- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 31, 2005

‘Not a way to vet science’

Your editorial (“Barton’s reasonable request,” Thursday) makes the questioning by Rep. Joe L. Barton, Texas Republican, of climate researchers and their sponsors sound reasonable by leaving out most of the facts about the Barton request.

All members of Congress have a responsibility, as your editorial put it, “for making absolutely sure that the science used to justify legislation is thoroughly vetted.” The problem is that Mr. Barton’s House Energy and Commerce Committee investigation does not appear to be designed to vet the science, but rather to harass the scientists even though their science has been carried out according to scientific norms.

The Energy and Commerce Committee could have asked for a briefing from the scientists and their antagonists to vet the science, or asked the National Academy of Sciences or another scientific group to evaluate the complicated science and statistics that generated the “hockey stick,” the 20th century’s temperature spike. Or the committee could have convened a hearing to learn about the science.

Instead, the committee has initiated an investigation — not standard procedure — that seeks a wide range of documents that are not related in the least to understanding the debate over the “hockey stick” graph. It is not reasonable or innocent for a committee to begin a broad, open-ended, one-sided investigation. That’s not a way to vet science. Indeed, it is unprecedented for Congress to intervene in an ongoing scientific debate in this manner because such intervention threatens open scientific inquiry.

We would welcome an open, balanced and targeted congressional effort to learn more about the debate surrounding the “hockey stick.” The Energy and Commerce Committee inquest is nothing of the sort.

REP. SHERWOOD BOEHLERT

Chairman

House Committee on Science

Washington

The dangers of cell phones and driving

As witnessed in Clarence Page’s article (“How cell phones sap your brain,” Commentary, Tuesday), much is being made of the Australian study claiming that talking on a cell phone while driving, whether hand-held or hands-free, is four times more likely to result in an accident.

As the Australian study implies, a ban on hands-free cell phones while driving will soon follow the present ban on hand-held phones in such states and cities as New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Santa Fe, N.M.

The research also indicates that cell-phone use is more dangerous than listening to a car radio because they require you to not just listen, but answer.

Simple logic, then, would seem to include conversations between drivers and passengers, particularly shouting matches between spouses, salesmen excited over a recent sale and moms trying to control an SUV loaded with junior soccer players.

Is not the ban on cell phones while driving the beginning of a slippery slope down which we do not wish to slide?

LEE HUNT

Alexandria

Fixing immigration laws

In response to the article “Hastert eyes immigration” (Page 1, Friday), there must be an emphasis on enforcing present immigration laws, such as employer sanctions and border security, before we begin to handle the problem of what to do with long-term illegal residents.

It is imperative that no illegal alien residing in this country be given preference over anyone waiting to enter legally. A resident illegal should at least be required to have been in residence longer than anyone waiting a legal entry, in addition to having paid taxes on his or her earnings and having no felony convictions.

Those who fail to meet these requirements should have to return to their former country and wait for an expedited visa.

BYRON SLATER

San Diego declarations be construed as “offensive” or “controversial” by rational people?

Like all rights, the right to free speech means nothing if it is not defended. Mr. Graham’s mistreatment is not just an example of political correctness run amok. It’s also an example of just how far our society has strayed from respecting the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution.

D. R. TUCKER

Boston

The suspension of Washington talk show host Michael Graham by WMAL is unmerited and a blatant display of politically correct liberalism. Let’s put the record straight: Mr. Graham has never advocated prejudice or violence against the Muslim community. In any dialogue about the noticeable apathy and lack of participation by the Muslim community concerning these issues, Mr. Graham has very rightly pointed out that he felt, like most of us, that a voluntary and vocal participation by the Muslim people in the condemnation of the actions of these insurgents and thugs who kill because they hate Christians and Jews would help convert souls. It would help to end the violence by Muslims against Muslims who want freedom to worship as their holy faith truly dictates. Islam is a holy religion, and it is being violated by those who have misapplied their faith to satisfy their goals.

If parents allow their children to be independent, and their children bring harm to another, or to another’s property, what happens? In America, the parents are hauled into court and blasted by the judge for lacking in parenting skills, being apathetic, etc. The parents are the ones who must pay any monetary damages, and, along with their children, are placed in counseling sessions.

The insurgents of hate and violence are the disobedient children, if you will, of the Muslim faith. They must be taught the true precepts of their faith, and must be accountable to live by those precepts.

The violence, the sins, must stop now.

In support of Mr. Graham, whose constant public pleading to the Muslim community to condemn the hatred and violence is now beginning to bear fruit, I call for a new rallying cry to be directed at WMAL and any other media who make decisions based on political correctness rather than the honoring of the First Amendment: “I am Michael Graham.” Call up WMAL and others and let them hear it, over and over again.

MARSHA LEE HUGHES

College Park

Michael Graham was suspended by WMAL for saying July 25 that, as it is constituted today, Islam is a terrorist organization, but the good news is that the majority of Muslims — who don’t support terrorism — can change that and take back their religion.

WMAL initially defended Mr. Graham, but apparently backed down in the face of a campaign against him waged by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Shortly after Mr. Graham’s statement, American Muslim clerics finally issued a fatwah against the killing of unarmed civilians.

Perhaps CAIR doesn’t understand that our freedom and security depend on a media being able to speak freely, even if we don’t always agree with it. I’m certain that Mr. Graham would have gladly given them equal time to defend their religion.

For their actions, I nominate CAIR as knave of the week, with WMAL management as runner-up for its politically correct abandonment of one of the main reasons I used to listen to their station.

GARY KANADY

Centreville

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