Letters To The Editor


November 21, 2006

It's right to demand a probe at Academy

I support Rep. Elijah E. Cummings' call for a probe into the Naval Academy's handling of steroid use on the football team ("Academy admits to delay in drug tests," Nov. 18)

As Mr. Cummings said, "I think it's very important that we know who made the decision to test these young folks two months after we had good cause for suspecting illegal drug use. ... I want to know who made the decision, why that decision was made."

As taxpayers, we all support the education of future leaders at our military academies.

It is appropriate to hold these young men and women accountable to the highest standards for their behavior.

The coaches, athletic directors, and deans must also be accountable, or the standards become so much hogwash.

Athletes and athletic programs have been getting special dispensations for years and years.

The reason: People want their team to win. The question becomes, at what cost?

And Mr. Cummings' point of engagement is well placed.

If we can learn "who made the decision and why," a spotlight will shine on the accommodation of bad behavior at the academy and beyond.

Susan Rudy


Making a mountain of steroid molehill

Three-quarter-inch bold headlines on the front page of the Nov. 15 edition - one would think it must be a story of colossal significance in the world of things. It turns out to be a simple report of two Navy football players taking 1-AD in late 2004. 1-AD is a substance which can be purchased legally in a nutrition store and, I believe, not banned by NCAA until 2004 ("Athletes at Navy failed drug tests," Nov. 15).

The Sun's editors should be embarrassed to have permitted such a poorly investigated story, full of innuendoes, to take up space on the front page of a respected newspaper.

Is there a bias at The Sun where the Naval Academy football team is concerned?

It would appear so, since I have not noted any such front-page headlines on the misconduct by members of a number of other ACC football teams.

Lee Zeni


Special-ed testing is a step forward

In her column on the No Child Left Behind law, Marcy Myers suggests that a tragedy is happening in classrooms because some students are being assessed with the Alternative Maryland State Assessment test -MSA)("The wrong yardstick for special-ed students," Opinion

Commentary, Nov. 13).

The fact that NCLB finally requires educational accountability for students with disabilities is a cause for celebration, not a tragedy.

The tragedy is the effect that low expectations have on students with disabilities.

The tragedy is that some educators do not integrate functional life skills with academic activities for special education students because they believe academics are irrelevant to special education students.

And, in fact, the Alt-MSA has proven to be an effective tool used for a broad range of students, including many students in regular classes.

Ricki Sabia

Silver Spring

The writer is associate director of the National Down Syndrome Society Policy Center.

Lessons of Vietnam remain unheeded

I appreciated the irony of President Bush going to Vietnam and giving a speech saying that patience is needed during the current war in Iraq ("Bush visits Vietnam," Nov. 17).

Did the U.S. government learn anything from the Vietnam War?

John Oliver


The writer is a Vietnam-era U.S. Air Force veteran and a member of Veterans for Peace.

Pelosi still holds balance of power

I am an ardent Democrat and I would have preferred to see Rep. John P. Murtha in the role of House majority leader ("Hoyer takes No. 2 slot in House," Nov. 17). But I think the Democrats will not let the schism destroy the party.

The GOP will have a good time with this dispute.

Republicans cannot, however, escape the fact that their president's popularity rating is quite low, as are his prospects for a successful final two years in office - unless he can win cooperation from a very clever woman from East Baltimore, House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi.

Denny Oliver


A win-win outcome to leadership spat

I don't buy this hubbub about House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi's major misstep in publicly backing Rep. John P. Murtha against Rep. Steny Hoyer for the position of House Majority Leader ("Hoyer takes No. 2 slot in House," Nov. 17).

Who, among the Democrats, is left unhappy with the way it played out?

Ms. Pelosi rewarded Mr. Murtha's loyalty by strongly supporting his losing bid - and Mr. Murtha's loyalists must be pleased with her actions.

However, Ms. Pelosi can count votes as well as anyone, and surely knew that Mr. Murtha did not have the votes in the Democratic caucus.

Mr. Hoyer was clearly the better choice, for a number of reasons. Now, he and his supporters can afford to be gracious in their victory - and he can hardly afford not to be a team player after winning his coveted place on Ms. Pelosi's team.

All this sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Maybe, just maybe, Ms. Pelosi is a bit shrewder than her critics.

Michael A. Pretl


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