- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 6, 2002

CAFE is wrong way to energy independence

We all agree that reducing foreign oil dependency is a national goal, but Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is wrong to promote mandatory increases in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) as the answer ("Daschle says ANWR drilling dead," March 4). This regulation has never worked.

We import more than half our oil from foreign countries, even with the CAFE standards that have been in place since the 1970s, when Congress first adopted them.

If manufacturers are required to meet proposed fuel efficiency mandates for sport utility vehicles, minivans and pickup trucks, they will be forced to significantly reduce the size and power of these popular vehicles. This presents serious safety concerns to drivers, as evidenced by thousands of deaths attributable to the current CAFE regulations.

The better way to reduce foreign oil dependency is to allow the free market to solve the problem.

The Bush administration's decision to end the government's 8-year-old failed program to drive up the fuel efficiency of gasoline engines at any cost was a step forward, influenced by innovations in the market. It was also a step forward for clean air and consumers.

Fuel cell technology is one solution that makes a lot more sense than trying to hit consumers and automakers with unrealistic demands for quick and drastic increases in the fuel efficiency of gasoline-powered vehicles.



Small Business Survival Committee


Statistics show importance of commitment

In his March 1 Commentary column, "Ignoring the churn factor," John Leo rightfully criticizes the flaws in the interpretation of the data from a John Hopkins sociological study on "families" with frequently changing male partners. He also correctly observes that numerous studies have shown that married individuals live safer (and, I add, even longer and healthier lives) than singles and that children are far better off when "raised by committed married partners, not single moms or cohabitors."

Does this really mean that marriage is a means for curing an undoubtedly serious social problem, as Mr. Leo advocates? He, too, makes a (regretfully widespread) error in the interpretation of statistical data. As a rule, a correlation between two variables rarely means that one is the cause for the other. In most cases, correlation results from a common underlying factor. Mr. Leo himself gives the clue in the marriage case: the word "committed."

A particular attitude, a greater feeling of responsibility toward themselves and their offspring, causes a man and a woman to marry (instead of staying single or cohabiting), and it is also the reason for better health and better-raised children. Just promoting marriage will not change attitudes, as the experience of European countries in the 20th century shows.

If the Bush program can change the attitudes within its target group, it will be a great success for America. If not, it will be waste of effort and money.



Joachim Neander is a visiting scholar at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A modest proposal for appeasing activists

Native American activists seeking the removal of Indian terms and symbols from school mascots are going about it the wrong way ("Many schools keep Indian logos," March 4). Their bottom-up approach will take too long and will meet with strong resistance. A top-down technique would be far more effective. They should start with the names of states. The United States has at least 19 states (including Connecticut, Nebraska, and Wisconsin) whose names originated in Indian words or phrases. Let these states choose new names. Localities and schools would soon follow suit.



D.C. deserves 2012 Games

It was with much disappointment that I read Thom Loverro's Feb. 14 column "D.C. Summer Games not in 2012, not ever." The column at times seems the cynical rantings of a jaundiced reporter who misses the larger point hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to unite not only our community, but also the entire world, around a peaceful pursuit.

One only needed to spend an evening in Salt Lake City's Olympic Square to gain a first-hand understanding of the Olympic Games' ability to create positive energy and encourage sharing among people of all nationalities, races, ethnic groups, and socio-economic classes. A visit to the Olympic Village to experience the camaraderie of athletes who are fierce competitors on the field of play surely would have opened Mr. Loverro's eyes to the power of the Games.

Contrary to Mr. Loverro's assertion, "the people of Washington" have spoken and, in a blind poll, resoundingly voiced their support for hosting the world in 2012. A full 82 percent of area residents expressed support for hosting the Games in the Washington region, with 86 percent expressing the belief that the Games would bring substantial economic benefits.

The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will, no doubt, unite people, but they will also do much more. In addition to the expected $5.3 billion of economic benefits, they will also allow us to leave a more striking, positive legacy for generations to come. This will be a legacy of volunteerism sparked by the 50,000 Olympic volunteers we'll need; a legacy of mass transit improvements, including the long-discussed rail to Washington Dulles International Airport; a legacy of upgraded community recreation facilities that will have served as Game practice and training sites; and a $200 million Olympic Legacy Fund to endow youth sports programs in less-advantaged neighborhoods, to fund Olympic venue maintenance, and to ensure the continued hosting of national and international amateur athletes at elite events.

The Salt Lake City Olympic Games proved that the Olympic dream is alive. The residents of our region, especially our children, deserve the opportunity to experience this Olympic magic and "light the fire within." With all respect for Mr. Loverro's personal views, all we can say is: "Let the Games begin."


President and CEO

Chesapeake Region 2012 Coalition


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