Clinton's press conference was a fiascoEver since the...

the Forum

April 02, 1993

Clinton's press conference was a fiasco

Ever since the inauguration of President Clinton, the White House correspondents have been clamoring for a full-blown press conference. The president finally appeared March 23 in the East Room of the White House to respond to their questions.

The media blew it. Sophomoric, softball questions with little or no follow-up provided nothing more than a forum for Mr. Clinton's continuance of "Campaign '96."

The White House press corps appeared hesitant, deliberate and cowardly. One might well ask, "Where's the beef?"

Specifics were non-existent regarding the 150 budget cuts the Democrats have bragged about. Denials of pork in the budget package were laughed off by Mr. Clinton and left unchallenged by reporters.

No litany of broken campaign promises was asked about. Little mention of presidential appointments or lack thereof was discussed.

There was more talk about the site of the Yeltsin conference than any domestic problems or solutions. Yet the president has still not even named an ambassador to Russia. Nor did any reporter inquire about that fact.

Somalia, the Serb and Muslim conflict, possible nuke-building in North Korea took a back seat to what the journalists apparently thought were more important topics, like whether a new Supreme Court justice nominee will be pro-life or pro-abortion.

This press conference was sorely lacking in hardball journalists. It was more like a love-in of flower children of the baby-boomer era. All it lacked was Mr. Clinton's saxophone. Oh for the days of real journalists like Cronkite, Huntley, Mollenhoff, Severeid and Richard Wilson.

Had you turned off the video during this press conference, you would have sworn you were hearing a 10th-grade journalism class doing a rehearsal of a presidential press conference.

Paul K. Gladfelder

Hebron

Geometry of spring

Frank D. Roylance's article on the vernal equinox (March 20) was quite engaging. But it contains a factual error. Mr. Roylance writes:

"Modern astronomers say the equinoxes occur when the center of the earth passes through two theoretical points on opposite sides of the planet's near-circular orbit. Those spots are the places where the earth's orbital plane (called the plane of the ecliptic) is intersected by a second plane, called the celestial equator."

This second statement is incorrect. The intersection of two planes defines a line, not points, and the line defining the intersection of the ecliptic and celestial planes always passes through the center of the earth, regardless of season.

This intersection line passes through the center of the sun only at the spring and fall equinoxes, which is the unique aspect of the equinoxes.

The nature of the seasons is a persistent source of confusion for both children and adults. Mr. Roylance's article was a thoughtful attempt to explain the seasons, but it fell a bit short.

Mark D. Brickhouse

Columbia

Too lazy to think

Jim Frederick is right in his (Other Voices, March 10) column when he supposes that his "twenty-something" generation lacks neural activity when they constantly use the word "like."

He is also correct that we readers assume ineptness.

Your generation may not be "doomed to fail," Jim, but you definitely leave a lasting (negative) impression on those of us to whom you speak.

We're tired to hearing it! We are tired of this shoddy misuse of the English language. We react with abhorrence.

There is nothing colorful, attractive or meaningful about the word "like," Jim. The use of "like" only indicates a general lack of effort.

An English major should assume a bit more responsibility and take language a bit more seriously.

The constant use of a word such as "like" is simply an advertisement of how lazy your generation really is.

There are an abundance of more appropriate words available, Jim.

Paula D. DiNucci

Baltimore

Pet project

I read Mel Tansill's March 22 letter (Is Socks happy?) with eagerness, and feel that I can answer his question with as much authority as the president can present his economic plan.

Indeed, as Mr. Tansill pointed out, there is a symbiotic relationship between Socks' well-being and that of the whole White House family.

Socks is not happy -- yet. Socks, like other young people, needs to become involved in a community service project, upon which President Clinton has already expounded.

And we have just the program for him, which will involve the other young person in the White House, Chelsea.

If Chelsea and Socks become a Pets on Wheels team, not only will the First Family be gratified, but the nursing home residents they visit will thank them many times over.

It works like this: Socks takes a temperament test to make sure he responds to others the way he responds to his owner.

With cats, it's pretty simple: Will he sit on someone else's lap or bed? If he can do that with aplomb, he'll pass.

We also want to see that Socks is certified healthy by a veterinarian and that all his inoculations are up to date.

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