The Baltimore Sun

When a campaign-finance system encourages presidential candidates to vacuum up as many dollars as they can, as fast as they can, they're bound to end up with some dirty money.

This month, the campaign of Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton returned $850,000 bundled by a fundraiser after reports revealed he had skipped out on his 1992 sentencing for grand theft.

Last week, USA Today reported that the 2008 candidates already had collected perhaps hundreds of donations from minors - a tactic often used by parents to exceed limits for individual contributions.

It's too late to fix the public-financing system for this campaign, but Congress should do it for the next one in 2012. A promising proposal from Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, for example, would make more public funds available sooner to presidential candidates. The alternative is keeping a system where campaigns are more likely to end up with cash from crooks and kids.

- Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel

Here's one of the good things about the war in Iraq that President Bush overlooked in his latest speech to the nation: It's been good for business for S&D; Consulting Inc. of New York, makers of the "Ceremonial Bugle."

The Missouri National Guard no longer has enough money to pay buglers to play taps at military funerals. It's going to use such devices as S&D;'s "Ceremonial Bugles" instead - horns with a digital sound unit built into the bell. "With military expenditures going to the [war] front, we have no choice," the Guard's Maj. Paul Kirchhoff explained.

S&D;'s Model CB2003US lists for a mere $525. With real buglers charging about $20 per funeral and scores of World War II and Korean War veterans dying each day, you can write that cost off in no time. Any member of an honor guard can pick up the Model CB2003US, hold it to his lips and press a button.

Something is dreadfully wrong when a war mounted on false premises results in American heroes getting phony bugle calls as a final salute.

- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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