- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 25, 2002

D.C. charter school update

Last Wednesday's editorial in The Washington Times "Mayor illegally blocks schoolhouse door" was forceful, timely and a real public service. This issue has been buried for too long.
In partial defense of the mayor, however, it must be said that the District has just leased the Keene School to the Village Learning Center public charter school, which will move in 400 to 500 students soon. It is the best school facility the charter schools have gotten so far.
Yet it still appears that the Bruce and Addison schools may be returned to D.C. Public Schools (DCPS). The public school system is pleading that it needs more spare schools to house students destined to be displaced by its ambitious, 10-school-a-year modernization program, which is running 100 percent over budget. The District government, however, clearly informed DCPS last spring that the funds are not there to accommodate such a fast-paced schedule, so it's doubtful whether the school system will even need the spare buildings it already has.
Though he has earned criticism for blocking charter schools on space, the mayor deserves credit for making major improvements in funding the operational costs of the charter schools over the past three years. We earnestly hope his record on facilities improves during his second term.

Chairman of the board of trustees
Friends of Choice in Urban Schools

Holding Israel to an unfair standard

Once again the world community has shown that there is a double standard of acceptable behavior: one for Israel and one for the rest of the world. Any other nation would be allowed to defend itself against continued terrorist attacks and to pursue those responsible for them and bring them to justice. Yet Israel is constantly criticized when it attempts to do this. The drafted resolution condemning Israel for the siege of Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah, which reportedly harbors dozens of terrorists besides the master terrorist himself, is just another example of this ("U.S. submits U.N. draft to ease Ramallah siege," World, yesterday). The only difference between Osama bin Laden and Yasser Arafat is that we all know where Mr. Arafat is hiding.

North Potomac

The importance of multiple sources

Inside the Beltway (Nation, Thursday and Friday) had great fun with an item about a National Public Radio (NPR) reporter's e-mail to an environmental group seeking information on the issue of forest thinning. Mr. McCaslin might remember from his days as a reporter that reporters solicit information from all sorts of groups and individuals in doing a story. He laid his hands on one such request for information and chose to mislead readers into believing it was the only one. (He did not contact our reporter to ask if this was the case before writing his first item.) The NPR reporter solicited information and perspectives on forest-thinning projects from representatives of the timber industry, environmental groups, government agencies, scientists and others who have a stake in the debate over the issue. The inquiries were made in the process of research for reports that have not aired. NPR's standards of responsible journalism require that its reporters solicit the views of all stakeholders in an issue.

Vice president
NPR News

Legalizing drugs is not the people's decision

Friday's article about the District of Columbia's "medical pot" initiative missed a critical detail ("Appellate court knocks medicinal marijuana off ballot," Metro). It did not mention that the Food and Drug Administration, not voters, approves drugs as being safe and effective after careful review and study. The marijuana ballot initiative was crafted slyly to bypass that long-standing public health safety check. Why? Because after countless federal studies, marijuana cigarettes, laced with carcinogens, have never met the FDA's standards for efficacy and safety. The medical marijuana ballot initiative is a sham designed to con voters by appealing to their natural compassion for the sick while actually making this illegal and highly addictive narcotic widely available without a doctor's prescription. With more than a few juvenile arrestees in the District high on pot, D.C. voters should think again about legalizing marijuana by pretending it's medicine.


Stop feeding the German shepherd that bites your hand

I hope those who are offended by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's anti-American vitriol will support concrete policy initiatives instead of just exposing it in print ("Germany the day after," Editorial, yesterday). Here's a good starting point: Since there no longer is a Soviet threat to Europe, why not withdraw our troops and money, especially from Germany, which houses 70,000. Let there be real consequences for the words uttered by Germany's leaders in the heat of elections.
As anyone who has spent time in Germany as a GI or a member of a GI's family knows, it is chic for politicians whose Mercedes are financed with money "earned" by ingratiating themselves with the U.S. military to bad-mouth American policies behind our backs. However, it is our choice that they suffer no consequences for their actions and manipulations.
Last year, President Bush said, "If you aren't with us, you are against us." Well, it seems pretty clear in which camp Herr Schroeder's Germany fits.
It is time to let some other country prop up the German economy by overpaying local residents to do menial tasks. It is time for another country to pay for German bureaucrats' job security. It is time for Mr. Schroeder's government to discover how much national defense really costs when Uncle Sugar is not around to defray expenses.
Now that all Americans know what Germany's leadership really thinks of us, it's time citizens sent our own government a message: Stop trying to buy Germans' friendship when for years their attitude has been to take our money and spit in our eye.

Centerville, Mass.

Dr. Weldon made the right diagnosis

Congratulations to Rep. David Weldon, Florida Republican, for telling the truth about Advocates for Youth, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., and Planned Parenthood: "They claim that abstinence education is 'harmful' to the health of adolescents while turning a blind eye to the medical facts regarding the gaps in protection from pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other STDs that condoms provide" (Inside the Beltway, Nation, Monday).
Dr. Weldon then took these groups to task for promoting their own interests over the health and well-being of teens. For example, abstinence programs are unwelcome competition to the condom industry, which has been taking federal funds for three decades. In addition to the detrimental effects that he cited, teens and society in general suffer many more problems as the result of the government's financing of the condom industry. Abortion, the condom's necessary backup, brings many long-lasting physical and psychological problems to women. Promoting out-of-wedlock sex leads to out-of-wedlock births (now hovering around 70 percent of black American children born today), which contributes to the breakdown of the family. In turn, this breeds more social ills. Many fatherless families are factories that produce continuous poverty, child abuse, feeble education, crime, etc.
The promotion of teen sex and the resultant family breakdown has to be stopped and the family unit restored to preserve a free, progressive and just society. Heartfelt thanks go to Dr. Weldon for pointing down the right path.

Silver Spring

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