`Ethical' hardly describes Democratic opposition to slots

April 13, 2005|By GREGORY KANE

WHY DO ALL these things have to happen around the same time?

It's getting so a columnist would have to write seven days a week to keep up with all this stuff. Since that's not how we operate around here, I'll have to touch on several topics in the same column. So here goes.

A bill to permit slot machines in Maryland once again failed to pass in the legislature, and I have a pretty good idea as to why.

No, it's not because those Democrats opposed to slots do so on ethical grounds. They know better than that. You can't use the word "ethical" and "Maryland Democrats" in the same sentence, unless it's to point out they don't have any. No, this is about a philosophy of governing dear to the heart of all but the vanishing breed of moderate Democrat.

Maryland Democrats truly believe your money - what's in your checking and savings accounts, in your wallet, in your change cup or in your child's piggy bank - is government money. When you gamble with it, you're using government money without the permission of Maryland Democrats.

It's either that, or the Dems are waiting until the next Democratic governor comes along, who will then propose a slots bill, which the legislature will pass. Then, when the money starts rolling in, they'll crow about what a great idea they came up with.

Baltimore police have come up with a good idea with the new Keep Talking video, targeting the miscreants who threaten other miscreants who dime them out to police in the Stop Snitching DVD. The card that cops will now give to those arrested - which assures them the law will be in their faces on a daily basis - might be a good idea too. But I have a question.

Why do police think these guys can read?

And speaking of the Stop Snitching DVD, has anyone who's watched it noticed how many times the dreaded "N" word is used? Since the guys doing it are, for the most part, criminals who probably have little to no education, we have to ponder whether they've made a connection to their condition and the way they think of themselves and other blacks. They obviously haven't. No wonder former Baltimore City Councilman Melvin Stukes proposed - and got - a 2002 resolution urging black folks to stop using the word.

Where's Stukes now that we really need him?

A report on the academic progress of Baltimore County students shows blacks still lag behind whites and Asians in SAT scores. In 2000, the combined SAT score was 1056 for whites and 825 for blacks. In 2004, the scores were 1094 for whites and 851 for blacks.

The figures show the SAT gap has widened in four years, not narrowed. There are, no doubt, several theories on the reason why, and I have my own.

Could it be black students aren't putting forth their best effort on the SAT? And, considering black leadership, why should they?

Allow me to elaborate. Most students of all races in America attend broad-access colleges or universities, which are those schools where low to moderate SAT scores won't keep them out. High SAT scores are factors in the most academically selective institutions: Harvard, Yale, the Johns Hopkins University.

Black students with only moderate scores on the SAT know they can still get into those schools, thanks to black leaders, who'll scream racism - as they did back in 2003 during the Supreme Court case on the University of Michigan affirmative-action policies - if anyone dares complain that black students are being given preferential treatment over white and Asian students who score higher.

Kudos to Deshawn Barrett of Patterson High School, who did, indeed, win the Senior Nationals High School Wrestling Championships held in Cleveland the first weekend in April.

A bunch of folks donated money to send Barrett to the nationals, where he beat the top-ranked 215-pounder in the country, the second-ranked guy (for the second time in as many weeks) and the Ohio state champ. Now quite a few are offering congratulations.

Among them is former Maryland Scholastic Association champion Edward Shivers, who said he learned of a "vast, untapped resource" named Deshawn Barrett in 2003.

In a letter sent to The Sun, Shivers wrote, "Deshawn Barrett, you should know that there are a lot of old-school wrestlers proud of your achievements."

The entire city should be. But if school officials or elected officials have recognized Barrett's stunning achievement - oh, a City Council resolution or mayoral proclamation would be nice - I certainly haven't heard of it.

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