- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 7, 2002

The house that United's management built

As we watch the last vestiges of United Air Lines crumble ("United spirals toward failure," Page 1, yesterday), the timbers designed and built by managements aplenty are falling into a basement as solid as stone. It is a basement with a few cracks, of course, yet strong, built by organized labor's hands and one that has outlasted many a structural addition to the upper floors.
Let's not forget some of the managerial architects of the past: Richard Ferris, Stephen Wolf, Gerald Greenwald, James Goodwin and Glenn Tilton, just to name a few. They all have come and gone after constructing their favorite little additions, but not before selling their ideas to labor, taking the money (lots of it) and taking off. These additions included a failed stab at providing "worldwide, door-to-door travel services" when United briefly renamed itself Allegis Corp. after acquiring Hertz and Hilton International; an employee stock ownership plan, for what it is worth today; and a failed and very costly merger with USAir.
Now it is up to labor to pick up the pieces, sweep up and rebuild the house that management's architects have long since abandoned. Incredibly, that strong basement is now being blamed for much of what has happened upstairs. How interesting it might be to see a list of some of these so-called architects, the money that they charged, the additions that they built, and just how long each of their pet construction projects lasted once they departed the company.
United's disastrous collapse is just one long home-repair scam encompassing years of design fraud, with the crooks getting off scot-free and the owners (i.e., United's employees) left holding the bag.

THOMAS J. BURGAN
Geneva, Ill

Right point, wrong analogy

Diana West's column "Feminist slice" (Op-Ed, yesterday), about the uproar over the exclusion of women from Augusta National Golf Club, made good points but with mistaken analogies. In arguing that feminists have misplaced priorities in light of the abuses of women in other parts of the world, Miss West improperly labels Sharia law, Islam and the entire Islamic world as the routine doers of evil against women.
The horrendous inequities experienced by some women in some parts of the Islamic world, which are no less troublesome than the inequities experienced by female victims of kidnapping, rape, pornography and murder in this country, are not based on Islamic law. They are based on the norms of twisted individuals wielding a twisted amount of power.
Blame perpetrators of wrongdoings, not the religion or culture within which they happen to be born.

AJAZ FIAZUDDIN
Manchester, Maine

Canadian campus provokes misguided ire

Columnist Andrew Sullivan should get real. With a name like Montreal Concordia University, the college he accuses of anti-Semitism ("The Weekly Dish," Op-Ed, yesterday) must be a privately funded Christian institution. The prime objective of any church-sponsored college or university is to train church workers in ministerial teaching or missionary work.
A member of a different denomination who attends such a school for purely scholastic objectives always has the option to worship on or off campus, but expecting the college to fund a religious group of a different religion is a separate matter altogether. Has one ever heard of a Hebrew college, say Yeshiva University in New York City, funding a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Christian youth organization on campus?
Mr. Sullivan's line of reasoning is about as ridiculous as that of feminists insisting on allowing women to become members of a private golf club. If they do become members, they should cheerfully join the guys in communal showers or restroom facilities, not expecting any special gender-related privileges in the joy of fellowship in a private club. The same principle applies to private religious colleges.

DAVID P. STROMBERG
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio



When last I checked, Montreal was a large, metropolitan city in the sovereign nation of Canada, not the United States. Perhaps Andrew Sullivan, by using the example of Montreal Concordia University to illustrate "the rise of naked anti-Semitism on America's campuses," has the same feeling that many Americans have, myself included: that Canada and the United States ought to be one country.
I tend to think of my Canadian friends as living in the northernmost states of our union. With the exception of the Quebecois aberration, who would notice the difference?
But until such time as that happy merger occurs, I feel certain that our good friends in the Great White North would appreciate our continued recognition of them as an independent country.

COLIN PARRY
Fredericksburg, Va

NAFTA needs a new road

Having driven from Indianapolis to Houston, I am all too aware of the need for an interstate highway linking the Northeast to the Southwest ("Construction lags on NAFTA road," Page 1, Wednesday). Interstate 69, if properly routed, would provide that transverse path, and it is badly needed.
Regardless of when this thoroughfare is constructed, the transportation of goods between Mexico and northeastern U.S. and Canadian markets will continue to increase. The questions of exact routing and funding are critical. Taking the wrong path no pun intended would cost users untold time and money. Lack of funding will delay the building of the road and will cost time and money lost by not facilitating trade. Until this interstate is built, these costs will be reflected in the increased cost of goods.

JERRY JOHNSON
Indianapolis

Setting adoption stats straight

The article "Foreign adoptions grow to record level" (Nation, yesterday) correctly stated the good news that international adoptions by American parents reached the record level of 20,099 in fiscal 2002. The article went on to make useful observations comparing the encouraging growth trends in international and foster care adoptions. It was incorrect, however, in stating that 1975 was the last year for which reliable data on private and independent adoptions by unrelated adults are available.
In Adoption Factbook III, published in 1999, the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) reported post-1975 private and independent adoptions by unrelated adults as follows: 50,720 in 1982; 51,157 in 1986; 55,706 in 1992; and 54,492 in 1996.
NCFA's data analysis was conducted by Paul J. Placek, a statistician for 25 years with the National Center for Health Statistics, one of the sources used for other citations in the article. This is scientifically reliable data, as a review of the NCFA methodology would show.
Since its first Adoption Factbook in 1985, NCFA has filled part of the adoption information gap caused by the federal government's 1975 cessation of data collection on many domestic adoptions.
NCFA, which was founded in 1980, has been involved in advancing numerous pro-adoption policies, such as those that facilitate intercountry adoptions. NCFA makes it easier for children to be adopted out of foster care, reduces obstacles to transracial adoption, presents infant adoption as a positive option for women with unplanned pregnancies and makes adoption more affordable through successfully lobbying for the adoption tax credit.
NCFA's mission is to promote the well-being of children, birth parents and families by advocating the positive option of adoption.

THOMAS ATWOOD
President
National Council for Adoption
Alexandria

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