Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 09, 2003

Preferences can be a lifeline for kids in need

In his attack on affirmative action, Gregory Kane suggests that schools such as the University of Michigan could achieve a racially balanced student body without considering race in their admissions process ("Affirmative action supporters perpetuate an insulting myth," April 2).

This could be done, Mr. Kane suggests, by establishing an admissions process that is geographically, as opposed to racially, weighted: Let in more inner-city kids and you'll have a racially balanced class.

This argument relies heavily on the de facto segregation of our schools and society - as under this approach racial balance can only be achieved if there are overwhelmingly black schools to recruit from.

The model Mr. Kane proposes would also only further cement our society's racial segregation by providing a disincentive for minority families to leave blighted areas should their fortunes improve. A move to the suburbs with a 17-year-old, for instance, could place their child in a more demanding applicant pool.

Most current proposals to end affirmative action try to do so on the cheap, by legislating the practice away. But affirmative action will be needed in America until the people enjoy a government that demonstrates the political will to ensure that all schools are adequately funded, all children have access to top-of-the-line educational materials, no child grows up in blighted, violence-plagued and drug-ridden neighborhoods, no child lacks health insurance and parents can find good jobs at decent wages.

When there is no longer a black and a white side of town, affirmative action will no longer be needed.

But until that time, affirmative action will remain one the few lifelines available to many disadvantaged youths.

David Flores

Baltimore

`Ecumenical' prayers offend everybody

The problem, as I see it, is not with the specifics of the Christian prayer that was prevented from being uttered as part of the state Senate's opening proceedings ("Senate bars minister from offering Christian prayer," April 3). It is with the fact that such a religious ceremony (no matter what the words) is permitted at a public proceeding.

It's sad that state Sen. Ida G. Ruben feels constrained to accept what Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller seems determined to push down legislators' throats because he regards the prayer ritual as a tradition. And it's deplorable that he is so insensitive to the views of those of minority religions or no religion.

It makes one wonder how long it will take for people such as Mr. Miller to realize that attempts to achieve an "ecumenical" prayer or religious conformity are offensive to those on both sides of this issue.

Kenneth A. Stevens

Savage

Voters have no taste for tax increases

I hope Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. reads his election results more carefully than The Sun's editorials ("An overriding concern," April 7).

Virtually all of the nearly 800,000 people who voted for Mr. Ehrlich want him to fulfill his campaign promise of no new taxes, and I guarantee that significantly less than 100 percent of Sun readers agree with its stance on the issue.

Make the budget cuts, Mr. Ehrlich.

Dave Reich

Perry Hall

HMO taxes will add to ranks of uninsured

While I was running for the state Senate last fall, one of the primary questions asked was about escalating health insurance premiums, and the topic of the many uninsured Marylanders who can't afford health insurance was always hotly debated.

But come on, Democrats, get into the real world: Increased taxes on HMO premiums will mean more uninsured Marylanders ("Accord reached on new budget," April 5).

If we truly want to make health insurance more affordable, we should reduce premium taxes and reduce the many expensive state-imposed health insurance mandates.

Michael E. Sneeringer Sr.

Baltimore

Spite as reward for foreign aid

It disgusted me to read that highly motivated Egyptian and Syrian fighters are fighting against our troops in this war ("Near Baghdad, U.S. troops encounter a `remarkable' foe," April 5).

Egypt is one of the largest recipients of American foreign aid. If this is the thanks we get (not to mention all the anti-American rallies permitted by the government) maybe that aid money could be better spent elsewhere - say, here at home, or to help our war effort in Iraq.

Alan Kelman

Baltimore

Let U.N. administer post-Hussein Iraq

Ivo Daalder's column "Blair in a bind" (Opinion * Commentary, April 3) addresses the differences between British Prime Minister Tony Blair's approach and the Pentagon plan for the administration of postwar Iraq.

It looks as if President Bush plans to conduct the administration of Iraq just as he conducted the war - largely alone, and in opposition to the United Nations and world opinion.

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