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On Morton on Jennings

Posted 8/24/2005

I truly admire Brian Morton’s appraisal of Peter Jennings’ career and demeanor (Political Animal, Aug. 17). It sickens me he will probably be remembered more for his smoking habit and death from lung cancer than for decades of important journalism. I was gratified Morton did not fall prey to this.

Shame on America’s blood lust! It is sad Peter Jennings had such faith in our decency as to come forth with news of his illness and tobacco problem. Don’t forget he spent time in Vietnam and could have been exposed to Agent Orange—a highly carcinogenic chemical. We all know smoking is dangerous and we all know lung cancer is deadly; it is unacceptable that the “blame the victim” crowd has a new icon to hoist up on their podium.

Years ago, I interviewed for a job at ABC News and met Peter Jennings. Although I did not secure a position, I was impressed by his politeness and concern for someone starting out in the business. Naturally, I followed his career and cannot remember one false step in his reporting.

My sister died from a form of lung cancer and never smoked a day in her life. Hopefully those with fatal diseases will, as in years past, keep silent about their illnesses. It is shocking that the disease establishment is seeking ways to use the death of Peter Jennings to line their pockets.

I grieve for the Jennings family and everyone else who thinks the manner in which his demise has been handled is hideous.

Rosalind Ellis

Brian Morton’s column strikes me as funny and sad. I’m one of those broadcast journalism majors (grad school) who didn’t quite make it as a reporter. But not because I wasn’t serious. Of course, I’m not sure if it was because my competition was and is—as Morton seems to think—bubble-headed, blow-dried, and empty.

Anyhow, Morton’s assessment of Peter Jennings makes him out to be the last of an era. Well, they said that about Edward R. Murrow, too. Huntley, Brinkley, Chancellor, Cronkite, Sevareid, Collingwood, Hottelet, Burdett, Howard K. Smith, and some others struck me as the ones to watch and listen to. They were competent newsmen: They reported from the scene and from the studio, and you knew they knew what they were talking about.

Jennings tends to fall into the company mentioned above. I thought he was pleasant, not overwrought in his delivery—generally easy to take. That’s come to be seen as important. Perhaps it is. Seems it’s not easy to get just the right mix of seriousness and lightness. Jennings seemed to have it.

Paul Kellogg
New York

The Camera’s Aye

Thank you for taking the time to both view and review the images that are displayed at the Baltimore Gallery in Highlandtown (Art, Aug. 17).

The Baltimore Camera Club appreciates your attention. We are a club that fosters a learning environment for many community members—such as Kay Muldoon-Ibrahim, Wayne Ballard, and Barry Christie—who otherwise would have no opportunity to share their work, have it critiqued, and grow with their photographic skills through exposure to others.

We challenge members, on occasion, to photograph specific subject matter. One of those challenges was to shoot graffiti in the city, and oh what a challenge that was! The mayor has done an exceptional job with his graffiti rub-out program. Kudos.

On a quiet overcast Sunday morning at 7 a.m., I started driving with my gear through Druid Hill, then on to Butchers Hill, and finally ended at about 6 p.m. in Brewers Hill. Wall murals were the art that most impressed me, and I began to shoot them, as they had given me a feeling about the rhythm and life in our city.

Kay had also spent a day in the city photographing murals and felt much the same way I did. The photograph you referenced by me in the gallery show was an actual mural in progress as a result of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. The partnership between the artist and local schools enables inner-city children to participate in this process. The scaffolding was five floors high and the children depicted were being instructed to use the paper cutouts to outline the shapes they would then paint. More information on this valuable city program can be found at

The Baltimore Camera Club site can be found at We welcome all levels of photographic interest and experience.

Karen Messick
President, Baltimore Camera Club

Why Whitney?

First, tell Vincent Williams I want to review his list of pop-culture subjects for articles, because thus far he has done a very good job (Social Studies, Aug. 17).

Now onto my 2 cents as a HUGE Whitney Houston fan. I’m not buying the whole she’s-in-love-with-someone-who’s-a-piss-poor-role-model-for-a-daughter-she-claims-she-dearly-loves. I think Whitney won’t divorce Bobby Brown because it keeps her in the media, and it can’t say “I told you so.” I personally think something has happened to piss my girl off when the young’uns (Ms. Alicia Keys) took the eye of the great Clive “I Can Make You a Star” Davis. Bobby is her cushion for ignorance and bad behavior. It does love company.

I refused to watch this reality farce because Bobby’s career is over. Yes, he and Whitney are a Tom Joyner radio joke every morning, but who will buy his music? Will you, Vince? I doubt it. Most wish Whitney would get it together and use her talent to make more great music. L.A. Reid was correct. People are spending too much time enjoying the “Whitney Show” (sorry, Bobby, it is her show), and it’s her doing.

So, girlfriend, let me give more 2 cents. My Bobby Brown is sitting in St. Louis with a set of divorce papers I paid for because my daughter needing a wonderful male role model was more important than what others would say.

I truly believe in my heart that if Whitney was a poor single mother from St. Louis, Bobby Brown would be history. She wouldn’t have the money to play media games and sing to an idiot “You make me feel like a natural woman.” She would be waitressing and thanking God for giving her the strength to get rid of a deadbeat and feed her daughter. Exhale, Nippy, exhale.

