Letters To The Editor


August 29, 2004

New regulations on overtime pay hit workers hard

The U.S. Department of Labor's new overtime regulations have jeopardized overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for many hardworking Americans ("Changes in overtime law protested by hundreds at Washington rally," Aug. 24).

The regulations may penalize many white-collar employees who earn more than $23,600 by changing exemptions to the FLSA. In addition, the regulations make it very difficult for all employees who earn more than $100,000 to receive any overtime compensation.

The key categories of employees adversely affected include registered nurses, dental hygienists, pharmacists, funeral directors, embalmers, chefs, low- and mid-level bank managers, insurance claim adjusters and journalists.

All of these occupations are difficult to perform and are vital to a free society. And many of these occupations face shortages of employees which will be further exacerbated by the new regulations.

The Economic Policy Institute has estimated that overtime pay accounts for up to 25 percent of weekly earnings for eligible employees, with average weekly overtime earnings for eligible employees of $161. These earnings could be lost under the new rules.

At a time of rapidly rising energy and health insurance costs, it is particularly unfortunate that the Department of Labor would choose to go ahead now with these misguided overtime regulations.

Richard Neuworth


The writer is an attorney who focuses on employee benefits cases.

Media magnify attacks on Kerry

There is a serious problem in the constant replay and regurgitation of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads and accusations over the cable news networks and other media. Not only are the Swift boat veterans getting millions of dollars of free advertising time, they are also getting hours of discussion and pages of print ("Swift boat attention creating confusion," Aug. 25).

Would the media so generously promote and publicize a new ad for Coke or Pepsi, for free?

If so, there would be outrage and outcries of unfair competition from a multitude of corporations, maybe even Wal-Mart and Clear Channel.

But what happens when the players are as mundane as candidates to lead the greatest nation in the world? We live in a world where such ideas as the Fairness Doctrine and equal time standards are now absolutely meaningless. The only doctrine the news media follow is that of pure profit.

There has not been any political ad so inflammatory and controversial, so discussed and replayed, since President George H. W. Bush's infamous Willie Horton ad.

Unless the media can balance such one-sided saturation with as much attention to a similarly controversial, inflammatory Bush-bashing ad, it is clearly demonstrating how President Bush truly rules the airwaves, cables and pages.

Timothy Kjer


The real question is Kerry's integrity

In my opinion, the questions about Sen. John Kerry's service in Vietnam concern his honesty, not his courage ("Kerry: GOP using `fear and smear' tactics," Aug. 25).

If he lied about events in Vietnam more than 30 years ago, and is lying about them now, what is to make us believe he is telling us the truth about what he will do if he is elected?

David Titus


Bush shouldn't crow about Iraqi soccer

Almost 1,000 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq. Thousands more have been injured, disfigured and disabled for life. Tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children have been killed or injured and now live in a country that has become Disneyland for terrorists.

And President Bush runs a television ad and beats his chest because now the Iraqis can kick a soccer ball around at the Olympics ("Bush draws Iraqi team's ire," Aug. 24).

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think the war in Iraq was worth it.

Michael Ziegler


Keep city schools out of political fray

It's time for the mayor and the governor to step aside and let others, with no political agendas, work together for the good of Baltimore's schools ("Accusations of politics in struggle on city schools," Aug. 26) - people such as parents and students.

McNair Taylor


Parental oversight can stop shootings

Another shooting, and another mother rightly grieves that her son will not "have a chance to get a job, to have a family or have children" ("Officer charged in teen's death," Aug. 21).

Tonnette Dancy, the mother of D'Koy Dancy, the 14-year-old who was shot in the back on Aug. 20, said, "It has got to stop. Kids are angry, police are angry and everybody is dying."

The "it" likely refers to shootings in our city.

Whether accidental or deliberate, this shooting was over the contents of a shed, and unjustified. One could not agree more with her sentiment. Senseless killing should anger us all.

The victim liked playing football, basketball and video games. The article reports that at a few minutes past midnight, this young man had missed his 11:30 p.m. curfew.

Where do we place the anger?

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