- The Washington Times - Friday, February 25, 2000

Editorial too tough on D.C. judge

Editorial too tough on D.C. judge

The Washington Times' attack on D.C. Superior Court Judge Evelyn E.C. Queen neglected to include the following information ("Who killed Brianna," Editorial, Jan. 21):

No mention is made of the fact that Judge Queen was presented with a consent motion to return Brianna Blackmond to her mother. In other words, the lawyers appearing before Judge Queen agreed that the baby should be with her mother. None of the other interested parties objected, including the city and social service workers.

Judges are not guarantors of the future, nor do they second-guess the lawyers who represent the parties before them. Rather than rushing to lay blame, we should focus on first understanding, then fixing, the real problems with the juvenile justice system, such as a lack of funding and staffing of the social workers who work with the children and their families.

KIM KEENAN SOLOMON

Vice president and chairman of the board

Washington Bar Association

Washington

Taking a count on government breaking privacy rules

If Kenneth Prewitt, the Census Bureau director, expects everyone to believe that census data will be kept confidential, he must not have been following the news in Washington the past few years ("Ball players seek to allay fears of census miscue," Feb. 15).

Clinton administration political operatives found that they could collect more than 900 confidential FBI files on Republicans simply by asking the FBI for them. Linda Tripp's personal information was released to a reporter by the Pentagon, despite privacy laws that forbid it.

Those concerned about their privacy should play it safe and not answer any questions other than the number of persons in their household. This is the only information the Census Bureau needs to fulfill the Constitution's mandate for proportional representation in Congress. The Census Bureau does not have the constitutional authority to ask for, or the need to know, any other information.

BOB JENSEN

Leesburg, Va.

Republican base standing by George W. Bush

For all the trouble the John McCain presidential candidacy causes Texas Gov. George W. Bush ("Growing rift in Republican race poses threat to party unity," Feb. 23), Mr. McCain has presented Mr. Bush with an asset neither his father nor Bob Dole, the 1996 Republican nominee, possessed a united Republican base.

President Bush and Mr. Dole both won the Republican nomination despite a challenge from the right, and core Republicans were never fully committed to their campaigns. The younger Mr. Bush, by contrast, is contending with a challenge from the left. The Republican base feels threatened by Mr. McCain, and in each succeeding primary, Mr. Bush has garnered a larger share of the core Republican vote.

The GOP learned in 1992, 1996 and 1998 that an uncommitted base often will not turn out to vote. If the Michigan primary results are anything to judge by, the most important consequence of the McCain candidacy may be a united Republican Party. Mr. Bush may well profit from that should he become the nominee.

ANDREW G. BIGGS

Washington

Both sides of the aisle wrong on trade policy

Your editorial on trade ("Trade policy in crisis," Feb. 17) rightly criticizes the Clinton administration for its vacillation on lowering trade barriers to developing countries. But to be fair, you shouldn't let certain Republicans off the hook either.

The most promising legislation to lower the present disproportionate tariffs on products of developing countries in this congressional session are bills that would lower trade barriers for Africa, the Caribbean and Central America. Unfortunately, none of this legislation has yet moved to conference. The chief obstacles to progress are the protectionist textile restrictions added in the Senate at the insistence of Majority Leader Trent Lott. Rather than allow developing countries to use their own, locally produced materials or buy them where they choose, Mr. Lott is promoting content requirements that would compel poor countries to use noncompetitive U.S. materials in order to benefit.

Rich-country protectionism is indeed a major hindrance to Third World economic development and hurts our economy as well. Leaders of both parties should put principle before special-interest pleading and end it now.

MERRILL SMITH

Director

Haiti Advocacy Inc.

Washington

Global warming theories easily passed off and accepted as fact

I wish to congratulate you on an excellent editorial about the issue of global warming ("Global warming: myth or fact?" Feb. 22). For several years I have been trying to show people the flaws in the case for global warming. Because all interpretations are based on theoretical models, all the conclusions are able to show is that they are correct for that particular model.

I do not personally believe or disbelieve the theory of global warming; there is simply not sufficient evidence either way to have a scientifically honest position.

Unfortunately, the Earth's environment is so complex that we are unable to model it accurately. The models that are used contain extreme simplifications and much guessing where knowledge is lacking. The scientists involved in research have done a very good job thus far with developing models and analyzing available data. Unfortunately, some of those scientists have political leanings that have influenced their results. Others have a problem with their egos, which will not allow them to admit possible errors and problems in their work. I too am a scientist, and I know my colleagues well. To be scientifically honest will result more often than not in an admission of ignorance, which is not acceptable to these individuals.

The other main problem is that most Americans are scientifically illiterate and hence are susceptible to falling for bogus, politically motivated propaganda. We see the effect of this every day, and the effects are not positive. Studies tell us that product X will harm us, then another study takes the opposite position. People react without comprehending and then lawsuits drain our wallets and tax coffers. Politicians are able grab power from the ignorant by using dishonest arguments and convincing them that it is "for their interests." We see the implications of this in the Pacific Northwest as the National Marine Fisheries Service begins to take away private property rights in the name of saving salmon.

I could go on about all the problems caused by less-than-honest people taking advantage of scientific ignorance, but I feel certain that you understand this problem all too well. Until people can understand science, they are incapable of refuting these lies.

I again wish to thank you for publishing the editorial showing some of the errors in the global warming theory. Perhaps at least one or two readers will begin to wake up to the fact that they are being lied to and will begin to learn how to think for themselves.

DAN HAGEDORN

Richland, Wash.

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