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The Baltimore Sun

Reconsider value of CEOs' earnings

Jay Hancock's column on the failure of CEO pay disclosure rules is very informative and helpful ("CEO-pay disclosure rules are a failure," April 16). And the bottom line here is that in too many cases, executive compensation bears little relationship to the success of the company.

For example, a recent report (February) from the Economic Research Institute showed, based on a study over the previous year of 45 companies, that executive compensation had increased 20.5 percent while earnings grew just 2.8 percent.

In an increasingly competitive global economic environment, directors and shareholders need to examine executive pay and be able to answer a basic question: Are company resources going to excessive executive compensation that should be going to research and development, the development of innovative practices and work force recruitment and training?

E. Niel Carey, Ellicott City

Pope overlooks pain of victims of abuse

The pope's extensive comments on the sex abuse scandals had little room for the victims and their great suffering ("Pontiff vows vigilance on clergy abuse," April 16).

As a victim of repeated sexual abuse by a priest, I am outraged that in the completely controlled setting of the papal jetliner, where even the questions from the reporters were vetted in advance, this pontiff could find so little compassion for the victims of these crimes that he didn't even bother to mention us.

Coming from the head of such a media-savvy entity as the modern church, I have little doubt that this exclusion must have been intentional.

The pope is apparently more concerned with the suffering and embarrassment brought to his church by this scandal than with the care, compassion and understanding of those victimized.

Greg Baranoski, Baltimore

Why is Sen. Clinton ready to command?

Christy Macy begins "Clinton offers a bold vision of American foreign policy" (Commentary, April 11) by saying that she is concerned that Sen. Hillary Clinton's qualifications for a "potential role as commander in chief" are "getting lost in the spin cycle."

The rest of her 700-word article proceeds to describe Mrs. Clinton's experiences as first lady in international feminist, cultural and socialistic-style activities - and includes not a word that relates to qualifications for leading the U.S. military as commander in chief.

Ms. Macy presents a good argument for Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state or perhaps U.N. secretary-general, but not as commander in chief of the U.S. military.

A better illustration of her qualifications to be commander in chief would be her influence or involvement, or absence thereof, in her husband's reactions to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, all of which helped lead to the 9/11 attacks.

As written, Ms. Macy's article is just a part of the "spin cycle" she purports to disdain.

But perhaps it will be followed by another column that recognizes that the role of commander in chief is separate from that of a diplomatic, trade and humanitarian representative of the United States and does address Mrs. Clinton's relevant qualifications, if any, to serve as commander in chief.

James Fortner, Pasadena

'Yuppie' candidate was right on war

So Jonah Goldberg has analyzed Sen. Barack Obama and come to the conclusion that the senator is a "self-hating" and "self-loathing" yuppie ("Barack Obama, the yuppie candidate," Commentary, April 16).

As long as we are indulging in amateur psychology, perhaps one could conclude that Mr. Goldberg was looking in the mirror when he conducted his analysis. After all, Mr. Goldberg fervently supported our country's invasion of Iraq only to realize, too late, that - oops! - it was a "mistake."

Now there is a good reason for self-loathing.

On the contrary, Mr. Obama was absolutely right to oppose this tragic war from the very beginning.

Not bad for a yuppie.

Gene Baldwin, Catonsville

Pushers produce violent outcomes

In calling for lighter sentences for drug pushers, Ronald Fraser makes light of the damage they do ("Mandatory madness," Commentary, April 15).

To him, drug pushers are harmless young men - "nonviolent offenders," guilty only of "nonviolent offenses."

He fails to see them in the light of what they do to their customers: pushing them into the fatal chain of getting high, getting hooked, getting addicted, getting more addicted, wasting their lives and bringing suffering to others.

To some people, murder by poison apparently seems inconsequential.

Paul Marx, Towson

NCLB rules push schools to secrecy

Kudos go to Baltimore schools CEO Andres Alonso for addressing the issue of violence in the schools. I hope he did so out of a commitment to help the school system and not as a reaction to being shamed by the recent beating that made national news.

Missing from The Sun's article "Attack highlights 'chronic problem'" (April 13), however, was a deeper understanding of where some of the main problems lie.

Some principals, such as the one at Reginald F. Lewis High School, are simply prone to blame the victim of violent incidents or provide no leadership or support for their staff. But even those principals who care are strongly discouraged by the implications of the No Child Left Behind law from reporting such violent incidents.

A school that reports violent incidents may be deemed "unsafe." A school that whitewashes such crimes may be deemed "safe."

Hence, the school where the violence is reported may be targeted for takeovers, firings, etc., while the really unsafe school may get a gold medal and people get to keep their jobs, even as the school atmosphere further deteriorates.

There is no will and no backbone in the leadership of the Baltimore school system to confront this issue.

Principals won't buck the federal law and report every violent crime, and the teachers union cries when its teachers are assaulted but takes no demonstrative action such as endorsing walkouts or other protests over school violence.

Teachers and the majority of dedicated students are the pawns when thugs set the agenda with tacit support from members of Congress who seem to forget whose best interests they serve.

Myles Hoenig, Baltimore

The writer is a former teacher in the Baltimore public schools.

Teaching isn't such an easy job

In response to the writer of the letter "Teacher pay, security more than adequate" (April 10), I have one question: If teaching is such a great gig, why are close to 1,000 teachers leaving the Baltimore County schools every year?

And if it is such a great deal, we would love to have the letter writer and his like-minded peers join us in the teaching profession.

With the challenges of the classroom today, which often end up as front-page news, it would be interesting to see how many of them would last.

Joyce Caldwell, Nottingham

The writer is a teacher in the Baltimore County schools.

Turn troubled zoo into a nature center

I think old-fashioned Victorian zoos, where animals are confined in small, concrete cages, are outdated and inhumane.

However, as one reader recently pointed out, Druid Hill Park is a great place for picnics and family outings.

Why not move the larger animals to game reserves and turn the zoo into a nature and conservation center?

The zoo could provide a home for smaller animals and recuperating wildlife while educating the public about local ecology, the bay and sustainable living.

Schoolchildren would love this updated version of their local zoo, and it would be affordable for families.

Sandra Bryant, Baltimore

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