A DisserviceSen. Alfonse D'Amato's pidgin English remarks...


A Disservice

Sen. Alfonse D'Amato's pidgin English remarks about Judge Lance Ito have offended not only Japanese-Americans but have also done a grave disservice to our great nation.

Many of us do not like the endless news coverage of the Simpson trial any more than the senator.

The senator can use his powerful position to change the judicial system instead of ridiculing Judge Ito in such a disgusting manner. His act is not befitting a statesman, but a punk.

In this intensely competitive world we need unity of all races in our country.

Asian Pacific nations are rapidly rising economic powers. Instead of stereotyping and stupidly making fun of them, we must learn their languages and cultures in order to compete.

Yu-Chen Lee


Tax All Tobacco

It is no secret that drug use, including tobacco, is a problem among teens in Maryland. It is also no secret that taxing is one of the government's methods of stopping kids from using tobacco products.

But what hope does Maryland's youth have when the government allows tobacco companies to pull more and more kids into becoming addicted to their product?

Smokeless tobacco is currently not taxed by the Maryland government. I do not believe that this situation should be allowed to continue.

Smokeless tobacco is more addictive than cigarettes and has the same potential as cigarettes to cause long-term dangerous effects. But cigarettes are the ones that are taxed heavily in an attempt to slow the use of them by teens.

It's also a fact that one-fourth of smokeless tobacco users are under the age of 21.

Tobacco companies are now producing products with flavors such as cherry. It's obvious that the new flavors are an attempt by tobacco companies to pull more kids into becoming addicted to their product.

Encouraging addiction to tobacco cannot be allowed to continue. Something must be done. Tax chewing tobacco.

Daryl Stokes

Owings Mills

Art Travesty

Here is a major reason why cable could never replace the public broadcasting system, particularly for music lovers:

On April 6, A&E; presented a memorial performance of Mozart's Requiem, recorded amid the ruins of Sarajevo. It was a brilliant performance and should have been deeply moving. But it was so tattered by commercial interruptions (after the "Dies Irae," yet!) as to be unbearable.

Such mistreatment of great art is a travesty which should not be allowed.

Sarah G. Hendrixson


A Clean Sweep of Metaphors

Now that the strike is settled and our national metaphor can resume, the editors of this paper have a chance to be of great service to us all.

You can hasten out to the old ball park and, before the season gets under way, knock a few metaphors over the wall.

To start with an easy one: take a swing at "level playing field."

This, for example, is what those wanting to send them arms say the embattled Bosnians want.

Think how much good a level playing field did the Chargers! If Bosnia were a level field, the Serbs would have wiped them out years ago.

Now pitch a "quagmire."

It's what mountainous, rock-hard Bosnia would be, if we sent troops there. It's what arid Somalia was -- and I recently saw a suggestion that the Turks would stumble into one if they kept chasing the Kurds in mountainous Northern Iraq. Knock it out of the park.

For a change of pace, let's try a simple cliche: "window of opportunity."

This is what everyone wants who yearns to defenestrate someone. It is the basic desire of every cat burglar.

Bat it far away before some pundit says again it is what a change in government in West Meshuga offers our State Department. Offer, in its place, "trapdoor of despair" and "skylight of hope."

While you are compiling the rest of your list (you can't expect your readers to do all the work), prepare your reporters for the next time a politician promises to do something for the "middle class."

If the "hard-working middle class" is specified, ask what's planned for the lazy ones. Ask also if anything is planned for the lower and upper classes.

At the moment the populace is divided into the middle and under classes and we seem to have lost both the filthy rich and the undeserving poor.

Maybe, just maybe, you can get them to stop describing everybody from the hamburger flippers to families earning $200,000 a year as belonging to the middle class.

It's worth a shot, anyway.

Warren W. Morse

Chincoteague, Va.

Affirmative Action is Good Policy

This letter is in response to the editorial "Expanding Affirmative Action" (March 26).

Your editorial seems to suggest that Governor Parris N. Glendening and the General Assembly are out of sync with the growing political climate around the country that says affirmative action is an unpopular and dying philosophy.

You stated that times have changed and inferred that the governor should step in line with the wave of sinisterism and mean-spiritedness that is sweeping the country.

I choose to applaud the governor for his vision and insight into what will make Maryland a place where all of its people, black or white, can prosper.

You seem to suggest that affirmative action and increasing the goals in the Minority Business Enterprise Program are outdated and need not be continued. To do so would be to assume that all the goals of the program have been achieved and that it needs no safeguards to protect it.

The historic reality is that affirmative action is not a philosophy recently created to enhance minority participation in the workplace and in state procurement.

It was used by the federal government when it wanted to encourage the vast areas of the west to be settled. Land grants were given to people in the west as an inducement to thin the heavily populated cities of the east.

This type of affirmative action prompted a wave of western expansion which helped the country prosper.

Affirmative action was used by the government when it gave land to the railroads in the form of rights-of-way.

At the time the concept was introduced, those who were short-sighted argued that the land should be sold to the railroads and not given away. But those who had vision proved to have taken the correct and progressive position because without the land grants, the railroads would have been too expensive to build.

The aerospace program and other industries would never have gotten off the ground without decisive government action which gave grants to industry and major universities to do research in technologies not yet perfected.

But when its time for affirmative action for the poor or the disenfranchised, you seem to feel that the governor is out of touch.

It seems that you would have us follow the policies practiced in Germany in 1932 of high unemployment, low taxes and favoritism for the status quo. That policy gave rise to the biggest rat in history -- Adolph Hitler. He and his co-conspirator from Italy, Benito Mussolini, created policies that fueled racism, fascism and economic chaos.

Instead of suggesting that the Senate should use a finger as a barometer to determine the stiffness of the wind of political change, you too should applaud the vision and the rightness of the cause displayed by the Senate vote.

As the editorial pointed out, it is not good policy to fight for set asides and affirmative action -- and I guess you could say poor people too.

But there is a universal theme that has been entwined in the politics of man since the beginning of time -- "When you do it unto the least of these thine brother, you do it unto me."

Decatur W. Trotter


The writer is a state senator representing the 24th legislative district.

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