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No fond memories of 'Sambo'In describing "Little...

No fond memories of 'Sambo'

In describing "Little Black Sambo" as her favorite childhood story, letter writer Barbara L. Pilert (Oct. 6, "My favorite book was politically incorrect") tells us she is a white female, old enough to remember President Kennedy's assassination, and that her early knowledge of geography placed the story in India.

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I am a black male, old enough to remember the death of President Roosevelt and, to quote the late (rhythm and blues singer) Sam Cooke, "Don't know much about geography." I do remember the Saturday cartoons that featured mammies, pappies and pickaninnies who looked like "Sambo" and they were not Indians, native or otherwise. What they were was ugly, lazy, ignorant objects of ridicule, and many associated us with them.

I do not always look back to the past with pleasure; pain is also my companion.

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McNair Taylor

Baltimore

Clinton knows neither courage nor truth

This letter is in response to Carl Cannon's Sept. 29 article, "Who is the braver man?" . . . It stated that Bill Clinton has shown "undaunted courage" on welfare reform -- when in fact, he has suggested that "fixes" will be made if he is re-elected. Mr. Cannon may also believe that Mr. Clinton is intrepid for his stand against tobacco, yet his own running mate has long been cozy with the industry.

And Mr. Clinton's long-standing fear of dealing with critical issues such as the looming entitlement crisis may force a brutal fiscal emergency.

Other issues, such as battling illegal drugs, are given lip service. In fact, this administration has given its tacit approval to drug use. . . . Brave Sir Clinton and the lapdog Democrats are fiddling while allowing the social safety net to burn.

This is not the only piece referring to the courage of the two candidates that The Sun has run this year. On March 1, Theo Lippmann dared to compare Mr. Dole with Mr. Clinton, based on their attitudes about war and their expressions of fear. Mr. Lippman failed to realize that Americans choose leaders directly as a result of their actions or inactions, not on the "what if" scenarios created by pundits. The undeniable fact is that Mr. Dole left the safety of his beloved Kansas and served his country despite his great misgivings. Mr. Clinton simply left. . . .

Heroism comes in many forms and Americans know it when they see it. Americans view heroism as making the correct choices in the face of danger and adversity, and courage as the ability to accept responsibility for one's actions. Mr. Clinton has not developed this sense of responsibility, and continues to avoid making hard decisions. . . . Mr. Dole's actions will never be held to light of day and be found in contempt. Mr. Clinton's motives have yet to find the light of truth. . . .

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Danny Devine

Crofton

Double standard penalizes child

When 6-year-old Johnathan Prevette kissed a girl in his class, he was charged with sexual harassment and not allowed to participate in an ice cream party for his perfect attendance. In addition, he was separated from the rest of his classmates.

When "grown-up" Roberto Alomar spit in an umpire's face and made comments about the man's deceased son, he was allowed to participate in the playoffs.

I think this is a perfect example of how money talks.

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Let's punish a 6-year-old who doesn't understand what he did wrong but not a "grown-up" who should know better. What's wrong with this picture?

Eileen O. Hennegan

Baltimore

At last, gilt frames on the Cone paintings

How wonderful to see the gilt frames on the Cone collection paintings from the Baltimore Museum of Art on exhibition in Tokyo in a recent photo in The Sun.

This was the way the Cone sisters saw their paintings. This is the way they should be exhibited at the museum, instead of in the strip frames currently used there.

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Flora Wallace

Baltimore

Gift giver not always on right side

Not all good deeds and generosity by an individual are consistent with the best interests of the public. George Soros, the subject of an Oct. 1 article, "Welfare law's victims get $50 million gift," has given other substantial gifts, including $6 million to the notorious Drug Policy Foundation, a group dedicated to drug legalization.

This act angered most Americans knowledgeable about the ideologies of the Drug Policy Foundation. It was formed in 1988 by the leadership of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), whose 1960's reputation for pushing illicit drugs became unacceptable.

Mr. Soros' $6 million seed money has made DPF the leading group "worldwide" in its efforts to install "acceptable, but questionable" policies such as needle exchange, medicalization and association with leading drug communities, such as Baltimore's sister city, Rotterdam, Holland.

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In 1988, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke was literally adopted by DPF and, as a leading spokesman and member of the DPF advisory board, he has been awarded a $100,000 gift. DPF is noted for its cash awards to political and academic leaders, and Mr. Soros is its sponsor. I assume plenty of cash is available.

