- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2001

Mother-father families do make a difference

Your May 22 editorial "Family feud" draws attention to census figures documenting the statistical decrease of families headed by biological or adoptive mothers and fathers and the use of this data to discount the importance of these kinds of families.
Children learn what they live. When children come to Girls and Boys Town, their understanding of family is limited to the families that have failed them. Our commitment is to provide children with an alternative and create awareness of family life a husband and wife living together and sharing family responsibilities. Therefore, children in our group homes live with married couples. They provide the children with healthy role models for marriage and child-rearing.
To the decline in importance of the mother-father family model in our society, you ask, "What next?" My answer: Give the same emphasis to the research on how mother-father headed families protect children as we do to other protections for children: placing sleeping babies on their backs, immunizations and anti-smoking campaigns. The research is conclusive. Children who grow up living with a married mother and father have less risk of developing problems in a number of areas, including behavioral problems, problems in school and problems obeying the law.

FATHER VAL J. PETER
Executive Director
Girls and Boys Town
Boys Town, Neb.

Military not to become posh country club

Your May 29 front-page article "New weapons deferred for health, housing" states that the White House "will approve up to $30 billion in added Pentagon spending next year, not for big weapons, but for creature comforts."
Creature comforts? The Pentagon (finally) has allotted additional money for health care and new housing, and these hardly can be considered "creature comforts." Rather, this allocation should be viewed as an effort to right the wrongs inflicted on the men and women of the armed services by the previous administrations years of neglect not as a frivolous expense in the vein of hot tubs and golf-club memberships.
Repairs to woefully inadequate (and in many cases, substandard) housing, improvements to the insurance system and other changes are long overdue and well-deserved. I hope your comment represents an unfortunate choice of words and was not intended in the light in which it appeared.

TOM HUNTER
Norfolk

Hoopla over Jeffords defection a matter of timing

I can be as partisan a Republican as they come, but even I was dismayed to see your characterization of the Democratic senators taking over committee chairmanships as "knaves" ("Nobles and Knaves," May 26). You might at least allow them some time to prove themselves worthy of the title. If you need an alternate label, I would suggest "opportunists."
I also thought the characterization of Sen. James M. Jeffords, Vermont independent, as a Judas Iscariot was a little harsh. For all intents and purposes, he was a Democrat before he left the Republican Party, and hes a Democrat now, his sham title of "independent" notwithstanding. As you have pointed out, many more Democrats have switched to the Republican Party in recent years than the other way around without great angst from the media. Its just that the timing of Mr. Jeffords defection with a 50-50 Senate was ideal for establishing a new (or, perhaps, the same old) tax-and-spend agenda in the Senate. This, perhaps, has made normally reasonable editorial writers a little reckless.

WES CLARK
Springfield

Blair yet to reciprocate IRA good faith

I disagree with Commentary columnist Martin Sieffs assertion that "Ulster Protestant Unionists are disillusioned with the peace process and the power-sharing agreement because the Irish Republican Army has refused to make even a beginning at decommissioning its stocks of weapons and explosives, estimated by Northern Irish security officials as sufficient to equip two light divisions" ("Ulsters Trimble cuts risky political deal, May 28").
As a response to Prime Minister Tony Blairs pledge on May 5, 2000, to implement "in full" the call for "an entirely new beginning" in the impartial Patten Commission report on policing in the North of Ireland, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) declared on May 6, 2000, that it was willing to put weapons "beyond use."
The IRA then opened two weapons dumps to international inspectors, as a first step, effectively putting those weapons "beyond use." But Mr. Blair then allowed Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Mandleson to introduce a watered-down version of Patten known as the Police Bill.
The IRA has shown good faith and has begun putting weapons "beyond use"; it is the responsibility of Mr. Blair to make good on his pledge.

MICHAEL KERRY
Santa Rosa, Calif.

'Hey, California grow up'

What has been called "the whining generation," particularly prevalent in California, is at it again. Resembling a bunch of spoiled brats whose own short-sightedness has gotten them into trouble, theyre throwing temper tantrums because "daddy" Bush in Washington wont bail them out.
Californians have spent years implementing the irresponsible schemes of environmental extremists, guaranteeing that they would have less energy. Now that theyve gotten what they wanted, theyre trying to blame everyone but themselves for the unpleasant consequences. They are demanding price caps that will only make their problems worse. (Because socialism has been taught in American schools and universities for so long, however, most people apparently dont understand that.) And, despite their woes, Californians are still following the siren song of the extremists. No oil wells or pipelines for them. Nuclear power and new conventional power plants are opposed at every turn.
Having lived with the illusions of Hollywood for so long, Californians apparently think that new energy can be created with the wave of a magic wand. Hey, California grow up.

KIM WEISSMAN
Longmeadow, Mass.


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