Stamping out service
The story "Coming to the small screen" (Sports, Thursday) about expanded choices in the telecommunications industry left out one critical fact: Just as policy-makers are doing everything they can to promote competition, some in the industry are seeking to stamp it out.
As we speak, Verizon is using an arcane legal process to ask the Federal Communications Commission for exemptions from rules that afford residents and small businesses in Virginia competitive options for phone and Internet services. If successful, Verizon would choke off access to parts of its monopoly network on which smaller telecom companies rely to reach their customers.
To win over the FCC, Verizon has shed crocodile tears, painting a picture of future and potential competitive threats from cable companies and even VoIP providers — who have hardly dented Verizon's 80 percent stranglehold on the small business market. Congress is currently examining this specious reasoning.
When such relief was granted in Omaha, Neb., prices rose and smaller operators shut their doors. Unless the FCC halts Verizon's push in Virginia, the impact would be just as severe, especially for the low-income, elderly and rural communities that rely on independent companies for service, and the small businesses that will have no one but Verizon to turn to for access to the information and communications superhighway.
IRENE E. LEECH
Former Sen. George Allen is a public servant at heart and, by all means, he should step on the accelerator, proceed through the green light and go for a run for the Virginia governorship ("Allen open to run for governor," Metro, Friday). Not only is he an intelligent man with a keen wit, but he deeply cares about people, issues and concerns that face the state of Virginia. Though critics relish rehashing his "macaca" comment, which had no malicious intent, Mr. Allen is a man of character, integrity and honesty.
A notably favorable characteristic about Mr. Allen is that he is genuine. There is nothing phony about him, and he is a truly likable guy. What impressed me significantly when I met Mr. Allen and chatted with him on two occasions once when I bumped into him at the Hotel Roanoke and the other time at a function in Fairfax County was that he really listens.
Unlike other politicians, who often will be polite and speak with you but not really hear what you are saying while their eyes are darting around the room to see who and what they are missing, Mr. Allen looks at you directly, focuses on what you are saying and cares to hear your message.
I remember confronting him while he was a U.S. senator about my anger over the dismantling of the U.S. Capitol Police Horse Mounted Unit. I told him that I thought this congressional action, instigated by a few select members, was egregious, and I explained the reasons for my dismay. He listened intently and heard my request to institute action to reinstate the unit if he were re-elected.
Mr. Allen is smart, street-savvy and personable. He can effectively mix with diverse groups of people and appeal to all ages and backgrounds. He should, without hesitation, get into the race and a win at the finish line would bring Virginia back where it belongs.
Warmers and fads
It is not often that politicians say what is real in the climate debate. Usually, they simply parrot the unfounded alarmism of Al Gore and the United Nations, hoping to boost their green credentials with uninformed voters. That's why Rep. John Linder's recent Op-Ed column ("Carbon's upside," Friday) was a breath of fresh air.
Besides being correct in his science, Mr. Linder displays the courage we urgently need from our leaders to stare down green extremists who would bankrupt Western economies for junk science.
I hope Mr. Linder will next take on Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Before the committee and in public presentations, Mrs. Boxer has stated, "the American people have the will to slow, stop and reverse global warming." She even has an "Act Now to Stop Global Warming" button on her section of the committee Web site. Mrs. Boxer must believe that the public is completely ignorant or that no one will dare contest her.
We cannot significantly impact global climate.
The scientific foundation of the climate scare is rapidly disintegrating, and thanks to media such as The Washington Times, the public finally is waking up to this reality. That is almost certainly why Mrs. Boxer, Mr. Gore and others are pushing so hard for immediate greenhouse-gas legislation. After all, once the jig's up, warmers will be disgraced and society will turn its attention to real and pressing issues instead of the fashionable but hopeless quest to "stop global warming."
Chairman, Natural Resources
Victoria, British Columbia
Trouble in Kosovo
In support of yesterday's Commentary column by Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana Republican ("Negotiating for peace in Kosovo") Kosovo today is no more ready to assume the mantle of statehood than it was when the international community assumed control of it through NATO and the United Nations. It is a disaster that predictably will lead to further conflict and will enflame separatist aspirations globally. Why the United States does not see a "Greater Albania" project in this entire process is puzzling to many.
If Kosovo achieves independence which would ignore U.N. Resolution 1244, the basis upon which the Kosovo insurgency was ended no international agreement will be immune from being "relativized" or ignored. This is a dangerous precedent. The establishment of a so-called "Kosova" will lead ultimately to unrest in the Presevo and Bujanovac regions of Serbia, significant portions of Macedonia and even Montenegro and quite possibly Greece.
The United States should abandon the position of Kosovo's inevitable independence, as it simply contradicts a position it supported in U.N. Res. 1244 and will lead to further crises.
A train wreck is foreseeably on the horizon unless policy-makers boldy embrace the approach advocated by Mr. Burton.
LT. COL. STEVEN OLUIC
U.S. Military Academy
West Point, NY