Bush and Jobs
I see that Saddam Hussein is playing games with us again. I also note that Smith Corona is moving its total manufacturing operation out of the United States into low-pay-scale Mexico, along with Briggs and Stratton and big chunks of General Motors and many other American corporations, because of President Bush's trade policy.
This fits in with President Bush's laid-back foreign policy, which seems to favor other countries including China at the expense of the United States. This is the foreign policy in which he takes such pride and takes such credit.
The only trouble is that these policies have severely damaged the incomes of thousands of United States citizens and ruined their family values. Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein laughs at us because President Bush let him off the hook when he was dead in the water.
All this doesn't sound like such great foreign policy to me. It sounds like lack of decisiveness, which seems to be President Bush's hallmark.
Ernest M. Stolberg
I was determined to stay out of the abortion debate that is taking place among The Sun's writers, both professional and non-professional.
Not since the times of slavery has there been a more complex and controversial issue, with no conceivable point left unargued and no compromise in sight. I was staying out of it, that is, until I read the July 6 letter by Loretta Ducote, who asked when we will "let God decide matters of life and death?"
No one would reasonably argue with the anti-abortionists' moral ideologies: that all human life is sacred; that using abortion as a method of birth control results in the trivialization of sex and of a potential human life; that we can have equally good results without abortion by using better social structures and so on. Nor is it my purpose here to question the existence of God. What I am questioning is his "divine intervention" in all human affairs.
Relying on "God's decisions" is basing an argument on a premise, a dogmatic assumption which goes against all other evidence that our destinies are not simply "acts of God."
Human life is not independent of human decision.
Our technology makes such conditions as our life-styles, over-population, the survival of the animals and the earth as well as the event of pregnancy more and more a matter of human action. The role of science, therefore, must also include abortion as an alternative human decision to unwanted pregnancy.
Education and responsibility are certainly the best alternative to abortion. But until such Edenic conditions exist, abortion is a realistic evil. And in a society that flaunts the pleasures of sex in all forms of media, without the dangers, abortion is not the evil. It is the result.
"Letting God decide" is a pleasantly naive, yet grossly unrealistidenial of human responsibility.
Making Insurance Rates Fair to Women
In its editorial "Equal Rights, Not Equal Rates" (July 29), The Sun rushed to judgment in issuing its editorial the day after the insurance commissioner's ruling was announced. As prosecuting attorney in the case for the Maryland Commission on Human Relations, I find the editorial unfair. It sounds like the insurance industry's party line. It, not the decision of the insurance commissioner, is political pandering.
The commissioner's decision prohibiting gender-based rates in insurance is a clear and just ruling, obviously made regardless of any political views.
It culminates more than a decade of litigation in which the Commission on Human Relations, an independent state agency which enforces Maryland's anti-discrimination law, steadfastly has contended that gender-based rates in insurance are unlawful.
The Sun seems to find most significant the question of whether men's and women's rates will increase or decrease.
What is truly significant is the rates will be assessed more fairly, not on general characteristics of men and women. The point is, under the laws of Maryland, sex discrimination in insurance is wrong, just as it is in employment, housing and public accommodations.
Apparently misunderstanding the meaning of the Maryland Equal Rights Amendment, The Sun dismisses such discrimination as being not a "true wrong." The insurance commissioner, however, correctly interpreted the Equal Rights Amendment based on legal precedent from a long line of cases decided by the Maryland Courts of Appeals.
The commissioner noted: "The citizens of Maryland spoke clearly when they ratified the ERA in 1972. It is now the public policy of this state that sex may not be a factor in allocating benefits and burdens in our society," concluding that "charging men and women different rates in insurance coverage is unlawful discrimination, just as it would be unlawful discrimination to charge different rates for blacks, whites, Italians, Jews, blind people or the hearing impaired."
The Sun agrees with the insurance industry that such practices should supersede the Equal Rights Amendment. The insurance commissioner, however, recognizes the unfairness of this, stating, "the time has come to lay to rest the notion that gender discrimination is any less repugnant than 'actuarially justified' discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin."
The Sun also predicts the ruling will have an "unfortunate impact" and "undesirable effect" on the group it purports to protect -- women. The prediction is unsupported by the evidence.
Insurers can set rates using sound and fair actuarial methods, without resort to generalization based on gender. Some insurers do so already, even in Maryland.
In Montana, insurers have been offering non-gender rates since 1985. The results are not "unclear," as The Sun states. There is no evidence of any "economic upheaval" in Montana. Instead, the evidence shows that women over a lifetime may benefit substantially from non-gender rates.
Perhaps, if The Sun had previously reported on the evidence and law in this case, it would not have been so quick to adopt the insurance industry's party line. It is a disservice to your readership to offer such a slanted view.
Sally L. Swann
The writer is assistant general counsel of the state of Maryland Commission on Human Relations.
User-Unfriendly Stadium Phones
There are many exciting aspects to the new stadium. It has taken on a Disney-World-like attraction and one wonders whether the ball game is even needed. Sometimes I get the feeling that I am going to see a set of dolphins jump up and somebody feed them.
But I do like the new stadium, and I like that it is downtown and brings together sites that include Ridgely's Delight, University Hospital, University of Maryland professional schools, Babe Ruth House, etc.
One criticism, however, that hopefully will be taken constructively, is the location of the telephones. Whoever designed that must have been out of his head.
The telephones are on the wall between the "In" and "Out" of the rest rooms with a loudspeaker above. Trying to place a call or hear messages during a game is just about impossible.
The noise in general, along with the loudspeaker and the grumbling restless people going into rest rooms, is not conducive to good conversation, especially if it involves a patient trying to explain some discomfort.
Not only that, but if you pick the wrong telephone, you could be right in the rest room of the opposite sex and people wondering why you are standing between the entrance and exit.
I guess it could have been worse. They could have put the telephones in the rest rooms and that would have been even more interesting.
In any event, this is a plea for more thoughtful ways of allowing people who need to communicate with their offices. Have the telephones in a more quiet, perhaps private, part of the stadium. There are many excellent places in the perimeter that will allow for this.
Meanwhile, getting back to the dolphins, I hope that the Orioles and Oriole management have a good year.