Noted in brief


IS BOB DOLE scared of Pat Buchanan? One would think so, seeing as how the supposed presidential front-runner has caved into the protectionist Mr. Buchanan by abandoning the free-trade policies of Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George Bush. And of Bob Dole, circa 1994.

The Senate majority leader stoutly supported President Clinton in passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement and legislation to create the new World Trade Organization. But because he has taken heat for these votes from Buchanan-inspired economic nationalists, he has effectively scuttled chances for a measure giving the president -- any president -- the authority to negotiate trade pacts that must be voted up or down by Congress without being picked apart by killer amendments.

Mr. Dole is from Kansas, the heartland. We hope this does not mean he would return the Republican Party to the protectionist policies that all postwar GOP presidents have repudiated.

TALK ABOUT A smoke screen, General Assembly leaders certainly created a fog with their demand to the governor that state inspectors ignore customer complaints about restaurants breaking the anti-smoking law. These lawmakers maintain that the inspectors legally can respond only to complaints from employees.

But if a company is violating the law, what difference does it make where the tip comes from? House Speaker Casper Taylor and Senate President Mike Miller miss the point. If all restaurants followed the anti-smoking statute, there would be no problem. The difficulty arises because some inconsiderate customers insist on lighting up even in rooms where smoking is not allowed -- and some owners quietly sanction it.

Mr. Miller and Mr. Taylor should not be coming to the defense of lawbreakers. The vast majority of Maryland businessmen abide by the no-smoking provisions. Violators are the exception. Our elected leaders should support enforcement of this and every other law. No matter how the lawbreaker is discovered.

WITH DEBATE stirring over what to name a yet-to-be built football stadium, Baltimore should seriously think about Memorial Stadium. Not just its future use, but its current name.

It's a tribute to men and women who have served their country in the armed forces, a patriotic contribution and sacrifice we acknowledge today as Veterans Day. For decades, many municipal stadiums and arenas were so named to remember those in military service. Today, the trend is to name these venues for the mercenary warriors that do mock battle there, their owners or politicians.

If Memorial Stadium is to endure as a remodeled public facility, fine. But if it is torn down for housing or commercial development, the city should keep its pledge to honor military veterans by naming another public facility in their honor.

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