Agnew Was Convicted
Once and for all let us set the Agnew record straight. On Oct. 10, 1973, moments after resigning as vice president, Spiro T. Agnew was convicted of a violation of the Internal Revenue Code, Section 7201 (attempt to evade or defeat tax) by under-stating his income for 1967 by $29,500. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment, which was suspended, fined $10,000 and placed on probation. . . .
The opinion that Mr. Agnew's portrait should hang in a place of honor is a valid opinion. So is the opinion that it should not hang. However, it is truth and fact that he was convicted of a crime, and you can't have opinions about truth.
In an editorial [Oct. 20], The Sun stated that Mr. Agnew was not convicted. Now some readers have picked up on this [letter, Nov. 10], believing it to be true.
We must be careful with history. Please research the facts before printing non-truths.
Irwin E. Weiss
Bishop Hughes of Morgan
Many colleges and universities across America are deeply rooted in the rich soil of the Methodist Church. Morgan State University is one of them, established in 1867. It took years of labor to build.
One of the laborers was the greatly loved Methodist preacher and orator, Bishop W. A. C. Hughes Sr. He is the one who had the foresight and determination to bring football and sports to Morgan.
There was no football at Morgan until he brought it there. There's why he was called the father of football at Morgan College and the stadium bears his name.
His son, Attorney W. A. C. Hughes Jr., was the distinguished Maryland civil rights lawyer who fought so many NAACP battles in the courts.
He was appointed in 1938 by Governor Harry Nice to serve as a member of the first Maryland Commission for Higher Education of Negroes and helped to negotiate the transfer of Morgan State College from the Methodist Church to the State of Maryland.
Dr. S. Bernard Hughes Sr. was the football team's doctor for many years of service.
Coach Earl C. Banks was a great and creative coach. I don't think that he would agree to using his name to replace the name of the one who paved the way for him. He deserves an honor of his own.
The real issue here is the preservation of black history. Who will come along next and decide to change the name of our historic buildings when another great leader dies? That's unheard of.
Imagine, no more Sopher Library or Murphy Auditorium or Holmes Hall or Truth Hall. Who's next? Maybe Morgan.
Sunni M. Khalid's Perspective article Nov. 14 on the future of Somalia regrettably neglected to provide significant historical context to the 22-year administration of carnage of Siad Barre. It is from the past we learn.
During much of that time, Somalia was a diplomatic ward of the United States, which had an interest in maintaining its naval port in Barbera while the Cold War continued.
Consequently, there was no official protest when an estimated 150,000 civilians in northern towns such as Hergeisa were massacred by Barre's troops. During the 1980s, U.S. taxpayers provided $780 million in economic and military assistance.
This is the framework under which the central government Khalid writes about collapsed, and warlords like Aidid profited.
Americans need to realize their government has not always represented the morality inherent in democratic philosophy, particularly in policies toward Africa and the Americas.
It is no wonder Somalians distrust intervention, whatever the reasons given.
Time has been a witness to violence on their culture again and again, and the people of Somalia understand that if the international community will allow them to "forge their own future" (as Khalid writes), it will most likely come with a price.
History has not been kind, and a new world order does not promise for them anything but a repeat of the past.
Hugh T. Skelton
The death of River Phoenix is sad. He will be missed and mourned by family, friends and admirers.
The recent death of my son Billy also left an extensive group of people grieving. Like River Phoenix, his death was untimely when he died this past summer of brain cancer.
It now appears that River Phoenix may have died of a reaction to cocaine, which means his death was preventable.
Billy's was not. Almost $200,000 was spent during his 13-month ordeal on treatments aimed at curing him: 15 hospitalizations, two neurosurgeries, extensive radiation and chemotherapies.
He took numerous medications and endured constant threat of seizures. Some of Johns Hopkins' finest specialists in oncology worked diligently in his behalf.
Like River Phoenix, Billy was handsome and bright. The future held great possibilities for each of them. But Bill, at age 18, had learned a lesson that the talented young actor, at 23, apparently had not; that life has ups and downs, and that the problems one invariably encounters are opportunities for personal growth.
Billy never felt sorry for himself. He met each tribulation courageously and worked to grow beyond his fears and limitations. Even while sick, he matured and enjoyed life in ever-increasing dimensions.
Blocking problems, or seeking to lift one's mood with drugs, denies both the possibility of growth and the increase in self-esteem that come through knowing that one has dealt effectively with life's difficulties, no matter what they are.
The deaths of both of these young men, River Phoenix and my son Bill, were tragedies. The incongruous contrast in the way they died can serve as a valuable lesson for those of us who are still living.
Janet S. Wilcke
Susan Reimer's mean-spirited Oct. 26 column misses the whole point about children's fund-raisers. The point is that in our society schools everywhere -- public, private, parochial, from child care centers on up -- are underfunded.
Both individual and collective allocations of resources are in most cases insufficient to provide children with the levels of individual attention and instruction which they need to flourish.
So parents' associations struggle to find ways to raise additional dollars not only from the families of children being educated but also from members of the community who may need to be reminded that they, too, will be affected by the outcome of those children's education.
Children's fund-raisers are not the sadistic invention of a few crank parents and teachers. If every parent volunteered to give an additional sum -- meaningful to their budgets -- to their child's school, then gift wrap sales could go away.
And adults have choices. They can buy up all of a child's pizza kits and not send them out in the cold or they can choose whether or not to buy magazines from the neighbor's kids.
Ms. Reimer has a choice also. She can ask us to admire her for the amount of stuff she buys or she can model appropriate behavior and ask her readers to join her in making a significant financial contribution to a grateful school.
Anita R. Prentice
The writer represents Downtown Baltimore Child Care Inc.
I was dismayed to see that, in the edition that carried a page one story quoting with incredulity the testimony of several cigarette executives regarding their belief that no causal link exists between smoking and cancer, there was no mention in the article on proposed renovations of BWI that it is one of the few airports still allowing unrestricted smoking.
Marylanders, wake up. Ban smoking at BWI now. It worked at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Tricia D. O'Neill