Thumbs up, thumbs down

March 25, 2006

Thumbs up to all of the women of the Tri-State area, who over the years took the risk of stepping outside traditional roles to become physicians, business leaders and activists for positive change in their communities. During Women's History Month, we salute their achievements and urge all citizens to remember and honor their accomplishments.

Thumbs up to Mike Mittel, owner of Hagerstown's Hub City Cycle Center, for pointing out that expressing concern about an issue - such as crime problems on West Franklin Street - is not the same thing as doing something about it.

Now that the City Council has acknow-ledged that there's a need for action, we await their plan to clean up the streets with great interest.

Thumbs down to the House Judiciary Committee of the Maryland General Assembly, for killing a series of bills introduced to deal with the state's medical malpractice issue.


Like all the Johnny-come-lately lawmakers now deploring electricity deregulation, we expect Judiciary members will act quickly, but only after their access to medical care is threatened.

Thumbs up to Del. John Doyle, D-Jefferson, and other lawmakers who were successful in getting the West Virginia Legislature to approve $10 million for higher education in the Eastern Panhandle. Projects funded include a $1 million boost for a new medical training facility designed to lure more doctors to the area.

Thumbs down to the lawmakers in rural areas of West Virginia who refused to help cash-strapped teachers in the Eastern Panhandle get a pay increase to compensate for the soaring cost of living in this area.

It shouldn't take a genius to figure out if teachers in those areas get less than Panhandle teachers do now, Panhandle schools will look to fill their vacancies with educators from the state's more rural counties.

Thumbs up to the American Public University, for the purchase of the old Jefferson County, W.Va., Magistrate's Court building in Charles Town for their headquarters. After a $1.3 million renovation, the building is home to a staff of more than 50 and proof that old structures can be rehabilitated for modern uses such as this Internet university.

Thumbs up to Carolyn Riggins and all of the other Washington County residents who volunteered with the Washington County Red Cross to travel to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Riggins and others like her braved the possibility of disease and worse to help fellow human beings who were in need.

Thumbs down to the Internal Revenue Service, for its proposal to allow accountants and others who prepare tax returns to sell the data contained within to marketers and others who collect and sell information.

It would require, as The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, "the knowing, informed and voluntary consent of the taxpayer."

But we agree with that paper's editorial stand - that for those preparing a form that too many don't understand, such consent would be far too easy to get.

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