Bentley Isn't Only Strong GOP EntryBarry Rascovar's...


Bentley Isn't Only Strong GOP Entry

Barry Rascovar's column July 17 builds several strong arguments encouraging Republican candidates for governor to take heart. There is, however, a blemish in his reasoning.

He reasons that only Helen Bentley can beat Parris Glendening in November. He praises her wisdom in selecting a Montgomery County running mate. He ignores the fact that Bill Shepard is also a resident of Montgomery County.

He assumes the current front-runners will be the candidates in the general election. In Mr. Glendening's case, I think Mr. Rascovar is right.

By promoting Ms. Bentley, he does the Republican Party a disservice. None of the candidates has nearly the lock on the nomination that Mr. Glendening does. Mr. Rascovar does a disservice to the Shepard-Gouge ticket. By ignoring it, he indirectly tries to persuade his readers not to support the ticket with the best chance of winning in the fall. Why?

The plain truth is that Bill Shepard has executive skill at the highest policy-making levels. That makes him a very credible competitor.

His years in the Foreign Service, coupled with an enviable education, have produced a man capable of standing on his own laurels. His choice of Julia Gouge as his running mate was a stroke of genius. Her many years of experience as a mayor and a county commissioner assure that his administration will have a finger on the pulse of Maryland.

Grass roots Maryland needs representation as much as the large counties and Baltimore. Mr. Shepard has assigned Mrs. Gouge the task of assuring equal representation for small towns and counties in Annapolis. Mr. Rascovar is right. Republicans are thinking about winning in November. They should be.

If Maryland Republicans select Shepard-Gouge in the primary, Maryland will finally, after all these years, have a real choice.

It will be a classic philosophical choice between liberal and conservative; tax-and-spend versus sound fiscal planning; and, continuing the waste versus businesslike management of all of Maryland.

M. Evans


Mr. Rascovar's column suggests that this could be a breakthrough year for Maryland's Republican Party. Underlying this premise is his assertion that Helen Bentley is emerging as a "prohibitive favorite" (whatever that means) in the GOP primary for governor.

The tone of this article strongly suggests that Mrs. Bentley's supposed popularity will carry other Republicans into office on her coattails this year, naming as possible beneficiaries Richard Bennett (candidate for attorney general) and other un-named Republican candidates.

Mr. Rascovar seems so sure of this scenario that he has labeled Helen Bentley as the Republican Party's "Moses," leading the GOP to the promised land.

At first, I thought his statement was misleading and grandiose in portraying Helen Bentley in such a prophetic role. But the more I recalled my biblical knowledge, the more I began to think that he was on to something.

The problem is that if he is right, things won't turn out in November or even September as he concludes. Surely Mr. Rascovar knows that while the biblical Moses set out to lead his people to the promised land, Moses himself never made it.

Seems as though he messed up somewhere along the way and was made to die short of the promised land. Thankfully, his people made it.

I don't know whether Helen Bentley has or will mess up on the way to the promised land (elective office) but Mr. Rascovar suggests some already possible "mess-ups." . . . He adds that since she doesn't have a firm grasp of Maryland policy issues, her handlers have made her avoid most of the candidate forums so far (thus keeping her ignorance from Maryland voters, I guess).

When you add all this to Helen Bentley's poor rating from the Citizens Against Government Waste organization and the fact that she is known as William Donald Schaefer's "favorite Republican," it begins to sound like the real Moses story.

Thankfully for the Republicans, there are other GOP candidates providing the means to get all the way to the "promised land" of elective office.

I note that one, Ellen Sauerbrey, has not hesitated at all to identify the key issues dear to the hearts of Maryland's citizens and has expertly crafted specific platform actions which will address them.

While other candidates chose running mates to "deliver the vote," Sauerbrey chose Paul Rappaport, a 37-year criminal justice expert who will lead her program to do something about violent crime in our neighborhoods and schools.

Recently in Annapolis, Mrs. Sauerbrey unveiled detailed plans to addressing the upcoming budget deficit while providing for increased spending on crime and criminal control, raises for state employees and tax relief for Maryland families.

Mrs. Sauerbrey is at every candidate forum possible laying out her position for all voters to examine and judge and she has a 16-year Maryland record of attacking tax-and-spend politics, unresponsive bureaucracies and unchecked violent crime.

