- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 29, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Poll data un-spun

Your May 26 Page One article “GOP sees Obama mired in base” may have fairly presented the view of Republican strategists. However, the data the Republicans mention were chosen, how shall we say, selectively.

For example, John McCain’s strategists cite detailed analysis from the ABC News/Washington Post poll released May 12, but somehow omit the bottom line: Barack Obama was beating John McCain by 7 points nationally.

That result is consistent with most other national polls, which typically have shown Mr. Obama beating Mr. McCain for months. If that’s his base, I’m sure Mr. Obama is glad to be “mired” in it.

Similarly, the strategists point to polling results in two key swing states (Ohio and Florida) showing Mr. McCain slightly ahead, but they neglect to mention other key swing states (e.g., Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Colorado and Iowa) where Mr. Obama is ahead, according to averages in RealClearPolitics.com.

TERRY GROGAN

Arlington

Airborne health threat

I’d like to correct a few of the inaccuracies in your recent column “Diesel-exhaust risks mostly hot air? (Commentary, Tuesday). First and foremost, fine particulate matter indeed poses a serious health threat to Californians, particularly those living in Southern California, the Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area. These microscopic particles, one-thirtieth the width of a human hair, lodge deep within the lungs and are likely to be coated with toxic chemicals.

Scientists at the California Air Resources Board recently concluded a comprehensive, peer-reviewed study that found fine particulate matter causes twice as many early deaths as previously believed. This conclusion matches up with what scientists and public health officials also have found from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization.

Our goods-movement plan cuts straight to the heart of this problem by seeking to reduce toxic diesel emissions from trucks, ships, railroads and other sources. In October, we will vote on a proposal to regulate emissions from trucks and buses, which are by far the largest unregulated source of diesel emissions in the state. We are helping ease the burden posed to truckers by offering up hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and low-interest loans to fund the requisite engine retrofits and replacements.

The Air Resources Board has a long history of introducing new pollution-fighting measures that were met initially with resistance, only to be adopted later by other states and the federal government once the economic and environmental benefits were made clear. Think of the catalytic converter, smog check and even the Prius, to name a few.

Our good-movement plan will continue our march toward a greener economy, and everyone from the little girl in Fresno toting an asthma inhaler to school every day to the retiree choked daily by smog and soot in Riverside will thank our state’s truckers, shippers and locomotive companies for stepping up to the challenge.

MARY NICHOLS

Chairman

California Air Resources Board

Sacramento, Calif.

ProEnglish is pro-immigrant

Janet Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), seems really upset that organizations like ProEnglish have the same First Amendment rights that her organization has (“Dueling Rhetoric,” Letters, May 23).

She calls my organization “anti-immigrant” even though we were founded by immigrants and despite the fact that we were created to defend the great American melting-pot model of successful immigration by preserving English as our common language.

Without citing a single fact to back up her claim, she goes on to say we and many other organizations “have long ties to white supremacists, eugenics and hate.” To support her false charge, she cites lists of “hate groups” compiled by the extreme left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and says those lists are based on documented characteristics of what defines a “hate group.”

However, the SPLC has never published any such defining characteristics. The reason is that if it did, people would see how selectively those characteristics are applied in an effort to smear the SPLC’s political opponents.

What the SPLC and people like Miss Murguia cannot stand are opposing viewpoints. When people are able to hear both sides of an argument for example, on the need to keep English as our common language their side loses.

K.C. MCALPIN

Executive director

ProEnglish

Arlington

Growing economic ties better deterrence

James T. Hackett’s column on India’s strategic posture suffers from two major problems (“India’s missile power lifts off,” Commentary, May 22). First, emphasizing the threat to India posed by China obscures the fact that China is set to overtake the United States as India’s largest bilateral trade partner. Moreover, China and India recently announced that New Delhi plans to host a second round of joint military exercises with Beijing this year.

Though India understandably is taking the necessary precautions to prepare itself for any contingency, growing economic and military ties will do more than ballistic missiles to reduce the likelihood of war between India and China.

Second, while effective Indian missile defenses could in theory limit the damage caused by a missile attack against India, they would not bolster deterrence because India already has the ability to target China and Pakistan with its ballistic missiles.

Though the benefits of Indian missile defenses would be minimal at best, the costs could be grave. Indian missile defenses could cause China and Pakistan to reassess the viability of their credible minimum deterrents, thereby exacerbating an already existing arms race in the region.

KINGSTON REIF

Scoville Fellow

Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation

Washington(202) 546-0795 ext 115

(202) 546-5142

Keep entertainment dollars at home

Tuesday’s editorial “O’Malley’s welfare state” recounted the political history of the slots issue in Maryland over the past six years. Having supported carefully regulated slots machines in limited locations to fund education since October 2002, the nonpartisan Maryland Chamber of Commerce disagrees with the editorial’s assertion that slots will create bigger government. We view the slots referendum as an alternative to more taxes.

The November slots referendum, and the legislation that is contingent on that referendum, clearly directs the majority of slots proceeds to funding public education in Maryland. Horse breeders, whose industry is of historical importance to our state, also receive assistance through increased funding.

Marylanders are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in other states at slot venues. Let’s keep those entertainment dollars at home so we can support our own schools instead of those in West Virginia and Delaware. More than enough taxes were passed by the General Assembly in the past six months. Slots give us that alternative.

KATHY SNYDER

President and CEO

Maryland Chamber of Commerce

Annapolis

deleted (410) 269-0642

(301) 261-285

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