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Letters to the editor

- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2007

Brumidi's works

The Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia (AOI) appreciates The Washington Times' comprehensive coverage of efforts to restore the works of Constantino Brumidi in the U.S. Capitol ("Restoring Hill masterpieces," Page 1, Sunday). We believe readers would be interested in knowing that a Senate bill to award Brumidi the Congressional Gold Medal has garnered support of all 100 senators. To date, 40 of the required 290 representatives also have signed on.

The AOI, the District's oldest civic organization, also supports efforts to name the new Capitol visitors center after Brumidi.

WILLIAM BROWN

President

Association of the Oldest

Inhabitants of D.C.

Washington

Aiding specialty crop producers

We are writing to clarify a statement made in Wednesday's editorial "Pelosi's farm boondoggle" regarding the fruit and vegetable industry. Fruit and vegetable producers, and specialty crop producers as a whole, do not receive direct payments, transition payments, subsidies or loan guarantees from the federal government. Instead, the $1.8 billion allocated in the farm bill will be used for important nutrition, conservation and research programs that many editorial boards, members of Congress and others are advocating for greater inclusion in the Farm Bill.

The Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, a national coalition of 120 specialty crop organizations, have banded together to support priorities that provide an avenue for more competition into federal farm policy with a focus on producing a safer, healthier and more nutritious food supply. We have proposed bipartisan legislation, supported by 119 members of Congress, that reflects these priorities and does not call for direct payments, transition payments, loan guarantees or subsidies.

JOHN KEELING

Co-chairman

National Potato Council

Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance

Washington

ROBERT GUENTHER

Secretary

United Fresh Produce Association

Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance

Washington

MIKE STUART

Co-Chairman

Florida Fruit and Vegetable

Association

Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance

Maitland, Fla.

TOM NASSIF

Co-Chairman

Western Growers

Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance

Irvine, Calif.

Innocent of treason

The editorial "The genocide-ocrats?" echoing Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman reprimands Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for aiding and abetting the enemy in Iraq (Monday). Hertreasonable act? Raising questions, in her role as member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, about how and when the Pentagon plans to withdraw U.S. troops.

The criticism is wholly out of proportion to the statement that prompted it, but that's not surprising. Since the invasion of Iraq, anyone who has dared criticize the war effort has been branded un-American by the Bush administration, its allies in the Pentagon and the conservative media.

How would you prefer senators, representatives or ordinary citizens express their discontent over how the war has been waged or their impatience with the progress of the end game?

Or is silence the only acceptable option?

ROBERT J. INLOW

Charlottesville, Va.

They protest too much

Ken Boehm ("Weird Science," Op-Ed, Tuesday) references the recent congressional testimony of Dr. Richard Carmona, in which the former surgeon general lambasted government officials for reportedly "ignoring science or marginalizing the voice of science for reasons driven by changing political winds." Apparently in defense of his own four-year record of less-than-memorable accomplishments, Dr. Carmona protested that surgeon generals now have to "fight to scientifically address the contemporary health issues of the nation and the world within an increasingly partisan, ideologically and/or theologically driven political agenda that is often devoid of open discussions of scientific evidence or data."

Yet this argument blaming evangelical ignoramuses for thwarting the rightful rule of the scientific elite fails on several grounds.

First, it certainly overstates the reach of evangelicals, who struggle like David versus Goliath to have any sway in a culture largely dominated by secular postmodernists in science, media, entertainment and academia.

Second, while science itself may be objective, individual scientists often harbor strong ideological prejudices that influence their studies, underlie their policy proposals and form a filter on the information they emphasize.

Third, science unfettered by theology, morality and public values is technological tyranny.

Despite the droning drumbeat of protests about ideology trumping science, the truth is that some ideologically driven scientists and their political friends would like simply to silence opposing voices. Richard John Neuhaus lamented this concerted modernist attack on faith as fomenting a "Naked Public Square" devoid of all religious participation and influence.

In the name of science, the First Amendment and the pursuit of truth, partisans on all sides of science policy issues should oppose vigilantly and decry such anti-religious prejudice and censorship. Now there's a campaign for the new surgeon general.

JONATHAN IMBODY

Vice president for

government relations

Christian Medical Association

Washington office

Ashburn, Va.

Day-labor center needed

The editorial "No D.C. day-labor center" (Friday) presents an incomplete picture of the multicultural training and employment center planned for Ward 5.

The Ward 5 facility will not be a day-laborer site per se. Rather, the central mission of the center will be to provide comprehensive employment and training services to residents of the adjacent Ward 5 neighborhoods, such as Brentwood, Edgewood and Montana Terrace. These neighborhoods traditionally have high rates of unemployment, particularly among black males. A center that addresses the employment and training needs of this group is greatly needed.

The center also will have services geared toward the Hispanic community, including those seeking work from contractors at the Home Depot site. In addition, the center will offer a wide range of classes, from language immersion to financial literacy and assistance with preparing local and federal income-tax forms.

Without doubt, the center envisioned for Ward 5 has the potential to be a national model showcasing how employment and training services focusing on blacks, Hispanics and any other underserved group can be incorporated in a single inclusive facility. As the debate about immigration reform continues, my focus is on bringing employment and training services into the neighborhoods that need them the most.

HARRY "TOMMY"

THOMAS JR.

D.C. Council

Ward 5

Washington