Moses, are you listening?

Thankfully Maryland voters, both Republicans and Democrats, are intelligent enough to know that today's leaders must be proven and knowledgeable in the issues and demonstrate tough resolve to address the problems we face.

They will not vote on "name recognition" or blindly follow a "Moses" but rather will select the candidate who is best suited and equipped to do the job for them. This year they have a choice. Moses got a surprise, maybe we voters will surprise your editorial writers also.

Wayne D. Albrecht

Ellicott City

True Health Reform

When he ran for president, Bill Clinton promised to thoroughly overhaul the system by which health care is compensated.

Since his election, his reform task force has often relied upon horror stories of people going through health crises without insurance in order to sell the idea of reform.

He has often stated that the cost of health insurance is too expensive, and that the overall cost of health care consumes too much of the productive economy of the United States.

The work of health care reform has consumed months of time. It has involved an incredible amount of sustained effort by many people and organizations, both enlightened and self-interested.

Many of our elected officials have signed on and are doing all they can to determine the recipe that will be used to bake this pie. The problem is that in two areas the customer may already be a casualty in the battle for reform. The loss of mandatory purchasing cooperatives was the first major concession of the ,, president.

Who is it that didn't want to see the organization of purchasing pools? The obvious answer is the insurance industry. Such pools would have given customers (especially employers who provide health insurance to their employees) the power and the ability to effectively negotiate with the health insurers.

The second major concession was the loss of employer mandates. The fear was that this additional "tax" on employers would cause worker layoffs and business failures.

These fears are legitimate. But the ultimate result of this employer mandate would have been to force employers to band together into associations with sufficient power to pressure their insurance companies to lower the price of insurance . . .

Given the president's concessions on purchasing cooperatives and employer mandates, a significant real market force, the customer, has been left powerless.

The last thing the insurance industry wants to see is consumers with enough power to influence the terms by which compensation for health care is provided.

In an effort to dictate the terms of reform, the industry is chanting the mantra of managed care.

A critic could question whether this vision is just a gussied-up form of the health maintenance organization (HMO) model (i.e., capitated fees, with insurer control of utilization). Are our elected officials simply being sold the same horse the federal government was sold 20 years ago?

Community rating, guaranteed issue and renewability, portability, prohibiting the use of pre-existing conditions and other underwriting exclusions are all reforms that certainly improve the existing system.

The catch is that, in practice, they create a situation wherein the customer is replaced by the bureaucrat, who will now negotiate with the payers (the insurers) on behalf of the customer.

Insurance industry complaints about "a new federal bureaucracy" to a certain extent amount to shedding crocodile tears.

The industry knows it will be better off trying to manipulate

bureaucrats on issues of benefits and costs than it would be having to deal with a customer with real bargaining power, and an active intent to get the best deal . . .

Until the time comes that customers are able to pool their purchasing power sufficiently to have bargaining power over the terms, coverage and cost of health care, the cost of health care will never be adequately controlled.

'Darah Phillip Kehnemuyi


Atrocities Not One-sided

Gregory Kane (Opinion * Commentary, July 11) would have us believe that it is only the Confederate soldiers who committed atrocities in the Civil War, and they were also the only ones who committed atrocities toward blacks.

Let us not forget under which flag a great majority of the slaves were brought to America.

Wars are rarely kind, politically-correct affairs. The notion that either side in the Civil War had a monopoly on virtue is archaic.

Do not let the American public forget that a great number of northerners supported John Brown -- who hacked seven innocent men to death with a broad sword in front of their families. Such are the noble heroes that we should admire?

Check again with historian James McPherson about the sentiments of the other leaders of the Confederacy concerning blacks. Not all concur with Alexander Stephens.

White supremacy is not exclusively southern either. Whole northern regiments deserted after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in protest against fighting a war to free blacks. Racism was alive and well in the north too and still is.

The winners write the histories. That "fanatical devotion" to a country that had its "brains beaten out 129 years ago" lies in the idea that it is still the right of a people to decide what is best for their community; that the people will dictate to the states, and the states in turn to Washington.

