- The Washington Times - Monday, June 10, 2002

Filtering first principle confuses Internet court case

Your coverage of the judicial ruling prohibiting Internet filters from public libraries ("Libraries need not screen out porn," June 1) illustrates anew that our judiciary either ignores or does not understand the Constitution.

The circuit judges in the above ruling failed to comprehend that the critical principle involved has nothing to do with pornography or free speech. Rather, the question is whether a person can compel taxpayers to provide him with a nonessential service.

Taxpayers, not the federal government, decided to establish public libraries. Because we the citizens pay for them, we ought to be able to decide what services they provide. Because no service provided by a library is guaranteed by the Constitution, Internet filters cannot infringe on the right to freedom of speech. Forcing taxpayers to pay for a library service any service that goes against communal standards is wrong. Internet pornography that is accessible from library computers is just one case in point.


JEFFERSON CHASE

Fairfield, Conn.

Harvard ROTC cadets still have their eyes on the prize

The June 6 editorial "Harvard still hates America" misquotes my June 5 letter to The Times, "Harvard's renascent ROTC." I did not make the statement attributed to me about the current situation: "Harvard is the destination of choice for top-notch students doing ROTC training." Rather, I commented about where we are heading, saying ROTC cadets are "bringing about changes that are making Harvard the destination of choice for top-notch students doing ROTC training." Some of the most far-reaching changes are just beginning, such as creating an ROTC curriculum with some courses taught by top Harvard faculty.

I am not the only one excited about such changes. At the ROTC commissioning ceremony in Harvard Yard on Wednesday, Lt. Col. Brian L. Baker, head of the Paul Revere Army ROTC Battalion, which includes Harvard ROTC cadets, spoke of his goal that Harvard's ROTC be "recognized as the best university leader-development program in the nation."

He introduced Harvard President Lawrence Summers, noting: "Harvard University has been front and center of national media coverage in recent months vis-a-vis ROTC. Let me set the record straight. President Larry Summers and Dean Harry Lewis have done more for ROTC in the past 12 months than any leader at Harvard in the past 40 years. Harvard ROTC student participation has nearly doubled in their time."

Mr. Summers, in turn, acknowledged the importance of ROTC cadets to the Harvard community and the nation: "We venerate at this university as we should openness, debate, the free expression of ideas, as central to what we are all about and what we should be. But we must also respect and admire moral clarity when it is required, as in the preservation of our national security and the defense of our country. All of us admire those many graduates of this university who have served in our country's armed forces. They deserve our respect and our admiration, never more than at this present moment in our country's history."


DR. MICHAEL M. SEGAL

Assistant professor of neurosurgery

Harvard Medical School

Steering Committee member

Advocates for Harvard ROTC

Boston



By special request: Judy Garland's rainbow was red, white and blue

Today marks what would have been the 80th birthday of Judy Garland. As fans from all over the world travel to her birthplace, Grand Rapids, Minn., for a special commemoration of her life, it would be appropriate to pause to remember one of the qualities that made her one of the last century's greatest entertainers.

Miss Garland was a real trouper, not least because she was a patriot and lover of freedom. During World War II, she staged one of her greatest acts by promoting war bonds and entertaining our fighting men. Her films from that period, such as "For Me and My Gal" (a World War I saga) and "Babes on Broadway" (drawn from scenes of a street fair to raise money for embattled British civilians during World War II), added to the robust patriotism of the time. Later, Miss Garland campaigned for John F. Kennedy for president and, of course, was crushed when he was assassinated. Several days after that dark November day in 1963, Miss Garland appeared on her weekly variety program and gave an unforgettable performance of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" as a tribute to our slain commander in chief. Sadly, six years later, the Civil War's most stirring anthem would be sung at her own funeral.

For those of us in this post-September 11 world who are still young at heart and believe in places over the rainbow where little bluebirds fly, little Frances Gumm of Grand Rapids, Minn., should always find a place in our hearts. Happy birthday, Judy, and thanks for the memories.


RONALD L. TULL

Gaithersburg




The proof is in the imprisonment

I wish to commend your reportage of the disingenuous so-called security arrangements for the six Palestinian terrorists who are supposed to be under U.S. and British supervision while in jail ("Security at a minimum for six men jailed under U.S.-brokered accord," June 4). If Americans wonder why Israelis have ceased believing in Yasser Arafat's pledges, this article certainly should enlighten them. Mr. Arafat repeatedly promises he'll crack down on terrorism, temporarily jails people until the spotlight shifts, then frees them to commit more acts of terrorism.That these six men, one of whom was accused of attempting to smuggle arms, including 50 tons of weaponry to the Gaza Strip, are enjoying a relaxed period of "imprisonment" will surprise only those who still believe anything put forth by Yasser Arafat.


ABBI SLOAN

Seattle

Why the World Cup isthe real world series

Although I appreciate Tom Knott's June 5 column on soccer, "No scoring, no Carlos but plenty of acting," he failed to recognize any of the many strengths of "the beautiful game." First, it provides fans with two 45-minute periods of commercial-free action in which the ball is almost always in play. It also fosters and, at high levels, requires a great deal of skill, stamina, quickness and teamwork as well as the Aristotelian value "phronesis," or practical rationality. The latter is required because players have few opportunities to follow the coach's specific instructions; instead they must make good judgments based on their assessment of the conditions presented to them.

However, soccer probably would be even better if it produced more 4-3 games and fewer 0-0 ones, and Mr. Knott might be onto something with his suggestion that FIFA, soccer's governing body, tweak the offside rule. The rule should stipulate explicitly that if, in the opinion of the referee, it is impossible to determine whether the player is onside or offside, the referee must rule that he or she is onside. Said rule change probably would result in more goals.

Other rule changes to increase scoring? Maybe stipulate that any player is onside if any part of his of her body is parallel to any part of the body of his or her second-to-last opponent. Now, referees are instructed to compare the relative positions of the players' torsos. Maybe FIFA should just make the goal bigger say, 2 feet higher and 3 feet wider.

Still, soccer is a great sport, and it's getting more popular in the United States. The U.S. National team sold out RFK Stadium twice during World Cup qualifying matches. Moreover, Major League Soccer attendance is pretty good, drawing 15,000 to 17,000 over a 28-game regular season. In fact, DC United averaged about 20,000 fans per game last season, and United is respected by soccer fans all over the world.


DAVID P. CROCKER

University Park


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