Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The entitlement mentality

As Thomas Sowell points out in “Hidden costs” (Commentary, Tuesday), automatically giving U.S. citizenship to millions of Latin, Asian and other illegal aliens would have the effect of hugely engorging the ranks of the preferentially entitled, by virtue of their race, to government jobs and contracts, school admissions and other forms of affirmative action.

This is merely the tip of the iceberg, however. After free-for-all immigration, Massachusetts Democrat Sen. EdwardM.Kennedy’s second-favorite cause is taxpayer-supported “universal” health coverage — provided to illegals currently here and presumably to any who may come in the future. That would mean billions in additional taxes for middle-class Americans who can barely afford health coverage for themselves.

If you thought the recent throngs in the streets (many here illegally) demanding citizenship “rights” showed moxie, you haven’t seen anything compared to what these folks will demand as soon as they become “entitled.”


Montgomery Village

Televise Supreme Court arguments

As an appellate court attorney who is a member of the Supreme Court Bar, I strongly agree with Nat Hentoff that oral arguments before the Supreme Court must be televised (“Televise Supreme Court arguments,” Op-Ed, Monday).

Two of the three main public ingredients that constitute a Supreme Court decision are the briefs written by the attorneys in the case and the final, written decision. These are readily accessible to all but are by far the least interesting for educational purposes.

The third (oral arguments before the court) is the critical link. Without access to what transpires during that crucial hour — one in which lawyers not only present their legal positions but answer justices’ questions, debate with the justices, listen as justices debate with one another and laugh as justices sometimes even make jokes — the American public is being shut out of what truly is history in the making.

Supreme Court oral arguments always have been open to the public; it is only now that we have the technology available to make the courtroom genuinely open to all, and we should do so readily. Being forced to rely on news reports of what transpired in the courtroom is the same as being made to rely objectionable hearsay.

As to the childish fears of Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter and Clarence Thomas that cameras would allow them to be watched during court sessions, I would remind them that nobody is suggesting cameras be placed in their private chambers.


North Potomac

Scapegoating the PSC

I feel bad for Maryland Public Service Commission Chairman Kenneth D. Schisler (“PSC chief balks at being the goat,” Page 1, Tuesday). All politicians need a scapegoat to avoid the effects of the legislation they have passed. Every citizen supports the legislation until it affects him or her.

As residents of Maryland, we are facing the possibility of being forced by the utilities that provide us with light and heat to actually pay for the past few years’ astronomical increases in energy costs as the cap on rates expires.

In 1999, Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the Democrat-controlled General Assembly took the unusual step of relinquishing power over power.

They said they would deregulate the utilities to spur competition and allow market forces to compete to provide power to consumers at the lowest available cost. Sounds great. Then the politicians did what politicians normally do. They mucked up the works. They deregulated the utility companies but capped the energy rates.

This regulation of deregulation makes sense only to politicians. Suffice it to say, you can rarely fool those pesky capitalists. They saw this regulation of deregulation for what it really was. Regulation. They wisely chose other investments.

Now, the General Assembly is shocked that the competition for Maryland’s regulation of deregulation did not materialize. The politicians bravely stand ready, with pens in hand, to craft any legislation, legal or otherwise, to spare their loyal subjects a lashing of reality.

Oh yes, and to save their own skins in an election year. As politicians do, they refuse to leave well enough alone. Their crafty legislation is likely to cost us taxpaying saps more in the long run, or result in rolling blackouts, which are a real long-term possibility.

The most likely scenario is that the General Assembly will ride in at the last minute on a white horse (to save energy) and eviscerate our evil energy-bill beast, which the politicians themselves created. At the very least until the election. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. As for this Maryland resident, I would just like to pay for what I consume.



Parking restrictions should be enforced

The story about D.C. parking enforcement on Sunday mornings is embarrassing to me because it represents how Americans want laws if they apply to everyone else; as individuals, we seem to think we are above the laws that we want for others (“Churches win reprieve on parking,” Page 1, Monday).Those who rallied want us to believe that seven-days-per-week parking rules are somehow targeting D.C. churches’ one-day-per-week parking, discriminating against churchgoers.

What a ridiculous claim that is. E. Gail Anderson Holness’ statement — “It burdens people to impose parking restrictions” — ignores the reason for the parking restrictions; it burdens more people when the restrictions are not enforced. When individuals break the law, society suffers.

The saddest part of all is that this outrageous issue is coming from churchgoers and clergy — people who should believe in having an ounce of consideration for their fellow man. I guess one of the blessings I will count this Sunday is that my suburban church has ample parking.



Don’t kowtow to Beijing

Don Feder’s straight talk (“It’s Hu you know,” Commentary, Friday) rightly admonishes America not to allow totalitarian China to conquer democratic Taiwan. As a member of the large Taiwanese-American group demonstrating in front of the White House against Chinese President Hu Jintao on April 20, I could not help lamenting that an unelected leader of an unrepentant communist country was dining with President Bush. In the meantime, Taiwan’s Chen Shui-bian, the popularly elected president of a fully democratic nation, has been forbidden even to set foot formally on American soil.

Mr. Bush once reminded us that “the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands” and that “the best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.” Isn’t it ironic that the United States is embracing China while keeping Taiwan at arm’s length?

As a small step toward preventing China from conquering Taiwan, the U.S. government should immediately lift bans on high-level visits to America by Taiwanese officials. It is high time for Mr. Bush to invite Chen Shui-bian, president of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the White House. Talk of spreading democracy to all parts of the world rings hollow when America fails to protect and promote the phenomenal success of liberty in Taiwan.


Overland Park, Kan.

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