Gov. Glendening went too far in pushing...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Gov. Glendening went too far in pushing his gun legislation

The Sun reported that our governor actively traded discretionary "pork barrel" funds for votes on his gun legislation.

His message was: If you want money for school construction in your district, I want your vote ("Gun bill prompts trade off," March 31).

My question really is: Is this extortion, or is this bribery?

I understand that compromise is a fact of life in any democratic legislature, but when a chief executive attempts to strong-arm votes for questionable legislation by threatening to withhold needed monies for public welfare projects, I believe the process has gone too far, and our acceptance of it is unconscionable.

Maybe the problem has its origins in the legislature's inability to deal with substantive campaign finance reform. Special interest groups obtain influence, and legislators respond with timely votes.

My concept of public trust is that our elected officials should vote, first, to represent their constituents' wishes and, second, in accordance with their conscience to promote the general welfare.

They don't yield to power politics and ruthless tactics that emanate from the whims of special interests.

Fred Metschulat

Baltimore

Gov. Parris N. Glendening certainly pulled out all the stops for his "smart gun" legislation. Mr. Glendening's announcement that he would withhold funds from various counties if he didn't get votes on the bill certainly did assure its passage.

What a shame he was not such an avid advocate for the gay rights bill.

Gays and lesbians have always had limited rights.

Now citizens of Maryland will not have the right to defend their homes and themselves against the criminals the justice system sets free.

Debbie Bricker

Baltimore

'Cider House' presented all sides of abortion issue

I was disgusted by the inaccurate and insensitive comments William Buckley Jr. made about the movie "The Cider House Rules" ("Oscars and abortion," Opinion Commentary, March 30).

The movie was not a "paean to the abortion industry." It in no way celebrated abortion. It was a very sensitive look at all issues surrounding unwanted children.

We saw abortion's horror - a doctor throwing a pail of remains into the furnace, a scene reminiscent of Auschwitz - as well as the horror of a young girl who died from an abortion that was botched by a charlatan.

I left the movie with a deep sense of how complex and serious the abortion issue is, and yes, an affirmation that safe abortion must be available to every woman. Only she has the right to choose, and it is seldom an easy choice.

Abortion has been around as long as we have. But it is safe only where women are respected.

The Rev. Joan I. Senyk

Baltimore

The writer is pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church.

Female circumcision is dangerous and barbaric

While working as a gynecologist in a Saudi Arabian hospital in the 1980s, I observed the long-term results of female circumcision ("Tortured tradition," March 26).

This practice varies from removal of a bit of skin to removal of girls' entire external genitalia. It is performed by untrained village midwives using unsterile pieces of glass, scissors and knives. This results in infections and even death.

Later problems include a constricted vaginal opening that prevents coitus.

The women I saw as patients were working in Saudi Arabia and came from nearby East African countries such as The Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.

This barbaric custom continues today, despite laws in a few African countries prohibiting it.

For obvious humanitarian reasons, it needs to be condemned.

Dr. William. H. Brown

Phoenix

To make what men do, women must work as they do

As a female human resources executive who has worked with three different Fortune 500 companies, I read with interest The Sun's loving and detailed coverage of Feminist Expo 2000.

Over the past 20 years, I have been involved in hiring more than 1,000 executives. I assure you that being female is an asset, not a liability, in today's workplace.

Feminists want equal pay. Here's some free advice: Come early, stay late, don't take maternity or sick leave, don't take time off for children's soccer games and plays and willingly accept frequent overnight travel and corporate relocations.

In other words, work like most men do, make the personal and family sacrifices they make, and you will be compensated equally or better than male co-workers.

If women choose to take time off for children and family issues, (and I applaud those women for having their priorities straight), they shouldn't expect to earn as much as those who don't. It's that simple.

Sandy Hill

Bel Air

Hospice care is valuable, but other choices are too

The Sun's article "Expanding the choices at life's end" (March 26) described a program at Duke University that helps people experience a "good death."

Those words, "good death," are part of the motto of the Hemlock Society: "Good Life-Good Death."

But the good people at Duke do not include that other choice, suicide or assisted suicide.

Hospice care is great, and meets the needs of most terminal patients, but there are good reasons for wanting to end one's life without waiting for the heart to stop beating.

Loss of control, loss of dignity, intractable pain and loss of the ability to be of value to other people - those are reasons some rational people wish for release from a life they consider not worth continuing.

The Duke organization is providing a great service and setting an example of the value of treating the whole person.

But there is another choice, too. That is self-deliverance.

Carleton W. Brown

Baltimore

Well-intentioned reforms only diminish our freedom . . .

Susan Reimer's column "Colleges twist Title IX to cut back on men's sports," (April 2) was a wonderful example of another liberal idea whose good intentions haven't quite worked out as they were "supposed" to.

Modern public education, public housing and the rehabilitation of prisoners are other programs that haven't worked out as they were supposed to.

If only people would do what they were supposed to, liberals think, and not take advantage of the system, everything would be fine.

But when will the liberals learn? All their legislation and good intentions can never and will never work.

The only thing they will bring will be more loss of freedom, more litigation and more laws, as part of the continuing saga of "all we want is to be treated fairly."

Ray Merryman

Rosedale

. . . as promoting 'diversity' creates race-based quotas

I would like to thank The Sun for publishing the article, "Educational 'diversity' under attack" (March 26).

The recent Supreme Court decisions the article noted clearly support an end to quota-based diversity policies in schools.

People must be allowed to succeed in a learning environments where skin color does not substitute for learning ability.

Equal opportunity for all must be stressed, as opposed to lowering the bar to achieve diversity.

We must move ahead in race relations and put these Jim Crow laws behind us.

Henry Mathias

Taneytown

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