- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 14, 2002

Perspectives on Lott and his Democrat detractors

The Democrats have some nerve attacking the entire Republican Party on the basis of race ("GOP defends Lott's intent," Page 1, Thursday).They decry Sen. Trent Lott's praise for Sen. Strom Thurmond as a "salute to bigotry." What about their own transgressions and hypocrisy on the subject of race?
We must not forget to look at how the Democrats have treated Sen. Robert C. Byrd's behavior, past and present. Mr.Byrd once wore a hood and sheet as a member of the Ku Klux Klan. A few years ago, he used a racial epithet on television. Yet the Democrats and the press basically looked the other way.
What about that place called "Hymietown"? When Jesse Jackson so dubbed New York City for its Jewish population, he offended me. However, the Democratic Party swept that hateful comment by the shakedown artist from Chicago under the rug. It's an outrage.

Hamden, Conn.

Though I am not a fan of Trent Lott's, I feel compelled to respond to the selective outrage regarding his comments at Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday. On May 5, 1993, The Washington Post quoted former President Bill Clinton's comments at an 88th birthday ceremony for former Arkansas Sen. J. William Fulbright at which Mr. Clinton bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on the man he described as a "visionary humanitarian, a steadfast supporter of the values of education, and my mentor."
Of course, the man Mr. Clinton was praising had been a rabid segregationist. In 1956, Mr. Fulbright was one of 19 senators who issued a statement titled the "Southern Manifesto." This document condemned the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Its signers stated, among other things, "We commend the motives of those States which have declared the intention to resist forced integration by any lawful means."
Mr. Fulbright later voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He voted against the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He did so because he was a segregationist.
More recently, in October 2002, Mr. Clinton traveled to Arkansas to dedicate a 7-foot bronze statue to Mr. Fulbright, and still nothing was heard from the press admonishing Mr. Clinton for honoring a racist.
I'm not making excuses for Mr. Lott. He should have apologized for his insensitive comments, and he did. Nor am I making excuses for Mr. Thurmond's past. I am merely questioning the hypocrisy of selective moral outrage by the left.

Aiken, S.C.

In denouncing Sen. Trent Lott, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, incoming head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said, "The fact is that this is a man who is four heartbeats from the presidency, and we cannot have in 2002 those kinds of views being expressed by someone who is setting policy" ("Black lawmakers upset with Daschle," Nation, Wednesday).
The article correctly notes that party leaders are not, in fact, in line for presidential succession. However, an interesting note is that third in line, right behind Vice President Dick Cheney and Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, is the president pro-tem of the Senate, ex-Klansman Robert C. Byrd.

Hummelstown, Pa.

What if?

Despite all of the coverage Sen. Trent Lott has received, nobody has raised the obvious question: What kind of president might Strom Thurmond have been? My guess is that he would have kept us out of the Korean War, thereby sparing the lives of 50,000 young Americans. As president, he would have had little to say about racial segregation on the national level. That was still essentially a state and local matter in 1948.
Perhaps he will run for the office again in 2004. He is still eligible.

Burke, Va.

Hunting isn't the answer to deer problem

Sunday's front page featured an article, "Too many deer," about how the deer population in the metropolitan area is out of control. The article put forth the spin that hunting was the best means of controlling deer. Has it not occurred to anyone that we have had millions of deer shot for sport each year but that the situation just gets worse?
In 2000, Virginia hunters killed 187,170 deer. That number went up by 15 percent as hunters killed 214,890 deer in that same state last year. Yet the deer population was not even dented. The reason hunting fails to control the deer herd is because when a deer is killed, surviving deer have an easier time finding food. That lack of competition for food and habitat leads to less stress, and therefore a higher birth rate.
If we really want to solve our deer problem, we'll look at such techniques as chemical sterilization and structures to exclude deer from our highways and gardens. Sport killing has failed to give us the results the hunters promised.

Silver Spring

Fat standard lean on truth

While there is no question that too many Americans are overweight, Thursday's editorial, "Finger-lickin' dumb," was correct to point out that due to a changing standard, "millions of adults previously classified as slim and trim found themselves overweight."
The current "body mass index" (BMI) standard is very misleading. The BMI is defined as a person's weight in kilograms (2.2 pounds) divided by the square of the person's height in meters. A person having a BMI of 25 or more is considered overweight, and a person with a BMI of more than 30 is considered obese.
According to this standard, a person 5 feet 3 inches tall and 140 pounds (BMI = 24.8) is considered normal weight (but looks plump), but a person 6 feet 3 inches tall and 210 pounds (BMI = 26.2) is overweight (but looks slim). Taken to the extreme, by this standard, most National Basketball Association players are overweight, but a newborn baby 21 inches long and 15 pounds would be normal (BMI = 23.9), although the baby's mother might strongly disagree.
As a person grows taller and if the body retains the same proportions of width and thickness (necessary to provide adequate strength and balance) a healthy person's weight should be more closely proportional to the person's height cubed, not squared. The current BMI standard is clearly biased against tall people and needs to be changed.

West Hartford, Conn.

Spiritually speaking

Thank you for the article highlighting research showing that spiritually minded teenagers are more optimistic and enjoy school more than others ("Religion linked to positive outlook in teenagers," Page 1, Dec. 5). This is important news to families, and it also provides valuable insights for all society.
There's a very interesting development going on. Web-savvy teens and adults are finding that a few minutes on a Web site such as ours, www.spirituality.com, offer the relief and spiritual community that modern people need. The Times' willingness to discuss spirituality in its pages is an important contribution to public dialogue.

Committees on Publication
First Church of Christ, Scientist

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