Gilchrest was right to oppose canal dredging boondoggle...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 28, 2001

Gilchrest was right to oppose canal dredging boondoggle

Maryland and U.S. taxpayers owe Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest a debt of gratitude for leading efforts to prevent $40 million from being wasted on an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to deepen the C&D Canal in eastern Maryland ("C&D Canal dredging put on hold" Jan. 23).

Where other members of Congress would only see pork for their district, Mr. Gilchrest asked questions to ensure taxpayers were getting a fair deal. Those questions led to more questions, until it became apparent that deepening the C&D Canal would be a giant boondoggle.

Amazingly, instead of canceling the unjustified project, the corps acquiesced to the Maryland Port Administration and granted a stay of execution, agreeing to re-evaluate the project in three years.

As the Eastern Maryland citizens who spotlighted the corps' errors have shown, this project is beyond salvage. Only politics can save it now.

Jeff Stein

Washington

The writer is water resources program coordinator for Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonprofit, non-partisan taxpayer advocacy group.

Ashcroft's principles shouldn't scare anyone ...

Cal Thomas' column "Liberals afraid of John Ashcroft" (Opinion

Commentary, Jan. 17) explained clearly Mr. Ashcroft's philosophy, convictions, ideas, aspirations and plans to execute them in a fair and expedient manner.

No one should fear John Ashcroft. We should rejoice that we will have a Cabinet member who will bravely and boldly uphold justice according to his solid beliefs and sound politics.

Glenna S. Fleming

Elderton, Pa.

... unless he uses `morality' to undermine our freedoms

Many of John Ashcroft's supporters are trying to reduce the opposition to his appointment as U.S. attorney general to religious bias.

Like so many others, I oppose John Ashcroft because of his well-established political record, his oft-stated political beliefs and certain of his choices. That some of his political beliefs originate in his religious convictions, if they do, does not obligate me to respect them when they are brought into national political life.

For the last 20 years or so, certain organizations have aggressively attempted to force a political agenda on the rest of us, calling it "morality."

I call it coercion -- the denial of my freedoms based on someone else's narrow and self-righteous view of morality. Mr. Ashcroft is part of that movement.

Regardless of his agenda's origin, his goals are clear -- and they should be a matter of the deepest public concern.

Jo-Ann Pilardi

Baltimore

Abortion rights aren't all that firmly settled

The Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of abortion settled law, Attorney General-designate John Ashcroft said at his confirmation hearings.

Three sitting justices would disagree. "We believe that Roe was wrongly decided, and that it can and should be overruled..." wrote Chief Justice William Rehnquist, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, as well as then-Justice Byron White, in the 1992 case Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.

With the power to appoint justices over the next four years, President George W. Bush and Mr. Ashcroft are very much in a position to unsettle the law.

Samuel I. Rosenberg

Baltimore

The writer represents the 42nd District in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Funds from taxpayers shouldn't promote abortion

In issuing his executive order reinstating funding restrictions on U.S. aid to groups that provide abortion-related services, President George W. Bush said: "taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortions or actively promote abortion, either here or abroad" ("Bush blocks foreign aid for abortion" Jan. 23).

This is a policy stance with solid moral justification.

Abortion involves intentionally terminating a human life and is therefore always a morally serious matter.

Even if one believes, as most Americans do, that abortion may be justified in some circumstances, it does not follow that most abortions are morally right or that abortion is a good thing and should be promoted.

Morally dubious procedures should not receive public funding.

Russell Young

Baltimore

Stamina isn't critical to the game of golf ...

I totally disagree with The Sun's editorial regarding the case of Casey Martin and the Professional Golfers Association ("Golf's awkward handicap," Jan. 22). The object of golf is to put the ball in the cup in fewer strokes than your opponent.

Physical stamina is not one of the game's prerequisites.

If stamina is so important, why does someone else carry the golfer's clubs over the course? Why is Craig "The Walrus" Stadler (nicknamed for obvious reasons) such a good golfer?

I could understand the PGA (and The Sun) taking this stance if Casey Martin needed assistance striking the ball. But until golfers carry their own clubs, you cannot convince me that stamina is important to the sport.

Kevin R. Blackwell

Columbia

... but diluting its standards would be a bad precedent

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