Mr. Soros could more effectively serve the poor by financing drug education programs such as DARE in Baltimore.

Marshall M. Meyer

Baltimore

Shouldn't glorify illegitimacy

In reference to the Sept. 26 article, "9 months after Blizzard of '96, the babies," the creation of life is miraculous and sacred. To mock this creation by suggesting it is nothing more than the result of "a few beers" and "feeling a little bored" helps to explain the pervasive lack of respect for traditional values. While I concede that it is not the newspaper's role to shape cultural mores, I still find The Sun's choice to glorify illegitimacy distasteful.

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Beth Hagan

Baltimore

Catch that wasn't raised readers' ire

The umpiring profession was set back several notches Wednesday evening, as Rich Garcia's butchered call will undoubtedly preserve a niche for him in baseball history. Talk about audacity.

Mr. Garcia sits there and defends his action after the game. Aren't the so-called "protectors of the integrity of the game" also accountable? Take note, Richie Phillips. Mr. Garcia should be suspended for gross incompetence. Failing that, Os players ought to threaten a strike until Mr. Garcia is removed as an umpire from this series.

On top of that, I thought fans who interfere with balls in play are summarily escorted from the stadium. This kid gets interviewed on national TV and is made out to be a hero. Another budding role model for the youth of today.

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Morty Marcus

Pikesville

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Lost amid the Roberto Alomar controversy is the poor quality of the performance of American League umpires. If umpire John Hirschbeck had made a remotely competent call, the Alomar incident would never have occurred.

In Game One of the American League Championship Series, the Orioles won the game on the field, and lost it because of the blatant incompetence of Rich Garcia. Anyone who has followed American League baseball this year can attest to the unbelievably poor quality of officiating. Neither batters nor pitchers know where the strike zone is from one pitch to the next.

If a baseball player does not have major league skills, he never makes the big leagues. If his skills diminish, he is no longer a major league player. It is time that these same principles were applied to those individuals who have the power to decide the fate of the ball game.

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The question needs to be asked: Who umpires the umpires?

Jeffrey N. Pritzker

Owings Mills

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This series could give a whole new meaning to "kill the ump." The Orioles are not playing the Yankees in this championship series. They are playing against the umpires. This is a shame.

In the first game of this series, when Roberto Alomar first came to bat, the same pitch that started all this trouble was thrown. Again, it was called a strike. We could not see the umpire's face, but I speculate that it would have read: "Take that now. You just go ahead and spit in my face, if you dare."

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And still later in the game, a high pitch came across the plate. Mr. Alomar sees it's a ball, but wait, the brave umpire says, "Strike!"

OK, so maybe the guy needs glasses.

But do they all need glasses? What about the Rich Garcia call in the eighth inning, when Tony Tarasco was going to make the catch and the small fan interfered? The game is tied and that umpire calls a home run. Later, he comments that he "didn't think Tarasco was going to catch the ball, anyway." Is that what they mean by a "judgment call"?

The kid who interfered with the game is not at fault; nor is he a "hero." He did not win the game for the Yankees. The umpire lost it for the Orioles. With what has transpired, it is becoming blatantly apparent that the umpires are not going to call the game fairly. Because of their animosity toward Mr. Alomar, I wonder if they should be calling this series in which two teams have worked so hard to compete?

If the Yankees go to the World Series, let's hope it's because they earned it, not because it was stolen from the Orioles. I do not think the Yankees would want it that way. The whole world would know they did not earn it, and that the umpires gave it to them.

Carmine M. Amedori

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Reisterstown

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It wasn't a difficult call; the umpire was standing right there. Unfortunately for the Orioles, so was a small boy anxious to catch a major league baseball. The umpire made the call -- home run. It was the wrong call.

Did they change it after discussing it among themselves? No. It is obvious to me that the umpires are holding a grudge against Roberto Alomar and the Oriole organization. This was a blatant attempt to do what the umpire association wanted to do in the first place -- punish Alomar. How better than to make a non-disputable "judgment" call against the Orioles that would decide the outcome of the game.

The judge may have made the umpires go to work (an unnecessary ruling anyway because of the "no strike" clause on the piece of paper they call a contract), but he can't make them call the game fairly. I call the game: Orioles, 4; Yankees, 3; umpires, 1.

Dave Dobbs

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Ellicott City

Black journalists deserve respect

As a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and president of the local affiliate chapter, the Baltimore Association of Black Media Workers, I was compelled to share some of the history of our organization with your readers.

