Baker on ChildrenIn the season of putting aside...


January 05, 1994

Baker on Children

In the season of putting aside differences and celebrating our common humanity, the people of this region demonstrated that the health and safety of our children are paramount.

I am referring to the heartwarming response from readers of Tim Baker's column, "Hopkins' Letter to Santa" (Dec. 13).

Mr. Baker wrote eloquently about what it's like for children who must spend the holidays in the hospital. And he explained that the Johns Hopkins Children's Center has a Christmas list of its own, including items as basic as tape players and as sophisticated as high-frequency oscillatory ventilators.

The day the column appeared, readers started calling the center to ask how they could help. Strangers continue to send generous checks with poignant notes about how much they appreciate our work for children.

The children, physicians, nurses, residents and staff of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center extend a sincere thank you to Tim Baker and the wonderful people of Maryland. Our wish for them is that they find equal measures of the warmth and reassurance they have given us.

Frank A. Oski, M.D.


The writer is director of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Low Comedy

I was rather annoyed, though somewhat amused, by the opinions expressed in Gerald Howard's "The Profitable Plunge from Lowbrow to Nobrow" (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 22).

Howard seems to believe there is a recent trend in popular culture in which certain members of America's cultural elite cynically peddle mindless waste to an ignorant populace, and he offers Beavis and Butt-head, Howard Stern and the Simpsons as the most egregious examples.

According to Howard's rather facile Marxist approach, this segment of the cultural elite practices "class warfare" by not only cashing in on the masses' lack of refined taste but also by sardonically laughing at them all the way to the bank.

Obviously, Howard has an extremely unsophisticated understanding of low comedy. He would like to think vulgarity and bawdiness could never appeal to an educated individual and would thus be pandered only to the ignorant lower-class rube.

This not only ignores the many intelligent and sophisticated people who sincerely do enjoy these programs, it insults the sensibilities of lower-class Americans by portraying them as easily-duped fools. . . .

Andrew Gross



Andrei Codrescu (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 27) seems to be blaming the Greyhound bus company for all America's social ills.

Because he was slightly inconvenienced during a bus trip, he would like to see the entire bus system dismantled.

Greyhound is indeed host to the underprivileged and socially neglected, but it also hosts grannies going to see their families, job seekers and joy-riders, like the Dutch rider, who find the system by far the most convenient way to see the United States in a limited time.

Incidentally I'm sure the Dutch tourist girl had a whale of a time and lots of stories to relate back home.

Rather than "bureaucratically rude," his bus driver sounds as though he were a model of patience and forbearance.

The Greyhound Lines company is not perfect, but without Greyhound how would "the unfortunate of the earth" reach their funerals and mental hospitals?

We need more, not less, long distance buses, so that whatever mental hospital Codrescu was traveling to, there will always be a Greyhound bus to take him there.

Marion Kaminkow



The issue has been relegated to the inside pages of this newspaper. Most people have given up hope that our government will exercise leadership. But while diplomats continue to negotiate, in Bosnia misery and death continue daily.

Like earlier promises of action, the threats to bomb Serbian positions shelling Sarajevo have since proved empty.

The U.S. government's policy on Bosnia has been shameful and cruel. Let us now have the decency to admit what the people of Sarajevo already know. The West will not defend them.

So that they can salvage their honor, lives and country, let the people of Bosnia defend themselves.

The international arms embargo against Bosnia must be lifted

before ethnic cleansing runs it tragic course.

Oz Bengur


Role Model

As a counselor in the Baltimore City schools for inner city adolescents, I believe that the saddest effect of the Jacqueline McLean mess is its impact on the fragile self-esteem of these black adolescent girls.

Whether Ms. McLean chooses to admit it or not, she is a role model for black youth simply by privy of her position: the only black woman ever elected to city-wide office.

Even if she is proven innocent, her arrogance in the process and disdain for the electorate are character traits not worthy of emulation. If she is proven guilty, then her deeds disavow the normative legal code.

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