Wednesday, February 14, 2001

No excuse for California incompetence

Columnist Paul Driessen provides valuable insights into California’s self-induced energy fiasco and what sadly passes as informed public policy in that state and among environmental activists (“Help for California’s energy,” Op-Ed, Feb. 8). His article should be required reading for every member of Gov. Gray Davis’ staff, the California Legislature, Congress and the Bush administration.

California has been tarnished by its phony deregulation scheme and massive roadblocks to building critically needed electrical generating plants. California’s energy policy has not just sent its own economy into a tailspin, but also has sent shock waves through its neighboring Western states and even our national economy.

If the governor, legislators and Public Utilities Commission directors were corporate officers, they would be facing fines, penalties and possibly even jail time for criminal incompetence. They certainly should be held accountable by our political process.

As for the environmentalists, they have gotten away for much too long with gross exaggerations and outright deceptions on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Mr. Driessen does a superb job of demolishing their disingenuous arguments and setting the stage for an informed, bipartisan discussion on drilling for oil and gas in ANWR and off our coasts.

The California energy crisis hammers home what happens when “not in my back yard” attitudes, utopian ideas and demands for environmental purity stand in the way of energy, economic necessity and balanced land management. It’s high time we began to listen to common sense.



‘Anti-hate’ organization deflects criticisms

Wesley Pruden’s Feb. 9 column about me and the Southern Poverty Law Center is not accurate (“When a hate crime is something to love,” Pruden on Politics).

To answer each incorrect point would take ten pages. A short response on two key points might serve the same purpose.

Mr. Pruden says that the Southern Poverty Law Center sells its tolerance education kits for $30. In fact, these video and text education kits are provided free to more than 80,000 schools nationwide. The video, “A Time for Justice,” in our first tolerance education kit won an Oscar for best short documentary in 1995, and another, “The Shadow of Hate,” was nominated in the same category in 1996. More than 500,000 teachers receive our Teaching Tolerance magazine twice yearly at no charge.

You say I do not take death penalty cases because this might scare off white liberals who see blacks as murderers. In fact, I represented a black man in a capital case in 1999 who was accused of killing a police officer. I argued his appeal in 2000.


National Chairman

Southern Poverty Law Center

Montgomery, Ala.

Dutch city allowed Pilgrim church to fall into disrepair

Your recent article about the Dutch city of Leiden’s intention to demolish the Vrouwekerk, a monument that symbolizes Holland’s role as a refuge to the Pilgrims and Huguenots who worshipped there and then went on to become the founders of New England and New Netherlands (a northeastern colony) in America, includes the statement: ” ‘We are very careful with our monuments,’ said Madelien De Planque, spokesman for the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington,” (“U.S. coalition appeals to Dutch queen to save Pilgrim church,” Nation, Feb. 9).

While that sentiment expresses what the Dutch like to think about themselves, the reality is in shrill contrast when we see that Leiden justifies demolishing the Vrouwekerk, which is a registered national monument, by arguing before the Council of State (which is roughly equivalent to the Supreme Court for this case) that the Vrouwekerk has fallen into terrible disrepair, that it is covered with graffiti and that it is used as a urinal.

That is the reality of how carefully historic heritage is treated in Leiden, and the city says so with no shame. The Vrouwekerk, where the ancestors of four presidents of the United States were baptized or married, deserves treatment that matches the ideals put into words by the Dutch embassy spokesman, not the disdain and destruction it faces at the hands of urban planners and developers.



Leiden American Pilgrim Museum

Leiden, Netherlands

Feminists need to stop vilifying men in the name of female liberation

The Washington Times ran two provocative and apparently contradictory articles on Feb. 9.

On Page A19, columnist David Horowitz decries the propensity of feminists to wildly exaggerate the facts of domestic violence (“V-day,” Commentary). He warns us that “Violence Against Women Day [is] an orgy of hatred against men. … V-day proponents are determined to implicate the average American man in an ongoing social atrocity.”

Then turn to page A14, where the story “Battered Japanese women speak up” laments the plight of Japanese women who are targets of domestic violence. Your reporter cites the startling statistic that “20 percent to 50 percent of women and girls around the world” are victims of violence by spouses or other family members. The article makes no mention of men who are on the receiving end of female violence.

The bewildered reader might wonder where the truth lies. An article printed in the September 2000 issue of Psychological Bulletin answers this question.

The article, which compiled the findings of hundreds of studies of domestic violence, reached this simple conclusion: “Women are slightly more likely than men to use one or more acts of physical aggression and to use such acts more frequently. Men are more likely to inflict an injury, and overall, 62 percent of those injured by a partner were women.”

Basically, women are just as prone to violence as men, and as a result, 38 percent of all persons injured by a partner who resorts to violence are male.

Feminists have found that portraying women as the helpless victims of male battering is an extraordinarily powerful tool for provoking female anger and male guilt. The end result is to stereotype and scapegoat men.

Once husbands are viewed as routinely abusive of women, it becomes a sure bet that legislation will be passed to provide free legal, social and medical services to battered women, but not to battered men.

As Mr. Horowitz points out, there have been political movements in the past that began as champions of the disenfranchised. Sadly, these “crypto-religions” eventually resorted to hatred, tyranny and oppression.

The vilification of men in the name of female liberation is frightening and needs to stop.



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