- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2006

Committee on Monday Morning Quarterbacking

When I read Inside Politics (“Change of heart,” Wednesday), I was driven to recall Mark Twain’s comment, “When I was 14, I thought my father was an idiot. When I was 21, I was surprised at how much he had learned in seven years.”

The humorous observation from Mark Twain evokes, in my mind, an insufferable and weak Republican Sen. George Voinovich, who made a fool of himself several months ago by slinking off to the Democrats rather than supporting a truly tough guy in John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. When did we start to fear the American tough guy? Shall we kiss our enemies in hopes that they will treat us well? Ask the lynx and the varying hare about this.

From what I read, it seems that Mr. Voinovich may have discovered that Mr. Bolton knew much more than he, but now Mr. Voinovich wants to transform his description of Mr. Bolton so that he can endorse the strong person he rejected by explaining the transformation of the formerly rejected.

Perhaps Mr. Voinovich should be appointed chairman of the Senate committee on Monday Morning Quarterbacking.

Oh no, I goofed. Now there just might be a Senate movement to support the development of such a committee. My mother counseled me to keep my mouth shut, but I’ve messed up again. Who would ever wish for yet another congressional committee?

RICHARD ELMER

Baltimore

Borders backs down

Borders bookstores apparently will not carry the next issue of Free Inquiry because the magazine reproduces (apparently legally) four of the “blasphemous” Danish cartoons that apparently caused such uprisings in the Muslim world (“Sharia at Borders,” Editorial, Friday).

The content apparently is objectively acceptable by mainstream publishing standards, so this looks like a case of a major corporate retailer and content distributor giving into hecklers.

This sets a dangerous example for everyone else. One cannot give in to implicit threats of violence and remain free and worthy of self-respect.

BILL BOUSHKA

Arlington

Illegals and crime

Regarding Tony Blankley’s Wednesday Op-Ed column, “Mexican illegals vs. American voters,” as a police officer in California (San Francisco Bay Area) with a front-row view of all the “benefits” illegal aliens have brought us, I could not agree more wholeheartedly.

Aside from cheap labor, Mexico also has exported some of its more criminally inclined. As if U.S. law enforcement does not have its hands full with indigenous gangs, Mexican gangs are thriving, and their victims are increasing in number.

Also, illegal aliens from El Salvador have formed MS-13, which has become notoriously vicious and has gained the attention of local task forces and the FBI. That’s just another component of the problem begging some obvious solutions.

For any officer or civilian victimized by an illegal alien who commits a crime of violence, just one illegal alien arrested on felony charges and not deported can be one too many.

That’s simply another reason for our elected officials to reaffirm our sovereignty and embrace the will of the people.

RICK GRANADO

San Jose, Calif.

Forewarning on whooping cough

The recent article “Pertussis cases rising in teens; booster advised” (Page 1, Monday) clearly illustrates the growing problem of whooping cough, which is the only vaccine-preventable disease on the rise in the United States. It is important to reinforce that whooping cough extends beyond adolescents; adults account for about one-third of all cases. In addition to suffering with the serious symptoms mentioned in the article, adults with whooping cough may take months to recover and miss workdays.

Whooping cough may affect the entire family. Recent data show that parents were the sources of infection in more than half of the cases in infants. Parents and other adolescent or adult family members should be vaccinated against whooping cough to protect themselves from the disease and prevent transmission to vulnerable babies.

In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted last October to recommend vaccination for all adults, including those in close contact with infants younger than 12 months of age.

Now that whooping cough booster vaccines are available for adults, I would encourage both health-care providers and consumers to take immediate steps to put this new preventive measure into action.

DR. DONALD PORETZ

President

National Foundation for

Infectious Diseases

Bethesda

Hillary on video games

It’s great that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, is keen on protecting children from graphic violence, particularly video games, but she could save a whole lot of money by going without expensive research and using the common sense of any parent (“Video game warrior,” Commentary, March 25).

Children do what they see. When they see violence on television or in the movies, they act it out because they don’t understand what it really is. When they act it out in video games, it only makes sense that they would then act it out in real life. After all, it must have been fun in the video game; otherwise they wouldn’t have been playing it.

There are two things Mrs. Clinton should keep in mind if she wants to “better understand the effect of the constant barrage of media on our children.” First is that we don’t need to understand this effect when it comes to television and video game violence. We know it’s bad, which is enough to know to limit our children’s exposure to it. The study has concluded the obvious, that “there is a clear public health connection between exposure to [depictions of] violence and increased aggression.”

Second, we know that the solution will not be discovered in another study. The solution already is obvious: fewer violent video games and less violent television.

Ratings on video games are important; they keep parents in the loop and let us know what games are suitable and what aren’t. (This might be tough without the rating system.) Beyond that, it’s the parents’ responsibility to do what’s best for their children by restricting access to this very negative influence. It seems unlikely that if parents aren’t inclined to do this, a new study would change their minds.

I frequently see parents with their younger children buying video games that are for a much more mature age group. New laws aren’t needed to restrict video game sales, but more common sense is needed on the part of parents who buy violent video games for their children. At least Mrs. Clinton’s intentions are in the right place on this one.

HENRY JOHNSON

Washington

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