This is the real basis of the Civil War. All wars are economic, no matter how the winners have fabricated their cause to be more noble than the pursuit of money.

We will forgive you for not genuflecting when you see the Confederate battle flag, and for requesting that it be removed from your sight. Please forgive us if we do not honor your request.

avid M. Owings


I read with interest Gregory Kane's column, in which he quotes me as commander of the Maryland Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in my defense of the Confederate flag.

I only wish that he had quoted me completely and not chosen to use one phrase taken out of context from several clarifying paragraphs.

My full comments were:

"The Confederate soldier and his flags are an honorable part of this nation's past and deserves the respect of all of us. Over 1 million men, our ancestors, fought honorably for four years under these flags, not to perpetuate slavery -- 90 per cent of Southerners didn't own any slaves -- but against the unconstitutional and unbridled power of a despotic central government.

"These men fought, and many died, defending fundamental principles of constitutional government given to us by the

founding fathers.

"They included at least 50,000 Black Americans, 15,000 Jewish Americans, and thousands of Native Americans. The descendants of Martha Washington, George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Francis Scott Key and President Zachary Taylor all served the Confederate cause.

"They sought not to destroy the United States, but only to leave in peace a federal union which they alone had created and which they had voluntarily joined. They fought under the Confederate flag to defend their new, free, and independent nation against the brutality and devastation of an invading foreign army.

"Although defeated by overwhelming manpower and resources, the Confederate soldier has left us a great legacy of bravery, sacrifice, and devotion to duty, home and family that can never be forgotten. Twenty-five thousand of these brave men were from Maryland."

Mr. Kane bases his attack on Confederate heritage and the Confederate flag largely on a list of atrocities that he claims were perpetrated against black Federal troops by soldiers of the Confederacy but, as Union General William T. Sherman said, "War is hell," and Mr. Lincoln chose war.

I can easily cite an equal or greater number of outrages by the Union army against Confederate prisoners, as well as against unarmed women and children during the course of the conflict.

For example: black Federal guards at Point Lookout, Maryland, regularly taunted and shot without cause Confederate prisoners; and thousands of Confederate prisoners and even unjustly arrested civilians died from disease, exposure and lack of food at the Federal concentration camps at Fort McHenry, Elmira, Johnson Island, Fort Delaware, and Camp Douglas . . .

In the north, several hundred blacks (including black children from an orphanage) were killed, not by southerners, but by northern whites during the New York draft riots of 1863.

Once the war had begun, Mr. Lincoln did nothing to end the institution of slavery where he had the power to do so in Kentucky, Missouri, Delaware, Maryland, and even Washington, D.C. . . .

There is no doubt that war brings out the brutality in man but, contrary to Mr. Kane's implication, there was no shortage of brutality among the federal troops. . . .

General Grant asked Sherman to investigate the events at Fort Pillow and to retaliate against Confederate troops if he found evidence of Confederate misconduct against black Federal soldiers. Per historian Shelby Foote, Sherman found none and refused to order any retaliation. . . .

Mr. Kane also cites Alexander Stephens' comments on slavery, comments that we certainly consider abhorrent today; however, it's typical of biased historians and editorial writers that this is the only statement that anyone ever quotes of the Confederate vice president . . .

Mr. Kane did get one thing exactly right -- referred to the Confederate States of America as a "country."

If Mr. Lincoln had abided by his oath to the United States Constitution and recognized that fact, there would have been no war and thus none of the events could have occurred . . .

The Maryland Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans is a strictly hereditary society with over 400 members whose ancestors served the cause of southern independence.

The SCV has 21,000 members nationwide. We have no political agenda whatever, but we will continue to speak out and defend our heritage when it is distorted or maligned.

Elliott Cummings


The writer is the commander of the Maryland Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Class Videos

In reading how now as a part of a perspective teacher's requirement there would be videos of their teaching, I have a question. If they are teaching one of my children, did I previously sign a release form to have my child filmed?

I am curious about the right to film people, including children, for use other than security.

When I step inside a 7-Eleven or a bank, I assume that I am being filmed and also that this fact is posted for my knowledge. If the public school system is filming our children for use in training films, teacher assessments or this new teacher licensing, should this activity be posted and/or should release forms be applied?

