Bentley & NAFTAThe Sun's editorial criticizing Rep....

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Bentley & NAFTA

The Sun's editorial criticizing Rep. Helen Bentley's position on the North American Free Trade Agreement only served to further demonstrate the anti-Republican bias of The Sun, and reinforce in my mind why I, as a Republican, would trust Rep. Bentley on trade issues before the likes of The Baltimore Sun editorial board.

One Republican stands out as a leader in the upcoming gubernatorial election: Helen Bentley.

The Sun went to great lengths to attack her, never mentioning one of its favorite liberal Democrats, Rep. Kweisi Mfume who, on this issue, has staked out the same position as Helen Bentley, even though she has done so with more credibility and intellectual investment.

Helen Bentley has made a career out of standing up for American jobs, especially during tough economic times.

The jobs that are threatened by NAFTA are not those of newspaper editors and writers, but rather of manufacturers, producers and laborers.

I applaud Mrs. Bentley for courageously standing by her well-reasoned opposition to NAFTA, which I, as a Republican, also oppose.

I, for one, would be pleased to have the opportunity to cast my Republican primary vote for Helen Bentley in the 1994 election for governor.

Tracy F. Noel

Rosedale

More Schoolwork

It's ironic that on the same day you report Gov. William Donald Schaefer is contemplating all-year school for the state of Maryland, Susan Reimer is telling us of the effort she makes to load up her child's after-school hours (Today section, Sept. 14).

However, unlike the Japanese "education mamas" who send their children to outside classes in order to enhance their academic achievement, Reimer is busy signing them up for tap dance lessons, soccer, swim clinics, gymnastics and other activities totally unrelated to their schoolwork.

Apparently it's a difficult chore. Reimer complains she is in trouble if the tap dance class for her daughter interferes with her soccer practice. "Most days, my children will just get home from school in time to eat a snack . . . and hop in the car." Unfortunately, this cluttered schedule is fairly typical for school kids today.

It strikes me something is radically wrong. If school children had more homework, more demanding teachers and a number of outside, academic projects, this crazed, after-school running around would cease.

It looks like there isn't much real work going on in school these days. Before Mr. Schaefer talks about lengthening the school year and spending more money, he should look at how under-utilized the schools already are -- and how under-worked the students seem to be.

It's very nice to study tidal pools with a "hip, young environmentalist," but activities like this should not replace academic effort. The message I get is that it's time to put more "work" in schoolwork.

Rosalind Nester

Baltimore

Cheap Shot

Roger Simon's column, Sept. 5 ("The annual poetry contest: You, too, can do haiku"), was a scurrilous attack on a respected ophthalmologist in our community.

Dr. Herman Goldberg may have broken the rules of the contest but Mr. Simon has broken the rules of civility.

Joan Klein

Baltimore

Maryland Geese

I am not a goose hunter. I am a gardener and a teacher, but my interest in the fate of Maryland's goose population is, I feel, as worthy as any so-called sportsman's.

My interest doesn't lie in hiding in a blind and opening fire on unsuspecting creatures. I like listening for their honks every morning and racing outside with my son to watch them fly over our home.

Small groups at first and then ever expanding to numbers over a hundred. Their V shape says peace and freedom, and we cheer them daily.

My interest doesn't lay in boasts of numbers killed, as in "Bagged a big one today." I like it when my morning's rush to work is halted at an intersection by a gaggle of geese crossing the road. All in a line, taking their time, they remind me to do the same and notice the beauty of the morning.

If people have to kill geese (and that is something I probably will never understand), at least let the rules for hunting be mindful of the population's future growth.

Keep days allotted for kill to sensible numbers, listen to the advice of the Department of Natural Resources at the onset and not apply political pressure to increase the hunting season to benefit tourism.

I don't want to hunt the geese, I want to enjoy them.

I just wish my representatives in Annapolis thought my views were as important as those behind the guns.

Rhona R. Beitler-Akman

Owings Mills

Warped Views of Television from MPT

Who is Raymond Ho trying to fool with his Sept. 12 column, "Honey, I warped the kids"?

In case you haven't read it, Mr. Ho states that a leading cause of violence is the television. It's like Mr. Ho doesn't know that this is America, where we usually don't even bother to punish violent criminals.

But after all is said, his only "overwhelming evidence," other than the unsupported opinions of people like himself, is that eight years after American television was introduced to South Africa in 1975, there was a dramatic increase in the murder rate.

Well, if Mr. Ho would stop and think for even a moment, he would realize that the reason for the increase in violence was the anti-apartheid struggle that was at its peak at that time.

Does he actually believe television violence caused the Soweto uprising? His claim is totally belittling to the black South African's struggle for freedom and racial justice.

As a 14-year-old high school student, and one of the many kids whose minds you think are being warped, I am shocked by his lack of political sophistication.

I bet that he is really just trying to make the other stations produce the same boring pap that is so common on his Maryland hTC Public Television. Is that the only way, other than inserting bogus propaganda in The Sun, that he can get a larger audience?

Now, really, who is Mr. Ho trying to kid?

Melissa M. Wilson

Cockeysville

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Raymond Ho's essay about the response of Maryland Public Television to the proliferation of television violence on Sept. 12 is encouraging, but MPT's provision of alternative programming to network and cable shows is only half of the solution.

The other half, Mr. Ho and others may not realize, lies in the choice of programs by the consumer, not in the provision of programs (or warning labels) by television producers.

Television clearly affects viewer attitudes and propensities toward violence. Mr. Ho and I are in complete agreement here. Where we differ, however, is in the potential solution. It must be up to the individual or the individual's parents to prevent damaging messages from invading the home.

The initiative to halt the destructive effects of television programming and advertising, which breeds envy among children, must fall on adults responsible for the well-being of children. A failure of this initiative harms not only the child but many times the community in which the child lives and spends his life.

Permission to watch television should be as judiciously awarded by parents as permission to eat something, or to go out and play. Without such supervision, we all know that children could fall into danger. No parents would leave a gun, a book of matches, or a poisonous substance somewhere a child could get to them.

Television use can and should be restricted at home. A television set is not a baby-sitter. It is also not an alternative to a meaningful relationship with one's child.

If television programs need warning labels (like cigarettes, alcohol and many other commodities that pose a potential household danger), then television sets at the point of purchase also need warning labels pointing out the harmful effects of gratuitous violence and sex inherent in their use.

Although Mr. Ho doesn't say it, he appears to favor congressional legislation on television programming. He says that Congress is more interested in protecting free speech than children and society.

We cannot advocate state or public censorship of mass communication for the same reason that we can't submit to its application to art. If we restrict or attempt to control violence and sex, what is next? Culturally-unpleasant behavior?

What Mr. Ho fails to see is that protection of free speech protects and benefits children and society much more than attention-grabbing warning messages.

Alvin Hutchinson

Braddock Heights

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