Opponents of reform of campaign finance hold the...


April 01, 2001

Opponents of reform of campaign finance hold the megaphone

Leave it to George Will to froth at the mouth about "media megaphones," as if he were anything but one of them ("Campaign-finance reform has select targets," Opinion

Commentary, March 22).

Mr. Will's logic goes something like this: It's impossible for any money to corrupt because the amount contributed by any one donor is simply a small percentage of the overall universe of money in politics.

To buy that one would have to believe the $1.2 million Denise Rich gave to Democrats went unnoticed among the umpteen millions given overall, then believe further the decision to pardon her ex-husband, Marc Rich, was made on the merits.

Nobody claims every campaign contribution corrupts. But it's hard to come up with any other rationale, say, for Congress giving the tobacco industry a $100 million tax credit each year to export cigarettes.

In his opposition to reform, Mr. Will is joined by a host of special interests who do business with the politicians, including the National Association of Broadcasters.

And Sen. John McCain and Common Cause control the media megaphone?

Scott Harshbarger


The writer is president of Common Cause.

Parents and teachers must confront the bullies

Thank you for the columns on the connection between bullying and school violence ("Keeping our kids from killing," Opinion

Commentary, March 27).

Physical aggression in response to verbal abuse is never to be condoned.

Parents and school officials must be involved when there are threats or actual acts of violence.

However, if parents and school officials don't also call to task those who commit constant acts of bullying, they victimize again the children who are its targets.

Judy Holzman


Why do students pray only after the shootings?

Why do our public schools have prayer vigils after violent acts occur?

Perhaps God isn't public enough. Putting prayer back in school might prevent tragedies.

Donald Muhammad


Energy-efficient appliances aid environment, save money

Thank you for encouraging conservation and highlighting Maryland's sales tax exemption for the purchase of certain energy-efficient appliances ("The power to conserve," editorial, March 23).

The Maryland Clean Energy Incentive Act provides sales tax exemptions for "Energy Star" washers, room air conditioners and, beginning July 1, refrigerators.

Energy-efficient hot water heaters and central heating and cooling equipment are also eligible for the tax exemption.

The "Energy Star" label is given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy to products that exceed federal energy standards.

In addition to environmental benefits, purchasing these products can save the average family $400 a year in utility costs.

Cheryl Hystad


The writer is executive director of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition Inc.

Finding energy alternatives should be key national goal

The timely letter "Heed scientists about warming" (March 24) warns that global warming "may not bring us doom, but the window of time ... to avoid many of its serious consequences is probably measured in years or decades."

Carbon dioxide emissions, a byproduct of burning fossil fuel, are probably the biggest contributor to global warming. But our energy needs continually rise, and we merely scratch the surface in our attempts to control environmental pollution.

Just as President Kennedy established a national goal of putting a man on the moon in a decade, the Bush administration should set a national goal and time-frame for developing practical alternatives to fossil fuel to satisfy energy needs.

Funding could be made available by replacing Mr. Bush's proposed $l.6 trillion tax refund, in whole or in part, with this critical initiative, before it is too late.

Sy Steinberg


Raising personal exemption would cut everyone's tax bill

Strangely, the fairest and simplest tax cut of all is not being proposed or mentioned by Republicans, Democrats or the media. That would be to drastically raise the personal exemption ($2,900 in 2000) and make the raise effective this year.

Let's stop this complicated, fiscally questionable, senior-citizens-be-damned phase-in over 10 years, and this confusing array of percentage cuts, which give wildly excessive tax cuts to the super-rich.

Raising the exemption would be an honest application of the catch-phrase "across-the-board tax cut."

John A. Feroli


Maryland has been generous to both Orioles, Ravens

I've followed the stadium arbitration fray for some time now and, as a taxpayer, the whole mess appalls me ("Pursuing a level playing field," March 25).

Peter G. Angelos is whining over the need to extort even more money from the taxpayer, because he suspects mere millionaire Art Modell got something he didn't.

I expect this type of behavior from my children, not adults.

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