Editor: I would suggest that the peace demonstrators going to Washington in the near future demonstrate for peace in front of the Iraqi embassy.
Saddam Hussein is a murderer who boasts of shedding the blood of his own soldiers, as well as using chemical and biological weapons against his own people, as well as attacking the civilian population of Israel. Further, he unleashes terrorist acts in other parts of the world.
During the Vietnam War, those of us in the peace movement condemned the use of chemical and biological agents. Where are those voices today. Let those who want peace demonstrate in front of every Iraqi embassy.
Editor: What would you do if your boss took a 41 percent pay raise for himself and informed you that you would get no cost of living increase and be required to pay more for health benefits? That some of your co-workers would receive no annual salary increments? That your work week still might be increased from ** 35 1/2 to 40 hours per week with no increase in pay or benefits?
If you are a state worker, and your boss is Gov. William Donald Schaefer, you're intimately familiar with this scenario. You've been threatened with layoffs if you don't meekly accept these extreme and unfair cost containment measures.
You've been told that this is an either/or situation, when there are many alternatives available to ease the state's financial plight.
Although the governor is in his last term, many of our state representatives will be running for re-election in the years to come. I would urge other state employees, their friends, and family members to call and/or write your representatives.
Tell them that state workers need some legal protection from current and future lame duck tyranny and pay close attention to their actions.
Contrary to popular belief, many government employees work hard and do our jobs reasonably well. We're more than willing to accept our share of the state's financial burden, but not some of these Draconian measures with their illusory savings and basic unfairness.
Sandra Lee Catherine Covahey.
Editor: As an Air Force reservist who was called to active duty during the Korean War, who re-enlisted in the regular Air Force and stayed to retire after 23 yars (1971), I can appreciate the feelings of letter writer Lynda Kundrat.
While I can't address her concerns about loss of family income, I can say that she is either uninformed or ill-informed about the Champus (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services). Most military people are and the situation is worse with dependents. I raised three children (now 40, 38 and 27) with Champus as our primary medical insurance program. We never used military medical facilities except when we were overseas.
Champus was enacted by Congress in recognition of the fact that even in peacetime military medical facilities do not have the resources to care for family members and retirees. Active duty people get first priority at military medical facilities, dependents of active duty personnel get second and others come after that. I used Champus until July, when I turned 65 and was switched to Medicare.
Champus provides comprehensive coverage for family members with a $50 annual individual and $100 annual family deductible. Once the deductible is met, the government pays the first 80 percent of covered services (75 percent for retirees). The scope of coverage is similar to Medicare, but better, but there is no dental coverage. In most cases, dependents can use their family doctors. If surgery requires a hospital stay, patients must obtain a "Certificate of Nonavailability" and then go to a civilian facility.
In my 23 years in the military, I learned that military benefits are only as good as the member's (and his family's) understanding of these benefits.
The military had a very well written and comprehensive booklet on Champus benefits (I presume it still does). I would advise Mrs. Kundrat and others in her situation to get one and read it carefully.
I am sure the Champus adviser at Fort Meade or Aberdeen could help them get one. All it takes is a phone call.
Charles A. Frainie.
Editor: You label Superintendent Robert Y. Dubel's school budget proposal a "wish list." Is a 3 percent salary request for employees and a status quo position on class size, textbooks, instructional supplies and maintenance exorbitant, especially in an era with a 6-percent inflation rate?
How do you expect the Baltimore County public schools to continue to provide excellence in education for 4,000 additional students without adequate financial support? With your level of thinking, the Baltimore County public schools would follow the downhill path of big-city school systems.
Stephen A. Edgar.
A Tough Child Pornography Law
Editor: Your readers should be aware that ground breaking anti-child pornography legislation will be submitted during this session of the General Assembly.
Although a number of so-called child porn bills were filed in recent sessions, the House Judiciary Committee killed them on the grounds that criminalizing mere possession of child porn could not withstand a First Amendment challenge.
The Supreme Court's recent holding in Osborne v. Ohio, where the court found that Ohio may constitutionally proscribe the possession and viewing of child pornography, is the primary reason that the House committee might take a different view during the 1991 session.
In Osborne, the court held that Ohio's prohibition against possession and viewing of child pornography was not unconstitutionally overbroad and did not violate the First Amendment since the state has a "compelling" interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors.
In essence, Osborne stands for the proposition that a narrowly drawn statute aimed at drying up the market for child pornography by penalizing even the mere possession of child porn can withstand constitutional challenge.
It is important to note that the Osborne majority took pains to distinguish the case from a line of recent First Amendment cases where state laws aimed at the private possession of obscene materials were struck down as violative of one's right to receive information in the privacy of one's home.
Simply put, the court held the important policy interests relevant to the issue of child pornography (the psychological, emotional and mental health of the child) are of a far more compelling nature than the paternalistic interest of the state in regulating adult pornographic materials.
Last summer, The Sun editorialized that the "limited" interpretation of First Amendment privacy interests in Osborne could lead to gross abuses by overly aggressive state's attorneys. This view, however, fails to take into account the limited scope of the court's opinion.
The critical portion of Justice White's majority opinion highlights the Ohio Supreme Court's interpretation that the challenged statute requires the state to prove either a lewd exhibition or a graphic focus on the genitals of the child. These requirements serve to eliminate the fear that over-zealous prosecutors will seek to penalize persons for viewing or possessing innocuous photographs of naked children.
Moreover, Justice White's majority opinion noted that the Ohio Supreme Court had concluded that the state had to establish a criminal state of mind in order to prosecute under the challenged obscenity statute -- a quite difficult burden for witch-hunting prosecutors.
The Governor's Council on Child Abuse and Neglect has selected this bill for top-priority treatment in 1991. Hopefully, the Osborne opinion has provided the legal community and my committee with the more definitive constitutional analysis required to pass a tough pornography statute in Maryland.
Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
The writer represents Baltimore County's Tenth Legislative
District in the House of Delegates.