Mayor's protest could damage state economy
I want to express my dismay at Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke for joining the protest against the Cassini space mission.
Thousands of Marylanders, including a sizable number of Baltimore City residents, depend on NASA for their livelihood. If his actions have any effect on these Marylanders, it will most certainly be negative.
If the mayor wants to make a contribution to planning NASA missions, he should contact NASA directly. I am sure they would be willing to work with him.
John P. Emmerling Jr.
No rest-room doors? What's the big deal?
I would have been amused by the article titled ''Doorless bathrooms outrage parents'' (Sept. 25) if the implications for your newspaper's content were not so grave.
From the teaser listed on page one of the paper (''Doorless bathrooms upset school parents''), I expected a story about how the individual stalls lacked doors. Instead, I learned that these parents are upset because the outer entrance of the entire rest room lacks doors.
I ask, is this news? Should we care? We live in a state plagued with many problems and this is the news flash you dig up? Stories like this make me long to live in a city that houses at least two daily newspapers, with the hope that the force of competition wouldn't leave any room for non-stories like this one.
Incidentally, I attended Circleville Middle School (Circleville, N.Y.) from 1982 until 1985. The rest rooms, like many in New York State that I have been in, lacked outer doors. And, unbelievably, I used them and went on to live my life with, I'd like to think, some modicum of success. I now learn from your illuminating story that using a public rest room that lacks outer doors may cause psychological harm, particularly for girls. Hey, Baltimore Sun, thanks for spending time reporting this ground-breaking story, which is certainly much more important than exploring the constant disparity between the wages of men and women, the Religious Right's mobilization of women throughout this country to return to their ''traditional'' roles, and the adverse effect so-called welfare reform has had on Baltimore women with children.
Franklin Pierce deserves better
Two recent academic polls rating the presidents both unfairly classify Franklin Pierce a failure (''Active presidents top the polls,'' Opinion Commentary, Sept. 25).
As president in a harshly divisive and demanding era, Pierce tried his best to be conciliatory and managed to keep the nation together. His inability to resolve the slavery issue was a political sin shared by many.
Pierce's achievements include the expansion of United States territories and commercial interests. He promoted claiming far-flung unoccupied islands that contain guano, highly valued as fertilizer, on behalf of the United States. This policy officially marked the start of our nation's territorial annexation overseas.
Pierce also helped make the federal government more efficient, fiscally responsible, and scandal-free. He streamlined and strengthened the military, cracked down on corruption in the sale of public lands, and reduced the national debt from $60 million to $11 million.
Pierce was a hard-working and honest president. Amid unimaginable political pressures and deep personal sorrows, he accomplished some worthwhile objectives.
Pierce's rating as a failure should be re-evaluated. He will likely never end up on the honor roll of presidents, but he has clearly earned a respectable grade.
Judge Johnson made a deadbeat pay up
I will be forever grateful to Judge Kenneth Lavon Johnson.
I thought that four years of doing my own leg work to catch a deadbeat finally paid off when he was brought to court. With more than one case against him, his arrears were over $30,000. The first judge ordered him to come back in three months with $3,000, with a two-year prison sentence possible.
What that judge did was allow him three additional months to not feed, clothe, shelter, or medically care for his children once again. When he returned to court without the money, he was ordered by a second judge to return in three more months with $4,000. Analogous to some HMO doctors receiving incentives for denying health care to some patients, do judges receive incentives for not sending deadbeats to prison?
Six months later, we were faced with a third judge, Judge Johnson. Before court began this day, I asked the attorney whether we would have a stern judge this time. The slow nodding of the attorney's head was reassurance.
Judge Johnson ordered the deadbeat to prison for two years, which he cited as a light sentence imposed by his colleague, and nothing short of $4,000 would get him out before the two years. Four months later the deadbeat was released from prison, and for seven months I have been receiving steady child support.
Without the liberals, no racial progress