- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2002

America's unsung defense force

I was heartened and disappointed after reading Thursday's Page One story "Foreigners find military fast track to citizenship."

I was heartened that thousands of noncitizens have volunteered to join the U.S. military and are stationed around the globe to fight our global enemy. Yet I was disappointed that The Washington Times failed to include in the sidebar that accompanied the article the number of noncitizens who are serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. This omission is inexcusable because by law the U.S. Coast Guard is a branch of the U.S. military.

It is my earnest hope that in the future, The Times will include the Coast Guard when reporting on any trends pertaining to the four Defense Department service branches.


JIM DOLBOW

Ensign

U.S. Coast Guard Reserve

Alexandria,Va.

Bush does not have to stomach starvation summit

Given her hyperventilation over President Bush's decision not to attend the United Nations' World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg ("Incomplete agenda at Johannesburg," Commentary, Monday), one might conclude Georgie Anne Geyer is suicidally driven to quell the "population explosion."

The president, of course, is correct in forgoing the United Nations' latest "blame America" conference. Such forums predictably result in little more than finger-pointing exercises in which the United States is blamed for everything from global warming to slavery in the Sudan to the fact that it doesn't rain gumdrops every Easter morn'. Phony scientific reports are waved about, declaring the need for "dramatic changes" lest we all shrivel up and die next week. How dare the president sit by idly while the world burns?

Apparently, Miss Geyer has never seen the Heidelberg Appeal, a petition signed by more than 4,000 scientists 70 of whom are Nobel Prize winners warning the industrialized world that there is no compelling evidence that justifies economy-wrecking measures to combat global warming, mostly because there is no compelling evidence that man-made global warming exists. Moreover, it is the accusatory nations that play the largest role in pollution and environmental degradation, mostly because of their oppressive governments, which stifle innovation and technological advancement.

With the anniversary of September 11 on the horizon, it's little wonder Mr. Bush is not quite up for a weeklong tongue-lashing by the world's bureaucrats, tyrants, dictators and polluters. If 3,000 Americans had not been murdered a year ago, perhaps he would be more accommodating to the foolish rantings leveled against the most generous nation on Earth.

Alas, as Miss Geyer snidely points out, our commander in chief is "too busy to think about anything except moving toy soldiers around on a map." Yes, he is too busy leading an international effort against terrorism, far too busy to concern himself with population explosions, man-made global warming and other tall tales.


J. PEYTON KNIGHT

Legislative director

American Policy Center

Warrenton, Va.

Home-schooling shortcomings

I am a counselor at a community college in California. Under the state education code, any student who can demonstrate "the ability to benefit from advanced academic course work" can takes classes here. That means any student from kindergarten through the 12th grade, including students who are being taught by the "highly qualified" parents Michelle Malkin touts in her pro home-schooling column "Crusading to keep children clueless" (Commentary, Monday).

Unfortunately, the majority of students who come to us from a home-school setting are coming because they have reached the limits of their parents' abilities. In many cases, the parents are asking to enroll their children in pre-collegiate courses designed for adults who either did not finish high school or have lost reading, writing and math skills through disuse. In other cases, especially in math, the parents are asking us to teach their children the equivalent of high school algebra and geometry.

That might not be so bad except that the average age of our student body is 28. These parents are asking us to drop children as young as 12 into our student body and to make appropriate adjustments to accommodate their child's maturity and attention span.

If Mrs. Malkin believes that many of these parents are highly qualified to teach their children, then she apparently is prepared to accept a much different level of educational achievement for America than I or most other education professionals. And before anyone goes off half-cocked and contends that my examples are spurious, let me say that they represent the experience of community college counselors across the state of California.

While there may indeed be many highly motivated, gifted and qualified parents who are capable of teaching their children at home (and I have met a few), from my experience the vast majority are not. They may have access to content material but do not know how to enable learning. They have taken their children out of the public school system to avoid conditions they believe are injurious to their children but fail to provide an adequate alternative.

I believe home-schooling has the potential for success with the right parents. My experience is that most do so for the wrong reasons and with the wrong tools.


ROBERT B. HARRIS

Lancaster, Calif.

Michigan aviation security law crash lands

The article "Michigan aviators fight crime checks" (Nation, yesterday) should have mentioned the futility of legislative efforts aimed at "increasing security" by screening thousands of law-abiding pilots (no longer presumed innocent, I guess) while missing the point that none of the September 11 terrorists had a criminal record in our system. Heck, two of them even were granted entry visas by the Immigration and Naturalization Service months after the attack.

Besides, anyone with a conviction or felony record in the past seven years, who will be prevented from taking flight lessons in Michigan under the new law, can simply go and get training in another state.

Increased security? Where's my ballot?


JAVIER GORORDO

Grand Rapids, Mich.

Media should air, not wear, dirty laundry

Rosalba M. Messina engages in tortured reasoning in her letter yesterday, "Homosexual group applauds the New York Times," praising that newspaper's decision to publish announcements of same-sex unions.

Miss Messina states, "Same sex couples do exist and they do celebrate their unions." The media, she says, "should reflect this reality." Simply because a segment of our society does something, that does not mean the media must recognize and/or validate what is being done. Polygamy also exists. Does that mean newspapers also should publish the announcements of polygamous unions? The media should not provide an automatic stamp of approval for whatever activities people choose to engage in. Their job is to cover the news, not make it.

Also, the media already do "reflect this reality" by writing stories about same-sex unions. I have seen countless stories on television and in newspapers regarding same-sex unions. The debate and subsequent enactment into law regarding same-sex unions in Vermont received considerable space in newspapers and time on television.

So what Miss Messina and her homosexual, transgendered, etc. organization want is not mere discussion of the issue, but total and absolute acceptance from the rest of society. They want same-sex unions placed on an equal footing with marriages between men and women. I'm sure there are some polygamists in this country who want the same thing for themselves.


MANUEL J. RIOS JR.

Rockville, Md.

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