Character assassinations happen every day C 

 Re: "Rare attack: Assassinations aren't a part of American politics," Jan. 12

Mr. Barone's column on politically motivated assassination neglects an increasing trend in politics and everyday life: character assassination.

Considering the verbal bashing of "Tea Partiers" and others, is it so surprising that demagogues would try to twist the tragedy of Jan. 8 into a pathetic effort to marginalize their ideological opponents? Given the narratives about our leaders, coalitions, and issue advocates in the media every day, how could we be surprised at how dysfunctional the standard of discourse for many has become?

The disgraceful demagoguery ignited by the Arizona shooting is symptomatic of an evolving emphasis on personal destruction that must change. Ultimately, enforcing rigid standards of integrity will achieve a more civil and productive discourse. Until then, we will continue to learn that character and physical assassination are more alike than we realize.

Mark E. Quartullo


Entitlement mentality behind finger-pointing

 Re: "Shooter pulls the trigger, not the political culture," editorial, Jan. 10

It has become apparent to me that since the incident in Arizona, all this talk of "conservative vitriol" is emanating from citizens of the entitlement class and the politicians who wish to keep them there. In other words, this is a disaster that is too good to waste.

Who can blame them? Wouldn't we all like to have our living expenses paid by someone else? Think of all the goodies that come with letting the government take care of us. (Unless, of course, you have a conscience or a good work ethic.)

Their fear is groundless. The government education system is slowly and consistently grinding out citizens who feel that the country owes them everything simply by virtue of their existence.

Ben Arnold


McDonnell kills off free tax return system

Gov. Bob McDonnell recently rewarded his friends in the tax preparation industry by killing Virginia's iFile program, which allowed all taxpayers to electronically file simple state tax returns for free using Virginia's Web site. Instead, taxpayers are now referred to a gaggle of private "Free File" firms, a number of whom explicitly prohibit senior citizens from using their services.

This got me wondering. Would Virginia also be willing to refer taxpayers to firms that prohibited certain genders, races or religions from using their services? Or would that depend on the size of the contributions the firms make to Gov. McDonnell's campaign coffers?

Alex Brown