Double standard makes Israel villain A country under...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

November 03, 2001

Double standard makes Israel villain

A country under siege by terrorism sends its troops to another land, drops bombs across the region, places ground troops on foreign soil, and attempts to bring "evildoers" to justice "dead or alive" to protect itself.

Sounds tough, but pretty logical in the scheme of things.

Another country under siege by terrorism (for a lot longer than the first) puts its troops into its own cities, attempts to bring terrorists to justice "dead or alive" to protect itself, and states that despite all the terrorism over the last year, it will remove its troops immediately if the perpetrators of the most recent heinous act of terrorism are brought to justice.

Sounds tough, but pretty logical in the scheme of things.

The difference in The Sun : In the first case (that of the United States), the effort is portrayed as an epic struggle of good vs. evil.

Articles about how this struggle is affecting the citizens of Afghanistan: none (or nearly none).

And I'm OK with that.

In the second case (Israel), day after day, articles talking about the Palestinian "victims," including nearly every day a picture or article about a child somehow adversely affected by the efforts.

I'm not OK with that.

The double standard by which Israel is journalistically victimized borders on the absurd.

And The Sun continues to be a bastion of biased, anti-Israel journalism.

Bill Zirkin, Baltimore

The training teachers receive is effective

The recent letter "College doesn't prepare teachers for the classroom" (Oct. 20) presented a criticism that is nothing new, and never did hold much water.

Certainly there is theory in education instruction, but the critical component of teacher preparation is student teaching, which is where theory and practice unite.

A student fresh from college is not expected to be a fully competent teacher without practical experience, mentoring and advice from experienced educators. But practice without theory lacks skills, content and background.

And for the writer to aver that students are "completely unprepared for their initial teaching experience" is absurd.

Having taught and supervised student teachers for more than 30 years at several colleges and universities, I marvel at the very small number considered poor.

Nor have I found secondary teachers "to usually be deficient in knowledge of the areas of specialization."

Of course, they have more to learn, but that is the purpose of further education and personal reading.

Teacher education today is effective. Of course, there is and always will be room for improvement, but in my experience, that is continuously being addressed.

Donald A. Wesley, Phoenix

Strong advantages give ethanol a bright future

Telling half the story clouds the whole story, and The Sun's editorial "Hazy future for ethanol" (Oct. 20) did just that.

Ethanol offers many advantages. When mixed with gasoline as a 10 percent blend (E10) it can be used in every vehicle on the road today. When this renewable fuel is mixed this way, there is no need to change our vehicles or fueling infrastructure in our effort to displace foreign oil.

Ethanol production is at an all-time high, with a very favorable outlook for future production increases. Ethanol use offers benefits to all facets of our economy, not just agriculture. Most important, the use and production of ethanol in the United States can offer energy security for our nation.

Yes, ethanol does receive a federal tax incentive, but the Office of Management and Budget has determined that this "up front" support to reduce the price is more than returned in taxes and reduced farm-support payments.

Perhaps a balanced editorial should have included the many subsidies and tax breaks the oil industry has received over the years. And there is no greater subsidy than the loss of life during Desert Storm and our recent oil-related terrorist attacks.

When our country is attacked as a result of our oil supply-protection policies, it seems natural that we work to become more energy independent. Had we taken more seriously the need to find alternative fuels after the shortages of 1973, we might be in a very different position today.

Ethanol is not the only answer, but it can be part of the solution.

Lynne Hoot, Edgewater

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Grain Producers Association.

The editorial "Hazy future for ethanol" (Oct. 20) unfairly focused on selected potential shortcomings of ethanol production and failed to highlight a strong list of advantages.

Ethanol is a renewable resource proven to reduce polluting emissions. Ethanol also provides farmers a valuable new market for a crop (barley) that can reduce environmental impacts.

The debate over the future of ethanol must be approached fairly, examining all of the pros and cons. We believe that when this occurs, the environmental and economic benefits of ethanol production and use in Maryland will come to light.

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