- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2002

HUD and disabled veterans

In a letter in the column "Sgt. Shaft," Robert L. Jones, national executive director of Amvets, criticizes the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) policy of counting the compensation to disabled veterans as income in determining eligibility to HUD-assisted housing programs ("Vets deserve help finding jobs," Jan. 28).
HUD Secretary Mel Martinez firmly believes that veterans who receive compensation for service-connected disabilities deserve honor and respect for the sacrifice they have made on behalf of this country. Early in the year, Mr. Martinez directed HUD to review its regulations to make appropriate changes. In the near future, after review by the administration, including the Office of Management and Budget, HUD expects to address changes to the way the income of these veterans is considered under HUD-assisted housing programs.
I want veterans to know that Mr. Martinez and the department are working proactively on this issue.

Assistant secretary for public and Indian housing
Department of Housing and Urban Development

Cable has something for everyone

L. Brent Bozell III's Feb. 9 Commentary column, "Basic cable wired for raunch," missed a golden opportunity to further an important conversation on media literacy and instead degenerated into a general attack on an entire medium. The Parents Television Council study that Mr. Bozell quoted lists 11 shows from Nickelodeon out of 33 total programs as examples of "raunch." That prompted Peggy Charren, children's TV advocate and founder of Action for Children's Television, to comment to Multichannel News: "The fact that Nick is listed should clue you in not to take [the study] seriously." Karen Jaffe, executive director of Kidsnet, a nonprofit children's media clearinghouse, said her group has refused to add the survey to its resources. She noted that at least six of the programs listed in the study "are some of the best shows on air for kids" and added, "I haven't a clue what methodology you used for this research."
Mr. Bozell's generalizations simply overlook the diversity of cable programming, including its wide range of movies, sports, news and documentaries. Everything on cable TV is not for everybody, but there is something on cable for everyone. Children and families are better served by having the tools and methods to determine what is appropriate for them a position long supported by the cable industry in both thought and deed through media-literacy training, support of TV ratings and the V-chip and other parental-guidance mechanisms.

Vice president, program network policy
National Cable and Telecommunications Association

Why the controversy?

There is no question that the federal government's decision last year to shut off water to Klamath Basin farmers was controversial ("Suckers," Editorials, Feb. 6). The recent call for review of the science upon which that decision was made also has generated a good deal of controversy. Several environmental organizations have criticized the National Academy of Sciences' review of the data.
It is interesting that environmental organizations would question an effort toward an accurate review of scientific data. If there were widespread confidence that credible science was used in the original decision to cut off water to farmers, these organizations should welcome any review that would substantiate the science.

Executive director
California Farm Water Coalition
Sacramento, Calif.

U.N. isn't pushing global taxes

Contrary to Daniel Mitchell's assertions in his Feb. 7 Commentary column, "U.N. tax police potential," the United Nations is not about to create an International Tax Organization or impose global taxes. The document that is likely to be adopted at the International Conference on Financing for Development this March in Monterey, Mexico, contains no suggestion of such a thing. Readers can see for themselves if they look at the U.N. Web site: www.un.org/esa/ffd. They also might be interested to know that this draft text is written, negotiated and agreed upon by the member states (including the United States) not by U.N. staff members.
Member states also are responsible for requesting a study on possible innovative sources of finance. This was a request to the secretary-general not by the secretary-general. To date, no U.N. intergovernmental body or conference has ever endorsed or called for an internationally levied tax.

Director of communications
Executive Office of the Secretary-General
United Nations
New York

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