Bell's GeniusRoyce Holland was quoted July 27...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Bell's Genius

Royce Holland was quoted July 27 as calling the telephone industry something from the Jurassic Period and referring to "Bell System dinosaurs."

He is obviously too young to really know the Bell System.

The Bell Laboratories developed sound movies. Watch an old black-and-white movie where the credits show "sound by Westrex."

The Bell Labs held (and may still hold) patents on such dinosaurs as transistors, solar cells ("batteries"), lasers and a host of other high-tech items. In the growth of telephone switching, the Bell System has gone through five generations of local switching systems and a variety of toll systems.

The fiber-optic network that Mr. Holland wants to install was actually validated by Alexander Graham Bell himself. He proved that sound could be transmitted over a light beam from the roof of the old Franklin School on K Street in Washington, D.C., to another building blocks away.

When Mr. Holland looks down his nose at the local remnants of the former Bell System, he's really looking at his own big mouth.

George O. Clark

Annapolis

Action in Bosnia

The slaughter continues in Bosnia, and it is clear the Europeans and the United Nations will do nothing to stop it -- although they are all too willing to prevent the Bosnians from defending themselves.

Consultation with the Europeans has become nothing more than an excuse for doing nothing.

If the United States does not act to end this conquest-by-atrocity, no other country will.

As the president of the United States, Bill Clinton must take action or the genocide will continue. Don't forget that when they're done in Bosnia, the Serbs will almost certainly start killing the Muslims in Kosovo.

Mr. Clinton does not want to be remembered as the president who stood by and did nothing while modern-day Nazis did their worst in full view of the world.

Tim Cliffe

Emmitsburg

Improving Schools

Over the past several years there have been a few editorial writers or contributors to Letters to the Editor who have written constructive, impartial opinions on education. The recent article, Reforming School" by William Salganik (July 31), is noteworthy.

Most of the articles and letters are written by people who are promoting a cause or protecting their special interest. His remarks about recent administrators' infatuation with new programs deserve special attention. This multitude of new programs makes political sense, they do create government jobs and votes, but experience has proven they do not enhance learning.

Mr. Salganik suggests we might improve education if we spent more time evaluating and eliminating the myriad of past programs rather than dreaming up new quick fixes. The dilemma in education is proof that after all these years of throwing money at the problem, we have not learned how to educate children in the public schools. We have done more to build a huge bureaucracy than educate kids.

Another analogy by Mr. Salganik is interesting and compares schools with political polls, which indicate most people do not think highly of legislators, but feel their representative is O.K. -- "the annual Gallup Poll on education always shows that people think American schools in general are not doing very well, but the schools in their community are pretty good and the school their own kids attend is just fine."

It is refreshing to read an unbiased opinion from a former education writer.

Forrest F. Gesswein Jr.

Parkville

A Big Difference

In Gwynne Dyer's Aug. 3 article, "The Tragedy of Israeli Justice," he asked the question, "Why is it wrong to kill innocent ++ people in gas chambers, and right to kill innocent people with helicopter gunships?"

I was shocked that a man of Mr. Dyer's intelligence would make such an analogy. The question alone suggests the tragedy of Mr. Dyer's own inability to make a distinction between innocent victims and supporters of terrorist aggression.

The question was in reference to Israel's recent bombing of Lebanon compared to the 1942 murderous actions taken against people in concentration camps by John Demjanjuk.

While I advocate that it is wrong to kill innocent people under any circumstances, nevertheless there is a big difference in Mr. Dyer's scenario, because the people in the gas chambers did not wage a war against the German people during 1942; they were innocent civilians.

However, the people in Lebanon were not entirely innocent civilians. When you aid and abet the enemy who is shooting rockets at you, then you become the enemy.

The people in Lebanon have given the Iranian-backed terrorists their support and have never protested the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists who use their country as a base to fire rockets against Israelis.

If they were innocent, they would have tried to kick these terrorists out of their country, especially knowing that they were trying to undermine the Middle East peace talks.

If I used Mr. Dyer's reasoning, I would have to say: Why is it wrong for Libya to shoot down Pan American Flight 103 and not wrong for the United States to bomb Libya or Iraq? The difference here again is, Iraq and Libya have taken aggressive actions against the United States' civilians and allies, but Pan American Flight 103 carrying civilians was not a military plane waging war on them.

