Give Clinton's health care plan a chance
Your Oct. 17 Perspective articles discussing the pros and cons of the president's health plan were most informative.
Both were correct: some kind of plan must be adopted and it will not be without problems and cost, both monetary and in terms of jobs.
It would be naive to think any health plan could be perfect from Day One. Both Social Security and Medicare are costly and imperfect, yet they are better than the alternative, which is nothing.
The president's health plan is a start. It establishes a level playing field where the right to health care is ensured for all.
Changes in the plan will occur over time that will resolve most of its problems. The plans in Europe and Canada are not without problems -- but they work. Let's give this plan a chance to work as well.
It is surprising that the cheating scandal at the U.S. Naval Academy is overshadowing the Tailhook scandal, which involved sexual assaults on civilian women as well as servicewomen.
These criminal attacks were committed by supposedly respectable, intelligent and experienced naval officers. Yet the Tailhook investigation has been bogged down in incompetence and by the Navy's reluctance to prosecute the offenders.
By contrast, the Naval Academy cheating scandal involves teen-age kids who are still in the process of growing up.
The raw material the Navy is getting these days does not reflect the serious, disciplined family values of past years. The proof of this is in the midshipmen's actions when Admiral Lynch announced the results of the initial investigation of the 4,200-member brigade last April. The superintendent was greeted with jeers by some of the midshipmen, who chanted a football players nickname. Shock reverberated throughout the Naval Academy as the staff took note of this unprecedented disrespect.
Can Admiral Lynch be blamed for this breach of discipline? Absolutely not. Let's put the blame where it belongs -- on the parents whose job it was to teach their children the proper respect for authority.
How many men involved in the Tailhook scandal lacked the same type of family values when growing up? Just as our teachers cannot be held responsible for correcting family ills, neither should Admiral Lynch be expected to be held responsible for this tragic behavior.
Your article reporting on the link between mental instability and creativity in the arts ("Creativity, mental instability often tied, studies show," Oct. 12) perpetuates a harmful stereotype that disadvantages artists in their dealings with non-artists.
Such reports are little different in effect from "scientific" theories of racial superiority based on supposed inherent characteristics. The net result of all such unfair generalizations is to legitimize different treatment of people based on prejudice and ignorance.
Researcher Arnold M. Ludwig apparently found it remarkable that alcoholism rates were higher among highly successful actors than among military officers. Perhaps had Ludwig's study included other "non-artist" celebrities (e.g., politicians, athletes, lottery winners), factors such as sudden wealth, fame and lifestyle might have emerged as more likely predictors.
An artist's work is demanding and too often unremunerative. Negative and unfair stereotypes make a difficult calling nearly impossible at times, as anyone who works with struggling artists knows. Rather than looking for correlations between creativity and mental instability, why not probe the effects of negative stereotypes on the physical and mental well-being of working artists?
E. Scott Johnson
The writer is president of Maryland Lawyers for the Arts.
I read with great joy the article "Beetles: A durable passion." I needed to write and comment on the two men your story covered.
Tony Horodowicz and Desmond Glynn are so responsible for my personal growth over the past 21 years as a Volkswagen owner. Space doesn't permit me to write about all the binds and problems they have helped me overcome.
Tony feels the need to help anyone he comes in contact with. His love and sharing are spread all over Maryland, while Desmond's fatherly advice has straightened out many a young person. Thanks Tony and Desmond from all of us VW owners.
Year-round schools are no panacea
The belief that a longer school year will produce a more efficient school system has not been proven. In theory, a year-round calendar sounds productive. But attempts to lengthen the school year elsewhere have failed.
Even though year-round schooling reduces the need for new schools, it creates new costs. Hiring additional teachers, increasing salaries and maintaining the schools, are just some of the increased costs. Most communities do not have the funds for such changes.
In addition to the cost factor, scheduling classes year-round is very difficult. Parents with children in various grades want their children to have coordinated schedules. Many families are hesitant to give up the vacation time that long summers allow. Faculty meetings and in-service courses are hard to plan if teachers are on rotating schedules.
Some educators believe that a longer school year produces better students. The Japanese year-round system is often the standard that our country compares itself to. But this is not a fair comparison because of the cultural differences between the two countries.
In Japan, teachers are in the top 10 percent of paid professionals. Educational competitiveness is accepted and students have deep respect for educators. The concept that spending more time in school will allow us to compete with the Japanese students may not be valid. Inner city schools in particular have many problems -- violence, crime and drugs -- which a longer school year may not solve.
The majority of Americans do not support the year-round plan. It would be better for local school boards to address their individual problems first. Improving the quality of education and not the length of it should be our goal.
The obscenity of abortion is obvious
In response to Cynthia L.H. Crawley's concern in her Oct. 13 Other Voices article about how to explain pictures of aborted babies to a four-year-old, it's simple: just tell her the truth.
Say that those people are protesting laws that allow doctors and mothers to kill their own children before they even have a chance to be born. Tell her that the pictures are real; that, yes, "it's an obscenity"; that, yes, "the pictures are the stuff of nightmares".
Tell her that those people are committed, just like Mrs. Crawley, to "fight this battle, whatever effort was necessary" to protect "innocent little children."
Mrs. Crawley fails to realize that if abortion didn't exist, those pictures along Charles Street wouldn't exist either.
On closing, I shall quote once again Mrs. Crawley verbatim: "I encourage anyone who shares my concern to write or telephone legislators. Let this issue be a rallying point for concerned people. Like every female of every mammalian species, I will fight anything and anyone to protect my young."
These words could have been said just as well by any pro-life woman who was standing along Charles Street that day.
Laura D. Garcia
When Cynthia L.H. Crawley's daughter saw pictures of aborted fetuses, they were enough to give her nightmares.
Instead of facing the truth that was obvious even to a four-year-old, Crawley felt that pro-life protesters should not be allowed to carry these pictures because they are obscene.
She asks, "How do I tell a four-year-old what those pictures are?" Yes, how can she tell her daughter that those pictures are of precious children murdered because her own mother and others in this country believe it is a woman's right?
Those who don't want to be traumatized by seeing the truth about abortion have an easy solution. Instead of a call for censorship to prevent pictures of abortions from appearing on our streets, they should be working to prevent abortions from taking place at all.