- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Removing the cancer among us

Thank you for your article on Tony "Cart-Man" Ballard ("Ailing mother drives son's 48-state swing," May 13). The American Cancer Society truly appreciates Mr. Ballard and the many others who raise funds for our programs in research, public education, advocacy and service.

The American Cancer Society conducts several major annual fund-raising events in Mid-Atlantic Division communities, including golf tournaments, galas, Daffodil Days and our national signature activity, Relay for Life. These large-scale special events, along with local and community-based events sponsored by the American Cancer Society, help raise millions of dollars annually in the Mid-Atlantic Division and are crucial in our organization's effort to reach our ultimate goal: a cure for cancer.

We realize the community works hard to raise these funds. In turn, we must keep the public's trust by continuing to invest its money wisely. The American Cancer Society invests more money in cancer research than any other nongovernmental organization (more than $100 million nationally and more than $18 million in the Mid-Atlantic Division in 2001), and we will continue to fund researchers at institutions such as Georgetown University who can move us closer to solutions to the complex problem of cancer. We will invest those hard-earned funds in school-based education programs that teach youngsters about the benefits of a smoke-free and exercise-filled lifestyle. We will extend a helping hand to cancer patients and their families through one-on-one peer-counseling programs such as Reach to Recovery. We also will continue to advocate for effective cancer-fighting legislation at all levels of government.


CEO, Mid-Atlantic Division

American Cancer Society


Supreme Court case institutionalized fear at FBI

The so-called "climate of fear" infecting the FBI ("Climate of fear," June 7) is not a new development, so the 9/11 bungles it spawned should come as no surprise.

Testifying before the Senate subcommittee on Security and Terrorism on Feb. 4, 1982, then-FBI director William H. Webster stated:

"My problem is not unleashing the FBI, my problem is convincing those in the FBI that they can work up to the level of our authority. Too many people have been sued; too many people have been harassed and their families and life's savings tied up in litigation and the threat of prosecution; so that we and others like us run the risk that we will not do our full duty in order to protect our individual selves."

The FBI's climate of fear is traceable to the Supreme Court's decision in Bivens vs. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents (1971), which held that government employees could be personally liable for money damages for an act violating someone's constitutional rights.

There have been a veritable flood of Bivens-type suits; indeed, more than 12,000 in the first 15 years after the decision alone. While few have resulted in money damages, federal employees (FBI agents among them) are understandably wary of provoking lawsuits. Unfortunately, sometimes they have been overly cautious such as by not pursuing suspicious Middle Eastern men in flight schools for fear of allegations of racial profiling.


Silver Spring

Column deserved a thoughtful reading

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) circulated a few, select passages from my June 4 column, "Facts of tolerance," with the intention to inflame the group's constituents. Indeed, CAIR's e-mail subject header was titled "Expel all Muslims."

In my response to CAIR, I suggested that correspondents read the entire article instead of jumping to irate, and wrong, conclusions. Some did. The measured response of Ahmad M. Erchid of Tampa Bay, Fla., is the kind of thoughtful reaction I had hoped my column would engender. Wrote Mr. Erchid:

"After receiving your response I went back and read your article. Sure it makes sense after reading the entire piece. I apologize for my first response. To be honest with you, I don't know what I was thinking when I responded the first time. I guess with all the pressure around us I got confused for a while. Please keep me on your mailing list for future articles."



The Washington Times


Center for the American Founding


Heigh ho, heigh ho, off to the DMV I go

I got them DMV blues" (Letters, June 9) reminded me of my own recent experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

I needed to renew my driver's license, but lost the paperwork. So I just showed up at the DMV. At the information desk, I was given a form to fill out and a number. I filled out the form and was subsequently called to the teller's window. I was given an eye exam, had my picture taken and was told to have a seat until my name was called. When it was, the efficient folks at the DMV gave me my renewed license and I left just a half of an hour after I walked in.

Oh, I almost forgot. I live in Virginia, not the District. C'mon over, all you who are ill-treated.


McLean, Va.

Compared to public school teachers, home-schoolers have it easy

Numerous news articles and opinion pieces have touted the high level of achievement attained by home-schooled children. One of the latest is Phyllis Schlafly's June 1 column, "Home schooling report card."

My purpose in writing is not to laud or cast stones at home schooling, however, but to defend increasingly unsung public school teachers who often do their jobs in the face of difficult odds.

For example, Mrs. Schlafly correctly points out that home-schoolers have a simpler job because they do not have to bother with the politics and red tape that enmesh public school teachers. For example, home-schoolers need not teach their children such politicized subjects as multicultural studies. Public school teachers must, and their job is further complicated by many students hailing from myriad cultural and ethnic backgrounds who cannot speak or understand English. (Of course, this means it is difficult to communicate with their parents, too.) In addition, because of America's transient population, public school teachers must devote special attention to incorporating into class students with widely differing levels of learning. In sum, the sad plight of public schooling makes one wonder why any sane person would want to be a teacher.

The answer is that true teachers are a rare breed, dedicated to their calling and with a strong sense that they are making a good difference within the lives of the young. Many work long hours without extra pay; attend countless meetings; participate in extracurricular school activities; and take training courses, all outside of normal working hours.

So, I say to Mrs. Schlafly in particular but journalists in general, please take to task trendy, time-wasting school subjects and all of the other banes of public schooling. But please spare those straining under the heavy load foisted upon them.


Sterling, Va.

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