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Letters to the editor

June 06, 2006

The dangers of government snoops



To the editor:

At least one person has called in to "You Said It," stating they were comfortable with the federal government reviewing telephone records. After all, they had nothing to hide; they weren't plotting against their government. Unfortunately, I'm afraid they did not see the potential for abuse in this snooping.

What if somebody didn't like the current president, governor, mayor or other official, and was planning to run against them in an election, or were working for an opposing candidate? What if a security agency were politicized to such an extent that it was used to snoop on political rivals? Let us recall that this is basically what the Watergate scandal was about, and that this is what made it a big deal.

For those too young to remember, then-President Richard Nixon suffered enough from paranoia to order White House staff members to bug the local headquarters of the Democratic Party. The one saving grace was that Nixon and his cohorts knew they were on shaky ground, and decided to break into the Democratic headquarters themselves, rather than use professionals who might be more skilled, but might also balk at performing an illegal act. Unfortunately, the amateurs got caught in the break-in, and it later turned out that a highly-placed FBI official would provide additional evidence that would lead to impeachment proceedings and Nixon's eventual resignation.

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I personally regard Nixon as something of a tragic figure; he accomplished many things, both professionally and politically, only to have a great cloud come over all of it because of his fears.

The current president has a number of similarities and some significant differences. He means well, I'm sure, but seems to lack good judgment, especially in regard to any sort of planning. His political advisers seem ready to demonize anything resembling a difference of opinion, yet the president, himself, is either unwilling or unable to rein these persons in. On top of that, this political group has available, technology and a professional bureaucracy that Nixon would have envied. The potential for abuse - both politically and by possible rogue agents - is enormous.

David P. Lubic

Inwood, W.Va.




Public shouldn't pay for church gatherings



To the editor:

Gov. Robert Ehrlich's and Mayor Martin O'Malley's providing of grants totalling $447,500 for a national Baptist convention in June in Baltimore is not only a violation of the First Amendment, but also a shameless trolling for votes in this year's elections.

Not only that, but the convention will reportedly contain sessions that can only be regarded as tax-subsidized attacks on the religions of other Maryland residents!

The convention will reportedly bring in 50,000 attendees, but $447,500 in public grants divided by 50,000 expected attendees means that attendance will be subsidized to the tune of $8.95 each. Are the attendees so poor that a mere $9 could keep them away? C'mon, let's get real.

Politicians of both parties should avoid pandering for sectarian religious votes. The practice threatens the religious liberty of all of us, smells too much like the kind of politico-religious extremism that we supposedly oppose in the Middle East and can only further reduce respect for politicians and the political process.

When a church of my own denomination in Maryland sought a $300,000 federal grant to repair its roof some years ago, I opposed it vigorously and even threatened to bring suit if the grant application proceeded. Wisely, the church backed off.

Edd Doerr

President Americans for Religious Liberty

Silver Spring, Md.




Don't put off cancer testing



To the editor:

I'm writing about Mother's Day. I had a very nice day. My son called me from California and also sent me flowers. My daughter gave me flowers also. But I was very happy because I had some tests done and was cancer-free.

I had cancer in 1988 and I go regularly for tests. I'm thankful to God that I'm so healthy. I would advise everyone to go for tests. I lost a daughter in 1990 and I will never get over that. I just keep her in my heart and feel she is still with us.

Fannie Rouzer

Hagerstown

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