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Letters to the editor 5/8

May 08, 2003

Plan attacks jobs, rights, environment



To the editor:


Like most Americans, I still worry about protecting my family and our country. I'm also getting tired of having my worries preyed upon by some of our national leaders who are using "national security" to sell Americans public policies that we normally wouldn't buy. The Rumsfeld Plan is a good example.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has asked Congress to quickly pass legislation that would give the Department of Defense (DOD) unprecedented powers. The secretary's bill would exempt defense facilities from complying with basic environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and toxic waste laws. The plan would give the secretary increased power to give defense contractors huge pots of money with virtually no public oversight.

And the secretary wants the power to eliminate the rights, jobs and pay system for civilian defense employees, the very individuals who deployed and supported our troops in Iraq. These personnel changes go well beyond last year's controversial homeland security bill.

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When asked why the Rumsfeld plan was being rushed through Congress now, one White House insider honestly answered, "because it would never pass in an election year." That's another way of saying that we can sneak things through because voters aren't paying attention to what lawmakers are doing. I encourage all of this newspaper's readers and voters to start paying attention right now.

I support a strong Department of Defense. But I am not willing to unnecessarily sacrifice the health and safety of my family by letting DOD, which uses enormous quantities of hazardous materials, ignore the laws that protect our air and water.

I'm also fed up with corporate contractors getting overpaid with my tax dollars. And I don't think that you reward the civilian defense employees who worked day and night to support our troops by asking them to do more with less or eliminating their jobs.

The Department of Defense just proved that we have the most effective armed forces in the world. Secretary Rumsfeld seems to be in a big hurry to fix a problem that doesn't exist. His plan defies common sense and reality.

Dennis Crosby
Hagerstown




Thanks for supporting kids



To the editor:


On Tuesday, March 18, approximately 150 people experienced the magic of poetry as they attended the Washington County Reading Council's Poetry Celebration at the South High Media Center.

Washington County students from grades two through 12 read original poems, recited favorite poems and dramatized poems. During the nearly 40 performances, the audience enjoyed wonderful refreshments, in part contributed by South High's Boosters. (Many thanks to Jimmy Winters and Margi Olszeski. White lights and fresh flowers contributed to an elegant atmosphere.)

Student participants each received a button to wear which identified them as one who loves poetry. Many door prizes were awarded.

Such wonderful evenings do not happen without help. Dave and Melissa Williams of the Reading Council worked many hours to help make the event a success. The Reading Council would like to thank all the dedicated teachers who took the time to prepare students and to accompany them to the event.

Thanks also to the many parents who came in support of their children. Greatest thanks go to the students who shared their wonderful talents with an appreciative audience.

Kathy Thornhill
Chair of Poetry Night
Hagerstown

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