- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for Jim Graham, the Democratic lawmaker who today will lead his merry band of softhearted, progressive lawmakers in grilling the director of the troubled D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), whose policies mock Lady Justice’s symbols of impartiality, power and the act of balancing law and order.

Like a typical liberal, D.C. Council member Graham, Ward 1, at first sounds like a law-and-order politician, but the more he talks, the more he reveals his bleeding heart.

“I’m looking for revenue to fund the necessary services of DYRS,” he said recently about the agency, which spends more than $900 a day on each juvenile in the system. “I want more bang for that buck,” he said. “I’m in favor of rehabilitation, but we need to acknowledge that these are dangerous young people. I don’t see the vocational training or the mental health care or the substance-abuse treatment or even gang intervention that we need to make rehabilitation a reality.”

See what I mean? He’s punch-drunk from repeatedly being sucker-punched by liberal philosophies that assume all young offenders can be rehabilitated.

Young violent criminals, like fully grown ones, should be locked down in tough-as-nails institutions.

The recent case of a young man who escaped from DYRS’ New Beginnings Youth Development Center is a perfect example of the myth.

On April 18, an 18-year-old severely beat a 20-year corrections officer; freed another youth; beat the officer again; stole his keys, cell phone and wallet; and used a ladder to get over razor-wire-topped fencing before riding off in the officer’s vehicle.

DYRS is supposed to keep young lawbreakers confined so they don’t hurt themselves or anybody else, but young people are always absconding.

Moreover, this guy had violent run-ins for years for theft and burglary and had had his share of fights while locked up.

After escaping, he was on the loose for two weeks and was just recaptured on Monday.

As things stand now, Mr. Graham is right to want to publicize photographs of such escapees so the public has far more information than a generic physical description when they’re trying to watch their own backs when these jokers break loose.

But Mr. Graham and his progressive colleagues on the Committee on Human Services, Yvette Alexander, Marion Barry, Michael Brown and Tommy Wells, need to do far more.

They need to focus more on detaining and punishing youths instead of handling them with worn-out kid gloves.

The HPV vaccine and sinister politics: All vaccines come with caution signs, and the human papillomavirus vaccine, or HPV, is no exception.

HPV “is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so combating it should be a top priority of the medical and pharmaceutical communities.

But let’s be careful, as some doctors and parents are warning us about ill effects and deaths.

D.C. Council member David Catania thinks our precious little girls should be forced to take the HPV vaccine.

Lord only knows what sinister motives underscore the belief girls as young as 9 and 10 need to be subjected to what some people are calling a “great big public health experiment.”

It’s frightening to predict what effect the vaccine with have on the girls’ offspring a generation or two from now.

Will Mr. Catania, at large independent, even explore such possibilities when he holds a hearing on Thursday?

Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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