Save SarajevoThe lives of Sarajevo's brave and beleaguered...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 07, 1995

Save Sarajevo

The lives of Sarajevo's brave and beleaguered people are almost too tragic for us to bear.

It is hard to believe that a few years ago the city hosted the Winter Olympics and presented itself to the world as a cosmopolitan city with a centuries-old cultural heritage, where Christians and Muslims, Serbs and Bosnians lived and worked together.

The siege has continued despite diplomatic efforts to end it. We have allowed this horror to continue for too long. It is past time. We must do what is necessary to free Sarajevo.

Americans rightly ask why this is any of our business. Under far less dire circumstances, but with far greater risks of war, the U.S. saved the people of Berlin from the stranglehold of the Soviets.

That was a proud time for America. We were proud because it was the morally right thing to do. The same moral imperative now requires us to save Sarajevo.

Oz Bengur

Towson

Smoking Kills

On June 14, The Baltimore Sun saw fit to run a full page pro-smoking advertisement which implied that "life-style police" are controlling "many aspects of our daily lives."

The ad was paid for by the "The National Smokers Alliance" (N.S.A.), a name which suggests an alliance of ordinary concerned citizens. What your unwary readers should know is that the N.S.A. was created and largely funded by Philip Morris.

N.S.A. won't say how much funding it gets from the tobacco giant. That's a secret.

Tobacco companies need to hide behind front groups like this because the public increasingly sees them as unsavory and without credibility. (Remember "Nicotine is not addicting," and, "We don't market to children"?)

The ad uses the standard tobacco industry tactic of trying to equate smoking with relatively harmless pleasures like drinking coffee and eating red meat. The difference, of course, is that no one would ever dream of banning coffee (the thought is ludicrous). For that matter, no one has ever suggested banning smoking in private, where it does not expose others to harm.

The fact is tobacco alone is the greatest public health problem of our time. Twenty percent of the civilized world will die of preventable smoking related illness.

Using their phenomenal wealth and power, the tobacco companies hope they can sway public opinion by purchasing full-page ads. I prefer to believe that citizens will think for themselves.

`Rodney A. Johnson, M.D.

Baltimore

CIA and KGB

Murder will out, as the CIA is finding. "CIA" -- sort of close to the Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti, and we've seen what happened to them.

W. K. Lester

Round Bay

Bring Music Back

WJHU's decision to carry National Public Radio talk shows instead of Bill Spencer's music show during the morning is a loss, not a gain, to listeners in the Baltimore area.

WAMU in Washington was already accessible to most of this area. I personally have never had any difficulty in tuning in to WAMU either from home or from my car radio.

Granted that NPR is under attack from the current Congress and right-wing extremists and needs all the encouragement it can get right now.

However, dropping popular classical music shows in order to duplicate a service that is already available does not seem the way to go about it.

Juanita B. Millican

Baltimore

Reading into the Cloverleaf-Bally Deal

I respectfully suggest you read some of the current and back issues of trade publications before making any further pronouncements on the Cloverleaf-Bally harness-track deal. Had you done so, you would have noted:

1. Thoroughbred track owner Joe DeFrancis' statement in the Daily Racing Form of May 19 -- "If you can't beat them, join them. If you can't keep them out of your marketplace, then you've got to participate in it, control as much of it as possible, and make sure that an appropriate percentage is dedicated to purses."

The deal with Bally's will give the harness horsemen 50 percent of the proceeds from the casino gambling. Mr. DeFrancis couldn't have cut a better deal.

If there is a thoroughbred horseman who does not believe Mr. DeFrancis has been actively pursuing casino interests, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell him.

2. The article in Horseman & Fair World of May 10, "Remember Prairie Meadows? Slots Revitalize Iowa Track." This track, which was ready to go belly-up, is now expected to "show a profit of $3.35 million this year."

With Delaware tracks going to slots this year (Delaware Park has already caused a serious decline in the simulcasting handle at Poor Jimmy's OTB in Cecil County) and Pennsylvania considering gaming, marrying casino gaming to horse racing is necessary for the survival of Maryland horse racing. It's a bitter pill to swallow and chokes all who love the sport, but swallow we must if we're to remain alive and healthy . . .

Your editorial cartoon on racing and casinos was very amusing. Any publicity is better than none.

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