- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 10, 2001

California suffering from unrealistic ideology

Jeff Goodson is right that the West Coast power crisis highlights how important it is to make adult decisions on energy ("Environmentalism lays an egg," Feb. 2). California failed to balance the development of new power plants to meet rising demand with protection of the environment, letting ideology get in the way of reality. It and the rest of the nation need electricity sources with minimal environmental impacts that produce large quantities of power. The options include natural gas, which is the least polluting of the fossil fuels, and nuclear power, which emits no greenhouse gases or air pollutants. Clean coal technology should be considered as well. Other alternatives, such as wind and solar energy, can contribute, but realistic projections indicate they can just be bit players.

People and the environment are both served best when decisions are based on information and understanding rather than political posturing. Perhaps the California blackouts finally will have taught us that lesson.


Vice chancellor for special engineering programs

The University of Texas System

Austin, Texas

The intolerance of too much tolerance

Suzanne Fields' sharp perspective is a welcome addition to my morning reading, and her most recent piece ("Keeping the faithless," Op-Ed, Feb. 5) is particularly acute. Her attitude toward the current antipathy toward organized religion (in particular Orthodox Judaism, evangelical Christianity and Catholicism) is right on the mark: In pushing for "tolerance," the left has pushed tolerance out the window. When we lose our sight of God, the whole basis for our Constitution goes out the window as well.

I look forward to seeing more of Mrs. Fields' fine writing in the future. Keep up the great work.


Henderson, Nev.

The Washington Times gives NAACP the runaround?

Among the many distortions and untruths in the Feb. 6 article "NAACP tax status questioned," one was personally galling.

You write of me, "He too declined to be interviewed." In fact, your reporters turned down my offer of a telephone interview. Then they kept me waiting more than two hours at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport at a time and place to which we had mutually agreed.

Their motives were starkly revealed when they solicited a quote from a white supremacist and Southern secessionist organization critical of the NAACP. If we ever find ourselves in its good graces, we surely are not doing our job.



NAACP National Board of Directors


Unreported abortions skew pregnancy statistics

Elizabeth Cavendish, legal director and vice president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League Foundation, has indicated that mandatory reporting of abortions in Maryland has the potential to deter some physicians from performing abortions and some women from seeking them ("State may require reports of abortions," Metro, Feb. 8).

However, Maryland's current system of voluntary reporting of abortion statistics wastes our tax money by producing an incomplete, inaccurate and useless report. The data then are used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to distort national statistics.

For example, CDC reported in August 1999 that in 1996 there had been 12,363 abortions in Maryland, but the Alan Guttmacher Institute reported there had been 31,310. The AGI number is more than 2.5 times larger and is more accurate because it includes reports from all 47 Maryland abortion facilities, although it is not known if all abortions performed in those facilities were reported.

The Washington Times article "Teen birth rate falls for 7th year," which appeared Oct. 26, 1999, indicated that the CDC calculates the teen pregnancy rate by combining birthrate and abortion numbers. Because the abortion numbers are inaccurate, the teen pregnancy rates are inaccurate.

Why would physicians be deterred from doing abortions if they are reported? Would they be concerned with reporting injuries to women that occurred during the procedure or that they would tarnish their professional reputations and harm their practices or that perhaps there might be tax implications?

Ms. Cavendish's objections to getting accurate abortion statistics and her claim that collecting statistics would be a deterrent to physicians and women alike contradict pro-abortionists' claims that abortion is safer than childbirth and that the procedure is done for humanitarian reasons.



Right to Life of Montgomery County Inc.


Executive branch has no authority to close Pennsylvania Ave.

I agree with your editorial that Pennsylvania Avenue should be reopened ("Reopen Pennsylvania Avenue," Feb. 8) but not for the reasons you state.

The United States remains because of the respect paid to the Constitution by those who came before us. In war and in peace, in times of prosperity and in the many economic depressions through which this country has struggled, the Constitution has held firm. It has been changed through the amendment process, and the courts have found new meaning in its wording as customs have evolved. Never have its provisions been willfully ignored never, that is, until Pennsylvania Avenue was closed one Sunday night six years ago.

The enumerated powers, found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, are in a list summarizing the powers granted to the federal government by the people. The last of these enumerated powers provides for the creation of the District of Columbia. All legislative authority within this "ten mile square" the Constitution vests in Congress, not in the executive branch.

Congress created the District government and vested in it certain powers. Among them is the review of street and alley closings. In fact, legislation including bills of just this type must be reviewed and approved by Congress before they are implemented. Streets and alleys have been created and closed throughout the long history of the District. The executive branch has never played any part.

It was the executive branch, however, that closed a public thoroughfare in the District without the advice and consent of Congress or its agent, the District government. To this day, no such advice and consent has been solicited or obtained. Pennsylvania Avenue should be opened because the manner in which it was closed was illegal and contrary to the plain language of the Constitution.

President Bush not only should order the Secret Service to open Pennsylvania Avenue immediately, but should send to Congress on behalf of the executive branch an apology that it was closed in the first place.



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