I chose to do so now so your readers are not misled by recent defamatory characterizations made by Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan and Sun columnist Gregory Kane. Based on some of their remarks and writings, both men appear woefully ill-informed about members of NABJ and its history.

Founded 21 years ago, the National Association of Black Journalists is the largest organization of journalists of color in the world. Its mission is to increase black employment in the media, to encourage young people interested in pursuing journalism or media-related careers, and to monitor and sensitize the media to institutional racism.

Each year the NABJ hosts a national convention. Its purpose is to assist our members in their professional development with seminars, networking opportunities and, of course, further exposure to the news-makers of the day.

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Among the speakers invited to address our Aug. 21-25 convention in Nashville, Tenn., were Republican presidential nominee Robert Dole and Mr. Farrakhan. Both men accepted the invitation, which is a testament to the credibility and respect afforded the NABJ. Mr. Dole was accompanied by his vice-presidential nominee, Jack Kemp.

Mr. Farrakhan addressed the convention first. He was invited to talk about the Million Man March, a historic event approaching its first anniversary. He used the forum to harshly criticize black journalists for not being more aggressive (about minority concerns) in our newsrooms.

Like many people in the audience, I was offended by some of his remarks. The minister leveled blanket accusations against all black journalists and showed a clear disregard for the tremendous strides we have made in news operations around the country.

Members of the local affiliate chapter of NABJ were equally offended by Mr. Kane's Aug. 25 column, which included the headline, "Cowards reserved hardball for Dole, Kemp."

Mr. Kane raised a legitimate point in asking why there was not a uniform procedure in the question-and-answer periods following each of the invited speakers. Mr. Dole and Mr. Kemp were questioned by a group of pre-selected journalists; Mr. Farrakhan at random by members of the audience.

But to portray the organization as a group of quote "chicken journalists" is an insult. It's an insult to the trailblazing journalists, many of them NABJ members, who made Mr. Kane's newspaper career possible. It's also an insult to the thousands of NABJ members who, like Mr. Kane, work daily to inform and educate their audiences by asking the tough questions and meeting deadlines.

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Columnists are entitled to express their opinions, but Mr. Kane's column does not give an accurate portrayal of the NABJ and its members. Both Mr. Kane and Mr. Farrakhan have done a huge injustice to a very proud organization.

Terry Owens

Columbia

The writer is president of the Baltimore Association of Black Media Workers.

Nightmare of poverty for legal immigrants

Your Sept. 17 article, "Maryland to pay benefits to immigrants," did not paint the entire picture regarding the state decision to extend certain welfare and medical benefits to legal immigrants left unprotected by the new federal welfare reform law.

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Here's the rest of the story. While the governor's decision to extend some state-funded benefits to legal immigrants, notably children, is laudable, it does not apply to all immigrants 'u abandoned by the federal government. Gaping holes remain in the social safety net for Maryland's legal immigrants.

The most devastating impact will be felt by those elderly immigrants who depend on the federally financed Supplemental Security Income program, an income maintenance program for the poor elderly. Under the federal law, approximately 7,000 persons who are 65 or over will be ineligible for the income support they need to maintain housing and purchase basic necessities. Many could lose medical coverage. Another 8,000 adult immigrants no longer will receive food stamps. And adults who arrived in Maryland after Aug. 22, the day President Clinton signed the bill, no longer will be eligible for medical assistance.

The Jewish and Catholic communities of Maryland offer resettlement services, including educational and occupational assistance, to new immigrants.

We know from experience that many of these new neighbors, like the earliest settlers in Maryland, have come here in search of new opportunity.

Some require initial support to establish their roots. Others require longer-term assistance to survive. But the vast majority are determined to achieve economic independence and willing to work tirelessly toward that end. Our efforts to help them likely will be overwhelmed by the crisis of need created by the federal government's abdication of its responsibilities in this area.

But the problem for the state's legal immigrants remains. Absent reversal of the federal action, or a stronger state commitment to bridge the gap, the American dream for many of these individuals can be expected to become a nightmare of poverty.

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The federal government cannot again assume this primary responsibility until a new Congress convenes and policy makers in Washington are made to see the mistake they have made. In the meantime, and only until elected officials in Washington correct their error, additional state action is essential. Gov. Parris Glendening's commendable embrace of Maryland's legal immigrant population should be expanded.

Lauren B. Kallins

J. Kevin Appleby

Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, the Baltimore Jewish Council's director of government relations and public policy and the Maryland Catholic Conference's associate director for social concerns.


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