Jokes about spanking hurt efforts to protect children from abuse
Phil Perrier's column "Attention, JMart shoppers: Bankruptcy hurts" (Opinion* Commentary, Feb. 19) couldn't have been more harmful to those working to end domestic violence.
We understand that Mr. Perrier was trying to show how the corporate retailer he favors is a more down-to-earth place than the tofu shops in Marin County. But making "jokes" about beating children - indeed, playfully urging they be beaten harder - while mocking those who take steps to protect them from being beaten in public is close to inciting violence.
It is hard to believe The Sun would have printed the same piece if it had humorously advocated the assault and battery of a disadvantaged class of adults.
We understand that some feel corporal punishment is necessary, or at least acceptable, but studies confirm that this kind of violence begets more violence. And there is no more reason to treat children as second-class citizens than anyone else (even comedians whose idea of fresh, funny material is the observation that women love to shop for hours).
In fact, Article 19 of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child requires member nations to take measures to protect children from all forms of physical violence by their parents.
This column violated the spirit of the convention, as well as the dignity and rights of children everywhere.
The writers are, respectively, a graduate student and an associate dean at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. The letter was also signed by three other graduate students in nursing.
Cloning a cat isn't a triumph for science ...
How does the cloning of a domestic cat truly advance science ("In Texas A&M; cloning study, positive results," Feb. 15)?
It would appear that the only benefactors of such an achievement would be wealthy pet owners, who can afford cloning, and researchers who will continue to use animals in laboratories.
If the ultimate fate of these "copycats" is a laboratory, I have to disagree with this research. It is unfair to produce a living creature only to subject it to torture in a laboratory.
There is no difference between a cloned creature and a naturally born one; neither should be placed in a laboratory.
... and cloning one's dog won't restore a beloved pet
I was appalled by the editorial "Copycat science" (Feb. 18). As if it isn't bad enough that we cloned Dolly the sheep, now a man has given an astounding $3.7 million to scientists because he wants them to clone his dog.
This is a perfect, yet sad, example of what this world is coming to. We are so concerned about what we look like. And a cloned dog may have the same DNA as the original, making it appear to be the same dog. However, we cannot genetically give someone - or, in this case, something - a soul or the ability to love and be loved.
With all the disease and suffering in this world, why doesn't the wealthy Arizonan use his money to help save the living?
If Cheney has nothing to hide, why must he go to court?
Legalities and possibly even principles may be involved in the U.S. General Accounting Office's lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney ("GAO sues Cheney for list," Feb. 23).
But the persistent question is: If you have nothing to hide, why give the impression that you do?
Murder of Jewish woman has roots in simple hatred
The disgusting murder of a 25-year-old, lame Jewish woman, Moran Amit, by an Arab in Jerusalem's Peace Forest does not test the coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians - as The Sun's subheading states ("Two worlds side by side in Jerusalem neighborhood," Feb. 24).
Rather, it is a testament to the venomous hatred spewed forth daily by the Palestinian news media and the Palestinian Authority declaring that Jews are infidels and that the Muslim murderers of women and children are martyrs.
This nauseating behavior is not because of poverty or lack of opportunity. It is because of Jew-hating, pure and simple.
It will not end until Palestinian parents love their children more than they hate the Jews.
Geoffrey E. Greene
Don't let history limit roles young actors can explore
The director of Roland Park Country School's production of The Miracle Worker says he is seeking historical accuracy in his staging of this drama ("Director casts attention on inequity," Feb. 20). He has assembled a diverse company of student actresses, yet he has restricted the roles open to actresses of color.
But theater education on the secondary-school level should strive to encourage artistic talent and self-confidence within young actors of all races and ethnic backgrounds. A director's zeal to maintain historical accuracy could limit students' opportunities to broaden their skills.
And some of my happiest memories in 20 years of directing high school theater have resulted from nontraditional casting decisions - a female Ebeneezer Scrooge one Christmas, a racially diverse Fiddler on the Roof, a multiracial Carousel with performers ranging from age 4 through 40-something.
High school performers deserve all the encouragement, fairness and tolerance we, as theater educators, owe them.
Carolyn L. Buck
The writer teaches English at the Institute of Notre Dame.
Bill Vanko does much more than just read the news
In The Sun's article "O'Malley catches radio wave" (Feb. 19), television writer David Folkenflik referred to WBAL's Bill Vanko as a "news reader."
This description carries a negative connotation because it implies the "reader" in question neither writes, reports or covers the news. In Mr. Vanko's case, nothing could be further from the truth.
Mr. Vanko is an experienced broadcast journalist who has received dozens of local and national awards for his news and feature reporting. He has worked as a legislative reporter in Annapolis and covered the most important stories in Maryland over the last 15 years.
As one of WBAL's morning news anchors, Mr. Vanko arrives in the newsroom every day by 3 a.m. to begin writing and producing the newscasts that air every half-hour from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m.
So call him a news anchor. Call him a reporter. Call him a broadcast journalist. Or call him a radio newsman. But please don't call him a "reader."
The writer is a former radio newsman and television reporter.
Branch's essay on civil rights offers primer on democracy
I commend The Sun's publication of Taylor Branch's "Patriots of Civil Rights" (Feb. 17). It is the best summary of the historical and present significance of American democracy that I know of.
The way Mr. Branch tells the story of the civil rights movement and how it has liberated so much of America also provides a real awareness of the meaning and effectiveness of nonviolence.
His observations are the most helpful guide I know of to all Americans who hope to preserve our democracy and deal effectively with the problems we face in international relations.