Way to goIsn't it amazing what an ex-president can...

the Forum

September 30, 1994

Way to go

Isn't it amazing what an ex-president can accomplish when he doesn't have to go through Congress?

Louis J. Piasecki

Cockeysville

Cairo conference

I am writing regarding Melissa Melum's letter ''Too many mouths'' (The Forum, Sept. 2).

This latest exercise in bashing the Catholic Church demonstrated an astounding ability to oversimplify, equaled only the writer's tunnel vision.

First of all, given the oft-displayed major media antipathy toward Rome, it is hard to imagine where or when Ms. Melum might have heard a TV network news broadcast boasting about the power of the Roman Catholic Church being used to stall the United Nation's Cairo population conference.

If anything, network news would probably have adopted a condemnatory or, at best, wryly amused tone when presenting such a report. But, boasting? Hardly!

Second, unless the conference was misreported by your paper, it would seem that it definitely took place as scheduled, which would seem to indicate that the supposedly vaunted ''power'' referred to in Ms. Melum's letter did not ''stall'' the conference at all.

Most importantly, while the church's position is indeed strongly anti-abortion, it was nowhere near so one-dimensional in this instance as Ms. Melum apparently believes.

Vatican officials have consistently maintained that resource allocation, responsible development and adequate distribution systems are necessary to solve the twin problems of poverty and hunger in the world.

Evidently it is not quite so clear to the church and to the majority of the world's scientists -- who did not sign the Warning to Humanity -- that these problems will be solved by imposition of Draconian birth control strictures on the less developed nations.

Respect for life ought to mean respect for all life -- born and unborn, wealthy and poor, in developed and underdeveloped countries.

len E. Redding

Baltimore

Changing times

In changing times people need to adjust. One change needed today is to have voting on Saturdays. The time pressure on people demands it.

Another change is needed in the name of fairness and justice. In Britain candidates have equal time on TV to campaign. We too need to consider this in order to be fair to both the parties and the candidates.

Another matter is funding. It is the people who vote, not the big money. Have equal amounts for campaigns.

Delaware is a state that votes on Saturday. Maryland should consider the needs of the people in this matter, too. We are in changing times.

C. S. Ivanauskas

Bel Air

'Diversity,' or reverse discrimination?

An Aug. 10 memo from Undersecretary of Defense Edwin Dorn to the heads of defense agencies and commands addresses the need to diversify the work force.

To make this possible, Mr. Dorn suggests that Department of Defense officials who want to hire or promote non-disabled white men to a Grade 15 or higher civilian job must now get approval from the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. This apparently is in response to Defense Secretary William J. Perry's policy, which stated that women and people with disabilities are ''not well represented'' at management levels. The secretary asked Mr. Dorn to fix the situation.

Dorn's memo says that ''progress in this area [diversity] comes one job at a time, so every vacancy provides us with an opportunity to improve the department's record. I need to be consulted whenever you are contemplating the possibility that any career position at GS-15 level or higher is likely to be filed by a candidate who will not enhance your organization's diversity."

A defense official was quoted as saying that there is no intention to discriminate against ''any group'' but simply to make officials who hire and promote aware of the situation.

Mr. Dorn has since backpedaled, saying that the instructions were not meant for the defense department as a whole, only for the 300 or so people who work for him. This makes it right?

What he's really saying is that the Department of Defense is no longer interested in ''equal opportunity,'' but rather ''equal outcome.''

Who is to say that a woman or African-American or Hispanic or disabled person is more qualified for a position than a non-disabled white male? One would hope that qualifications would enter into the picture, not just numbers.

Some theorize that minorities (women, African-American, Hispanics, and others) have been discriminated against in the past. That may or may not be the case; it doesn't matter. The point now is that to discriminate against white males in the interest of promoting diversity is no more correct than it was to have theoretically discriminated against minorities in the first place.

If the problem is assuring equal opportunity for all, this is not the answer.

James A. Graf

Columbia

Gun debate

To those of whatever political or philosophical persuasion involved in the gun control issue, I propose the following challenges:

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