Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 28, 2004

Voting machines raise questions of law, integrity

The State Board of Elections hearing about not counting the votes of critics of the electronic voting machines was a bureaucratic farce that attempted to obscure the fact that Maryland citizens will be forced to vote on voting machines that I believe violate state and federal law ("Paper ballots from 100 may go uncounted," May 20).

The Howard County voters who testified at the hearing were probably unaware of the Maryland law I believe the state board is violating, but they knew in their hearts that the insecure and unauditable voting machines have no place in a real democracy.

These courageous citizens, like thousands of others across the state, knew that with these touch-screen machines there is no way to verify that their votes are being accurately recorded, so they properly asked for a paper ballot.

The state attorney general's office was represented at this hearing. Why is Maryland's top legal officer allowing the integrity of our political system to be undermined by voting machines that I believe violate the state law requiring the possibility of a recount, and why is he not moving expeditiously to settle the lawsuit against these machines?

If he doesn't act soon, Maryland risks becoming the "Florida" of the 2004 election.

Robert Ferraro

Burtonsville

The writer is co-director of TrueVoteMD.org.

Fix the city schools before Iraq's prisons

The front page of Tuesday's Sun noted that President Bush "said the United States will pay for construction of a maximum security facility in Iraq" ("Bush launches effort to rally U.S. support," May 25).

The same front page had the headline "Too many repairs, too little money for schools" (May 25). The article noted that many Baltimore schools have been temporarily closed because of indoor temperatures. The schools have been neglected and the teachers and students must suffer.

Am I the only one who considers the maximum-security facility in Iraq a waste of taxpayers' money? Will the prisoners be more comfortable than our teachers and students are in the classroom?

Shouldn't we ensure that Baltimore schools are adequately repaired and bearable in the summer heat before tax dollars are spent to build a prison in Iraq?

Jay Smith

Mount Airy

Don't blame media for prison scandal

Thomas Sowell's column "Loss of perspective, media self-restraint" (Opinion

Commentary, May 24) not only parroted the party line about the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, it exuded a latter-day McCarthyism.

Fortunately, public opinion is making Mr. Sowell's position indefensible.

To suggest that America's interest would have been best served by a self-censoring media is laughable, and insulting to Americans who realize that this national disgrace would not have been exposed but for the pictures.

As should by now be painfully obvious, this administration cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

Tim Eastman

Baltimore

In his column "Loss of perspective, media self-restraint," Thomas Sowell blames the media for publicizing the torture that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

But the abuse was continuing despite reports of it to military and civilian leadership.

Responsibility for this situation lies with the soldiers who committed these acts and the military chain of command that allowed and perhaps encouraged them, not with the media.

Craig Muller

Baltimore

The focus on abuse obscures good work

I would like to express my appreciation to Thomas Sowell for "Loss of perspective, media self-restraint" (Opinion

Commentary, May 24).

I had long ago given up any hope that there was a responsible person in the media. The name of the media game today seems to be to chew endlessly on the worst things that happen, whether our country's best interests are served or not. I sometimes wonder whose side the media are on.

The men and women of our armed forces are risking their lives in many parts of the world. How about recognizing their efforts by devoting some print to the good the great majority of them are doing instead of dwelling on the actions of a few rogues?

Sheila Pedersen

Monkton

Media didn't question Bush's rush to war

Conservatives often rely on myths to make their political points. One of their most treasured (and hackneyed) myths is that of the so-called liberal media.

A recent example is Linda Chavez's column "Liberal media bury news of WMD discovery" (Opinion

Commentary, May 20), which accused the "liberal media" of "burying" (i.e., failing to make a big deal out of) the story of a single artillery round discovered in Iraq that contained the deadly nerve agent sarin.

In reality, a "liberal media" would have questioned why we haven't found a whole lot more of these rounds during our year-long occupation of Iraq.

Of course, a "liberal media," if it existed, would have derailed Mr. Bush's excellent Iraqi adventure by exposing his pre-war propaganda campaign of lies, rather than simply leading the cheers for our plunge into the thoroughly predictable quagmire of Iraq.

Joe Wilkins

Ellicott City

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