- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 1, 2005

Another attempt to weaken our borders

Your article “Group to appeal Arizona restrictions on illegals” (Nation, Monday) states, “The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, whose attempt to block implementation of an Arizona initiative prohibiting illegal aliens from receiving public benefits was denied by a federal judge, will appeal the decision this week to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.”

Once again, MALDEF proves that it’s no friend of the American people. MALDEF succeeded in its court challenge to Proposition 187 (barring health and social-service benefits to illegals) in California, thus going against the will of the voters of this state. Americans of Mexican descent suffer more than any other Americans because of illegal immigration. They have to compete with illegals for jobs, and their wage and work standards have been lowered by illegal immigration. At work, they are discriminated against because they speak little or no Spanish. In school, bilingual education, Mexican culture and loyalty to Mexico are being pushed on their children and academic standards have been lowered to accommodate non-English-speaking students. Americans of Mexican descent see their communities devastated by illegal-alien street gangs, and crime is rampant. Does MALDEF care about this? No, it doesn’t. MALDEF’s goal is to promote illegal immigration against the will of the American people.

By the way, I’m not of Mexican descent, but I am Hispanic. I have no use for MALDEF.

HAYDEE PAVIA

Laguna Woods, Calif.

Good family fun

I just read “The telltale splat” by Ted Agres (Family Times, Dec. 19), and must say that I am pleasantly surprised and quite happy to find the sport of paintball well portrayed and respectfully dealt with in his article. The event was held in part as a memorial to the soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and largely because paintball players really enjoy a good scenario game and the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild during games.

The players Mr. Agres interviewed were well-chosen, well-spoken and represent our sport accurately: Paintball players come from every age and background, eschew violence and focus our competitive efforts (and dollars) on having a good time with friends and family. Mr. Agres also managed to encapsulate that quite well, and on behalf of the paintball community, I would like to thank him and The Washington Times for dedicating the effort and space to showcasing one of the greatest sports in America.

DAVE NORMAN

Lebanon, N.H.

America coordinating relief efforts

While Secretary of State Colin Powell was extending condolences to the nations suffering catastrophic losses from the tsunami disaster and also responding to a U.N. official’s charge that the United States was “stingy,” President Bush was busy in Texas coordinating U.S. relief efforts (“Bush organizes aid coalition,” Page 1, yesterday). However, the president is being pounded for not extending his personal condolences sooner and providing adequate funding to help cope with the disaster.

While former President Bill Clinton was speaking out in London, inferring that Mr. Bush should have acted earlier, the president was working behind the scenes in Texas, building a four-nation partnership —with Japan, Australia and India —to organize relief operations. This also included marshaling vast U.S. civilian and military assets, such as sending a carrier strike force and a Marine expeditionary unit within 72 hours, to provide appropriate and timely disasterassistance.

Alas, with the ilk of Sen. Patrick Leahy — who inanely compared U.S. expenditure of funds for tsunami relief with money expended daily for Iraqi operations — it appears that Mr. Bush is in a no-win situation. That pre-Nov. 2 partisanship has returned quite early for his new administration.

BILL SMITH

Indian Wells, Calif.

Abusing the filibuster

Your editorial regarding filibusters (“The Democrats’ filibuster,” Wednesday) pointed out that U.S. Senate Rule 22 requires a three-fifths vote of “Senators duly chosen and sworn” in order to invoke cloture, instead of requiring three-fifths of senators present. The “Senators present” language was eliminated by the Senate in 1975, and since then, the use of filibusters has mushroomed because the majority party can no longer achieve cloture by a vote of 51 to less than 35. Therefore, the minority party can simply put one person on the floor, without worrying about multiple co-pending cloture motions that are voted on throughout the day (and night), whereas the majority party must have at least 50 senators on the floor.

Filibustering has thus become too easy for the minority and has morphed from a tool for ventilating and delaying issues into a tool of extortion. Worst of all, the Rule 22 requirement that 60 senators be present in order to do the business of ending a filibuster is “a plain violation of the quorum provision of the Constitution,” as the White House counsel for both Presidents Carter and Clinton put it. Let’s try conforming Rule 22 to the Constitution before resorting to a “nuclear option.”

ANDREW T. HYMAN

Monroe, Conn.

An uninvited gadfly

Rep. Charlie Norwood’s frustration with his fellow Georgian Jimmy Carter is understandable and shared by many (“Carter’s misadventures,” Op-Ed, Wednesday). The former president is like a bad penny; he will not go away. His actions and personality fit the definition of a gadfly: “a person who is persistently critical, irritating or provocative.” Instead of biting and annoying livestock, as does the insect variety, this gadfly continually inserts himself into the affairs of American citizens.

Mr. Carter falls into the pattern of failed or disgraced former presidents who constantly strive to regain their reputations. He is unlike successful and revered chief executives such as Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, who retired to their homes, farms or ranches and lived as elder statesmen but were ready to serve their nation again when called upon. Mr. Carter is constantly seeking the limelight, drawing attention to himself as the good Samaritan to overcome the painful memory of his four years in office.

Unfortunately, this man is not going to go away. Mr. Norwood and the rest of us will just have to take his demonstrations and protestations with a healthy grain of salt.

TOM RYAN

Bethany Beach, Del.

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