Big Easy a treasure well worth restoring
As a former resident of New Orleans, I am disgusted by Steve Chapman and by others who argue that New Orleans should not be rebuilt ("Why rebuild the Big Easy?" Opinion
Commentary, Aug. 31).
This discussion would not be happening if we were talking about Miami Beach or Hilton Head Island, S.C., or even Ocean City - all of which will be vulnerable as water levels rise.
Is New Orleans worth saving? Yes.
It is one of the country's unique cultural treasures. It is a major port and a major source of seafood.
Southern Louisiana also provides a great deal of the oil and natural gas this country takes for granted.
The fact that the land is sinking and New Orleans is vulnerable is the direct result of energy companies plowing canals through the area's wetlands and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blocking the flow of sediment from the Mississippi into the marshland.
These groups need to take responsibility for the mess they have made.
Those who advocate walking away from the plight of the people in South Louisiana would do well to ponder whether their government would come to their aid if they faced a natural disaster.
Based on the experience of Hurricane Katrina, the odds don't look good.
If you live near the water or near a fault, you could be the next disposable citizens.
Hypocrisy hastened Sen. Craig's free-fall
Judgments about political scandals should take both fairness and hypocrisy into account ("Craig's political free-fall is over," Sept. 2).
In Sen. Larry E. Craig's case, a victimless misdemeanor caused his own party to hastily drive him to say he intends to leave office because the offense involved the suggestion of homosexuality.
Had the senator's crime been about heterosexual infidelity, like Louisiana Sen. David Vitter's apparent involvement with prostitutes, I believe his political party would have defended him and allowed the senator's family and constituents to determine his fate.
There should be no double standards.
But there is another factor that exacerbates even a victimless misdemeanor - and that is hypocrisy.
If an offender preaches one thing in public and seems to practice the opposite in private, as Mr. Craig has apparently done, his life is a lie, and that greatly magnifies the crime.
The lesson is that if you talk the talk, you had better walk the walk.
Many Republican politicians and their supporters set themselves and their party up for a fall by misusing religion, personal morality and homophobia as tools to gain power.
Ultimately, we all pay a price for these divisive tactics, which stifle public debate by making it shrill, intolerant and hostile to democracy's essential ingredient - compromise.
Roger C. Kostmayer
Why give a pass to tainted Democrats?
I agree with The Sun's editorial on Sen. Larry E. Craig ("The trouble with Larry," editorial, Aug. 31). However, here are some facts The Sun appears to have forgotten:
Rep. William J. Jefferson, a Democrat, was found to have $90,000 in his freezer.
President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, lied under oath.
Former Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat, had an affair with a senior aide while serving as governor, and promoted her.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, a Democrat, left the scene of a car accident and got a slap on the wrist after Mary Jo Kopechne died while he saved himself.
Former Rep. Gerry Studds, a Democrat, had sex with an underage page - and was re-elected five times.
Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat, had an involvement with a male prostitute.
Former Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, a Democrat, is a convicted felon who was pardoned by Mr. Clinton.
None of the above politicians resigned from office as a result of his disgrace.
So I say that if you are going to have outrage, it should be a two-way street: You must report on both sides of the aisle.
Mark H. Olanoff
The writer is a member of the Republican Central Committee of Baltimore County.
MathWorks reveals role of teacher input
I want to thank The Sun and reporter Sara Neufeld for the article on teacher Linda Eberhart's MathWorks program ("Benefits of math method add up," Sept. 3).
MathWorks clearly demonstrates what works in education - teachers working collaboratively and sharing ideas.
Let this be a lesson for the school boards across the country that this is the reason teachers need time to plan - to find ways to do what works.
It's also why teachers want a say in the process of reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind law and in writing the school curriculum.
We know our profession and know what produces results and engages the children we interact with daily.
Maybe we as a nation can begin to have conversations about empowering and rewarding our teachers.
The writer is a teacher at Loch Raven High School and a co-chairman of the Maryland State Teachers Association's task force on the No Child Left Behind law.
Treat the teachers as system's top asset
How refreshing to read that Linda Eberhart's success in creating MathWorks and expanding the program to help her colleagues has not changed her desire to stay in the classroom ("Benefits of math method add up," Sept. 3).
Ms. Eberhart has developed a method by which math teachers can get together and share their best ideas and materials with each other.
She has shown that teachers do not have to leave their students to have a positive impact on the school system at large.
Now it's up to the rest of us to make sure that the best teachers are the highest-paid people in our school systems.
Francis J. Gorman
Don't use stimulants as the first option
Having taught for the past 15 years in Baltimore's private schools and worked with all sorts of students, I feel compelled to respond to Dr. David W. Goodman's defense of stimulant medications for children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ("ADHD medication helps patients thrive," letters, Sept. 1).
My observation is that medication is frequently and wrongly employed as a diagnostic tool.
Students will often be diagnosed as having ADHD (and consequently medicated) before specific, non-pharmaceutically-based classroom interventions have been tried.
When children respond positively to the medication by focusing and attending to tasks (as many non-ADHD students will do), the so-called diagnosis of ADHD is falsely confirmed.
I think most of us would agree that stimulant medication should not be the first treatment option employed when a student can't sit still.
The writer is a special-education teacher.