- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Iran, mullahs, media coverage

I applaud Mark Steyn for his Commentary column regarding the crisis in Iran (“Unraveling of Iran’s mullahs,” Monday). I am an Iranian American who has been quite disappointed by the news media coverage on Iran’s tragic situation. I particularly appreciate the comments directed against those who rely on the pretext of democracy in Iran. More pressure needs to be placed on the Iranian government with the hopes of contributing to quick collapse.

Thank you for giving those without a voice a chance to be heard. That’s what makes the American press the envy of the world.

ARASH KIANKHOOY

Tarzana, Calif.

Michigan split decision

Am I missing something? The Supreme Court decision regarding the Michigan case seems to have it backwards.

Black students entering college cannot get the unequal opportunity advantage needed by those who may have been dealt a poor family background and/or a deficient, inner-city education in K-12 (not to say anything about others who may have suffered the same condition). But, after four years of reasonably equal undergraduate education, they need an advantage in competing for entrance into a graduate school?

Maybe we need a higher-level ultra-court to review the puzzling decisions of the Supremes.

JOSEPH P. CARRIGAN

Fairfax

In two split decisions, the Supreme Court pretty much threw out the 14th Amendment that used to guarantee us all equal protection when the justices ruled that minority applicants might be given an edge when applying for admissions to universities. Thank God, they at least limited how much a factor race can play in the selection of students.

To make certain that minorities are given a “more than equal” opportunity to access education, all the Supreme Court did ensure was that highly selective educational programs could lower their standards to guarantee a politically correct head count and send more qualified applicants packing to find their equal opportunities elsewhere.

If minority students are unprepared or unqualified to tackle tough programs, they can just file suit when they fail out of the program and claim some other biases were institutionalized and worked to terminate their bright futures. It is a win-win for lawyers.

If the University of Michigan, or other schools with political-correctness problems, really wants to graduate more minorities in their advanced programs without lowering standards, they need to focus instead on producing better minority graduates from high schools.

These colleges need to send minority role models down to the K-12 school ranks to motivate and empower minorities. These colleges need to work with minority parents and neighborhoods to garner community support for bettering their school systems.

By preparing minorities in high school to achieve the grades, the SAT scores, the public service and community involvement and the proper study skills, they can be very competitive in college acceptances and can succeed on their own merits in achieving access to highly competitive college programs.

ROBERT C. GOTSHALL JR.

Palm Bay, Fla.

More half-baked addictions

Regarding Thursday’s letter from the Center for Consumer Freedom’s Director of Research Mark Martosko, “Half-baked addictions”: Mr. Martosko made allegations about the legitimacy of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine as a bona fide research group, among other things. Perhaps he doesn’t understand that there are other kinds of research than the kind that uses and kills animals. If one were interested in the truth, one could go tothePCRMWebsite (www.pcrm.org) and look at the list of board members. You will see real medical doctors on this list, including Dr. Andrew Weil from the University of Arizona, a well-known and respected doctor who I doubt is a radical animal-rights activist, along with many other respected physicians and holders of doctorates in other fields.

Also, while you were at this Web site, you could look at the address. It is in Washington. I believe People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which Mr. Martosko insists is sharing office space with PCRM, is in Norfolk. Must be a long hallway there.

As far as Mr. Martosko’s insistence that PCRM president “Dr. [Neal] Barnard and his meat-is-evil message are dangerous,” obviously he hasn’t been reading much in the past 10 years. It is a known fact, with hundreds of papers to back it up, that a plant-based diet is healthier for humans than a meat-based diet. It’s a no-brainer. Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, migraines, high blood pressure, arthritis and many more degenerative diseases can be caused or exacerbated by consuming meat and dairy products. Does Mr. Martosko have some sort of connection to the meat or dairy industry?

I went to his Web site (http://consumerfreedom.com) and this is what it said: “The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers.” It seemed mostly to be an anti-PETA site with very little information about health or diet. It appears to be in favor of obesity, alcohol, junk food and biotechnology and against organic foods, health and animals. It’s a joke. It doesn’t have a board of directors, nor does it list names of people that represent it. Nothing is said about Mr. Martosko or his credentials, and it seems to have no address except a box number.

Thank goodness we have consumer freedom. It gives us the ability to read and decide what is healthful and what is hype. I think if you compare these Web sites, the truth will be obvious.

MOLLY SARGENT

Pleasant Hill, Ore.

Now I’ve heard it all. In a letter published Thursday, the “director of research” of the misnamed Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is questioning the ethics of Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for ResponsibleMedicine (www.pcrm.org).PCRM comprises thousands of physicians and tens of thousands of laypersons. It has an outstanding reputation and is responsible for bringing important health issues to the forefront.That’s no easy task these days, considering how hard industries work to obfuscate the issues. CCF is nothing more than a front group for the purveyors of high-fat and nutritionally devoid food and beverages. They can’t defend what they sell, so they simply make personal attacks on anyone who exposes the fact that their products stink.

Whom should one believe, the physician who has devoted his life to helping others or the man who earns his living vilifying reputable watchdog groups so that he and his clients can get rich off of human suffering and death? Thanks, Dr. Barnard, for educating me about the overwhelming body of scientific evidence linking the consumption of animal products to heart disease, many cancers, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. You probably saved my life.

STEWART W. DAVID

Asheville, N.C.

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