- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Off Focus

The article "RNC to remain neutral for Louisiana primary" (Nation, Friday) states that Tony Perkins, a political candidate for the Louisiana Senate, "also has the endorsement of Focus on the Family which rarely makes political endorsements."

In fact, Focus on the Family endorsements are not just rare, they are nonexistent. Never in our 25-year history has Focus endorsed any candidate for any political office, nor endorsed any political party. Not only would we not want to do that, nor would our constituents want us to do so, but our 501(c)(3) classification with the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit organization absolutely prohibits us from doing so.

So it is astonishing that The Times reporter, who did not attempt to verify his "facts" with us, seems unaware of the IRS guidelines prohibiting our organization from the type of political activity he ascribes to us.

Such reporting creates problems for us and requires that we spend an inordinate amount of time and effort correcting this inaccuracy with residents of Louisiana and elsewhere.


PAUL HETRICK

Vice president

Focus on the Family

Colorado Springs<

'Commie' bar will not take the Fifth

As the founder of KGB Bar in New York City, I am responding to Arnold Beichman's review of Martin Amis' book "Koba the Dread," which mentions my bar directly or by reference in six of the review's 10 paragraphs ("Why do we hold such different views of Nazis and Soviets?" Books, Aug. 25). Mr. Beichman's review focuses on the offensiveness of the name of my bar and gives relatively short shrift to Mr. Amis' book itself rather odd for a book review. While we at KGB Bar are grateful for the attention, I want to make it perfectly clear that we are a small but thriving capitalist enterprise seeking attention in a sea of similar establishments. So why call it KGB?

Ten years ago, I decided to open the bar because the rent was cheap, although there were problems. The biggest was that the barroom itself was on the second floor and difficult to find but the room had magic. It had been a speakeasy during Prohibition and then, for more than 40 years, was a private socialist club called the Ukrainian Labor Home. They had left behind some terrific historic propaganda posters and photos that I knew would look good on the walls.

Given the room's cache, I was sure that I could attract customers if I could appeal to the secret agent inside them. But the name Spy Bar was taken, and FBI Bar was out of the question. The name KGB was not. The fit was a natural and the name has buzz. America won the Cold War, we have freedom of speech, and we can call our establishments whatever we choose.

Our nod to the masses at KGB Bar are the free literary events we stage. Past readers have included Pulitzer Prize winners and other fine writers such as Grace Paley, Jonathan Franzen, Robert Bly, Jimmy Breslin, David Remnick and many others. Isn't capitalism great?


DENIS WOYCHUK

Founder

KGB Bar

New York

Nothing funny about prison rape

Justice Fellowship's Pat Nolan offered an eye-opening analysis of our nation's prison rape epidemic ("Prison rape it's no joke," Op-Ed, Friday). As he noted, no community escapes the consequences of this epidemic because 95 percent of inmates are eventually released, but the most insidious of these effects often escapes first glance.

Those who would be indifferent to prison rape and assert that "prisoners are getting what they deserve" are clearly naive and shortsighted. Of the 600,000 inmates released annually in the United States, more than 50 percent are fathers to minor children. What's more, research has demonstrated time and again that a child's future, whether as a productive member of society or as a hardened criminal, is linked to the nature and quality of his relationship to his father.

Indeed, criminal behavior is often part of a family's legacy. According to Justice Department statistics, more than 47 percent of our nation's inmates have incarcerated family members.

In truth, the question before us now is whether the men that we release into the community are better equipped, not only to become productive, law-abiding citizens, but ultimately as good fathers. As Mr. Nolan's piece vividly demonstrates, the answer, more often than not, is a resounding "no."

The solution is clear. We must proactively use initiatives that reduce prison rape, be they legislative or programmatic such as Pennsylvania's Long Distance Dads program for incarcerated fathers. Damaged and wounded men become damaged and wounded fathers. The last thing we want is damaged and wounded children and communities.


ROLAND C. WARREN

President

National Fatherhood Initiative

Gaithersburg

Compassion prevailed in horrific September 11 scene

It is a great tribute to our nation that on and after September 11, 2001, there emerged an outpouring of generosity in the streets of New York City, Washington and beyond. An expression of selflessness abounded.

Of all memorable examples, there is one that stands out most. As the World Trade Center Towers were burning and on the brink of collapse, I saw an image on television of two persons stranded on one of the building's top floors. The image was horrifying. Fire was swallowing the floors below them. No rescue helicopter in sight. What could have been running through the minds of these two? Their death was certain. Yet, in this defining moment, they stood together in the window, took each other's hand, and after a few minutes, leapt out together.

What a moment. They could have been total strangers. They could have been two persons who rarely spoke to one another, if ever, before that morning. Despite this and the panic and desperation of that final moment where self-preservation was impossible, they turned to one another.

Their display of the human capacity for selfless compassion, concern and love without hope of personal gain will remain with me forever.


SCOTT KOERBER

Philadelphia

What's good for the goose…

Two seemingly unrelated articles in The Washington Times caught my attention for the paradoxical viewpoints concurrently held by white liberal intellectuals.

In a snippet titled "White (liberal) flight" (Culture, et cetera, Monday), Jonathan Rauch writes that one reason white liberals are fleeing the inner cities in favor of suburbia is due to the "troubled school systems" in many urban areas. White liberals are taking advantage of their economic success to provide a better education for their children while prohibiting mostly minority schoolchildren from doing the same through their constant opposition to school vouchers.

This does not mesh with the statements of some white intellectual liberals in Paul Craig Roberts' column, such as Harvard University professor Noel Ignatiev, who wants to completely "abolish the white race" to lessen the supposedly built-in economic and social advantages of whites ("Mugabe's final solution," Commentary, Monday).

It would seem to me that if these white liberal intellectuals truly wanted to lessen whatever supposed advantages whites innately have, they would remove the obvious barriers to a quality education and allow minority schoolchildren to attend quality schools just like the privileged children of upper-middle class white liberals.


MANUEL J. RIOS JR.

Rockville, Md.

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