Must get nation in decent shapeDan Rodrick's June 19...

Letters

July 02, 1996

Must get nation in decent shape

Dan Rodrick's June 19 column, "U.S. is prominent in UNICEF report," was both informative and enlightening, helping put some of this country's problems into proper perspective. For example, in the United States there is a serious breakdown in family relations that is widespread.

Economic issues, politics and a trend toward single-parent families greatly affect the futures of our children. A reexamination of our priorities in government spending and an overhaul of the current welfare system is very much needed.

This is an economy of increasing pressures, which has led to more crime and, according to the UNICEF report, to 20 percent of U.S. kids living below the poverty level.

I believe we must act now to begin getting America back into decent shape so it can approach an image that the immigrants once had -- that of a place where streets are paved with gold and ours is the envy of other countries.

David Kaliner

Baltimore

Losing Ella is like losing a good friend

So, sadly, we have lost Ella, but only in the flesh. Happily, her recordings will live on to thrill and entertain us.

The musical abilities of Ella Fitzgerald, which, indeed, were unique, have been widely and appropriately praised. I want to call forth recognition of another vital aspect of her life and career -- her tremendous audience appeal and her communication, via her entire being, with her audience and her fellow musicians in a performance.

I was privileged to see her perform live only once: at Painters' Mill in the late 1960s. To reach or leave the stage of that theater-in-the-round, the artist walked down a long ramp.

As Ella made her way, back and forth, at the beginning, end and intermission, she walked slowly and communicated with all those along the way, even though her eyesight was not good, even then.

The descriptive phrase that comes to mind is, ''like a politician working a crowd,'' but she was really more like a loving friend, making contact with all she could reach.

I have been a fan since her first hit record, ''A Tisket, A Tasket,'' and wouldn't take anything for her performances with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and other greats. Or even the album cover of one of her records with Louis -- Ella in a flowing print dress, seated next to Louis, holding his horn in his lap, his short, white socks rolled at his ankles, and both of them beaming, full of joy, at the fun they were having performing together. Ella with her amusing and right-on imitations of Louis' singing style and voice . . .

We have lost more than just a great songstress; one whose memory will be ever-green, due to her personal nobility and devotion to the fans who loved her.

Franklin W. Littleton

Baltimore

Columnist makes stereotypes worse

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) fully respects the right of a journalist to utilize satire as a way of expressing his or her views.

Mike Littwin's piece ("Of the Jewish persuasion: a Southern Baptist primer,'' June 17) may however, have had the opposite effect.

We fear that Mr. Littwin, in his effort to parody the recent resolution of the Southern Baptist Convention on the conversion of Jews, has helped to perpetuate derogatory stereotypes among those who may not understand his brand of humor.

The Southern Baptist Convention call to convert Jews is offensive and a setback for the cause of interfaith understanding.

While we both agree that the Southern Baptist Convention's decision is an affront, Littwin has added insult to injury.

Unfortunately, the backdrop for intolerance toward Jews in Europe, culminating in the Holocaust, was the absence of respect by Christianity for Judaism's legitimacy.

Anything less than ardent support for the preservation of the Jewish people is an affront to the memory of those who were murdered by intolerance.

Laura Kam-Issacharoff

Washington

The writer is media relations coordinator at the ADL regional office.

The need to act against the junking of the city

Until Alex Gordon's June 21 article on scrap metal dealers boo-hooing a new permit process on behalf of scrap dealers, I have been impressed with the accuracy and completeness of The Sun's reporting on junk dealers.

Mr. Gordon's article ''Police crackdown on sales of scrap,'' was entirely disconnected to the gravity of the problem, paying undue attention to the reported ''deluge of paperwork'' and ''anxiety'' on the part of scrap dealers.

His article also seemed out-of-sync with The Sun's reporting history on junk collecting problems.

This dates back to Peter Hermann's April 9, 1995, article ''Illegal scrap-metal sales are targeted by Baltimore,'' reporting on Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's order to police to ''crack down on scrap dealers who buy stolen metal . . .''

David Simon's wonderfully graphic account of neighborhood ''harvesters'' running in the Sun Magazine: ''HEAVY INTO METAL -- Aluminum, iron, copper and brass -- you name it, they'll steal it,'' Sept. 3, 1995, also reflected the severity of the problem.

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