I do not think I personally would care to be under the camera's eye without prior knowledge, especially without knowing how these films would be used and if they are in the public domain, etc.

I foresee us having the media tabloids privy to Johnny and Janey Candidates' nose-picking in elementary school, note passing in middle school and sleeping through classes in high school with this free usage of the video by the public school system, and I wonder if this is in fact legal usage of a security system?

athryn Schultz



In response to the letter from Lee Horowitz (July 13) regarding the decision to drop the atomic bomb, I have one question.

I understand Hiroshima, but why Nagasaki?

Eugene H. Schreiber


Schmoke Game

It was interesting to read about Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's game of "hardball" in The Sun, July 20. As a result of his displeasure in the City Council' inability to approve his choice for comptroller, he rescinded invitations to a Crisfield political crab feast.

That's tacky. Once again, the mayor is employing a political strategy based on churlish and childish tactics.

It's a strategy that is incredibly short-sighted. While I'm sorry to hear that he didn't get his own way on the comptroller issue, I wonder if it occurred to the mayor that by punishing City Council members, he'd be weakening legislative support on other important issues.

As a city taxpayer whose votes elect our legislative representatives and whose taxes pay their salaries, I applaud those whose stance on this issue came from acting in the interest of the communities they serve rather than from the dubious reward of a free ticket to a political event.

Mayor Schmoke has been elected in order to serve Baltimore. The survival of this city is no game.

Carolyn S. Brown


Spanking and Discipline

I am writing in reference to the recent attention disciplining children has received. I have been traveling and have noticed that in every state I have visited cases involving possible child abuse have taken the front page of newspapers. I am very disturbed to note, however, that there seems to be a lack of either communication or understanding concerning the fundamental issue of what the difference is between spanking as abuse and as discipline.

When a parent or other adult reacts out of frustration, anger or any intense emotion and strikes a child, that is not discipline. It is stress relief for the parent and unproductive to say the least for the child.

Adrienne Haeuser, a Wisconsin professor, is quoted in The Sun (July 10) as saying, "I had four children in five years, so I know a little something about stress. I spanked on occasion. And I cried afterward."

Ms. Haeuser could have used a little more support from her friends and family so she wasn't spanking in a situation that would cause her guilt. Stress and any form of discipline should never go hand in hand.

However, when a child is told, "If you run out into the street you will be spanked," and the child runs out into the street and as a result received a controlled whack on his or her bottom as promised, it is discipline. A 3-year-old cannot understand the concept of being killed by a vehicle, and no one in their right mind would want a child to learn from his mistake in a life-threatening situation like this.

A 3-year-old can remember, "Mommy said I would be spanked if I ran into the street and she meant it. It hurt and I won't do it again."

The point I'm trying to make is that this is an issue that can easily get out of hand and become a witch hunt. Any form of discipline can be abuse if not properly used. Time outs could conceivably )) become neglect if a child is constantly confined to his or her room. We cannot make sweeping judgments about any particular action without detrimental effects. We currently have pTC laws concerning child abuse which, when properly enforced, save lives. By denying a parent the right to raise a child in love in the way deemed best by the parent and much of society, we are denying children the right to respect authority and rules.

It is my deep hope that people will not accept a proposal to make disciplinary spanking by parents illegal. I have worked many times with abused children and have seen the devastating effects of beating a child, but this cannot be confused or compared with a parent's right to discipline.

Child advocacy groups would do a lot more good to use their resources and energy educating the public on ways to control stress and anger associated with raising children, and to continue their good work protecting children from legitimate abuse.

Linda J. Oland

Owings Mills

America First

Former Rep. Bruce Morrison (Roger Simon's column, July 15) is too quick on the trigger to demand a "human rights" police force to intervene in places like Haiti, Somalia, Rwanda and Bosnia. And he is also very arrogant in suggesting, "Somebody has to be willing to die for human rights."

If the good former congressman wants to lay down his life in one of those places, let him, but Americans should stop trying to police the world.

However, when Mr. Morrison pointed out that ultimately our own security "depends on not allowing the neighborhood to be run by thugs with no respect for human life," he should open his eyes.

Too many American neighborhoods are already "run by thugs with no respect for human life." Let's take care of our back yard before trying to fix the global village.

Rosalind Ellis


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