- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 11, 2006

No felon voting

I read with dismay the Thursday article on the Maryland Democratic push to restore voting rights to convicted felons (“Liberals push to give vote to felons,” Wednesday, Metropolitan). Delegates Jill P. Carter and Salima Siler Marriott, Baltimore Democrats, make no secret that murderers, rapists, burglars, robbers, drug dealers and child molesters will likely align themselves with the Democratic Party and then vote in numbers sufficient to oust Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. from office.

We may be in a new era, but we are seeing the same warm welcome by Democrats of those from the seedier elements of our society that was seen decades ago. If there is a difference in what these Democrats today are doing from what those Southern Democrats did during the 1950s and 1960s in welcoming the support of Klansmen and other bigots to ensure they remained in power, then I’m not seeing it.

Perhaps Delegates Carter and Marriott simply want to empower those poor souls who find themselves become convicted felons. If so, I would suggest that Delegates Carter and Marriott step aside, give up their seats in the House and work diligently to have these felons take their places in the General Assembly.

I believe their motives are not quite so altruistic, however. It is simply a matter of letting the ends justify the means, no matter how disgusting those means are. Derek Walker, the executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party, says a purpose of the proposed legislation is to restore “dignity” to these convicted felons. I have doubts that he would be so concerned with their dignity if there were any chance they would be casting their votes for the opposition.

It would be so much more refreshing if the Maryland Democratic Party would concern itself as enthusiastically with the dignity of the victims of the crimes of these felons and the horrible toll suffered by the communities in which these felons have conducted their trade. Instead, we have our representatives empowering those in our communities who are the least deserving of being able to exercise such an important civic privilege.


Owings Mills

Voting rights for felons? That is as natural a constituency for our state’s Democrats as it gets, isn’t it? Every other measure of corruption has been represented by the Maryland Democrats in the General Assembly, why not thieves, robbers, and murders, too? Maybe we could send House Speaker Michael E. Busch to Jessup for a three- to five-year “outreach program”?



Liberal Democrats have long maintained a certain softness for the criminal element, be it domestic thugs or foreign terrorists. It is demonstrated in the judges they appoint and by the judicial nominees they oppose. In Maryland, liberal Democrats are pushing to enfranchise career felons and increase their most loyal voter base.

These same liberal Democrats do need a certain protective coloration to protect themselves from the wrath of the voters. They often resort to symbolism that citizens can see, but that does not hamper the thug community. Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, the would-be boy governor, had been a master of hollow slogans and symbols, from the “Believe” signs to those flashing blue lights that may do little more than indicate to out-of-towners where hookers and heroin can be found in Harm City.

Now the liberals in the legislature are pushing the fig-leaf of an ‘assault weapon ban’ to show that they really care about crime.

Note that liberal judgesrecently allowed witness-killer Vernon Evans to have a new lease on life and that new legislation to severely punish those who intimidate or harm witnesses seems to have little legislative appeal among what seems to be the Thugocratic Party.


Wild Quail, Del.

Be proud, buy Danish

Tony Blankley’s Op-Ed on Friday, “Cartoons, but not funnies,” highlights the real threat to freedom of speech that is being violently threatened by Islamofascists.

The jihadis in the Islamic world that violently reacted to the purportedly offensive cartoons appearing in the Danish press have tarnished the image of Islam in the civilized world. There can be no justification for the instigated riots, death threats, kidnappings and burning of embassy buildings and flags.

Apparently the Islamofascists think they have the right to publish offensive cartoons on other religions in their news media but are free to react violently when democratic nations publish something they consider offensive. They cannot have it both ways.

Hope all believers in free speech will show solidarity with Denmark by buying Danish products.



A land bubble

Your article on the new debt did not mention one key word: land (“American dream putting homeowners in deep debt,” Page 1, Wednesday). The problem is not just that Americans have become irresponsible spendthrifts (though some have), nor is it that house costs have somehow — unaccountably — risen.

Land prices in many areas have far outstripped inflation, forcing many people to spend a very large part of their income on housing. Others, seeing prices go up and up, believe that it is a rational investment to buy as much real estate as possible, which contributes to further price increases.

When and if the land bubble — which is what the housing bubble primarily is — ever bursts, the economy is likely to suffer.

If prices continue to skyrocket, and housing becomes out of reach for many young people trying to get a start in life and have families, we’ll suffer worse.

We could deflate the bubble by raising taxes on land to discourage speculation while cutting taxes on buildings to stop punishing people who create and maintain housing — but look for major land speculators to fight that proposal.



Unpopular ‘traffic taxes’

The Rasmussen poll on Virginia transport taxes (“Traffic tax lacks support,” Metro, Friday) proves that voters aren’t as dumb as some politicians would like. They realize that the proposed tax increases would do very little to relieve gridlock, though they would produce lucrative construction contracts. A sales tax hike would do little to discourage peak hour congestion, and a tax hike on insurance makes no sense at all.

The most sensible ideas I’ve heard are from Virginia Senator Ken Cuccinelli. He understands that tax increases do very little to help, but innovative ideas like high-occupancy toll or “HOT” lanes can provide tremendous relief. These innovative concepts are being applied with great success in other states, but not yet here, and they cost taxpayers little or nothing.

As a transportation economist, I understand that heavily congested roads actually carry dramatically less traffic. The more drivers try to use them, the fewer actually get through per hour. Well-designed variable pricing schemes have been proven not only to pay for themselves, but to benefit all highway users, especially those who no longer have to sit in gridlocked traffic.



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