Singapore RodI fully concur with the sentence handed down...


April 09, 1994

Singapore Rod

I fully concur with the sentence handed down by the Singapore court on the American youngster. It's too bad that we cannot learn more from this.

Perhaps we in America can instill some respect for the law by imposing similar corporal punishment. As the old saying goes, "Spare the rod and spoil the child."

Otto B. Beyer

Ellicott City

Ira Cooke's Dope

Witch hunts are not an historical artifact, restricted to Salem and Sen. Joe McCarthy. They flourish today.

Ira Cooke is of no apparent danger to anyone -- beyond the extent to which any lobbyist may be dangerous.

Yet after the vegetable police picked through his trash for several weeks, they broke down the door to his home before dawn, threw him to the floor and handcuffed him behind his back.

What explanation is there for this overly testosteroned response? Mr. Cooke apparently owned one-half ounce of marijuana.

No one would accuse Mr. Cooke of being excessively bright. Having been arrested once before for marijuana possession, he should had known that our criminal justice system is irrational when it comes to citizens using the wrong plant. Fermented grapes are fine. Dried marijuana is a no-no.

But stupidity should not be a crime. There is no indication that Mr. Cooke hurt anyone, save perhaps himself.

I would think our police departments can be kept sufficiently busy without this Fearless Fosdick approach to crime fighting.

It's time these witch hunts ended. They are expensive. They are a potential danger to the police, and, other than perhaps making a few "holier than thous" feel superior, accomplish nothing.

Stanley L. Rodbell


Larger Life

I was struck by the concurrence in the March 16 edition of Alice Steinbach's column about college preparation and the scholastic aptitude test and the editorial, "Adding up poor math scores."

In her column, Ms. Steinbach develops the theme of the anxiety students face with the SAT and their response to it and makes a metaphor with larger life issues.

But why stop there? There is a further lesson -- getting past the SATs and into college is not an end but part of a process. Students forget, or choose not to realize, that their high-school life is a precursor to their college and career lives.

Probably for no subject is high-school preparation more important than mathematics. And, as evidenced by your editorial, in no subject are students more at risk than in mathematics.

So many students believe that if they can just get out of high school, they will never need to look at mathematics again. In fact, mathematics comes right back at them in college.

In fact, colleges do not rely on the SAT. Virtually every college in the country gives a mathematics placement test to incoming students -- often as the first activity in orientation.

Students who are not ready for their college mathematics are a major drain. It costs many students an extra year in college. It costs many of them the major they want.

Perhaps one lives and dies by the SAT getting into college, but one lives and dies by the math placement test when one gets there.

We in the colleges desperately want to tell the students of the schools to take their courses seriously, and, in the words of Ms. Steinbach, comprehend the material, not just memorize it.

The changes in SAT may make a nice metaphor. But the SAT is not the last word.

James Alexander

College Park

Laughable Quote

In response to the March 27 article, "That new-time religion," I had to laugh at a quote from the Rev. Sandy Mason, the senior pastor at Grace Fellowship. He stated that, "Our foundation on the Bible is what keeps us from becoming a chic liberal church like the Unitarians."

Being a regular at the First Unitarian Church in downtown Baltimore, I embrace his description of us as liberals. But the word chic connotes a trendiness or superficiality that I resent.

If the reverend would check his religious history, he would discover that Unitarians have a rich history dating back hundreds of years, including basic beliefs dating back thousands of years.

Unitarians were active in the anti-slavery movement in the United States and continue to welcome cultural and ethnic diversity as well as religious tolerance.

The Baltimore church just celebrated its 175th anniversary and is still growing and changing to meet the needs of its varied congregation. The Unitarians accept all people who feel rejected by narrowly defined religious doctrine.

Susan C. Ingram


Cutting Costs

Your March 23 Business page article highlights the fact that "managed care" has nothing to do with care, only with cutting costs. But is not this saving from one pocket while spending more from another?

If one's diabetic father has a leg amputation and is sent home from the hospital in two days -- as actuaries and insurers have now mandated in Rhode Island -- is there no cost?

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