AIDS StereotypesI applaud The Sun's Jan. 9 editorial...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 20, 1994

AIDS Stereotypes

I applaud The Sun's Jan. 9 editorial supporting public service announcements about condoms and AIDS.

It is true that human behavior is difficult to change, but many people hope that public service announcements will help raise awareness about AIDS and encourage individual reconsideration of personal behavior.

A major hinderance to increased awareness about AIDS is typified in the editorial's characterization of AIDS as "spread primarily through homosexual contacts between men and through needle sharing by intravenous drug users."

Furthermore, the editorial describes the heterosexual spread of AIDS as a problem "in other parts of the world."

Although it is true that most current cases of AIDS in this country are attributed to homosexual contact or needle sharing, recent studies have shown that the fastest growing group, percentage-wise, to be infected with HIV consists of heterosexual, non-intravenous drug using young adults.

This group of people does not feel vulnerable to AIDS, generally believing that only homosexuals and drug users get AIDS. These beliefs are tragically untrue, and the editorial reinforces this false sense of security.

Heterosexuals are at risk for AIDS, do get AIDS and have an immense need to know about their risk for AIDS.

Robert J. Fox

Baltimore

Jive, Jibe, etc.

There is no telling what kind of dictionaries are available in Hartford, Conn., but if Rob Kyff of the Hartford Courant, whose story in The Sun of Dec. 30 on the use of "jive," "gibes" and "jibe" had gone to any good reference book, he would have found that "jibe" and "tack" are not synonymous.

And his example of "talking jive" is ridiculous. It's like saying "talking speech." One says "making jive" or giving out with the "jive."

Does anyone read copy at The Sun these days?

I. L. Garfinkle

Boca Raton, Fla.

Economics of Art

Artist Ferebe Streett ("Capitalism's Corruption of Art," Opinion * Commentary, Jan. 6) knows art and defends its standards with admirable courage. I'm sorry that she so misunderstands capitalism.

Freedom (political liberty) and capitalism are, for most purposes, interchangeable terms. The substitution certainly works in Ms. Streett's article, and I don't believe so insightful an artist would have blamed freedom for shoddy art and the demise of standards.

Capitalism provides individuals the freedom to chase dollars if they choose to; it does not require such behavior. It permits Karen Finley to call herself an artist; it doesn't require anyone to agree. It's individual liberty, not money-grubbing, that is the essence of capitalism.

Perhaps someday Ms. Streett will see that the genuine artist and the entrepreneur are identical in spirit, and each can thrive only in the politically free society that is capitalism.

John B. Egger

Towson

The writer is associate professor of economics at Towson State University.

Maryland's Farmers Are Doing Their Share

The Dec. 26 feature by Tim Wheeler which addressed the faltering public initiative to restore the Chesapeake Bay is generally on target.

However, I am disappointed that the success story provided by the agricultural community during the past 10 years was overlooked.

For a variety of reasons, the federal and state financial incentives offered to Maryland farmers for installing improved water quality practices did not diminish during the prolonged Maryland state financial crunch.

In fact, federal cost-share funding available in Maryland through the U.S. Department of Agriculture farmer-elected County ASC Committee has actually grown since 1990.

The rationale for this federal increase in Maryland was to further strengthen the effectiveness of a 10-year-old state cost-share incentive program offered to Maryland farmers through state established Soil Conservation Districts.

This federal-state partnership has had enthusiastic response from Maryland farmers as they recognize their responsibilities in providing for a cleaner environment and a financially sound agricultural economy.

Your feature article lumps agricultural activity with population growth and development activities as a single nemesis to bay water quality.

In reality, farmland in Maryland continues to decrease at an alarming rate, with almost every acre of that decline going into home sites or commercial development to accommodate an ever-expanding population.

Farmers, through the partnership efforts of a variety of public agencies and their own environmental sensitivity, have made a dramatic response during the last 60 years to save soil and avoid loss of valuable nutrients or ingredients to ground-water or surface run-off.

Positive water quality results from the last 10 years have been particularly encouraging due to the widespread use of rather sophisticated new conservative farming techniques.

In terms of non-point pollution abatement, only undisturbed forest land offers greater protection to the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. It is significant to note that farmers also own most of these wooded areas in Maryland.

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