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The Baltimore Sun

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) made it through Congress in 1972, but after a 10-year effort to get the approval of the two-thirds of the states required for passage, it fell short by three states. Brought forth again with Democrats in control of Congress and redubbed the Women's Equality Amendment (WEA), it states that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

Proponents observe that women still get only 77 cents for every dollar that men are paid. Women, however, have made great strides in education and in the workplace without passage of the ERA. Progress has come through legislation and through societal evolution, which causes bad ideas and prejudices to disappear as surely as natural selection weeds out useless appendages and characteristics.

This effort would be a gift to the religious right, which is ready to portray the proposed 28th Amendment as codifying abortion rights and same-sex marriage. Why hand the far right, which is back on its heels politically, a fear-mongering cause it can use to push campaign discussion away from Iraq, the economy and health care. ...

Amending the Constitution is a serious business and should ideally be done to address specific wrongs - the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote is an excellent example. The WEA is far more nebulous, and coming in the midst of an important campaign will be a polarizing distraction.

- The Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle

The general approach of the Bush administration to Syria during its six years in power is to try to act like it doesn't exist. ...

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the third-ranking figure in the U.S. government and the most senior American politician to visit Syria since 2003, met with that nation's leaders to discuss critical issues of common interest - Iraq, Lebanon and the Israeli-Palestinian question. Given that her scope of influence is limited to Congress, and only part of that, it did not appear that any blockbusters came from her talks.

At the same time, as with the critical question of a withdrawal timetable for U.S. forces from Iraq, the new Congress is leading the way. Whether that is in perfect accord with the ideas of the Founding Fathers is another question, but what is clear is that Congress has perceived correctly the real concerns of the American people - while the Bush administration has not - and is moving ahead to deal with them.

We applaud Ms. Pelosi for having opened the door to authoritative U.S. dialogue with Syria. Like Syria or not, it is definitely a serious player in a number of issues of great concern to America. We need to talk with it.

- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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