Saturday Mailbox

SATURDAY MAILBOX

August 26, 2006

Confront the threat from radical Islam

It's amazing that the liberal Democratic talking points about how President Bush's policies have created more terrorists and fomented hatred toward the United States seem to be gaining currency ("Bush frames touchy topics as winners for Republicans," Aug. 22).

Of course, this spurious point of view conveniently omits the fact that the single most devastating attack against us in our history was plotted and planned well before the Bush administration ever existed.

While it is true that the Sept. 11 attacks took place eight months into Mr. Bush's presidency, most, if not all, of the planning took place on President Bill Clinton's watch.

Could it be that Mr. Clinton's lack of an assertive and powerful response to earlier attacks during his administration emboldened the terrorists?

The American people must pray now that some elected official, Democrat or Republican, will step up and put an end to the politically correct chasm of denial and appeasement we find ourselves imprisoned in and admit openly that our enemy is radical Islam -- and that the goal of some of its proponents is to eliminate us from the face of the Earth

Let us pray that our leadership will soon wake up from its pollyannish belief that these jihadists can be reasoned with and begin to take the necessary -- albeit politically incorrect -- measures to thwart this diabolical enemy

Steve Couzantino

Pasadena

Promoting marriage hardly aids families

The column "The next step: Strengthening marriage and job incentives" (Opinion Commentary, Aug. 20) offends me on so many levels that it is hard to know where to start. But let me enumerate at least three issues.

First, this campaign to "promote and strengthen marriage" appears to be thinly veiled social engineering dictated by relatively privileged white people to relatively less-privileged people of color.

Are we really to believe that all it takes for under-educated, under-employed people to participate in the American Dream is to get a piece of paper, a marriage certificate, from the court clerk?

Second, every dollar that goes into sham programs suggesting that marriage is like a winning lottery ticket is a dollar diverted from programs that help people make informed choices and manage their unique life circumstances.

If we want families to do a better job of taking care of themselves, we need to give them tools of substance, not just gigantic "Marriage Works" billboards.

Lastly, these "Marriage Works" programs, which assert that married people earn more/enjoy better health/live longer/leap tall buildings in a single bound, are targeted only (and exclusively) at heterosexuals.

Apparently the magic doesn't pertain to lesbian and gay families who are excluded -- by law -- from the basic protections that civil marriage provides.

Lisa Polyak

Baltimore

All families deserve full legal protection

Thomas Sowell contorts logic and sense trying to prove that heterosexual couples somehow have a greater right to protect their families than families like mine do ("Gay marriage advocates ignore history, reality," Opinion

Commentary, Aug. 17).

After more than 20 years with my life-partner and seven as the full-time caregiver for our young children, I take personal offense at his contention that the state should deny us the many legal and financial benefits that come with civil marriage simply because non-gay families have a "tendency to produce children" and wives "typically" raise the kids instead of working.

By this reasoning, no one should be allowed to marry after age 40, because they would have a tendency not to bear children.

But our system is based on individual behavior, not on "tendencies": a criminal is punished because he or she has committed a crime, not because he or she belongs to a group that has a tendency to commit crimes.

And to suggest that my children and I do not deserve the same civil protections our neighbors receive -- while childless couples consisting of a man and a woman do -- is obviously a form of prejudice.

Extending the right to marry to same-sex couples is about equality under the law for the millions of children being raised in families with two parents of the same gender.

Barry Kessler

Arnold

Md. foster care woes require real reforms

The Sun has focused on the failures of Chessie, the Maryland computer system designed to track and manage the cases of foster children ("Computers and caseworkers," editorial, Aug. 8 and "Child tracking system flawed," Aug. 6).

Maryland's courts and child welfare agencies are responsible for nearly 10,000 foster children. Effective information systems are necessary to chart the progress of individual children, and identify systemic issues in need of improvement.

However, Chessie -- or any data-management system -- is not a magic bullet for fixing foster care. It is not a substitute for good caseworkers, engaged judges, dedicated foster and adoptive parents, more flexible financing and policymakers committed to reform.

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