Next round of lawsuits: beer, beef ?Regarding Warren...

SATURDAY MAIL BOX

November 21, 1998

Next round of lawsuits: beer, beef ?

Regarding Warren Buckler's Opinion Commentary article ("Pols take stand on guns," Nov. 16), now that Chicago is suing gun manufacturers for the cost of violent crime, which law-abiding industry will be next?

Will someone force Budweiser to pay for the crimes of drunken, violent criminals? Will someone extort money from McDonald's to pay for heart bypass surgery? Compel Chrysler to pay the medical bills of car-crash victims?

If we thought politicians would be satisfied extorting billions of dollars from tobacco companies, think again.

Once the government has the power to sue in the name of public health, it's only a matter of time until your favorite product is targeted.

What's really frightening is politicians using their political power to bankrupt businesses that make products they don't like, and in the process, destroying our freedom to use them.

Instead of protecting public safety, politicians are committing a crime of their own: extorting money from honest companies to pay for the crimes of street thugs.

Bill Shadle

Myerstown, Pa.

Illegal steel dumping dents U.S. industry

The Business section article "Cheap steel imports hurt U.S. makers, but so what?" (Nov. 15) deserves a response.

The article states that cheap, foreign-imported steel results in lower domestic steel prices, without considering the effect on domestic producers.

Sure, lower prices always benefit the economy, but at what cost? As imports erode profits, first to go is research and technology (a large part has already been cut). The next to go is new equipment (old equipment gets worn and obsolete). Third to go are mills and jobs. If another war comes, the United States would be faced with a rundown steel industry.

On the other side of the coin, foreign countries subsidize their steel producers. Foreign countries do not enforce environmental protection laws or enforce worker safety rules, which add costs to U.S. steel, leaving domestic producers at a disadvantage.

One of the viewpoints in the article seems to suggest that it is unheard of for the U.S. government to favor an industry. The U.S. government supports a list of industries as long as your arm. So much butter and cheese was bought that it had to be given away because of a shortage of storage space.

The government also pays many farmers and ranchers not to plant crops. Just think how low our food prices would be without price supports.

The steel industry is not as healthy as your article implies as evidenced by laid-off workers, closed mills and company mergers.

Henry W. Garvin

Baltimore

The writer is a retired stainless steel research engineer.

Kane picked wrong Republican for blacks

Gregory Kane bemoans the loss of the governor's seat by Ellen R. Sauerbrey to Gov. Parris N. Glendening and castigates black voters because they turned out in a larger percentage than usual to vote against the challenger in that election ("Black voters succumb to Glendening demagogy," Nov. 7).

Apparently, Mr. Kane does not have the advantage of having lived in Maryland when rural black children were, basically, limited to seven grades of education (or less) because no buses existed to carry them to schools until 1938.

That's when Harry W. Nice, a Republican who became governor, saw the civil wrong in the Maryland brand of "separate but equal" in education.

At that time, the promise of the challenger made more sense to the black voter than the record of the incumbent. I can remember Mr. Nice leaning out of his car when he stopped to chat with a pod of black children, saying, "I am going to make it better for you to go to school. I am going to see that you get buses to go to high school." And he did.

I remember another great Republican. Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin, a man who, on his way to the State House, stopped his chauffeured vehicle to pick up a young black male student who had missed his bus and was hitchhiking to school.

Throughout that 17-mile ride to Annapolis, Mr. McKeldin talked to that youngster about the necessity of getting an education. Sometimes he spoke about the embarrassment of "separate but equal" schools.

Sometimes we elect candidates in spite of their records because of the rhetoric of his or her opponent. The last time black voters rose up to elect a Republican to the Maryland State House was such a time. The rhetoric of the Democratic opponent did not promise sensitivity to the needs and ambitions of black people. Unfortunately, the recipient of the black voters' trust saw fit to insult them by saying that he and those like him would select leaders for the black people. It catapulted him into the vice presidency via the "Southern strategy."

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