- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 3, 2001

No commercial aspect to sinking of Japanese ship

In his Commentary column criticizing Japan for the tragic U.S. submarine accident with a Japanese high school training ship, John Hall neglects the facts, a deplorable affront to the families and victims of that accident ("Wider dimension for Navy inquiry?" Feb. 24).
To address just the most blatant errors, the Ehime Maru was a training vessel administered by the Board of Education of Ehime Prefecture that was being used by the Uwajima Fisheries High School to train its students in marine navigation. It was conducting training operations in the area, not fishing in U.S. waters. To state that the "Japanese fishing industry … put this vessel where it was," to portray the voyage, which was educational in nature, as a commercial enterprise and further to insinuate the vessel's own culpability in the accident are grave distortions.
At the very minimum, Mr. Hall should have known that Japan has prohibited the use of drift nets in the open seas for more than five years and even has scrapped the ships that once used such nets. Further, Japanese fishing boats have not been allowed to fish in U.S. waters within the 200-nautical-mile limit since 1987. To state that Ehime Maru means "merchant" in Japanese is simply wrong.
These errors sap the credibility of The Washington Times and ride roughshod over the feelings of the accident victims.

Minister and head of chancery
Embassy of Japan

Former abortion clinic worker now living 'godly lifestyle'

The difficult transition former abortion clinic workers must endure is a delicate process requiring patience and time. Pro-life advocates pray for the hearts, minds and souls of these individuals, as they have many difficult issues to get past, some more than others ("Former abortion providers find peace, solace in therapy," Culture, etc., Feb. 22). The story of former homosexual and clinic worker Eric Harrah is one that caused elation and heartbreak.
I spoke recently to Mr. Harrah and his current pastor. Contrary to recent reports cited in your article, Mr. Harrah has not "returned to his former homosexual lifestyle." Mr. Harrah said he has not engaged in homosexuality since his conversion nearly four years ago. He said "male fellowship that was wholesome and pure and of the body of Christ" kept him from returning to homosexuality.
His pastor confirmed that Mr. Harrah "is living a godly lifestyle" and didn't see any validity to the claim that Mr. Harrah had returned to homosexuality. His pastor told me that Mr. Harrah is a model member of the church and volunteers regularly.
Mr. Harrah has had a difficult beginning as a Christian, but his past struggles are cause for prayer and encouragement, not disdain. The news of his involvement with a home church and sincere pursuit of deeper Christian faith is cause for praise.

Senior writer
Concerned Women for America

Cyprus talks are vehicle for Greek political manipulations

Contrary to the insinuation in your Feb. 20 Embassy Row column, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is eager to negotiate a peaceful solution to the Cyprus issue. That explains its decision to seek an effective negotiating formula rather than proximity talks in which the TRNC would be deemed a vassal to the Greek Cypriot administration and mercilessly barred from all contact with the international community, economic and otherwise. The United States has never accepted the placing of such a legal and economic handicap on one party in comparable negotiations in Ireland, the Balkans or Indonesia. Such a practice invites the favored party to temporize endlessly, and that is exactly what has happened with Cyprus.
In the past three rounds of United Nations- sponsored proximity talks, TRNC President Rauf R. Denktas submitted myriad proposals fortified by detailed studies. The Greek Cypriot side stood mute, offered nothing in return and remained immovable. Accordingly, in a Jan. 30 letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Mr. Denktas emphasized the TRNC's position that the main obstacle in negotiating a settlement on the island has been the unjust attribution of the title "the government of Cyprus" to the Greek Cypriot wing of the bicommunal partnership government founded in 1960.
Instead of engaging in genuine negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations, the Greek Cypriot administration has exploited the U.N. process to extend its authority over the Turkish Cypriot side and to further its accession to the European Union. This is the primary reason why innumerable rounds of talks between the two parties have not produced a result.

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Tax penalizes working married couples

Regarding "Tax code treats stay-at-home moms like second-class citizens" (Letters, Feb. 19): Jennifer R. Banta's sentiments are inspiring, yet her understanding of the marriage tax penalty is flawed. Married couples with one wage earner enjoy the lowest tax rates allowed under the Internal Revenue Service tax code. The entire filing status "married filing jointly" was designed by Congress to benefit stay-at-home moms. The couple's earnings are taxed as if the one income were divided by two, in the fuzzy math of the IRS.
The marriage tax penalty refers to families with two wage earners who are forced to file "married filing jointly," though if each of them filed separately, that would result in a lower effective tax rate for the family. When the wages of one spouse are piled on the wages of the other, they are thrust into a higher tax bracket. In many instances, a married couple would fare better if they could file separately, with one filing as "Head of household" (if there are children) and the other as "single." However, the IRS does not allow this.
The only other option is to file "married filing separately," which everyone in the tax profession knows is a cruel joke with no real advantage. The resulting tax bracket is still higher than if the couple filed as singles, if allowed the choice.
Before 1986, there was a marriage tax credit. On Schedule W, the lower of the two wages (less than $30,000) would receive a tax credit of 10 percent of the lower salary. (Remember, a tax credit reduces dollar for dollar any tax liability; a tax deduction only reduces your taxable income.) If my husband and I had received this credit since 1986, we would have $42,000 more in savings, without compound interest. Then perhaps one of us could have been a stay-at-home parent or at least worked part time. I encourage every married couple to look back and figure 10 percent of the income paid the lower-earning spouse. This is the cost of the marriage tax penalty.

Woodbridge, Va.

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