- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 18, 2006

The assault on civil rights

It was interesting to see Marian Tupy’s analysis on property rights (“South Africa’s land woes,” Commentary, March 6) mostly because her rationale is seldom applied to the United States. If an economy requires investment money to produce profits — aka capitalism — and that money is lent by banks with personal property used as collateral, then it follows that eliminating the right to private property also will eliminate the use of private property as collateral.

The same will happen in the United States if the Supreme Court keeps threatening private property rights by rendering decisions such as Kelo v. City of New London. When our property rights are dropped from the Constitution, the banking industry will no longer lend money, and our entire economy will grind to a halt.

Condensed into a few words like this, it sounds alarmist, but just look at the global economic powerhouses of Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela (the non-petroleum sector), most of Africa or the Middle East, not to mention countries that prohibit property rights such as Cuba, North Korea and the now-defunct Soviet Union.

I sincerely hope this trend of increasing politicians’ ability to steal land through eminent domain is reversed, and quickly, before we have to resort to an informal economy to survive.

Steven Anderson’s March 9 Op-Ed column, “Protecting property rights in Virginia,” notes that politicians are more interested in cosmetic reform — imagine that — than in real legal protections. His analysis correctly notes the threat to civil rights; the next logical step is to point out that our country’s economy and wealth also are at risk.

JAMES ZACKRISON

Falls Church

Griffith Stadium’s chill factor

Dick Heller remembers Griffith Stadium as being hot, but I remember it as being cold and windy, as in Redskins home games (“As long as it’s here, the ballpark’s grand,” Sports, Thursday).

I grew up watching no. 33 (Sammy Baugh), Steve Begarus (00) and other all-time greats, from the second-from-the top row of the top section of the stadium (upper right in the photo). It was a brutal climb to get there and at least 10 degrees colder than ground level, but that was football. My recollection was that the neighborhood kids charged $1 to watch a car — at least that was the rate for four-hole Buicks like the one my uncle drove — and they did indeed take their job seriously.

ADELE CHIDAKEL

SCHWARTZ

Silver Spring

Parking squeeze

In an article regarding Sunday double parking in the vicinity of Logan Circle (“Some residents object to church double-parking plan,” Metropolitan, Friday), the District Department of Transportation has proposed that the churches receive parking permits that would allow parishioners to double park legally during Sunday services. Never mind that the residents potentially “parked in” because of this system have paid for permits giving them exclusive rights to park in front of their homes.

If ever a proposed action could be identified as a church-state matter, this would be at or near the top of my list. Just a glance at this morning’s paper ought to bring American Civil Liberties Union attorneys flying to the assistance of the residents.

Oops. Wait a minute. The residents are “regular” people who are very likely to be in comfortable economic circumstances. Many of them might be the almost universally despised WASPs. Well, too bad; no help from the ACLU.

Better hire your own lawyers, folks.

RICHARD LETAW

Vienna

In appreciation of ‘Pappy’

I much enjoyed Ed Timperlake’s March 11 Commentary column, “Semper Fi: A history lesson,” regarding Medal of Honor winner Greg “Pappy” Boyington and other war heroes.

A brouhaha began last month when some at the University of Washington wanted to honor illustrious alumnus Boyington. UW student Jill Edwards, speaking on behalf of the entire student body in her capacity as a student senator, said she “questioned whether it was appropriate to honor someone who killed other people,” according to reports quoting the minutes of the Student Senate meeting at which the issue was discussed.

What gall. It’s yet another example of the warped worldview on the American college campus. Whatever honor or citation Washington wanted to bestow upon Col. Boyington deserved thoughtful, respectful consideration, not airheaded trashing by a student with callous disregard for both merit and history.

It’s ironic that none other than President Franklin Roosevelt awarded the Medal of Honor to the very same famed Marine fighter pilot, Col. Boyington, whom Ms. Edwards dismisses. It’s even more ironic that Roosevelt’s widow, Eleanor, once said: “The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps.” I assure you, we Marines appreciate that comment immensely.

JAMES L. MARTIN

President

60 Plus Association

Arlington

Maryland energy rates and Mike Miller

The energy rate increases that were announced recently are shocking (“Maryland electricity rates to skyrocket,” Page 1, March 8). An increase of 35 percent to 72 percent will hurt Marylanders, many of whom may be forced to decide between paying their electric bills and buying prescription medication.

While Annapolis scrambles to ease Marylanders’ pain with these increases, it’s important to remember how we got here. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., not Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., was the state’s biggest supporter of deregulation. He sponsored deregulation legislation in 1997 and 1998 and the 1999 bill that eventually deregulated energy in the state. His support for deregulation was based on wishful thinking and hefty campaign contributions from energy interests.

Mr. Miller was quoted in the Baltimore Sun as saying in 1997 that “deregulation must happen” and “prices will do down, no ifs, ands or buts.” He did this while accepting almost $9,000 from energy lobbyists, one of whom was his best friend, as well as such companies as Enron. It’s easy to see that Mr. Miller was helping himself, and as a result, Marylanders are in for the shock of their lives — no pun intended — when they get their electric bills this summer.

While Mr. Miller tries every political maneuver possible to distance himself from the fact that he shepherded deregulation through the legislature to his benefit and our detriment, Marylanders will not forget. We will remember that it was Mr. Miller and former Gov. Parris N. Glendening who approved a half-baked plan to deregulate Maryland’s electric utility companies and that it is Mr. Ehrlich who is pursuing solutions to protect Marylanders from exorbitant rate increases.

JOYCE LYONS TERHES

National Committeewoman

Maryland Republican Party

Silver Spring

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