- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2001

It's time to move beyond the voucher school phobia

In her Jan. 29 Op-Ed column, "It's education, stupid," Suzanne Fields makes the excellent point that most members of Congress already exercise school choice for their own children by sending them to private schools.

Congress, however, also has a financial responsibility for the fate of the District's needy children, whose parents generally do not enjoy an affordable choice of school. As indicated by the fact that three-fourths of the city's fourth-graders score "below basic" on the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test, many of these children are trapped in failing schools.

In 1998, a bipartisan congressional coalition tried to do the right thing by passing a bill to award public scholarships of up to $3,200 to enable children to leave some of the most woeful D.C. public schools in favor of productive private or parochial schools. One of the key sponsors of those vouchers was Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat. But President Clinton vetoed the bill, even though he and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had sent their own daughter to an elite private school in the District.

With President Bush crusading for the ideal that parents ought to have other options if their children are stuck in federally aided but chronically failing schools, now would be an excellent time for that bipartisan coalition to reassemble and send a D.C. choice bill to a president who will sign it.

It's time to move beyond the voucher phobia encouraged by education's special interests, and to do what's right for children all of them, not just the children of the Washington establishment.


Senior Fellow

Lexington Institute


Federal help for faith-based groups will turn into federal intrusion

Before accepting one dime of federal "assistance," churches and other faith-based community service organizations should seriously ask themselves whether they are willing to accept all the regulatory strings that inevitably accompany such "generosity" ("Bush embraces faith-based help to ease social ills," Jan. 30).

Must we again be reminded that the federal government is always always the senior partner in these collaborations, and for one good reason: He who pays the piper calls the tune. In exchange for this money, will churches and other faith-based organizations be required to set aside their beliefs and convictions and defer to the leftist, pro-gay, feminist, "anti-discrimination" leanings of the federal government?

I'm afraid that, with the best of intentions, the Bush administration is unwittingly opening the door to a massive federal intrusion into the life and work of America's religious institutions.

If President Bush really wants to help these organizations work to alleviate need at the local level, he should be pushing for tax cuts and a reduction in size of the federal government, which would let taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned dollars so they can donate to the churches or charities of their choice.


Warrenton, Va.

Clinton shrine to self in Pentagon needs redecorating

A few years back, The Washington Times reported that the Clinton administration had redecorated a prominent section of the Pentagon A-Ring as the "Commander In Chief's Corridor." I noted that, ironically, the only commander in chief recognized in the corridor was one who not only ran away when it was his time to serve, but who had actively fomented anti-American demonstrations from the safety of his coward's asylum.

Prior to President Clinton, there had never been a "Commander In Chief's" corridor, and one is not needed now. Every member of the U.S. military takes an oath to obey the orders of the president and the officers appointed over him or her. These members put their lives on the line to carry out that oath, regardless of their personal feelings toward the incumbent president. Thus, the "Commander In Chief's Corridor" was an unwarranted slap in the face to those who serve. In recognition of this, I beg the new Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to undo the harm and embarrassment to the loyal citizens in uniform by renaming and redecorating the corridor at his earliest convenience.


Colonel, USAF (Ret.)

Fairfax, VA

Global warming is dogma in scientific circles

In his Jan. 15 Commentary column "What global warming crisis?", Joseph Perkins refers to research he obviously doesn't understand, probably didn't read, and which doesn't support his belief that global warming is a myth. Neither do his own observations about colder winters. A warmer atmosphere with more energy to move air around produces extremes of temperature: colder winters and hotter summers, record lows and record highs. Remind you of anything you've seen recently?

As for the research, it confirms the obvious that global warming is here. The argument is about the details. In the journal Nature, Jan Veizer documented that using fossil records to investigate the role of CO2 in global warming, he found less correlation than expected. He gave three possible explanations, two of which are compatible with accepted models of global warming. The third possibility would suggest that CO2 is less of a factor than generally thought, but a factor nonetheless. However, in the same issue, researcher Lee Kump demonstrates that the third explanation of the fossil record is the least likely.

Mr. Perkins completely confuses the findings of scientists at Ireland's Armagh Observatory. They report, "It's quite apparent from our data that global warming, of about a degree C, has been taking place for at least a hundred years." Their data confirm that Earth's temperature depends on the sun's radiation hardly news. A decade ago, Eigil Friis-Christensen and Knud Lassen demonstrated in Science magazine that sunspot cycles match up well with average Earth temperatures. But Mr. Perkins completely omits the most significant part of the Armagh results: "excluding the last decade or so when an accentuated rise in global temperatures is widely accepted to have occurred as a result of the enhanced greenhouse effect, most of the global warming of the 20th century can be quantitatively explained by the combined direct (irradiance) and indirect (cosmic ray induced low cloud) effects of solar activity."

The Armagh data show that during the past few decades global warming exceeds that expected from the sun just what Mr. Perkins doubts. So here's the straight skinny: observed temperatures match solar-calculated models quite well over several hundred years of data, showing a cycle of sun-driven global warming and cooling. However, there is an additional warming going on, about .3 degrees C over the past few decades, attributable to greenhouse effects and not to the sun. This additional warming, as expected from the greenhouse model, has its major effect in severely cold arctic regions, resulting in increased extremes of temperature and higher sea levels.

Those who deny global warming have an agenda too less regulation, less international cooperation on the environment, or whatever. But if Mr. Perkins wants to pass his agenda off as science, he should read the researchers' own words.



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