As an English teacher, I applaud The Baltimore Sun for offering my students a sense of perspective concerning the importance of correct spelling.
The heavy coverage of Dan Quayle's misspelling of potato, when contrasted with the scant reportage of Bill Clinton's wartime protests against the American military, reveals The Baltimore Sun's priorities: Spelling is more important than loyalty to and love of one's country.
Until recently, we Americans have had our priorities inverted, with nobody seeming to care much about the mechanics of writing. In the face of such apathy, The Baltimore Sun courageously cut through trivial issues of morality to get to the hard core of the presidential campaign: orthography.
Thanks to your enlightened editorial stance, attitudes are changing. Indeed, during this political season youngsters aspiring to become president (or at least maintain viability) are learning that while America can overlook a candidate's drug abuse, adultery, draft evasion and possible treason, it can never forgive poor spelling.
No instructional technique I might have used could have stressed more the importance of spelling. Thank you for raising our consciousness and for helping to educate a future generation of political leaders.
There's also good news in city schools
Much negative publicity has been given to the Baltimore City public schools. However, there is more to the picture.
My son is a 10th-grade student at Baltimore City College, where he is experiencing a rich and rewarding education. At the end of "Back to School" night on Sept. 14, I sat for a moment with tears in my eyes at the breadth and depth of his education.
Without exception, the teachers I met were experts in their fields, dedicated role models with a clear view of their mission to inform, educate and challenge students.
They care about our children, and in addition to class time they offer after-school coach classes and, in one case, even a home telephone number.
The administration and guidance departments conduct the school with vision and finesse. They are helping these students to succeed and to take the necessary steps to gain entrance to a variety of fine colleges.
They are committed to helping our children understand what is happening in our society and world and guiding them to meet the challenges they will face in the future.
Life and death at the aquarium
After witnessing their capture, it was with great sadness and no small measure of disgust that I learned of the tragic deaths of two beluga whales at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Two months ago they were alive and well, swimming free in the Churchill River in Manitoba. I saw these new aquarium "ambassadors" thrash in their slings, and I heard their pitiful cries.
I tried to document the capture and I was shoved, spat upon and cursed by the capture team. And I know why. The aquarium industry does not want the general public to see the ugliness of a capture of these wild, free-ranging creatures, particularly when it involves raiding a nursery; this is what the Churchill River is in summer.
The beluga can be counted on to migrate there every year to give birth and nurse their young. The cruel disruption of this delicate, natural process shatters to pieces the myth of the industry as species-protectors.
Two young whales are dead from a drug overdose, administered by the top vet at a state-of-the-art facility who was not even licensed to practice in the state.
The National Aquarium here in Baltimore has lost two of Churchill's whales since 1985, one as a result of stress and the other after an experiment gone awry in mixing the species.
But these things are not unusual. They represent life and death in captivity. These two whales paid the ultimate price as have hundreds of captive marine mammals before them. How many more? Please -- enough is enough. Let them be.
J. Logan Cockey
The plight of blacks in Arkansas
The Democratic Party has a well-deserved, laudable and earned reputation for representing minorities in government.
As a result, minorities have in the past been able to cast a vote for the Democratic Party to ensure equal representation in government.
However, this is unfortunately not the case in the 1992 presidential election.
For when the facts are considered, African-Americans in Arkansas actually face worse living conditions than those in the majority of states in our nation. This can be attributed in part to Arkansas' lack of a civil rights law (only two states in the nation lack a civil rights law) and lack of a fair housing law.
In essence, Arkansas' minorities are left unshielded against discrimination. The lack of these laws can unfortunately be attributed to another problem, the under-representation and neglect of blacks in Bill Clinton's administration.
An additional problem which has not been addressed by Arkansas government is the disparity between African-Americans and whites.
Unfortunately, 43 percent of blacks who live in Arkansas currently live in poverty, as compared to 14 percent of the white population. This poverty level is about 33 percent above the national average. Also, consider that only 8 percent of African-Americans over the age of 25 possess college degrees in Governor Clinton's state.
The sad truth is that citizens are attacking President Bush, who has put tremendous energy in advancing the status of African-Americans in the United States, yet have not even questioned Governor Clinton's record. However, that record indicates he only wants to acknowledge African-Americans when there is a camera in front of him or a vote to be gained.
Given the statistics of Arkansas, how can Mr. Clinton attack the Bush administration when under President Bush the plight of African-Americans has been lessened?
Consider that the 1980s brought a 30 percent increase in the number of black families earning over $50,000 a year, a 9 percent drop in black unemployment, an increase in income in 84 percent of African-American households and the integration of the majority of African-Americans into the middle class for the first time in our nation's history. The average African-American nationwide is much happier than the African-American in Arkansas.
Why isn't Bill Clinton's administration as representative of African-Americans as President Bush's administration is?
Ask Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, Connie Newman, Arthur Fletcher and other African-Americans in the most senior government positions who they feel is a true champion of civil rights. They have seen the positive effects of Mr. Bush's policies and civil rights bill.
How can we allow Bill Clinton to freeload on minority support just because he is a Democrat? African-Americans deserve more than what he has to give. Don't fall for the stereotype on election day; demand an image that is earned by action.