What others are saying

December 12, 2006

Baseball writers received their Hall of Fame ballots recently, and some of them have sworn to do the job usually performed by custodians: They have promised to keep the hall clean.

The housecleaning has become an issue because, along with worthy candidates such as Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr., the sportswriters must consider Mark McGwire.

In 1998, Mr. McGwire hit a then-record 70 home runs, a feat that since has been tarnished by allegations that he used steroids.

He had a chance last spring to refute those charges before a House committee investigating steroid use in Major League Baseball; he refused, saying, "I'm not here to discuss the past." Now baseball writers seem willing to dig up what Mr. McGwire wanted to keep buried - his past.

Ron Cook, a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said surveys indicate Mr. McGwire will not get the 75 percent of the vote necessary for induction into the Hall of Fame. Good.

The writers should send a message that baseball owners, until recently, were too cowardly or venal to deliver: Cheating is wrong, and it should not be rewarded with the ultimate honor a baseball player can experience.

- San Antonio Express-News

Dozens of witnesses stepped to the microphone Thursday in Trenton to criticize a quickly crafted bill to create civil unions for same-sex couples in New Jersey.

Assembly Judiciary Committee members heard fears of custody disputes, tales of discrimination, and predictions of doom for family life. Both proponents of gay marriage and ardent foes opposed civil union.

Even some committee members doubted that civil union was the best response to the New Jersey Supreme Court's October directive that the Legislature establish rights equivalent to heterosexual marriage for same-sex couples. ... Like many who packed the overflowing hearing room, they, too, favored marriage, a term universally recognized. But the voices at the hearing - compelling as many were - represented the extremes of opinion. Missing was the majority in the middle.

Even though not a single witness supported the bill during three hours of testimony, in the end, the Assembly Judiciary Committee made the right choice. Members voted, 4-2, for civil union, the pragmatic compromise favored by politicians and the public.

- The Philadelphia Inquirer

Have you ever had a problem finding a gift for someone who seems to have everything or want to purchase something more meaningful than wool socks or an alarm clock for someone special? The alternative gift market offers Christmas shoppers the chance to give the true meaning of Christmas.

Alternative gifts allow a gift giver to purchase, for example, a fruit tree to be planted in a poor village in honor of a loved one. Other alternative gifts include providing a wheelchair for a disabled person in Cambodia or a baby bouncer for the many orphanages in Russia. ...

This year consider giving the gift that keeps on giving and honor the people you love by providing for the needy in their name. ...

- The Ada (Okla.) Evening News

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