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Letters to the Editor - Oct. 17

October 16, 2012

Accusations fit prejudices more than the facts

To the editor:

George Michael’s column (Oct. 12) on President Obama’s record was only partially on target.

Michael gave credit to wacky conspiracy theories when he said, “By dropping more people from the work force, the administration was able to get the official rate down to 7.8 percent for September.” What he was referring to was last month’s big drop in unemployment numbers.

It’s not just that Michael can’t bring himself to say anything at all positive about Obama, it’s that his statement is unwisely copied from Jack Welch, former CEO of GE.

GE, one of the biggest companies in the world, paid zero federal income taxes. The claim that American businesses were the highest taxed in the world was only true if you looked at the nominal tax rate, not taking into account loopholes that could be deducted. If you take into account loopholes, American companies pay less than most industrialized countries. Reducing the listed business rate for a business like GE that paid zero in taxes would not reduce their actual tax at all. 

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The reason I go on about Michael blindly copying Welch is that Welch has also said that GE must have “cooked the books” when they claimed they paid zero taxes. Here is a businessman attacking the very same company he ran. To me, at least, it seems that these accusations fit these men’s particular political prejudices more than the facts.

Michael’s opinion, mostly factual, is not new news. Right-wing radio stations in our area repeat these same old “facts” 24/7.  

Michael can say the administration “was able” to manipulate facts all he wants, but he might just as well copy Welch all the way and say anybody who presents facts he doesn’t like is making them up.
 
Ken Hollar
Hagerstown



Communities with school-zone cameras to be applauded

To the editor:

As parents who lost a daughter in a traffic crash, we support traffic safety programs that protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians from preventable injuries and fatalities. We therefore support Wicomico County’s efforts to bring school zone cameras to its community. 

According to Safe Kids USA, one out of every six drivers in school zones is distracted. This statistic is concerning on any roadway, but it is even more frightening when children are put in danger.

Reckless driving in school zones is a serious threat to children’s safety, and steps must be taken to discourage behaviors that put children in harm’s way. Parents should be able to send their children off to school knowing effective safety measures are in place.

Some Maryland communities are taking these efforts a step further, installing school bus cameras to deter drivers from illegally passing school buses. Nationally, crashes involving school buses send approximately 17,000 children to the emergency room each year. One-fourth of instances happen when a child is boarding or leaving the bus. 

We have a responsibility to use all available means to keep children safe. We’re pleased many Maryland communities are working hard to do just that.

Paul and Sue Oberhauser, national co-chairs
Traffic Safety Coalition


Thanks to all who supported Heart & Stroke Walk

To the editor:

On behalf of the American Heart Association board of directors, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Mason Dixon Heart & Stroke Walk committee, event sponsors, team leaders, volunteers, walkers, in-kind donors, and the countless individuals and business contributors who financially supported the Sept. 23 Mason Dixon Heart & Stroke Walk, presented nationally by Subway and Jenny.

We offer special recognition to event chairman Al Martin, CPA, community leader and recently retired director of finance for the City of Hagerstown, for providing leadership to this event, which is expected to net $142,600, exceeding last year’s event income. We also extend a special thank-you to Collin Boyd, who served as our Red Cap Heart Hero, representing the many heart and stroke survivors of Franklin and Washington counties.

Of special note, we’d like to acknowledge M&T Bank, which provided assistance with Bank Days and tallying event proceeds and Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School for permitting us the use of their location for our start/finish.

Proceeds raised through the Mason Dixon Heart & Stroke Walk will help advance public policy favorable to improved cardiovascular and stroke health; will provide vital information about cardiovascular diseases and stroke to patients and the medical community; and, through research grants, will turn scientific discoveries into advances that save lives in our local communities. 

The generosity provided by hundreds of individuals and businesses who supported this event is extremely gratifying.  Thank you for helping the American Heart Association as it continues its important work to save lives from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Steve Lubart, board president
American Heart Association

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