Cold PumpsMike Rethman is exactly right in his assessment...


February 05, 1994

Cold Pumps

Mike Rethman is exactly right in his assessment of the power shortage in the recent frigid weather. The only thing wrong is the conclusion of his Jan. 29 letter.

We wouldn't need more generating power now, if we could simply do away with the cause of the shortage -- heat pumps.

Heat pumps lose a great deal of their efficiency at outside temperatures in the 40s. At freezing and below, they are nearly useless. When the temperature reaches single digits, they are completely non-functional.

At this point, the electrical back-up is called upon to kick in, putting an unusually high load on the power grid.

Remember the winters of the late 1970s, when we had similar bouts of extreme cold? We didn't have any power blackouts then -- and we didn't have heat pumps.

Why do we have such non-functional systems in most homes built since the 1970s? I'll tell you why: because they are cheap, the cheapest thing around. Forget efficiency or economy of operation for the homeowner; they allow a builder or developer to market a home for a few hundred dollars less than gas or oil conventional heating plants.

So we, and the BG&E, are stuck with a heating system that works just fine in Florida but is undependable in a severe Maryland winter.

The people who make up our building codes need to "get real" and quit listening to the demands of builders who are willing to install cheap but inadequate heating plants.

Franklin W. Littleton


Racial Ads

Although Richard T. Seymour might not acknowledge or realize it, his comments in the Jan. 29 letter, "Race in Ads," are those of someone who has never considered anything from a non-white perspective.

I know that it is impossible to change such a person's opinion, but I'd like to offer an alternative, and perhaps a bit more-informed, point of view.

When a black person looking for a place to live -- or shopping foany commodity -- sees page after page of only white people in advertisements, the message is that blacks are not welcome and that blacks do not belong in this situation.

I have seen, for example, only one advertisement for a tropical resort that shows blacks vacationing and enjoying themselves.

The vast majority of these tropical paradise ads shows whites running and laughing on the beach and blacks, if any, functioning in a subservient role, such as drummer or waiter.

The message is clear and intentional: This is a haven where white people can escape from blacks who don't know their place. These blacks will smile and do what you tell them to do.

That's the way advertising works. Every element is planned to convey a message. No one in any advertisement just happens to be in the photograph. Subjects are selected and positioned carefully. The environment is selected and designed carefully. Photographs are carefully airbrushed or manipulated electronically.

An advertising campaign for Goucher College, where I am employed as assistant director of publications, portrays a diverse community (males, females, whites, blacks, Asians, scholars, scholar-athletes, and the list goes on) with the intention of demonstrating and promoting that diversity.

Could the college expect to do so if the ads represented only a white male student, for example? Or a black female student?

In spite of laws preventing discrimination, some individuals and organizations continue to deter blacks, along with many other minorities, from enjoying the vast opportunities that are rightfully theirs.

Groups like Baltimore Neighborhoods Inc. attempt to open these closed doors to all of us.

Jennifer M. Dyer


Spattered Banner

What is happening to our national anthem?

Instead of the chill that always ran up my spine during its playing, I now have sense of shame as one boogie-woogie version after another is trotted out. Does anyone care?

Luckily I have my remote, making it easy to click them off until they exhaust their senselessness.

Charles S. DeLuca


Gun Control

Your Jan. 27 editorial, "Gun Bill Roadblock," states that Cecil County Sen. Walter Baker has managed to block "modest" gun control bills over the past several years.

Well, I thank God for Mr. Baker, and hope he continues doing exactly what he is doing.

Any of the gun control bills that I have seen over the past several years have been anything but modest.

The handgun Roster Board approves firearms for sale in Maryland that have met their requirements for safety and usefulness. Now we have the governor, with the backing of anti-gun groups, sponsoring legislation to outlaw some of the very guns approved by the handgun Roster Board.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the ultimate goal of these groups is a total ban on ownership of all firearms.

Funny how this is always mislabeled as crime control, when it has so little to do with crime.

I would trade the crime rate now for the crime rate of 1967, when you could buy guns through the mail. Obviously, there is something else to blame for our crime problems than a piece of metal and plastic.

Gerard Mueller


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