Randallstown should rely on itself for revival
C. Fraser Smith's column regarding Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's promise to waste more federal dollars on community development in Randallstown was interesting, as it points out the cynical approach many people have taken to solving problems: Federal money solves everything ("A heavy hitter stirs up hope in Randallstown," Opinion Commentary, May 30).
A former high school principal quoted in the article stated that young people need work force readiness training. Didn't they get 12 years of work force readiness training, paid for by state and local government, in the public schools?
If the youths of Randallstown didn't take advantage of that training, what leads anyone to believe they will take advantage of further training paid for by the government?
The same former principal states that the young people of Randallstown have a disquieting "attitude."
Federal money is going to change that? Mothers and fathers paying attention to what their children are doing and being involved and interested in their lives is what will change the disquieting attitude, not federal money.
Mr. Smith states in his column that Ms. Mikulski spoke to a room full of realists.
But any "community core" the federal government finances for Randallstown will soon be forgotten, and these "community leaders" will be back with their hands out, begging for money for some new scheme to bail out their neighborhood.
True realists would have told Ms. Mikulski to go home and keep her federal money, realizing that turning their community around is something that must be done from within.
Robert J. Barnett
City's cell phone tax can be easily avoided
The Sun's article regarding Baltimore's proposed cell phone tax hints that big businesses can easily bypass the new tax by moving their accounts to an area where lines are not taxed or the burden is lighter ("In tight times, officials hope cell phones will ring up cash," June 1).
In a Web-wide world of paperless billing, electronic debits and automated payments, not only will big businesses easily escape the city's money grab, but savvy consumers will easily be able to do exactly the same thing and never miss a beat.
And then where will the dollars come from? The cicadas?
Multiculturalism isn't multilingualism
Mike Bowler takes a giant, erroneous leap of logic in suggesting that multilingualism is a twin sister to multiculturalism ("Like it or not, the future is multicultural," May 26).
Multilingualism is the capability of speaking more than one language. Multiculturalism relates to the practice of people maintaining an insular community within a larger community. The result is that various groups of people refuse to learn the language of one another, which is the opposite of multilingualism.
This practice closes doors of communications from one group to another. The result may be misunderstandings and miscommunications.
Indeed, one of the dangers of multiculturalism is that the two communities will talk to each other through a few bilingual individuals.
This places the communities in danger, because the interpretation of actions and words may have to come through the potential bias of those bilingual individuals.
Rush to trial seeks to whitewash abuse
As usual, the military is using the low-ranking soldiers as scapegoats and fall guys for the misdemeanors and incompetence at upper levels ("Prosecuting abuse of prisoners," May 29).
Additionally, the full-time professionals are passing the blame on to the poorly trained part-timers, the National Guard and reservists.
To be fair to the accused, the courts-martial should not be held until all the inquiries, investigations, congressional hearings, etc., have been completed and all the facts are on the table.
The rush to trial is a whitewash, an effort to get the prison abuse scandal over with quickly - and no matter that those who are less culpable must take the blame.
Harry E. Bennett Jr.
Bush's leadership assaults our values
Andrew Cline's perspective on President Bush's leadership seems at odds with the facts ("Bush's vanishing act," Opinion Commentary, May 27).
Mr. Bush's foreign policy is catastrophic. We have retreated from many of the principles that once made this nation a world leader. We invade sovereign countries. We imprison people without trial. We violate the privacy of our own citizens and those of other countries. These moves have cost us the ability to lead world opinion.
The same politicians who devised these new American "values" are wringing their hands over Spain's retreat in the face of the Madrid atrocity. But Spain will continue to be Spain. Will we continue to be America?
President Bush no doubt means well, but he is not leading us into a gallant battle, as Mr. Cline suggests. He is leading a chaotic retreat from our principles.
This is a rout of the kind not seen since the days of Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy.