- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 6, 2005

ACLU and searches

Given the cockeyed nature of today’s American Civil Liberties Union, it is no surprise to learn that it vehemently objects and has filed suit against the random search of bags of people attempting to board New York subways (“Metro mulls searching passengers,” Page 1, July 27).

The Constitution protects individuals from “unreasonable search and seizure.” A reasonable person should be able to comprehend that, particularly in a time of worldwide terror with innocent civilians being blown to bits, there is nothing unreasonable about searching the bag of one who wishes to use public transit, something that is not a right, but a privilege.

Searching bags is not a means to provide certain safety, but it is one piece of the puzzle. At the very least, it lets potential terrorists know that they are being watched and that they might run into complications if they seek to engage in violent acts of anarchy.

The 2001 attack on our nation occurred, in part, because we were not sufficiently vigilant and did not apply intense scrutiny to people who use various means of public transportation — in that instance, those who travel by plane.

If no action were taken to protect our citizens and potentially preventable attacks were to occur on our shores, I would be willing to bet that the ACLU and other ultraliberal mouthpieces would waste no time in pointing fingers at our authorities for their failure to act to protect us.

I will be happy to have my bag or my person searched before I board a public transit vehicle, as I have nothing to hide. Others who are solid citizens should be similarly willing to endure some inconvenience to facilitate public safety to some degree.

The ACLU should be ashamed of itself. It has become an organization that fights for the rights of criminals, criminal defendants and potential criminals. Perhaps someday it will discover that if people do not have the ability to feel free to travel, there will be no liberties, civil or otherwise.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Tutors for 4-year-olds?

Is this what our society has come to, tutoring our preschoolers (“Hitting the books now starts at age 4,” Page 1, Thursday)? Are parents so busy that they have to pay tutors $45 an hour to help their children learn the ABCs?

Don’t get me wrong; I know Sylvan Learning Centers provide a much-needed service for many, many children. I’m just not sure those children include 4-year-olds.

Sylvan’s vice president for education says that by developing a love of reading early, we can help build a foundation for learning. I couldn’t agree with him more — but can’t that be done simply by reading to a child? Do we really need tutors to teach them the letters and sounds in order for them to love reading?

I find it somewhat disturbing that the child who is highlighted in this article is the grandson of a former elementary school teacher. Grandma enrolled her grandson in the program when he started picking up letters during story time. Bravo, Grandma, for reading to your grandson. However, I can’t imagine what the tutor is doing with Elwyn that Grandma couldn’t do herself. I can’t imagine what any tutor does with a 4-year-old that a parent (or caregiver) can’t do.

I too am a former elementary school teacher, and I enjoy being a stay-at-home mom to four children. They range in age from 3 to 10, and my husband and I have read to all of them since infancy. The older ones learned their ABCs before kindergarten, and our youngest recognizes many letters and sounds. None of them went to tutoring sessions, and yet all the school-age ones enjoy reading. In fact, they can’t wait for school to start again.

To me, it seems that many parents who can’t wait to have children can’t wait to turn them over to someone else. Not only can you hire someone to take care of your child, but you even can hire someone to teach him or her how to fall asleep, how to ride a bike and now how to learn the ABCs before entering elementary school. No wonder the child care business is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country.

Four-year-olds with tutors … whatever happened to letting 4-year-olds just be 4 years old?

DIANE TORRENCE

Woodbridge

Medicaid for Mexicans

I am stunned by your article on the lack of Medicaid citizenship checks (“Citizenship often not checked for Medicaid,” Page 1, Thursday). Is it possible that Jodi Nudelman, regional acting inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, just found out that illegal aliens are sucking the Medicaid system dry in the United States — as they are the Medicare, welfare, education and legal systems? All this happens while foolish local politicians build depots for illegal day laborers.

We have illegal alien gangs freely roaming the metropolitan area because of lax enforcement by the District and Fairfax and Montgomery County. We have Mexican military personnel, not ex-military, riding shotgun on drug convoys across the United States. We have dozens of U.S. citizens kidnapped this year along the Mexican border. We have alien “front organizations” pleading the cases for known alien criminals. And we have Mexican President Vicente Fox encouraging state-sponsored illegal immigration to prop up his failed culture. There is no surprise or revelation here?

We need to ask ourselves one question: Which is more dangerous, state-sponsored terrorism or state-sponsored illegal immigration? There is no comparison. State-sponsored illegal immigration encouraged by Mr. Fox and other Latin American politicos costs every American citizen far more economically each year than Osama bin Laden could ever hope to cost us. In reality, Task Force Baghdad should be repositioned as Task Force Juarez.

WILSON L. FARIS

Gaithersburg

Corporate subsidies, economic extortion

Many people are outraged by the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that government can take a citizen’s private property and give it to a private developer. However, for years, those same people have been overlooking an asset grab that operates on a much grander scale (“Benedict Arnold courts,” Commentary, July 24).

Individual corporations demand enormous financial incentives to locate in a given community — a practice that costs states and local governments hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Supporters of these subsidies gloss over how unfair it is in the flawed belief that it creates jobs. However, the lost tax revenues are made up by individuals and small-business owners, and these programs don’t create new jobs; they just move the jobs from state to state.

In eminent-domain cases, at least the affected landowners are supposed to get just compensation for the government’s taking. In so-called “incentive” packages, taxpayers get few if any proven benefits when government spends their money on a private corporation. It just ends up with governments paying huge amounts of cash and/or tax credits as they are played off against one another. Small businesses that help pay the tab, of course, need not apply.

Whatever J.T. Young thinks, the federal courts are headed in the right direction after a recent decision to rein in this game of economic extortion. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals correctly struck down an overly generous incentive package for a single carmaker in the Ohio case of Cuno v. DaimlerChrysler.

The Supreme Court, if it takes the case this fall, ought to uphold it. Congress, in the meantime, ought to exercise its authority under the Constitution’s commerce clause and put an end to this unfair and economically detrimental practice.

Otherwise, the “war among the states” to attract new corporate facilities will continue to spread, violating the commerce clause, warping the free market and subjecting American taxpayers to a costly race to the bottom in which no community can remain a winner for long.

ROBERT F. ORR

Raleigh, N.C.

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