Superb CoverageEditor: Your coverage of the war in the...


March 07, 1991

Superb Coverage

Editor: Your coverage of the war in the Persian Gulf has been superb. The newspaper medium allows broad, in-depth, measured reporting with simultaneous expressions of varied opinions of the unfolding events by thoughtful individuals and The Sun has made excellent use of each of these attributes.

The maps, diagrams and summary of the ''three-day onslaught'' Feb. 27 indicating participation by troops from six countries were particularly unimpressive.

Thank you for keeping us informed.

Robert O. Bonnell Jr.


Cut, Don't Hike

Editor: The writer of a recent letter asked for support of the new Baltimore County school budget. She failed to state that this budget was $55 million higher than last year, an increase of more than 12 percent. She wonders why it is being criticized. Perhaps she should consider:

* Costs to educate a student in Baltimore County exceed $6,500 a year, more than twice that of the private and parochial sector.

* The average teacher salary and benefits come to more than $59,000 a year for only 10 months work. This far exceeds any similar profession, all of whose practitioners work a 12-month year.

* Capacity is based on class size and you can create an over-capacity situation by merely reducing class size. Both class size and enrollment are far below what it was eight yars ago and there are still 14 vacant school buildings.

* The new administrative officer of Baltimore County, a former deputy superintendent of county schools, will draw more than $500,000 in pension benefits before he reaches age 65, while drawing a salary as a Baltimore County employee. Most of us who have pensions must wait until 65 before we can draw anything, unless death or disability occurs first.

These are facts an economist would look into. A very critical study of current costs is necessary before going overboard with more increases under the guise of doing it for the children.

Carol O. Shear.


Bad Words

Editor: The issue of restricting obscenity has finally been exhausted. I thought all possible ideas as to what defines obscenity and where it can be found has been covered until I read that Sen. Robert Byrd is in opposition to the fourth edition of Webster's New World Dictionary because it contains definitions of obscenities and vulgarities (''Senator says dictionary has redefined bad taste,'' Sun, Feb. 19.

Let us first consider the overall utility of the dictionary. The purpose of the dictionary is to alphabetically list words in a language with their respective definitions, etymologies and pronunciations.

It would be ridiculous to consider the dictionary as a place that harbors obscenities, like a porn magazine or trashy novel does, because obscenity is not a dictionary's literary objective. One does not turn to the dictionary to arouse sexual desire.

Let us next consider the dictionary as a source of definition for foreign people as well as for those who read, write and speak English. Obscenities may serve as a stumbling block for foreigners, and the dictionary is merely a place for a brief explanation.

While it can be argued that obscenities and vulgarities need not be used, it cannot be argued that they are self-explanatory. Not everybody knows what they mean.

Lastly, it seems that Senator Byrd's biggest fear is that ''inclusion of obscenities and vulgarities . . . suggests these words are now legitimate and acceptable.''

Legitimate? Yes, I would have to agree with dictionary editor Victoria Neufeldt that these words represent part of the language as a whole or at a given time. It simply is not possible to avoid exposure to them in everyday speech.

As for acceptable, while I do not condone them, I argue that use and toleration of obscenities and vulgarities are a matter of personal choice.

Through his protest, Senator Byrd is, in effect, advocating that we develop a morally conventional language that has universal application. Doesn't the old cliche, ''To each his own,'' carry weight any more?

Mary Monahan.


Democrats' Plight

Editor: The wisdom of the policy of the Democratic Party to ''let the sanctions work'' has now been fully demonstrated by Saddam Hussein's capitulation. We all knew Saddam couldn't stand up to the force of public opinion.

The coalition forces have lost fewer killed in action than have been killed in action on the streets of Baltimore and Washington during Desert Storm.

The ''no blood for oil'' wimps have had their mouths stopped with the desert dust and the smoke from burning oil wells. Saddam Hussein's brutality on Israel, his Arab brothers of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia shows that Desert Storm was against intolerable aggression.

The next problem for the Democratic Party is the choice of a sacrificial lamb as candidate for president and vice president in 1992.

One possibility would be William Donald Schaefer and Marvin Mandel. Mr. Schaefer could plunge into national political scene dressed in an old fashioned bathing suit and a straw hat. It would be good for laughs at any rate.

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