Military trials would offer more security
In his Monday letter, Joseph Elliot disagrees with Sen. Lindsey Graham and argues that trials for terrorists should be held in civilian courts ("Graham wrong on N.Y. terror trial"). Elliot has a good case, but I'm wary of the use terrorist defendants will make of it. I suggest he consult any biography of Adolf Hitler; he'll find that although Hitler was convicted and sentenced, his antics ruined the trial and made the court, and German society, impotent.
Terrorists, clearly the Nazis of now, are as sadistic as their 1940s forerunners. The early framers of our government didn't foresee terrorism. I think trials in a military court as Franklin Roosevelt had for Nazi spies would be more secure and more effective. Its location would be at least somewhat more secure.
Keep graffiti incident in context
I believe Victor Rodgers ("Political division spurs graffiti," Jan. 4) is mixing political ideology with racism regarding the despicable graffiti painted on the wall of the Columbia City Hall. It is my desire to see those offenders arrested for what they did, but to blame conservative politicians for this act of racism is reprehensible at best.
Conservatives object to Obama's radical left-wing policies, not his race or skin color, although I'm sure there are those people who feel differently and who obviously didn't vote for him because of his race. But to take this graffiti incident out of the context to which it belongs is blatantly wrong and simply continues the racism rhetoric.
JOAN A. SQUITIERI
Wilson's privacy concerns misplaced
I find it quite disturbing that Rep. Joe Wilson would oppose full body scans for passengers on international airline flights. Rep. Wilson sponsored a House bill to prevent widespread use of full body scans on the grounds that it might violate privacy rights of airline passengers.
Airline tickets are a commodity, not a right. If a passenger is unwilling to accept being searched prior to boarding a plane, then he can find another way to travel. Maybe Mr. Wilson can fly with all those unwilling to go through a body scan.
JAY C. BYARS
The start of new decade or end of one
All three columns on New Year's Day talked about the end of the past decade and the beginning of the new decade.
On Jan. 1, 2000, Bill Clinton ushered in the "new millennium." The State had numerous articles last week talking about the "new decade." The problem is that the new millennium, century and decade did not start until the completion of the year 2000, and therefore, the old decade will end on Dec. 31, 2010. This is an indisputable fact. Paul Krugman, a liberal college professor and columnist, wrote: "Yes, I know that strictly speaking, the millennium didn't begin until 2001. Do we really care?"
This is a concept a fifth-grader understands, but the media and many Americans apparently don't. What a disturbing acceptance of untruths we have developed. It's as if we have decided that two plus two equals five, even though "strictly speaking," it equals four.
Trying times await local governments
Falling commercial property values, influenced by the decreasing cash flow from rental income and reduced fees collected, yield less recurring revenue to the cities, counties and school districts that are often called upon to provide more services during difficult economic times. The budgeting practices of state and local government should come into sharp focus during these times.
For example, South Carolina has about the same number of jobs it had 10 years ago, but the state's population has increased by 500,000 residents. So unemployment rises and with it (eventually) unemployment insurance costs. With courageous foresight, the General Assembly, recognizing the state had no recurring funds for marketing, allowed local governments a mechanism by which they could promote their local industry, such as tourism.
My concern is that, just as large vessels afloat require time to change course, so will the behemoth U.S. economy. Unfortunately, economic cycles often present local governments with a lag time of a year or so before the full effect of the downturn is felt. This new year shall surely be more financially challenging for local governments than was the one just past. Difficult decisions await your elected councils.
Mayor Pro Tem, Myrtle Beach City Council