Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 11, 2003

Marylanders willing to pay for education

The Sun is correct: Comprehensive solutions for the state's structural revenue shortfall must be found ("Structured solution," editorial, Nov. 2), but carving money away from public schools would be unwise and unfair.

We believe in supporting public schools, but we send our children to private schools. Why? More than anything, because we were appalled by the lack of resources in the public system. We knew that after-school programs, a sound student-to-teacher ratio, and numerous opportunities for enrichment were available for our children only if we sent them to a local private school. But all children deserve a quality education, and budget priorities need to be properly aligned to ensure they get one.

I am one of many Marylanders who would prefer a modest tax increase to delaying funding for improving the education system across Maryland. The Sun has reported poll numbers that show that I am in the majority.

Our lawmakers need to wake up and realize Maryland's passion for education. It's an investment for all of us.

Carole and Neil Goldberg

Baltimore

Bush is running from his problems

Steve Chapman's article "Is President Bush just postponing the inevitable in Iraq?" (Opinion * Commentary, Nov. 7) didn't go far enough.

Just as he ran from serving our country in Vietnam, President Bush is running from the chaos he has created in Iraq and around the world. Just as Richard Nixon did in Vietnam until the 1972 election year, Mr. Bush will hold our troops in Iraq's "killing fields" until after the 2004 election because he knows that the American public is too scared to replace a "war" president -- how stupid can we be?

Moreover, he's too ashamed to show his face at a military funeral since that would cast a shadow over his gross miscalculations, not only in Iraq but in every other decision he has supposedly made since taking office. Instead, he goes out as if there were no war and no American military member in harm's way, to disgustingly raise money for his re-election campaign and to forge the Republican policy of imperialism.

Robert L. Reynolds

Bel Air

Hateful teachings are cause of terror

The oversimplified solution to terrorism offered in the letter "To stop terror, heal the conflict in the Middle East" (Nov. 4) is simply wrong.

The letter suggests that the lack of an Israeli-Palestinian peace, and not Islamic clerics' teaching of hate, is the cause of radical Islamic terrorism. But this ignores terrorism in the Philippines, East Timor, Indonesia, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Chechnya, Bosnia, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan and other countries with sizable Islamic populations.

If we want to stop terrorism, we need to recognize that terrorists are being recruited in the Islamic schools by Islamic clerics. When we all recognize the cause of the problem and the average Muslim says "enough already" and speaks out in his society, then there will be a chance that civil laws will become the rule of the day in Muslim lands, too.

But the lack of even a whisper of condemnation of radical Islam from moderate Muslims is very sad.

Jerome Glazer

Columbia

Capital punishment doesn't deter crime

The writer of the letter "Using death penalty sustains civilization" (Nov. 5) overlooks one simple fact that renders the death penalty useless as a deterrent: Those who commit crimes don't expect to get caught.

Criminals don't stop before robbing, assaulting or murdering to ask themselves, "What happens if I'm arrested?"

Personally, I oppose the death penalty on moral and ethical grounds. But even those who support it on those same grounds should acknowledge that the argument that it is a deterrent is simply naive.

Kim Johnson

Baltimore

Hole in `safety net' is no laughing matter

In his column "Pension safety net is one federal program that works" (Nov. 2), Jay Hancock tries to paint a smiley face on the Bethlehem Steel workers who are losing as much as $15,000 per year because of the failure of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) to cover their full pensions. Mr. Hancock admits that the PBGC will not cover the full pension amounts, and that it is, in fact, demanding repayment from many steelworkers for previous payments.

But life is good, according to Mr. Hancock, because at least the workers are getting something, and if they are mad, they should blame Bethlehem Steel and not the government.

Wrong. While Bethlehem Steel certainly carries the main responsibility, the Department of Labor is also responsible for enforcing a law that requires that pension funds be fully funded. The whole point of federal protection for private pensions plans was to prevent -- I repeat, prevent -- the situation we see at Sparrows Point. The Department of Labor has consistently failed in this main function.

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