- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 12, 2001

'Private stewardship is compulsory redistribution

Interior Secretary Gale Norton claims to believe in private property rights, yet her request for $60 million from taxpayers to fund two "private stewardship programs" repudiates the very concept of this rapidly vanishing right ("Saving private stewardship," Editorials, June 11). Im sorry that some landowners discover slugs and bugs on their property that morally-bankrupt politicians believe are more valuable than human lives or liberties, but that does not give them any moral or legal right to someone elses property. This is just another in a long list of compulsory wealth redistribution programs. Peddling this with terms like "positive incentives" and "voluntary programs" is shameful considering that the taxpayers from whom the government will loot this $60 million have no choice in the matter.

On issue after issue, Republicans continue to demonstrate that they are just as slavishly devoted to compulsory income redistribution and the ever-expanding Leviathan state as Democrats. If Ms. Norton genuinely believed in her self-proclaimed principles of small government and individual rights, she would be working overtime to shrink her department, not to add new programs and even more spending.


DAVE MAAS

Kirkland, Wa.

Snail mail meets email

In his May 14 Op-Ed column, "Post office creep," Rick Merritt joins the group of writers and organizations that mistakenly believe the U.S. Postal Service has neither a place nor a role to play on the Internet or in the electronic-commerce arena. Its time to set the record straight.

For more than 200 years, the U.S. Postal Service has helped bind the nation by delivering the money, merchandise and messages that have assisted American commerce. This includes our use of the latest technology to do our job for the American public.

We pioneered the use of trains, automobiles and planes to deliver correspondence. We were the first postal service to use mechanized and then automated mail-sorting equipment to speed processing and delivery. We have been on the cutting edge of technology throughout history, and the Internet is just another tool for us to use in accomplishing our mission of providing universal service to everyone at uniform rates.

To cover our operational expenses and to keep the price of postage at a minimum, we are using Internet technology to cut costs internally, to streamline purchasing practices and to provide choices for our customers. Offering electronic-commerce applications and solutions for our customers is simply sound business.

Instead of competing with the private sector to provide these services, however, the U.S. Postal Service has partnered with private industry in every aspect of operating the world´s largest postal system. From transporting packages by trucks, trains and airplanes to transporting messages and money electronically, private companies offer us their collective expertise to accomplish our mission in the most effective, cost-efficient manner possible.

Private industry has benefited enormously from its relationship with the security, brand recognition and trust factor the U.S. Postal Service brings to any electronic-commerce offering. Our involvement will continue to raise awareness of the value of electronic business services to both consumers and business, while increasing security and safeguarding privacy the marketplace.

Rather than being a competitor, the U.S. Postal Service serves as an enabler. There is room in this marketplace for everyone.


AZEEZALY S. JAFFER

Vice president

Public Affairs and Communications

U.S. Postal Service

Washington

Fish may not be cute, but they still feel pain

Please allow me to respond to Outdoors columnist Gene Muellers column about the new People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) anti-fishing billboard, which will be popping up around the country this summer ("Those animal rights fanatics rear their ugly heads again," Sports, June 10). Featuring a dog with a fish hook stuck in her lip, PETAs ad asks, 'If you wouldnt do it to a dog, why do it to a fish?"

People would be horrified if anglers did to dogs what they do to fish impale them in the mouth and yank them into an environment in which they can´t breath all in the name of sport. Yet fish experience fear and feel pain just as all animals do.

Michael K. Stoskopf, department head at the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University, has found that fish exhibit the same basic responses to painful stimuli including rapid startle reactions and simple nonspecific flight that mammals do; they also produce biochemical compounds related to those produced by mammals when subjected to pain. Says Dr. Stoskopf, anglers are "inflicting pain in a variety of ways to individuals." Adds Dr. Austin Williams, a U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service zoologist, fish "are sentient organisms, so of course they feel pain."

Fishing is just as cruel as tossing Rover a biscuit on a hook and then reeling him in. The only difference is that Rover is cute and cuddly. But whether you´re talking about a bass or a basset hound, all animals fish and dogs alike treasure their lives and feel pain.

For more information, or to view PETA´s new billboard, please visit NoFishing.net.


PAULA MOORE

Staff Writer

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk, Va.

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