- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Balancing security, civil liberties

The article, "Montgomery County activists seek anti-INS resolution" (Metropolitan, Monday), mischaracterizes the purpose of my organizing a grass-roots effort in Montgomery County concerning the federal Patriot Act.

Contrary to the article, it is not my goal to have the Montgomery County Council adopt a resolution instructing local law enforcement to refrain from enforcing federal immigration laws (although this has been a feature of other municipalities' resolutions). Rather, it is my hope that the council will adopt a resolution that affirms support for the country's war on terrorism while expressing concern about civil liberties implications of the Patriot Act and various executive initiatives.

Security and civil liberties are not incompatible, but we need to think critically about balancing these two important objectives.



Someone else started a joke

An incorrect claim is made in "Greens use Jesus to drive home a point" (Page 1, Friday). It is untrue that Evangelical Environmental Network member Jim Ball's Web site has "spawned no small number of joking responses, such as the statement that the Almighty owns a Pontiac and a Geo, according to Psalm 83, which urges the Lord to 'persecute them with thy Tempest, and make them afraid with thy Storm.'" In fact, the jokes existed long before they were featured on Mr. Ball's Web site.

In March 2000, Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle coined the phrase, "What would Jesus drive?" and in September 2000, my syndicated humor column, "Off-Kilter," (www.offkilter.org/jesusdmv.html) picked up where Mr. Ostler left off. Uncredited versions of my column have been circulating on the Internet for quite some time.


Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles

Critiquing the Bush environmental policy

Please allow me to make three key points regarding the Bush administration's answer to the theory of man-made global warming as touted by Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans in "Rx for global climate change" (Op-Ed, yesterday).

First, regarding the science, more important than whether one spends billions on an issue is how one does so. The first National Assessment on Climate Change report was produced last month at a cost of up to $17 million, only to be disowned by the Bush administration in order to resolve a lawsuit filed against it by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and several members of Congress. Yet, the same National Assessment Synthesis Team responsible for that incomplete, agenda-driven document in violation of several laws remains in place today, under the authority of Mr. Evans' Commerce Department despite a CEI petition requesting a housecleaning. Given that the Commerce Department failed to even respond, we reasonably fear the same result: a useless, expensive document yielding only more litigation and embarrassment.

Speaking of litigation, it is important to note other pieces of the puzzle. President Bush has directed several agencies, led by the Energy Department, to "significantly improve" a voluntary carbon dioxide registry. Senior administration aides confide their intention is to create tradable carbon dioxide "credits." Also, senior administration officials have repeatedly testified before Congress of their intention to create the framework necessary to institute a global warming "cap-and-trade" regime what the Congressional Budget Office calls "similar to an energy tax," and what others call Kyoto.

Finally, speaking of that treaty that Mr. Evans rightly disparages, such bad-mouthing does not "rejection" make. Rhetoric notwithstanding, as a matter of law and action the Bush administration's stance on Kyoto is, oddly, indistinguishable from that of the Clinton administration. The Clinton administration talked a good game on the treaty, but was content in leaving our signature intact without sending it to the Senate. The Bush administration claims to have "rejected" Kyoto, yet will not send it to the Senate for actual defeat or withdraw our signature , which would actually reject the treaty. We remain nonratifying signatories, subject to the obligations that status carries under international law.


Counsel and senior fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute


Condemning commentary

I am writing in response to James D. Zirin's column on cockfighting ("Sport of law's razor," Commentary, Sunday). It is very apparent that Mr. Zirin knows nothing about this cultural lifestyle and practice. Even so, he goes ahead and spreads the lies of the animal rights terrorists.

Mr. Zirin states: "The birds are then pumped with a cocktail, consisting of strychnine, caffeine, amphetamines, anabolic steroids and epinephrine, to make them more aggressive, while at the same time blocking the pain so that they fight on to the death." Absolute lies.

I am a third-generation game-fowl breeder and have never used any sort of drugs on my fowl. Vitamins, yes; drugs, never. Cocks don't need to be drugged to fight to the death. These fowl will fight to the death over territory even if no humans are present. I have lost many roosters because of heavy storms blowing over their cages. In the chaotic aftermath, they will fight for days, without water or food, until there is only one victor to claim the territory.

Mr. Zirin also, quite incredibly, compares game-fowl breeding, a legitimate practice, with a heroin laboratory or counterfeiting press. That would be like comparing the Mafia's extortion to a lawyer's fees. We game-fowl breeders are hardworking, tax-paying Americans.

Mr. Zirin should get his facts straight before deceiving readers into condemning and trying to outlaw a lifestyle about which he obviously knows little.


Corinth, Texas

Salt and health

Steven Milloy's column "Assault on salt" (Commentary, Friday) raises questions concerning the overuse or under use of salt as a health factor in the American diet. As with most issues, balance is the answer to his questions, balanced salt, that is.

My understanding from reading various health publications over the years is that when salt is mined, it contains a high percentage of potassium. This mineral, however, causes the salt to absorb moisture and form lumps, making it sometimes difficult to shake through the small holes of a salt shaker.

Someone a long time ago got the idea to "refine" the salt by removing the potassium, making it easier to pour. The Morton's Salt container pictures a girl under an umbrella with a box of salt upside down under her arm, salt pouring from the spout, and this pourability under wet circumstances was advertised as an undeniable advantage.

Morton's now markets a lite salt with more potassium than sodium and with traces of calcium and magnesium. If this is truly a better balance more in keeping with the composition of natural body fluids, a revolution in healthy blood pressure levels could be affected by returning to the use of unrefined salt.

Reduced use of salt per se would not be the answer to better health, but use of a balanced, natural salt may be a simple solution to a serious problem.



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