Editor: Something is rotten in the United States. Pee Wee Herman is accused of exposing himself and is immediately taken off the air. Clarence Thomas is accused of sexual harassment and is placed on the air. What is the media's message?
It is my profound hope that Pee Wee Herman doesn't have the onus of defending his integrity to a stalwart of virtue such as Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Editor: As an early-childhood professional, I read with interest the article, "Engineering Better Child Care," which appeared in the Oct. 2 Business Extra.
While I do not agree that flexible child care equals better child care, I also take strong exception to the statement made by Kenneth Looney, "too many child-care centers are oriented to the provider's convenience . . . They're caught up in standardization rather than flexibility and service."
No, what most of us are "caught up in" is what is best for the children. Is it best for a child to spend 12 to 14 hours a day in a child-care center; is it best for children to be put on the back burner while their "career oriented" parents climb the corporate ladder; to spend holidays in an institution rather than at home with parents and family; to have their parent's needs put before their needs; is it best for children to be seen as an avenue for making a profit? I think not.
While flexibility and meeting the needs of parents as they work is an important part of the child-care industry, we must never lose sight of the fact the our first priority must be the emotional and physical well being of the children that we care for and educate. No matter the quality of a child-care center, it cannot take the place of parents and family life. Being caught up in providing a program designed first and foremost for parent needs sets one up to fail the child.
Child care in America continues to be a national disgrace, but I don't believe the crisis will be solved by centers such as WeeCare. We need to provide quality child care so parents can work. We need to provide flexibility at an affordable price, especially for the single parent. We need to provide emotional and educational support to families. We need to provide programs staffed with well-educated professionals who meet the developmental needs of young children.
What we do not need to do is provide the ultimate in convenience for parents -- warehouses for their children.
Nancy B. Pelton.
Editor: I couldn't believe my eyes, reading The Sun on Oct. 5. The federal government, with its biggest deficit ever, is giving $115 million to 17 states for anti-smoking campaigns. Plus the Cancer Society is adding $25 million to that figure. That's $140 million down the drain.
Does the government realize how many poor and homeless people could use that money for food and shelter? Where do their priorities lie?
Smoking is a matter of choice, not a disaster. Our economy is a major disaster.
I think it's time the taxpayers start telling our federal government to put its house in order. Our poor, homeless and elderly desperately need that money.
The anti-smoking lobbyist must be delighted while people will starve or freeze to death come winter. Enough is enough. It's ridiculous.
Editor: Cal Thomas' recent column represents the conservative mentality some in this country are following. Instead of offering solutions to the programs, Mr. Thomas only wants to complain about the problems and talk about the "good old days." His column indicates how backward the United States has become compared to the rest of the Western democracies. For decades we have resisted any attempts to update our economic, political and social systems for current conditions in this country.
I would like to address Mr. Thomas' article about rock stars. I am 23 and have personally experienced some of the social ills he talks about. My parents divorced when I was three and I was brought up by my mother, who had to work full time to support us. Few of Mr. Thomas' friends in the Moral Majority probably know about these experiences. Whenever legislation such as parental leave is brought before the Congress, Mr. Thomas is probably one of the first to oppose it. He tends to support the president, who vetoes every piece of social legislation that comes across his desk.
My generation is very concerned about international issues as well. I would suggest that Mr. Thomas listen to Guns 'n Roses' anti-war song, "Civil War." Lyrics such as, "For all I've seen has changed my mind, but still the wars go on as the years go by, with no love of God or human rights, 'cause all these dreams are swept aside," represent what many in my generation have to say about wanting peace in this world. Cal Thomas advocated using tactical nuclear weapons during Desert Storm.
I suggest that Mr. Thomas take a close look at the world around him and the problems that his generation has left us.
Joshua E. Henkir.
Power of Prayer