Tread on Us" (June 28) supports the U.S. attack on Iraq to avenge Saddam Hussein's attempt to assassinate former President Bush.

It is a strange set of values that makes it illegal for our government to assassinate a brutal foreign head of state, but deems the killing of innocent people who live near him acceptable.

Richard Berman

Baltimore

The Price of Eternal Vengeance

Any American comforted by, or rallying to, a president who emerges from Sunday church services and says he feels "quite good about" a missile attack that took the lives of innocent citizens of a country with which we are not at war, in retaliation for an attempted crime against one individual, should stop and smell the Arkansas fertilizer feeding the rhetorical roses.

President Clinton's action in this affair was the political equivalent of a drowning man grasping for straws.

Prior to election, his potential as a virtuous leader was debilitated by his alleged dalliances with members of the opposite sex. During the election, a low percentage of the American voting electorate supported him.

Since the election, due to his egregious ineptitude, he has had the shortest honeymoon of any president with the media, has enhanced executive and legislative gridlock by alienating members of his own party as well as the Republicans, has been made a laughingstock by his naive attempts to make significant appointments, has enraged the military and has waffled on almost every important issue before him.

What made George Bush a statesman during the Persian Gulf war was his cool judgment and restraint.

Riding on the crest of a tidal wave of American approval, he could have easily annihilated Saddam Hussein, the man, at the cost of more lives on both sides of the conflict. Instead, he chose to honor the terms of the United Nations pact.

What made John F. Kennedy a statesman was his ability to stand up to the Soviet Union and make them back down without firing a shot.

In contrast, Mr. Clinton used his powers as commander-in-chief like a schoolyard bully. Then he insulted our intelligence by saying his motives were apolitical.

The plot against Mr. Bush was nipped in the bud, and the perpetrators will be tried by the Kuwaitis. What other purpose, besides resuscitating Mr. Clinton's comatose political career, was served by the missile raid on Iraq?

For the American people to view Mr. Clinton's unilateral missile diplomacy as anything other than a desperate bid to manipulate public sentiment at the expense of human lives is a big mistake.

Much has been made of the alleged messages sent to various quarters by the missile attack. The real message is what makes Mr. Clinton such a venal opportunist, that is, his evident inability to understand the difference between eternal vigilance and eternal vengeance.

Salvatore Fill

Sparks

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