- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Preventing conflicts of interest

In his article on private judicial seminars hosted by the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE), John Baden takes offense at my suggestion that the seminars seek to advance a particular philosophical perspective (“Character assassination,” Op-Ed, Tuesday). But Mr. Baden is on record as saying the lectures promote free-market environmentalism. And his own board has bragged that the seminars parallel litigation campaigns to challenge environmental regulations.

Many people, including myself, favor free-market solutions to environmental problems where appropriate. But the broad-based attack on environmental laws promoted by FREE and its allies conflicts with basic values shared by most Americans.

More to the point, the primary ethical problem with FREE’s seminars is not what is taught, but rather the gifts to the judges Mr. Baden uses to fill the seats. Federal judges are public servants, and they should not accept gifts of travel to resort locations offered because of their official positions.

As I explained in my Legal Times article mentioned by Mr. Baden, federal prosecutors who litigate cases before these judges are prohibited from accepting comparable gifts. What sense does it make to allow federal judges to accept them?

What’s more, FREE’s seminars have included lecturers that have substantial and direct interests in cases pending before the judges in attendance. When other judges and legal ethics scholars criticize these practices, Mr. Baden resorts to name-calling and then changes the subject.

If a judge wants to attend a seminar hosted by FREE or any other group, regardless of its philosophical perspective, the judge should pay the associated expenses and ensure that the lecturers are not litigating cases before the judge’s court. Mr. Baden evidently fears that few judges would attend his events if they followed these simple ethical principles.

TIMOTHY J. DOWLING

Chief counsel

Community Rights Counsel

Washington

PETA and euthanizing animals

Bob Barr’s article (“Behind PETA’s lettuce curtain,” Commentary, Saturday) criticizes People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for euthanizing animals without addressing the underlying issue: a glut of unwanted animals dumped at a county repository apparently designed not for adoption, but for the purpose of storing those animals until they can be killed — by slowly being gassed to death in a metal box or by a .22-caliber bullet through the head.

I had read numerous accounts about the situation in Bertie County, N.C., and decided to make the two-hour drive down there to see for myself what the shelter was actually like and then make an informed decision.

After driving around for a considerable period of time, I finally found the shelter — if a ramshackle structure of chain-link fence and cinderblock can be called that — off one of the side streets, hidden from public view. There were no signs of any sort on or around the shelter — nothing listing operating hours, emergency phone numbers, nothing that would indicate the place was anything other than a dumping place for unwanted animals.

It seems to me that the folks in Bertie County are more interested in killing animals than they are in finding homes for them. My only hope is that instead of using bullets or a gas chamber the way they used to, they will be as humane as PETA was in giving the animals a peaceful death.

STEVE BAYER

Norfolk

Terrorism in the name of animal rights only proves the old adage “two wrongs do not make a right.” There is no excuse for terrorism, period. Likewise, I firmly believe there is also no excuse for cruel and pointless animal experimentation. In (“Behind PETA’s lettuce curtain”), Bob Barr sees animal-rights extremists arguing: ” … experimenting on animals is an offense punishable by death. In other words, animal lives must be protected, even if it means sacrificing human lives.” He points out that medical advances have been made through testing on animals.

I completely disagree. For example, animal studies once proved thalidomide to be safe in animals, but when given to pregnant women, this substance caused severe birth defects in their babies. Conversely, chocolate, which has delighted humans for centuries, and now, according to human studies, has proven to even have beneficial properties, has always been considered extremely toxic in animals.

Furthermore, there are many cases in which animal studies, particularly behavioral studies, do not effectively duplicate situations in which humans find themselves. I do not see any sacrifice of human lives for the sake of animals.

What I do believe is happening, however, is that animal studies often funnel precious money away from far more effective means of life-saving scientific research, including, but not limited to, human demographic studies, computer models, in vitro testing, and other more effective and cost-effective studies that do not use animals.

In his 1947 essay “Vivisection,” one of the greatest moral philosophers of all time, C.S. Lewis, states: “The victory of vivisection marks a great advance in the triumph of ruthless non-moral utilitarianism over the old world of ethical law.”

I strongly agree with Mr. Lewis.

KATRELYA ANGUS

Sierra Madre, Calif.

A sweet family business

In response to your article “Family business takes bitter turn” (Page 1, July 19), several people have approached my family requesting comments and clarification relating to this particular article. The Dolle’s Candyland Inc. of Rehoboth Beach, Del., and the Dolle’s Candyland Inc. of Ocean City, Md., are two distinct and separately owned companies, although they share the same name and logos.

The original Dolle’s Candyland was founded by my father, Rudolph W. Dolle Sr., along with his parents and siblings in the summer of 1910 in Ocean City. In 1927, my father and Thomas Pachides formed a partnership and opened the Dolle’s Candyland in Rehoboth Beach. That partnership lasted until 1959 when my father sold his interest, including the name and logos, to Mr. Pachides. Today the (original) Dolle’s Candyland of Ocean City is still owned and operated by the Dolle family; the Rehoboth facility is owned and operated by Mr. Pachides’ grandson, Thomas Ibach. It was Mr. Ibach’s family about whom the article was (unfortunately and perhaps unnecessarily) written.

The article made public a very private family matter; this is most unfortunate as this particular situation has no direct bearing on either of the businesses known as Dolle’s Candyland Inc. I am pleased that my family still maintains both a professional and personal relationship with Mr. Ibach (the owner of Dolle’s Rehoboth) and his family. Although we are two separately owned businesses, over the years we have found it in our best interest to maintain a relationship that insures the manufacture and sale (under the Dolle label) of only the highest quality confectionery products. I know Mr. Ibach looks forward, as my family and I do, to preserving these landmark businesses in Ocean City and Rehoboth and to providing the public with quality saltwater taffy, fudge, chocolates and caramel corn for many, many years to come.

RUDOLPH W. DOLLE JR.

President

Dolle’s Candyland Inc.

Ocean City

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