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Rocket ManDenis Bond (letter, July 13) has...


Rocket Man

Denis Bond (letter, July 13) has assured us that Werner Von Braun, "cared very much where his rockets landed." We know this from the title of his autobiography, "I Aim for the Stars," which a wag has subtitled, "But Sometimes I Hit London."

Noteworthy also is that Von Braun was the first and only person to receive both the Iron Cross (from Hitler) and the President's Award for Distinguished Civil Service (from President Eisenhower, 1959).

Mary Francis Pfrommer


Worn Down

As a former public school teacher with a 30-year perspective on "public improvements" to education, I can only wonder, first, at the naivete of the State Board of Education's recent proposal to raise the qualifications for those college students wishing to enter the teaching profession and, second, at a public perception that these revised standards might improve the quality of public education in our state.

On their face, the newly fashioned and more severe requirements for receiving and maintaining a teaching certificate Maryland appear to be a well-reasoned attempt to produce better trained and thus better qualified teachers.

But if the public believes that these new regulations will make a difference, they need only to review the impact of other well-meant attempts at improvement which have preceded these recent efforts.

What public education needs is not an emphasis on the quality of training, but on the training of quality people for the teaching profession.

Until such time as the salary, the status and the security of the teaching profession is such that it appeals to a broader audience talented young men and women who now enter higher paying and less demanding professions, we will continue to give thanks for the many fine teachers we do have as some sort of public blessing, one which we certainly did not earn nor deserve.

In early July, the Department of Defense, in a dramatic display of warped public priorities, commissioned a Trident II-D submarine at a cost to the American taxpayer of $2 billion to defend us with additional nuclear weapons against one can only wonder what.

Another is scheduled to be launched within the year. Simultaneously, our education infrastructure, especially in our cities, crumbles for lack of attention, understanding and resolve.

This inversion of the public interest is not some "government" blunder detached from the body politic, but a conscious and operative public ethic to produce the engines of death at the expense of a qualify of life.

And it is wearing us down. In what must surely be one of the great ironies of our era, we seem to know this. And yet we are immobilized.

Not until we as citizens and human beings begin to care more about our nation's children and less about our nation's power will the education of our young people improve. We need to search our hearts as much as minds for the solutions.

George B. McCeney


History Lesson

The George Will column of July 17 concerning Disney's battle over the Manassas property prompted my oldest daughter to announce, "You know, Mom, history should be free."

Casting aside the arguments from historians and the Disney Corporation, I began to wonder if herein we did not have the foundation for a lofty pursuit, an endeavor unparalleled in generosity and impact.

Michael Eisner, here's how to make everyone happy. Respect the borders of the Manassas battleground and accompanying gravesides and build a history theme park.

But then in a bold and charismatic stroke, announce to America that at all times entrance to the park will be free. That's right, totally free.

We will herald history, you will say, giving each generation its measure of heroism, its sacred trust. You will chronicle all that we, as a people of more than 200 years have brought to bear in this nation of ours.

Profits from the hotels, lodges, palaces, water parks, restaurants, and transportation services are bound to burgeon as Middle America rushes to assemble at the front gate.

And beyond all this, Mr. Eisner will be a hero, an American hero, willing to bring the Disney corporate conscience to rest in the hearts and souls of the American collective, land of opportunity, lands of dreams. History should be free.

Betty Ciesla


Joe McCarthy

In his defense of the late Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (letter, July 11), Charles E. Wilson Jr. conveniently neglects to inform us that the brutal demagogue had welcomed the support of the strong Communist elements in Wisconsin, particularly within the CIO unions, which had thrown their support to him in 1948.

The Communists were pleased with McCarthy's statement that "Communists have the same right to vote as anyone else, don't they?" They also felt he was fair in his praise of Stalin's proposal for world disarmament: "A great thing, and he must be given credit for being sincere about it."

Miscreant Joe was ultimately confronted with serious charges:

That he had perjured himself with respect to statements he had made on the radio concerning Communists in the State Department.

That he repeatedly stated that he would name the Communists in the State Department when subsequent statements by him disclosed that he had no names.

That he had been highly unethical in accepting a $10,000 fee from the Lustrom Corporation.

That he had alleged that Gen. George C. Marshall was a member of a "conspiracy to aid Russia."

That he engaged in fraud and deceit in the Maryland senatorial election of 1950.

That he lied about his military record and made false claims about wounds which he did not suffer.

That he irresponsibly threatened to subpoena President Harry Truman and several newspaper reporters who had offended him.

That he irresponsibly hung a Communist label on individuals and newspapers which disagreed with him.

That he publicly threatened to withdraw the second-class mailing privileges of newspapers which had offended him.

That he compiled a smear-file against his fellow senators and prominent citizens.

That his claim of receiving a particular letter from the FBI was described as a hoax by J. Edgar Hoover.

Finally in early December 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower praised the Senate select committee for "doing a very splendid job" in its censuring of Senator McCarthy.

on Peace Ried


Clinton's Demons

Why should government be allowed to take over the medical industry before we, as citizens, are allowed to be educated of the problems we face?

And why aren't we allowed to be part of the solution instead of the subservient participants in President Clinton's type of plan? Are we really not intellectually equal to those in Washington?

We all need to learn that our society has to change its attitude about consuming health services and products and, most painfully, when it is time to not continue life preservation when we aren't going to fully recover.

These are issues that the federal government should not assume for us. But we do have to make them for the sake of our future generations . . .

The Clinton approach has been to market his plan as the salvation of victims from many demons. The number of demons changes every time they try to defend their solution.

Doctors, insurance companies, employers, Republicans, conservatives, pro-life feminists, religious radicals, talk show hosts, etc. have all become self-interested groups that must be divided and conquered . . .

What they don't address in their commercials is that we, as patients, are the demons in our consumption of health services because we take all costs for granted except our out-of-pocket deductibles and premiums . . .

Is our society really not intelligent enough to comprehend the serious problems and the possible solutions?

Are we so selfish that we can't control our demand for health care and even the desire to live eternally?

Do we have to let Washington act on our behalf without our knowledge of all the "costs" of the Clinton-type plans?

Washington should have spent more time educating those they think can't be responsible for themselves. We have hard decisions, sacrifices and life-style adjustments to make (not just related to health care).

The American way is to educate, encourage and unite citizens to be a society of responsible individuals before the federal government takes over the medical industry.

Nothing this personal should be used to buy votes in an election.

Withholding the truth to save their jobs is reprehensible.

Portable, affordable coverage could be passed in Congress tomorrow, and subsidies could be granted.

But the big issue is who is going to control our future health sacrifices? We should not, blindly, let the "best Congress/president money can buy" decide our fate, since they have failed to be up front with the truth.

And they have been eager to stir the currents of intolerance into waves of hate . . .

The promise/threat of a Clinton health care plan has given us the incentive to not take our medical costs for granted, and it has shown us not to take our politics for granted as well. Neither system operates well on automatic pilot.

But maybe I'm not able to handle the facts. I've lived through the Great Depression and a World War.

I've buried both my parents, two husbands and their parents. I've raised eight children and worked full time. Maybe I don't know how to make decisions or sacrifices.

Betty M. Coleman


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