No wonder Dole is behind in the pollsThe recent bombings...

Letters

August 05, 1996

No wonder Dole is behind in the polls

The recent bombings on TWA Flight 800 and in Centennial Olympic Park define the consequences and harsh reality of American independence.

Bob Dole, amazingly, chose this moment in time to praise the patriotic values of the unreal movie, ''Independence Day,'' and its unreal portrayal of our national psyche.

No wonder he is 24 points behind President Clinton in the polls.

Mel Tansill

Catonsville

Watchdog group harms public debate

Your July 24 article addressing a study released by Public Citizen, a self-appointed ''consumer watchdog group," illustrates the pernicious effect that political correctness has on rational, objective public debate, particularly as it relates to technical and scientific issues.

Public Citizen's report implied a link between the level of funding provided by pharmaceutical firms to various "think tanks" and the position papers issued by those analysis organizations supporting a revamping and streamlining of the Food and Drug Administration drug approval procedures.

Nothing in the article suggested that the Public Citizen report presented any objective, reasoned or rational counterpoints to the think-tank FDA restructuring proposals. Their only argument appears to be that the industry's provision of funding for legislative and regulatory analysis must result in dissemination of disinformation.

Public Citizen clearly would not accept as valid any pronouncements on this issue from industry itself, since it would expect industry to be biased in its own favor. By Public Citizen's apparent reasoning, any public releases from or supported by industry itself must constitute disinformation.

The arrogance and self-righteousness of groups such as Public Citizen is based on a zealous belief that their position (in this case, that only federal government agencies can protect citizens from life-threatening actions by greedy industries) is inherently correct.

Any position counter to theirs must be ''disinformation'' and can only be logically explained as resulting from bribery and greed on the part of those issuing those counter positions.

This is only a small and most recent example of the manner in which controversial scientific and technical issues are addressed in public debate in the adversarial atmosphere that exists in society and government today, much to the detriment of the public good.

How refreshing it would be to have the opportunity to understand the technical, scientific and even the philosophical basis for opposing positions, and be able to judge the merits of each myself.

Unfortunately, without a whiff of scandal or impropriety, release of a report presenting such information would probably not be noticed. How sad.

William A. Richkus

Catonsville

Officer commended for smoking ticket

In her July 31 letter, Mary Louise Glorioso complains that her daughter was charged by police with under-age smoking. She says that in the "good old days" the officer would have let the parents handle the problem and that police should re-examine their priorities.

If the police start to ignore all of the smaller things, does she believe that will help to stop the "drugs in schools, drunk drivers . . . and children being abused"? Perhaps she should be thankful the officer took some action instead of just sloughing it off.

Being so inconvenienced by having to attend a hearing, perhaps Ms. Glorioso and her daughter will work together to prevent future activities that could bring criminal charges.

The time to address the "minor issues of society" is now. We should not be faulting the police officer for writing a ticket to a child who is five years too young to be smoking. Would we complain if the police target underage drinkers? Of course not.

Charles McCloud

Rising Sun

Police should charge smoking teens.

One of every two smokers dies of the habit. It kills 440,000 people a year, more than obesity, more than alcohol, more than all other problems combined, at 90 times the rate at which our soldiers died in Vietnam.

Battling tobacco is a war and police and doctors are on the front line. Sorry you're upset about your slashed tires, which is a done deal. By contrast we can make a difference by intervening with smoking teens.

Smoking leads the causes of lost work days. Smokers are less able to afford health insurance and half of in-patient Medicaid costs are related to self-inflicted disease, mostly through smoking and alcohol.

So, bless the officer. His actions are saving us huge sums eventually.

Ted Houk, M.D.

Towson

Mrs. Glendening praised for shows

As a citizen who cares about the visual and performing arts in Maryland, I want to commend Frances Glendening for her initiative in organizing art exhibitions for Government House from collections around the state.

Not only does Mrs. Glendening's new program bring an overview of Maryland's best art to the thousands of people who annually visit Government House, but it also serves to highlight our state's commitment to the arts at the highest level.

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