- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The facts about child abuse

I would like to thank The Washington Times for running Liz Richards’ article “The other side of fathers’ rights controversy” (Commentary, Sunday), which attacks my recent Forum piece, “M.O.M. squad capers” (Commentary, April 16).

The crux of the “controversy” centers around the issue of child abuse. On this point, there is no controversy: Mothers are more likely to abuse and neglect their children. The most authoritative information comes from the federal Administration for Children and Families, which states, “In 2004, 57.8 percent of child abuse and neglect perpetrators were females and 42.2 percent were males.”

Sadly, mothers also are more likely to kill their children. In 2003, the most common perpetrators of child fatalities were mothers acting alone (30.5 percent), compared to fathers acting alone (18.2 percent).

Miss Richards resurrects the 70 percent father child-custody chestnut without revealing the source of this claim. Again, government statistics paint a very different picture. According to a 2002 Census Bureau report, “Of all custodial parents, 85.0 percent were mothers and 15.0 percent were fathers, proportions statistically unchanged since 1994.”

My article was a lighthearted attempt to reveal how certain groups in our society are telling the opposite of the truth in order to promote their agenda. Miss Richards’ riposte, replete with misrepresentation and feminist mythology, made my case more effectively than I ever could have hoped.

CAREY ROBERTS

Rockville

Global warming is a problem

Thank you for covering the important issue of global warming (“Scientists cool outlook on global warming,” Page 1, Friday). I am afraid you have oversimplified my findings. We find indeed that the possibility of a very extreme reaction of the climate system to greenhouse-gas increases is reduced. However, we also find strong evidence that the climate system does, in fact, respond to greenhouse increases and that this response is not small. This shows that global warming is, in fact, a substantial problem.

GABRIELE HEGERL

Research professor

Duke University

Durham, N.C.

Republicans supported 1964 Civil Rights Act

In a letter published April 19, “Republicans can do better,” reader Carl Henn accuses the Republican Party of opposing civil rights measures such as the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act.

It might be of interest to note the facts: Of the 27 senators who voted “nay” on the 1964 act, 21 were Democrats. That is more than 75 percent of the no votes. Just six Republicans voted against it.

Likewise, when the House voted on the Civil Rights Act, Republicans favored the bill by 138 votes in favor to just 34 against. In contrast, 96 Democrats in the House cast their votes against it.

T. J. MORGAN

McLean

Don’t glorify maverick FSOs

I would like to comment on the article “Foreign Service lacks ‘constructive dissent,’ ” (Page 1, Friday). I believe the American Foreign Service Association should not reward Foreign Service officers who are willing to come forward to seek an award for being critical of our foreign policy. The association should instead find some officers who work within the system to improve our policies and then reward them for doing a bang-up job.

During my 35 years with the State Department (1950-85) as an intelligence specialist, Foreign Service officer and consultant, I knew and worked with many outstanding officers. They had a solid work ethic and the courage of their convictions. Even if the Foreign Service is often opposed to the administration’s policies, we don’t need to make matters worse by glorifying and making heroes of mavericks who are willing to go public with their gripes. What we need in our State Department is more coordination and cooperation, not less.

MALCOLM LAWRENCE

Chevy Chase

Missing the point on wheelchair athletes

I have agreed with your excellent and professional sports writer Steve Nearman on many topics. Mr. Nearman, who presents great professional insights as a runner and writer, makes a very valuable contribution to The Washington Times. I know many runners who get the Times just to read Mr. Nearman, and his recent report on the Boston Marathon was the best sports coverage in the Washington area.

However, Mr. Nearman misses the point in his article “Federal judge misses point with wheelchair” (Sports, Sunday). Sports competition should be open to all. This year, Muslim women are competing (5,000 strong) in open area road races in the presence of men as spectators. This is inclusion.

A remarkable wheelchair athlete, Tatyana McFadden, merely wants to be included. If she can compete in her chair safely and without any great disruption in the athletics schedule, by all means let her. Mr. Nearman asks readers: “Why can’t I strap on my inline skates for my next track meet?” and my answer is that it is a track competition, not a skate competition.

The critical difference with Tatyana is that she has a severe permanent lifelong physical disability that prevents her from running like most people. Mr. Nearman can run, skate and ride his bike normally, but Tatyana must compete in sports in her wheelchair, and that is remarkable, as the federal judge had the insight to determine. We need to applaud her and not limit her competition in any phase of athletics or in life.

ALFREDF. MORRIS

Washington

Specter wrong on ‘windfall’ tax

In the face of escalating gasoline prices, which are pinching all Americans and disproportionately hurting the middle class and poor, and with important midterm elections approaching, there are sure to be many plans proposed to bring prices back down to affordable levels.

One of the worst ideas to deal with the crisis has been proposedbySen.Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, and surely will be echoed by many other liberals: the imposition of a windfall-profits tax on oil companies (“Specter suggests ‘windfall’ tax on oil,” Page 1, Monday). This message will register wild approval among nonthinkers who react to higher gasoline prices by wanting to blame someone and conclude that we should sock it to the oil companies.

The Specter plan is ill-advised and would send a dangerous message. Companies would be placed on notice that while the United States on the one hand encourages free enterprise, success and profitability, if one prospers at a level that Big Brother deems to be excessive, the earnings of the enterprise will be knocked down to an “acceptable level.” This will stifle risk-taking, chill new investment and, in the case of oil companies, help ensure that new supplies of domestic fuel are not pursued.

While Mr. Specter is at it, should we not also consider enacting special taxes on others in society whom angry mobs surely would like to take down, such as professional athletes, actors and well-paid corporate executives? Perhaps no one should be safe from individuals like Mr. Specter, who wish to determine what level of earnings is too much. Is this America?

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

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