Letters To The Editor


January 05, 2007

Hitting our children isn't an act of love

Kudos to Dan Rodricks for speaking out against corporal punishment ("Let's raise our voices, not hands to violence," Dec. 31).

Although we are a country that claims to love its children, any number of people staunchly defend their right to hit them.

There's no small irony in the fact that one adult hitting another adult is often considered assault, criminal behavior, while in some cases hitting a child is called "discipline" perpetrated not by criminals but by "loving parents."

Far too many people believe that striking others who are younger and more vulnerable is acceptable, as long as they profess to love them.

Smacking a stranger, on the other hand, can get you arrested.

Judith M. Schagrin


The writer is president of the Maryland chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Fewer math topics equals real mastery

As a sixth-grade math teacher, I was excited to see The Sun's article "Can less equal more?" (Jan. 2).

I have just been planning my geometry unit. The curriculum has 23 objectives for this unit and 20 days allotted to teach it (counting the two days before the winter vacation), and this includes testing.

A few of the objectives can be combined and some are review. But this schedule is still ridiculous.

I hope the state moves to the focal points approach.

Contrary to some of the opinions mentioned in the article, it would not mean a return to focusing only on memorizing facts and formulas.

But it would give teachers time to teach for mastery.

Gita Lefstein


Health care industry works to curb errors

Maryland hospitals, physicians and insurers are working together on a variety of fronts to reduce medical errors and limit the type of preventable health complications that are at the center of recently completed Johns Hopkins research ("Simple measures reduce infections," Dec. 28).

In fact, health organizations throughout the region have been active in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's 100,000 Lives Campaign.

The program has helped hospitals put in place proven measures - as simple as hand-washing and comprehensive medication reviews for patients - that reduce medical errors and save lives.

That effort has reduced in-patient hospital deaths by an estimated 122,000 over an 18-month period.

Based on the success of 100,000 Lives, a new effort is under way in Maryland and across the country with the ambitious goal of protecting patients from 5 million incidents of medical harm between now and December 2008.

Research such as the study conducted at Johns Hopkins should encourage everyone involved in health care to support such efforts.

Dr. Jon Shematek


The writer is a senior vice president and chief medical officer for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.

Bush's misconduct earns impeachment

I must respectfully disagree with former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina when he says that Congress should not pursue impeachment proceedings against President Bush ("Edwards opposes impeachment effort," Dec. 31).

Mr. Bush has trampled the Constitution he swore to uphold and protect. His policy of illegal wiretapping, for instance, violates the Constitution's guarantees against illegal search and seizure.

I think his unnecessary war in Iraq, which was originally justified by what was, at best, criminally negligent intelligence and, at worst, outright lies, is the most blatant abuse of presidential power in our history.

If these misdeeds do not qualify as high crimes or misdemeanors, I do not know what offenses could do so.

Bob Wirtz


How can we shame shameless CEOs?

I agree with the writer of the letter "Shame executives into sharing wealth" (Dec. 31) that some high-paid executives need to be shamed.

But how do you bring shame on the shameless?

Tom Landerkin


Cloning causes harm to our farm animals

American consumers are increasingly concerned about the treatment of animals raised and slaughtered for food. Yet the Food and Drug Administration's statement on cloning did not suggest that the welfare of animals used in cloning research or their surrogate mothers was given any consideration during the agency's deliberations ("Expect cloned food on shelves," Dec. 28).

Animals in cloning research can and do suffer.

Recent cloning research has resulted in high failure rates, premature deaths and such abnormalities as intestinal blockages; diabetes; shortened tendons; deformed feet; weakened immune systems; dysfunctional hearts, brains, livers and kidneys; respiratory distress; and circulatory problems.

Surrogate mothers used in farm animal cloning research also suffer reduced welfare as a result of fetal overgrowth, repeated surgeries and injections, and pregnancy complications that have resulted in death.

Wayne Pacelle


The writer is president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

Cloning can bolster nation's food supply

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