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Letters to the Editor - Sept. 16

September 14, 2012

In remembrance of a fine historian

To the editor:
I am very sad to learn that Don C. Wood has passed on.  When I was researching my novel about the first year of Belle Boyd’s career, “The Shenandoah Spy” and doing the final walking-around tour of the Martinsburg, W.Va., area in 2005, Don was very helpful and provided some facts and copies of documents that were very useful. 
He was cordial and generous with his time, which is, of course, what makes the Belle Boyd House such an asset, not just to Martinsburg, but to Civil War scholars everywhere.
Being able to locate exactly where Belle’s other house was also informed my narrative and helped me create an accurate portrayal of her circumstances beyond the usual cursory facts provided in most accounts of her life.

Francis Hamit
Pine Mountain Club, Calif.


Will additional costs eat up private investment?

To the editor:
For several months we’ve been told that a downtown stadium would cost $30 million, with funding coming from three different branches of government plus private investors. Until recently, it appeared that taxpayers would shoulder an overwhelming portion of that cost with the private sector providing only a pittance. There had been considerable opposition at that level of government spending on such a dubious project.
Now we have a major game-changer, a promise of $15 million coming from a private donor. Opposition may diminish with the belief that government funding for the project will be cut in half. But will that really happen, or will we see added frills eating up most of the $15 million windfall while the government share remains near $30 million?
One more question: How did we arrive at the $30 million figure? Was there an in-depth calculation or did someone make an off-the-wall estimate just to speed up the process?
 
Jim Laird
Hagerstown


GOP should be hosting Hoover-Coolidge Dinners

To the editor:
The Republican Party likes to advertise itself as the party of Lincoln and Roosevelt (TR); doing so results in false advertising.
Many of Lincoln’s important accomplishments are anathema to contemporary Republicans.
Lincoln signed the Homestead Act giving millions of acres to tens of thousands of people for little or nothing, an egregious error for today’s entitlement-society obsessed Republicans. Romney, (“let them go bankrupt” regarding the auto industry) would have been horrified by Lincoln’s generous federal support of railroads in the Pacific Railway Acts.
The “no tax pledge,” tea party wing must take offense at Lincoln’s doctrinal heresy as he signed the Revenue Acts creating the first federal income tax. The Romney/Ryan tax plan today advocates a 0 percent tax on capital gains, interest and dividend income and a 28 percent tax on wages (annual incomes under $200,000). 
Contemporary Republican ethos stands in stark contrast to Lincoln’s: “Labor is prior to capital and independent of capital. Capital is always the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital and deserves higher consideration.” 
The Ron Paul Republicans who hate “the Fed” must disavow Lincoln for creating the national banking system when he signed the National Banking Act. Small-government Republicans can blame both Lincoln and Roosevelt’s contribution to larger government by creating the Departments of Agriculture, Labor and Commerce.
TR deserves condemnation from the anti-regulation Republicans for the Meat Inspection Act, The Pure Food and Drug Act, the Hepburn Act, The Elkins Act and vigorous corporate prosecutions under the Sherman Act.
Last year, the Republican-controlled House voted 168 times to undercut clean air and water laws; blocking efforts to limit global warming, protect public land, and guard against future oil spills. Lincoln and especially TR would be disappointed by this effort. Lincoln gave unprecedented federal protection to Yosemite when he signed the Yosemite Grant.
TR was America’s foremost conservationist; establishing five national parks, the first federal bird reservation and game preserve, the National Forest Service and the Antiquities Act creating the first national monuments. Whereas TR gladly wore the mantel “trust buster,” today’s Republicans boast of being “union busters.” TR’s Square Deal meant that every citizen would get a fair deal. To do so he advocated the regulation of interstate commerce and settled the miner’s strike that resulted in higher wages and shorter hours for workers.
Since the past is prologue, I suggest that Republicans stop having Lincoln Day Dinners and instead have Coolidge or Hoover Day Dinners as the party is much more aligned with the political philosophy of the pre-Depression Republican presidents than two of America’s greatest — Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

Jack M. Ebersole
Hagerstown


Seeking veterans of three wars

To the editor:
I was recently accepted into a veterans organization that is small and unique. 
These are veterans who served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.  From my count, the roster of membership lists 171 members and only one from the State of Maryland, which is me. 
I know there must be more veterans out there who has served during that time and are no doubt retired military. If you or someone you know served during all three of those wars I would appreciate a telephone call from you at 301-739-5520. Our list of survivors is dwindling fast.
 
Ned Renner
Hagerstown
All 3 Wars Veterans Association, Inc.

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