- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 13, 2005

Peter Angelos, baseball spoiler

I find it quite ironic that as of next week, the entire nation will be able to tune in and watch Major League Baseball players testify before Congress on C-SPAN, but Washington residents still won’t know whether and how we’ll be able to watch our new home team, since Major League Baseball has failed to approve television rights for the Nationals (“Barry objects to deal for Angelos,” Metro, Thursday).

I’m glad Marion Barry is attempting to stop Peter Angelos from blacking out the Nationals and raising our cable bills in the process. It’s been a long time since a sporting event has united this town. Opening Day will no doubt be one of those moments. I just hope it’s something we’ll all be able to watch.

KRISTEN E. MURRAY

Washington

I would like to commend D.C. Council member Marion Barry for his efforts to protect the Washington Nationals and D.C. taxpayers against Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos (“Barry objects to deal for Angelos,” Metropolitan, Thursday).

Mr. Barry understands that Mr. Angelos is like a python, trying to squeeze the life out of the Nationals by attempting to take control of their broadcast rights through the creation of a network that would only put more money in his pocket.

Moreover, a back-room deal between Mr. Angelos and Major League Baseball would threaten the viability of the Nationals, who will rely on revenue from TV broadcasts to build a strong and successful team.

As a Nationals fan and a D.C. taxpayer, I am concerned that this new network would hamper the Nationals for years to come. I want to encourage other D.C. Council members to stand up for their city and use all means necessary to protect the financial security of this team — our team.

AARON BERNSTEIN

Washington

A dubious tax proposal

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan has offered a bogus solution to tax simplification and economic growth by proposing a national sales tax and a devious “value added” tax, or VAT (“Probing the VAT’s depths” Commentary, Mar. 2).

VATs are imposed in Europe, New Zealand and Australia, among other countries, and are widely despised by consumers and manufacturers because they add paperwork, make everything more expensive and do not add “value” to anything.

By taxing consumption rather than income, Mr. Greenspan wants to protect the wealthy while making ordinary people who struggle just to survive pay even more. People on fixed incomes, such as the retired and the disabled, would pay more in taxes, while the rich would pay far less as a percentage of their income. Consumption taxes are inherently regressive.

Consumption taxes also hurt business because consumers buy less, cutting into profits. Mr. Greenspan says taxing consumption will encourage saving and investment, but if you can barely pay for your food, housing and health care now, how are you going to save if you have even less money in your wallet?

All the proposal will do is lower the standard of living of the average American while giving the rich extra money to invest in luxury items and the Asian stock market.

CHRISTOPHER CALDER

Eugene, Ore

Condoleezza Rice and abortion.

I read, with just a little more than disappointment, about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s “mildly pro-choice” stance on abortion (“Rice vows no apology to North Korea,” Page 1, Saturday).

In this, and numerous other interviews, she describes herself as deeply religious. She points out that she is the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. In an interview with the Presbyterian Layman, she describes herself as an, “all-over-the-map Republican” and “almost shockingly libertarian” on other issues.

Lest the reader be misled, there is more than one Presbyterian church. The one to which Miss Rice belongs is the Presbyterian Church (USA), which makes the following statement about abortion: “There is [both] agreement and disagreement on the basic issue of abortion. The committee [on problem pregnancies and abortion] agreed that there are no biblical texts that speak expressly to the topic of abortion, but that taken in their totality the Holy Scriptures are filled with messages that advocate respect for the woman and child before and after birth. Therefore the Presbyterian Church (USA) encourages an atmosphere of open debate and mutual respect for a variety of opinions concerning the issues related to problem pregnancies and abortion.”

In other words, they are pro-choice. They are also embroiled in a controversy over whether or not they should ordain active, practicing homosexuals to ministry. In official church documents, it is repeatedly stated that the Bible has errors in it.

As to her quote about being “libertarian,” here are a few common definitions of that word. “One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.” “One who believes in free will.”

So now we know that, upon further inspection, Miss Rice’s deeply religious beliefs are grounded in one of the most liberal Protestant denominations, one which doesn’t even believe that its own guidebook, the Bible, is infallible. We also know that she believes in individual rights, unless you’re an unborn child.

Needless to say, the Republicans are afraid of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, already shape-shifting as she reinvents herself for an expected 2008 presidential campaign. This is a party which has allowed itself to be pulled over to the left, state by state, and now has little more to offer than the hope of better Supreme Court nominees.

Almost every liberal candidate has talent, personality, intellect, and energy. Until fairly recently, conservatives in this country recognized that, without a strong moral foundation, these things are not enough. Miss Rice’s brand of religiosity seems to have something in common with modern-day abortion clinics. As Matthew wrote about the Pharisees: “They look beautiful on the outside. But on the inside they are full of the bones of the dead.”

Is this what you really want?

RICHARD BROWN

Parkville

Drug imports from questionable places

Just where could our prescription drugs come from? As your article demonstrates, the answer is many places, including some questionable ones (“Support for drug imports varies,” Business, Wednesday).

While Congress is rushing to establish drug-importation legislation — promising significant price cuts — seniors are becoming increasingly concerned with the safety of importing prescription drugs from foreign sources.

Most seniors are led to believe that prescription drugs will be coming solely from Canada. That simply is not the case. In fact, the Canadian government has publicly acknowledged that it cannot properly or safely oversee the mass influx of prescription drugs to the United States.

So, if not from Canada, where would these drugs come from? Current importation proposals focus on wide-reaching importation programs with overseas suppliers such as Australia, New Zealand, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Greece and many other countries.

Political proponents of importation have consistently suggested to seniors that imported prescription drugs will come from Canada. What they are not telling seniors is that Canada has said that it would not participate in an importation program with the United States, citing the need to maintain drug supplies for its own citizens.

Congress must make protecting the safety of American seniors the top priority in any importation legislation.

MICHAEL E. HARRINGTON

Director of government advocacy

The Seniors Coalition

Fairfax

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