Barbara Bloom

Owings Mills

Who's Sleazy?

This is in response to an Aug. 3 letter to The Sun by Diane Anderson, who said she was going to cancel her subscription to the paper because it was getting "sleazy."

Excerpts from a book on Mick Jagger are published, and just because the topic does not measure up to one reader's personal interests, she chooses to label it "sleazy."

She apparently has no interest in piercing her body, either -- the subject of another recent article -- and would like the rest of us to know nothing about the matter.

Ms. Anderson has taken it upon herself to deem such people and their practices as "depraved," and here we witness the birth of censorship once again.

I found both articles very entertaining and enlightening. I enjoy reading about "lighter" topics along with all the daily news articles about the ongoing murders, rapes, tax increases, etc.

The Sun offers a very informing variety of news, and I suggest that Ms. Anderson not penalize herself by canceling her subscription and instead just don't read the few articles that are of no interest to her.

The Sun is merely reporting the information -- it doesn't invent it. So it is a grave injustice to accuse the paper of being anything even remotely resembling a "scandal sheet."

Personally, I look forward to reading The Sun every day and would cancel my subscription if the "sleazy" articles about

"depraved people and practices" were left out.

Donna Dallas

Glen Burnie

Chuck Thompson

Hats off to Jim Henneman for his superb article on Chuck Thompson in the Aug. 1 Sun Sports section. "People do cry in Baltimore" -- and I surely shed a tear while reading the excellent article.

Ham Bishop

Baltimore

Proper English

Ellyne M. Brown, in her July 29 letter, takes umbrage at a letter authored by the undersigned and appearing in an earlier issue concerning Dr. Samuel L. Banks. Apparently, she fails to see a compliment when one is stated . . .

If she had read the portion of the letter referring to him, very carefully, she and he would have recognized this. Dr. Banks' erudition and articulation of the English language is to be admired.

This writer was merely suggesting that talent be transferred where it could do much good among the students of our city.

Prior to retirement, it fell to me to review many written letters to my employer by college graduates with master's degrees, who were seeking employment.

It was amazing to see so many who could not write a letter devoid of grammatical and punctuation errors. Their use of the English language was abominable. Sometimes grammar was non-existent. Those with only high school diplomas fared even worse.

Stated simply, our students today, be they high school or college graduates, lack the ability to properly communicate both the written and the spoken word. Learning this and acquiring the abilities begin in our elementary and high schools.

Richard L. Lelonek

Baltimore

Notable Quote

Early in the lives of most of us, when we were first introduced to elementary courses of history, many notable quotations by military and political leaders became part of our knowledge. They seem to be unforgettable as long periods of time go by.

"Don't give up the ship." "We have not yet begun to fight." 'Damn the torpedoes -- full speed ahead." "Don't shoot until you can see the whites of their eyes." "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

Every sports fan within the range of the radio signal that emanated from Memorial Stadium in Baltimore all these years would be more than happy and probably somewhat boastful to contribute an additional notable quote to the collection:

"Ain't the beer cold."

Gil Dunn

Stevensville

Clinton Style

Mark Matthews' July 25 Perspective article, "Vietnam: How Far Should U.S. Push Rights Issue," was a most telling commentary on the Clinton style.

Although the president responds to Quan Quoc Nguyen with promises, he fails to follow through on his promises. This shouldn't be all that surprising since this is the manner in which he has handled all promises -- back off if it gets too hot an issue, form a committee or find someone else to blame.

This is not the type of individual to be in a leadership position. The presidency requires a person who can make, and stick to, different decisions.

James A. Olson

Severna Park

Stretching Freedom of Speech

How far can freedom of speech be stretched? I find it an invasion of my privacy to be subjected to the blare of an amplifier while waiting for the light rail train on Howard Street at the Lexington station. The words are vulgar, the sound is aggravating to my ears and the volume is deplorable.

I dread the 15 minutes each day that I am subjected to what I consider a cruel and harsh punishment.

Perhaps our city fathers who do not ride public transportation should venture down to Howard Street and get an earful.

I am seriously considering organizing a boycott of all of our citizenry who feel as I do. Perhaps if the merchants suffer in their wallets, they will turn off the intrusive noise.

Seymour Sureff

Baltimore

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