Sharon Wright


I just want to write to thank you for your front-page article “XXXXXXXL: The Secret History of the Galaxy Tall Tee” (Aug. 11).

Since moving to Baltimore a month or so ago, I was immediately struck by this phenomenon. I came from Pittsburgh, which I guess is a city just a little less urbanely hip, because I had never seen such an incredible uniformity of dress. I immediately began to theorize about what this could be. Was it some kind of gang thing? Maybe it was because of the Baltimore heat—white reflects sunlight and this would keep a person much cooler. Or could it be a sort of political statement, a testament to the inherent equality of all people. On and on, day after day, I theorized.

Just at the point when my brain was about to explode, I managed to pull the car over and stumble into an air-conditioned restaurant to seek shelter—the walls seemingly closing in. I spotted a copy of City Paper on a rack. A-ha!

I’m doing fine now and starting to feel like a part of the city.

Matt Nickerson

The Gulf Sore

I was pleased to receive feedback about my July 27 letter (“Terror Not Random”), which was critical of Russ Smith for trying to play the role of a Bush administration sycophant. Dialogue is necessary, as the Bush administration is now rattling the saber against Iran. Continuation of such a woebegotten and imperialistic foreign policy is sure to incur the wrath of many, including those who attack civilians.

The Aug. 3 letter writer who enjoys “Right Field” told Smith to stick to local and state politics: “Whenever Russ shifts his gaze to Washington, D.C., he starts parroting the Bush party line, and the results are just plain ugly.” However, I need to respond to the person who wrote on Aug. 10 (“Bush Is Better Than Saddam”) in order to correct the historical record.

The United States has long maintained a presence in the Persian Gulf; the primary purpose is to protect the Saudi Arabian oil supplies. Saudi forces are armed and trained by the United States, mainly by a network of military contractors. The Saudi royal family, an autocratic regime, allows no public dissent. U.S. foreign policy is predicated on protecting the resources of the elite, and there is little foreign aid that really helps the dispossessed.

I know nothing about 20 votes: “Remember, representatives from both political parties voted on over 20 counts (not just WMDs) to invade Iraq.” Yes, Democrats must be held accountable for supporting the Bush administration’s policies. I know of Bush administration foreign-policy disasters, but no successes.

In his letter, the writer wrote, “I wish him [George W. Bush] success.” Likewise, I want U.S. foreign policy to be a success. This would mean the conversion of the Pentagon to the Department of Peace, the abolition of nuclear weapons, the removal of all U.S. troops from overseas, an end to “free trade” policies, a redistribution of wealth to the people of countries whose mineral supplies were plundered, and finally the indictment of Bush and his cronies for misleading the citizenry and plunging this country in at least two overseas quagmires.

When I took the Metro to the Nagasaki Day protest at the Pentagon Aug. 9, Washington was under a Code Orange alert. Under Code Orange, the bathrooms at Metro stations are closed to prevent someone from leaving a bomb inside. This is so symbolic of an administration totally clueless to the fact that most of the world remains indignant to its disastrous imperial adventures. Rather then apologizing for their imperialist policies, those in power tell us it is better to fight the terrorists overseas than here. Of course, it is necessary to lock the bathrooms, just in case.

Max Obuszewski

We’re No Flippers

Congratulations on highlighting in your Aug. 3 cover story “Flipping Out” some of the issues involved in the current real estate investing scene in Baltimore. It is important for the public to realize that there is a right way and a wrong way to create real estate income.

I am obligated to correct one mistake. Your reporter attended an introductory class at my school, Investors United School of Real Estate, where we teach the real estate investing trade to adults. He wrote that the school offers members a money-back-guarantee if they “don’t earn their tuition by flipping real estate during the course.” This is not an accurate reflection of what was said.

During the 1990s, flipping was employed by the unscrupulous in a way that manipulated financial information to take advantage of the uninformed. The practice resulted in millions in financial losses, and serious damage to city neighborhoods and citizens. We do not condone flipping.

In fact, one unit in our 10-part curriculum is devoted to ethics. Moreover, we do what we teach and teach what we do. Investors United has received, during the past 18 months, citations from the governor of Maryland and the mayor of Baltimore for our infusion of more than $10 million annually into the Baltimore economy through our revitalization of Baltimore neighborhoods.

An Investors United School of Real Estate education involves a complete real estate investment curriculum. Members understand that there are literally dozens of ways to create real estate income honestly and honorably. In short, our guarantee is that the “Investors United course works if you work.”

Ian Charles Parrish
President, Investors United School of Real Estate

Edward Ericson Jr. responds: Mr. Parrish and his father, Charles Parrish, purport to teach methods of creating fast income by “controlling” (as distinct from actually owning) property for resale, and several times on the evening I visited they said that anyone who did not earn back the school’s tuition during the yearlong course would be eligible for a refund. Indeed, the school’s motto, which was included at the bottom of Mr. Parrish’s e-mail to City Paper, is “earn while you learn.”


Editor’s note: The Benchwarmer column is taking the issue off and will return next week.

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