Because of an editing error, Mario Torres' position on the...

the Forum

July 30, 1991

Because of an editing error, Mario Torres' position on the 1991 civil rights bill was misstated in one sentence of his letter in the Forum of July 30. The sentence should have read: "The 1991 [civil rights] legislation . . . upholds affirmative action with goals and timetables necessary to overcoming continuing discrimination in hiring and promotion of African American, Latino and women workers."

A whangdilly not a whangdoodle

In his article, "A severe shortage of whangdoodles" (Other Voices, July 19), Anthony J. Lomenzo says we need more "whangdoodles" like H.L. Mencken and Russell Baker, whom he admires as both mentors and whangdoodles. He refers to HLM, probably the nation's nonpareil literary journalist of the '20s and '30s, as "the original whangdoodle."

As a longtime devotee of Baltimore's master of powerhouse prose, I feel moved to protest Mr. Lomenzo's reference to our most readable of American essayists as "the original whangdoodle."


A whangdoodle is not a person but an indefinite object, a knickknack, a gadget, a contrivance. The unabridged Random House dictionary defines it as an imaginary creature, the term originating in the latter 1850s. A whangdilly, on the other hand, means something excellent, or a superior or admirable person. Clearly, HLM belongs to the latter category; seeing him referred to as "the original whangdoodle" can only raise the eyebrows of all good Menckenians to the snapping point.

Whangdilly, yes; whangdoodle, no.

Wells Mears


Now we know

Of course the politicians have been telling us the recession is over.

How else could they justify their pay raises?

Charles Johnston


Water theft

The dawn-to-dusk ban on outside water use is an outright imposition on the paying customers of the Baltimore city water system.

Why should we be deprived of the use of water, which comes through our meters and therefore is paid for by us, so that the "children" of the city can throw open the fire hydrants to cool off?

Granted, they do need a method of cooling off, but what about their showers and bathtubs?

Where are the irresponsible parents who allow this theft of city water?

It is the parents' responsibility to find a legal means of comfort for these neglected children, not ours or the city's. It is not our responsibility to pay for the loss of profits to the "director of finance" through rate increases to recompense for water we were not allowed to run through our meters.

I'm tired of paying for the laxity of those supposedly in authority and the irresponsibility of others.

lanche K. Coda


Shocking position

Congresswoman Helen Bentley, explaining why she opposes the civil rights bill of 1991 (Other Voices, July 22), seems to admit her own debt to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but she opposes similar protection for others because it might inconvenience their employers.

It's shocking that Ms. Bentley, once considered a friend of labor, has no rebuke for a Supreme Court which murdered the 1964 act, thus making a new one vitally necessary.

Even more shocking is her professed fear that the possibility of all-black juries in Baltimore might "result in inequities" in trying rights cases. This is made no less insulting by her haste to add that all-white juries "elsewhere" might show prejudice. What's her feeling about black judges?

The congresswoman rehashes all the other scare scenarios invented by President Bush to excuse his veto of a civil rights bill. Like Mr. Bush, she fails to explain why no such dire predictions ever came true in the quarter-century since Congress passed the original act.

But she endorses the biggest Big Lie of all ` that the 1991 bill is a "quota" bill. "Quotas," as some Baltimore minorities remember, enabled bigots to limit admission to the country and to schools to the barest minimum for persons of "objectionable" race, creed or national origin. It was a device to keep people out. Any attempt to equate such a device with a civil rights bill, its very opposite, is an obscene scam. The 1991 legislation, on the other hand, upholds continuing discrimination in hiring and promotion of African American, Latino and women workers.

"I support equal opportunity for all, but I also support special privileges for none," writes Ms. Bentley. But no one who considers final access to long-delayed constitutional rights to be a "special privilege" can truly believe in equal opportunity.

Mario Torres

The writer is co-chair, Baltimore branch, National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

Too hot for horses

It sickened me to see that horse go down at Laurel racetrack.

With this horrible heat we're having, why doesn't the humane society step in and forbid horse racing on such days? There is a law against the arabs' horses pulling their wagons when it reaches a certain temperature. Why not the same for race horses? They suffer too.

Betty J. Wozwicki


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