- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 23, 2002

Borking Atticus Finch?

Clearly, there are many in Laurel, Miss., who regard Judge Charles Pickering as a latter-day Atticus Finch ("Borking Judge Pickering," Editorials, Feb. 21).

Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, would have accused Atticus Finch of misconduct for sitting on the jail's front porch and staring down the lynch mob, based on the treatment he gave Judge Pickering.


RICHARD E. MARSH JR.

Charlotte, N.C.

Carbon dioxide is building block of life, not pollutant

Eric Peters is to be thanked for his Op-Ed column pointing out that the Legislature of California is on the cutting edge of collective insanity ("California's hot air," Feb. 18).

The California state Assembly passed and the state Senate is considering a bill that will classify carbon dioxide as a pollutant. The claimed purpose of this action is to prevent global warming by limiting the use of carbon-based fuels.

Global warming theory assumes that the carbon dioxide produced by the use of these fuels is causing an enhanced greenhouse effect, warming the Earth to unprecedented levels. This highly publicized theory is every bit as valid as the "energy depletion" theory of some 25 years ago, which predicted that we would run out of oil and natural gas by the end of the 20th century.

Global warming theory originates in the verified theory that part of the sun's energy that hits the Earth is reflected back into the atmosphere, its wavelength changed. Part of the reflected energy is absorbed by greenhouse gases, causing the atmosphere to warm, which, in turn, causes the Earth to warm.

The dominant greenhouse gas is water vapor, comprising about 16 percent of our atmosphere. Other greenhouse gases include the trace gas carbon dioxide, which comprises less than 0.04 percent of the atmosphere. Compared to water vapor, it is insignificant. Further, human activity produces only a tiny percentage of the total carbon dioxide produced by nature.

If global warming theory is correct that is, if the increase in use of carbon-based fuels is causing an enhanced greenhouse effect we can verify it by measuring general increases in the temperatures of the atmosphere over time as use of carbon-based fuels increases. Since January 1979, scientists Roy Spencer and John Christy have been measuring the temperatures of the atmosphere above the Earth's surface, where the greenhouse heating should be occurring. The results show no warming trend. These data are the most comprehensive, systematic, rigorous measurements of global temperatures ever compiled. Thus, global warming theory fails.

Global warming theorists, however, ignore atmospheric data that directly measures greenhouse effects and rely on surface data that may or may not measure greenhouse effects. Further, surface data are woefully incomplete, inconsistent and biased. Very simply, global warming theory does not stand up to analysis.

If California legislators wish to punish the state's residents and ban carbon dioxide, let them. Ultimately, however, this will mean prohibiting humans and other animals from exhaling in the state. By classifying carbon dioxide as a pollutant, however, the legislators demonstrate a grotesque ignorance of life on this planet. Green plants and other chlorophyll-containing organisms use the energy of the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into usable food and oxygen. They have been so successful in doing this that they have reduced carbon dioxide from a dominant gas in the atmosphere to a trace gas and, in turn, produced so much oxygen that it has increased from, at best, a trace gas to a dominant gas.

Except for rare life forms in extreme conditions, such as deep sea vents, all life on this planet depends upon green plants and organisms converting carbon dioxide and water into usable food.

The California Legislature's declaration that carbon dioxide, a building block of life, is a pollutant is insane.


KENNETH A. HAAPALA

Fairfax

Why Cleveland needs school choice

I would like to commend Robert Holland's outstanding column, "Hearts, minds, and vouchers," in your Feb. 19 Commentary section. But I would like to expand on his depiction of Cleveland schools.

According to a study released in November 2001, Cleveland has the lowest graduation rate of any school district nationwide; not only do 1 in 14 graduate on time but a mere 28 percent graduate at all. Cleveland schools failed to meet proficiency standards in all categories, sometimes missing the low 60 percent standard by 30 percentage points, while only 14.5 percent were proficient in all subjects.

At Health Careers Center in Cleveland, a specialized school dedicated to health care careers, only 18 percent of students are proficient in science. How can a school dedicated to health education have such low marks in science and be allowed to continue to fail without external reproach?

In the 1998-1999 school year, John Marshall High School had an enrollment of 1,853 and 1,909 student suspensions. Infractions ranged from threatening behavior to possession of drugs and weapons and other misdeeds.

No wonder parents in Cleveland are outraged at the failure of their schools. With no choice available to parents, their children would be imprisoned in schools where the likelihood of graduation is low and criminal activity is extremely high.

All other arguments aside, school choice provides children with hope for their future and a prospect for success that could not be achieved otherwise.


JUSTIN J. OLSON

Research associate

Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation

Washington

Telling both sides of the Balkans story

Three old sayings aptly describe events during the past decade of civil wars in the Balkans:

• Truth is the first victim in war.

• Repetition is the mother of learning.

• Lies, repeated, become truth.

I am astonished at the continued misrepresentation of the most critical fact about Srebrenica in Bosnia, as displayed in the Feb. 20 letter by Frank Brozovich, "'Sunlight' needed at Milosevic trial." It was not a "safe area," as he states.

In the official U.N. report on Srebrenica, paragraph No. 475 includes the phrase: "Bosniac fighters did not fully demilitarize."

The "safe area" condition was violated repeatedly and with impunity by the Bosnian Muslims (Bosniacs) stationed in Srebrenica. They conducted deadly raids against nearby Serbian villages, burning houses and killing innocent Serbian peasants, including women and children. These attacks were, for the most part, not reported in the Western news media, even though they were well-documented.

My comments are not meant to justify the Serbian responses to these provocative Bosniac actions but to place them in the proper context of what civil wars lead to tragedies for innocent civilians and guilt on all sides.

Reconciliation of the Balkan ethnic groups will not occur until the full and accurate story of these tragic civil wars and the important roles played by all parties, both internal and external, are known and acknowledged.


NORMAN F. NESS

Newark, Del.


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