State university leads the way for high-tech...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

State university leads the way for high-tech industries

How refreshing it was to read The Sun's Aug. 31 report on Maryland's high-technology sector ("State trails in tech areas"). It was nice to see recognition that the state's "blue-chip research universities" are a principal asset.

That statement stood in sharp contrast to The Sun's earlier article quoting an economist's claim that the absence of major universities is the only factor separating Maryland from national high-tech leadership ("Maryland economy loses sizzle," Aug. 27). That statement caused a start here in College Park.

The University of Maryland, College Park is ranked in the nation's top 25 schools in business, engineering and computer science -- key disciplines for the high-tech economy -- by U.S. News & World Report.

Our sponsored research expenditures exceed $200 million a year and fully one-half of all National Science Foundation research funding coming into the state supports College Park programs.

We graduate more computer science majors than any college or university in the region. We are to information and communications technology what Johns Hopkins is to biomedicine.

Our research and development partnerships with major federal laboratories are very strong.

Our business incubator program has spun out 33 start-up technology companies since 1985 and our Technology Extension Service is to the state's technology industry what our Cooperative Extension Service is to its farmers.

Maryland can take great pride in the achievements of the state university.

We are pleased that the people who shape opinions in Maryland are recognizing the educational and technological treasure that exists here.

C. D. Mote Jr.

College Park

The writer is president of the University of Maryland, College Park.

Non-Christians seeking a candidate of their own

The Sun's article "Private faith helps guide public life" (Sept. 7) quotes city Councilman Martin O'Malley saying, "Being Catholic, I'm not used to a couple of things in church. One is good music . . . the other thing is politics."

That's cute, but Mr. O'Malley should wake up and smell the incense.

Abortion sometimes gets mentioned in Catholic churches. And the exclusively male priesthood takes positions on women's rights and sexual liberation.

School vouchers, particularly for church-operated schools, have recently been hot topics.

Are these not political issues?

The notion that churches do not have political agendas -- which they push with their tax-free dollars -- is disingenuous.

Confronted with two Jesuit-trained Roman Catholics and a Pentecostalist leading the race for the Democratic nomination for mayor, we non-Christians (atheists, humanists, Buddhists, Muslims) find ourselves between two rocks and a hard place.

Franklin T. Evans

Baltimore

Media haven't told people about all the candidates

It has long greatly irked me that the national media take it upon themselves to anoint two or three political parties and certain candidates as "major" or "viable," while ignoring all the others.

Now I must also take strong issue with the local media, including The Sun, for anointing three or four of Baltimore's mayoral candidates as major -- and ignoring or downplaying the others.

How am I to make an informed choice when I go in the voting booth unfamiliar with the plans of some of the candidates?

I am looking for a candidate who has enough influence with the governor and the General Assembly to get the state funding the city desperately needs.

Who can do that? And how would I know?

The Sun has failed miserably in its duty to keep its readers well-informed.

Harry E. Bennett Jr.

Baltimore

Let's keep the focus on candidates' positions

I was puzzled by The Sun's editorial "George W. Bush -- Did he or didn't he?" (Aug 25).

Didn't we recently hear over and over from the press that the public was tired of hearing about politicians' personal lives? That it was time to stop wasting taxpayers' money with these costly investigations?

Then why did this editorial conclude, "Still, it is time to get all the facts out in the open?" Is The Sun suggesting another full-scale investigation?

As a conscientious, taxpaying voter I would prefer that Texas Gov. George W. Bush and every other candidate present themselves on the basis of what they stand for today.

Shirley Smoot

Parkton

Criticism of Gov. Bush is liberal hypocrisy

After six-plus years of lies and immorality from the White House, it amuses me that liberal Democrats are stirred up over the notion that Texas Gov. George W. Bush may have snorted some coke when he was young. What hypocrites.

Who better to punish drug offenders and discourage the use of life-sucking drugs than someone who has experienced their destructive potential?

And that's assuming Mr. Bush did use cocaine.

Let's get some technicalities straight: Mr. Bush does not create the laws of Texas, he merely enforces them. The state legislature, composed of Democrats as well as Republicans, passes the laws.

Douglas B. Hermann

Baltimore

Some confusion reigns over architectural allusions

Recent articles on architectural projects for the new Maryland Museum of African-American History and Culture ("On museum front, form vs. function," July 28) and the University of Maryland Law School ("Gothic, yes; Bauhaus, no," Aug. 25) raise the issue of introducing symbolic forms into institutional buildings.

The law school's proposed library has been criticized for looking "Gothic." But the features singled out as visually annoying were the crenelations on the corner tower. There is nothing particularly "Gothic" about this tower.

In fact, its allusions are military. Crenelations have been used on military fortifications since ancient times.

Some of the uneasy reactions to the building are surely a reaction to a school of law presenting itself as a fortress. I suggest simply removing the crenelations.

Discussions of the Maryland Museum of African-American History and Culture's proposed building have centered on the use of symbolic forms suggesting African motifs.

Since this new institution celebrates the outstanding contributions of African-Americans in Maryland, should not the chief criteria be the erection of an outstanding piece of architecture?

Joaneath Spicer

Baltimore

'Tennis balls without fuzz' prompt fond reminiscence

Having been a devotee of the sports he mentioned (punchball, stoopball and stickball), I enjoyed reminiscing with Lowell Cohn's article about the "tennis balls without fuzz" ("Yeah, they 'hoid about dat' Spaldeen," Aug. 29).

A two-sewer-cover fly was indeed a feat to savor.

But who picked the accompanying photo? In it, the kids are playing softball, not stickball, and it seems to be about 1938, not 1958.

Alfred Sommer

Baltimore

Lowell Cohn's article about Spaldeens transported me back to my childhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Rockaway Beach.

Being a boy, Mr. Cohn wouldn't have been caught dead playing a simple game of catch, monkey in the middle (catch with a mean streak) or, every girl's favorite, a my name is alice, which could only be played well with a Spaldeen, because of that ball's snapping bounce-back.

Spaldeens remind us that even on the paved city streets, kids can find plenty of good, clean, cheap ways to have fun.

Sue Feder

Towson

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