Israel at 50 section on nation's struggle...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Israel at 50 section on nation's struggle a journalistic triumph

Your April 26 section, "Israel at 50: A Dream in Progress," was a journalistic and historical triumph. The research, writing, photos and graphics are worthy of a leading newspaper.

I wish, however, in your references to the Baltimore connection, you would have included the significant Exodus plaque at the harbor side of the World Trade Center at the very site the ship (the President Warfield at the time) was outfitted for its historic voyage.

It is a fitting tribute to the "Baltimore ship that launched a nation," which is how the plaque's co-sponsor, the Baltimore Zionist District, described Exodus' role in the founding of Israel.

Eddie Rogers

Owings Mills

The writer is chairman of Operation Exodus.

On behalf of the Baltimore Zionist District, I want to express our appreciation of your increased, unbiased reporting on Israel. Also, the April 26 section, "Israel at 50: A Dream in Progress," was an exceptional presentation on past and present events. Keep up the good work.

Sylvan Tompakov

Baltimore

I am sure your Israel section of April 26 impressed many people, Jew and non-Jew alike, but as president-elect of the Baltimore Zionist District, I was emotionally moved and am deeply grateful for your historical accounting of a people and a nation. One has to admire a country that accomplished so much in so short a time.

It was a story that had to be told (retold?), and by your publishing it in The Sun it is now part of Baltimore history. I express thanks, not only from the Baltimore Zionist District, but from me personally.

arty Schwartz

Owings Mills

Communism not forgotten; its utopia myth shattered

"Revolutionary credo turns 150," by Scott Shane, May 1, is an honest evaluation of the effects, good and bad, that "The Communist Manifesto" has had on our world. It forced unbridled capitalism to correct some of its worst excesses, and it led to bloody dictatorships and mass barbarism.

The manifesto also was prescient in some ways: It anticipated globalization and the rise of technology. It was also very wrong in others: The utopian promise of the future turned into a dystopian mess. The credo advocated social engineering of the worst kind.

The utopian promise of the brave new world of genetic engineering could be a mirror image of communism's social engineering. Communists are becoming more visible again in Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and Mongolia, but with some significant changes -- the goal is not an egalitarian society.

Genetic engineers, however, have been very careful about using the word "eugenics," the term coined by Sir Francis Galton, Charles Darwin's cousin. Eugenics still brings to mind the horrors of the Holocaust and racial purity run amok.

One of the most important changes has not yet been resolved: Who will determine what is a good gene and what is a bad gene? If it is the marketplace, we could have the problem again of unbridled capitalism; if it is the government, we could have Pol Pot or Hitler.

Tom Gill

North Beach

Olesker, Reimer columns on slain girl touch nerves

Michael Olesker's April 30 column and Susan Reimer's May 1 column on Rita Fisher were both terrific.

That poor child. Didn't anyone care? Didn't anyone know what was going on? During her short life on this earth, did anyone ever hug her or tell her she was pretty?

Did she ever get a doll for Christmas or a basket of candy for Easter?

None of us should be able to rest until laws are changed and children like Rita Fisher are taken care of and loved.

After the trial, lawyers and commentators all had something to say. Their comment: "We should be more aware of situations like Rita Fisher's." My question is, how much awareness do you need when a child is being abused?

arge Griffith

Pasadena

Susan Reimer's remarks on the death of little Rita Fisher, "All mothers wince at this child's death" (May 1), was disturbing on many levels, and none will make a difference in the horrible abuse that claimed this 9-year-old Pikesville child's life.

It is arrogant to assume that only mothers wince at a tragedy of this proportion. I am not a mother, and the pain I felt was horrible. But this pitting of women against women is sadly typical of the "mommy wars" dividing the female landscape. Now it is mothers as opposed to non-mothers. Anyone, male, female, mother, non-mother feels the pain Ms. Reimer expresses, and it is insulting to claim otherwise.

I may not be a mother, but I have called the authorities when I thought a child was suffering from abuse. And so have countless others. The questions Ms. Reimer should be asking are who took the pitiful photo of Rita Fisher and why was nothing done then. Introspection is useless now.

osalind Ellis

Baltimore

Lack of debate on Viagra shows what really matters

Curious, isn't it, that health insurers are falling over themselves to decide how much and how frequently to cover prescriptions for Viagra, the Pfizer impotence pill, which has been on the market only three weeks? All the more curious considering that it recently took an act of the Maryland General Assembly to require a health insurer that offers prescription coverage to include contraceptives.

tTC It is a bit ironic to see national insurers struggle with the question of "how much sex is enough" as asked April 30 in The Sun ("Insurers vary on impotence-pill coverage") when the Institute of Medicine estimates that nearly 60 percent of pregnancies in this country are unintended.

Guess we know what the really important public health problem is.

I have no objection to my insurer covering Viagra. I do hope, however, that those who use this drug appreciate their luck in being spared the condescending moralizing endured by those who advocate ready access to contraception.

Mary E. O'Byrne

Baltimore

Give school vouchers to all public students

In The Sun May 1, columnist Carl Rowan and other opponents of the D.C. school voucher bill argue that such a measure should be defeated because it would only benefit a smallpercentage of the children ("School vouchers no answer for poor"). With that kind of thinking, no one would have gotten off the Titanic.

It's tragic that the bill as written would benefit only a small portion of the children trapped in the system. Why not set them all free by giving all the parents vouchers and letting them spend them at the private or public school of their choice?

John D. Schiavone

Kingsville

Methods aside, teachers are key to reading instruction

What a treat to finally read about an experienced teacher talking good sense about the teaching of reading. Thank you for the fine article by Mike Bowler ("Basics are always the same," April 19). It has been interesting, but often unsettling, to read about methods of teaching reading, as though there were only one right way (phonics or whole language). These methods should not be mandated by a school board that has no experience in this area.

I have taught early elementary students since 1955 and have seen the swings in methods from sight, to phonics, to whole language.

Yet in The Sun's articles, rarely has the teacher been mentioned. As Jean Abbey, the veteran teacher quoted in Mr. Bowler's column, says, a teacher has to know her students well and their interests, then she knows how best to teach reading to the particular group.

The teacher is the one who makes the difference in how well a child learns. A good teacher tries any method available that is successful in getting children to read and gets rid of methods that don't work.

It is essential to hire the best teachers possible and have them learn from master teachers like Ms. Abbey, who have had broad experience.

Only then will we have children in Baltimore who can read well. This should be the city's top priority.

Lee Williams

Baltimore

Pub Date: 5/08/98

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