- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Clarification of hiring policies at Morning News

I am writing in response to a letter your newspaper printed from Bryan O’Keefe in Monday’s Inside the Beltway column. Mr. O’Keefe said he was told the Dallas Morning News declined to hire him “because I was involved with a conservative newspaper and College Republicans.”

This is incorrect. He was applying to work as a part-time clerk at the Washington bureau. We never said we declined to hire him because his opinions happened to be conservative. We would have decided likewise had he been involved in writing liberal opinion pieces.

Our bureau can offer only a few positions to interns and clerks each year. We try to select students who are dedicated to the kinds of straight news reporting the paper does and who have sufficient experience to be of use to us. Our decision was based on his experience, not his ideology.

CARL P. LEUBSDORF

Washington bureau chief

The Dallas Morning News

Washington

Honoring Hope

Bob Hope did not become the American icon that he was because his jokes were funnier or movies better than all others, but because his patriotism was unsurpassed by any other. No matter who was president or where the war, Mr. Hope was there to entertain and support our American troops.

While he, too, had the right to dissent, he never once saw that as the appropriate attitude toward America or Americans at war. Mr. Hope in death carries as timely a message as he did in life for those who need the example of a patriot.

LARRY VOLKENING

Houston), it is wrongly assumed that a Swiss company’s brief delay in providing military parts to the United State was caused by Swiss export restrictions and that this delay had a negative impact on the U.S. striking capability of the coalition forces.

It is true that on March 31, the Swiss Micro Crystal company interrupted the delivery of parts for the Joint Direct Attack Munition bomb-guidance system to a U.S. subcontractor for eight days. However, this brief interruption was not caused by a government-issued export restriction, but was based solely on a company initiative. The Swiss government granted the company a general export license for dual-use items in February. The shipment of the JDAM parts, therefore, was never subject to a Swiss arms export restriction.

Commenting on the true effect of the brief delay, Bloomberg News reported on June 25 (“Hunter’s Argument for ‘Buy America’ Bill Flawed, Pentagon Says”), based on information from U.S. military officials and the U.S. subcontractor, that “the delay had no effect on JDAM inventories or U.S. prosecution of the war.” These findings entirely correspond with the assurances given to the Swiss by the U.S. prime contractor in question as well as by the competent U.S. authorities, both at the Pentagon and at the State Department.

BENEDICT DE CERJAT

Charge d’affaires

Swiss Embassy

Washington

Getting rid of gangs

The story in The Washington Times about the growing menace of gangs in Fairfax County suggests that gang members are mainly from El Salvador as well as other Latin countries (“Police, lawmakers center on gangs,” Metropolitan, yesterday). The story also notes that the same threats to the public order exist in the District, as Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey has pointed out. In both jurisdictions, there is a clear need to determine if those arrested are here legally. At least in the District, however, the police have been ordered not to inquire into the immigration status of those arrested. I wonder if the same is true in Fairfax County. Your reporter did not look into this issue.

Cooperation between law enforcement authorities and the Immigration and Naturalization Service would both scare the gang members into more civil behavior if they feared immediate deportation after conviction and certainly eliminate from our population those who are deported. The current attitude seems to be to catch and release. So long as that goes on, the gangs will flourish.

GEORGE BAIN

Vienna, Va.

Not-so-fair Labor Standards Act

Richard Rahn’s July 18 article “Regulations that inhibit hiring,” bluntly states the need for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulatory reform. Politicians should have an easy time embracing the Bush administration’s effort to clarify the standards for determining when workers are exempt from the time-and-one-half requirement. They should have a far easier time than those few economists who struggle to explain how it is possible to employ more workers by increasing the costs to employers.

For tour operators and many 21st-century businesses, the vagueness of the current standards shows just how fact-intensive and virtually undecipherable the circa 1950 legal distinctions can be. Does an employee have a functional role rather than management authority? Perform “staff” rather than production functions? Exercise “discretion and independent judgment?” these are the squishy questions on which multimillion-dollar lawsuits hinge. Confusion in the law is an attractive nuisance to lawyers, which in turn wastes millions of dollars so a judge can define the law when an agency has not done so. The Labor Department should be applauded for trying to yank the FLSA into the 21st century. It can’t do any worse than current law, in which the main beneficiaries are plaintiff lawyers, and the loser is the American worker.

ROBERT E. WHITLEY

President

U.S. Tour Operators AssociationResponding to Suzanne Fields’ Op-Ed column on Monday, “The last acceptable prejudice,” the last acceptable prejudice is not anti-Semitism, it is our easy use of the word ‘anti-Semitic,’ which really is a racist word, a tainted remnant from a racist time when Nazis felt free to hate and hurt Jews just because the Jews were Jews. Racism is wrong period.

No one should ever be persecuted or impoverished because of who their mother was or where and how they pray. We are all human. We are all fully capable of both love and hate. Race and religion are arbitrary lines of separation drawn by modern definitions and reinforced by placing rumors alongside fact. Many of us are products of more than one race, more than one religion and so it has been throughout history. Our actual ancestry is more a matter of what we want to remember than anything else.

Rather than confusing justifiable complaints about Israel’s own racist war on the Palestinians, Mrs. Fields should ponder the fact that Palestinians are Semites, too, but they are excluded from the word anti-Semitism in much the same way that Israel excludes the native Palestinians from full and equal rights in the land of their birth.

Racism might seem harmless or even safe at first, starting out with low murmurs and mumblings. But it has a habit of quickly becoming monstrous and ugly and uncontrollable, making enemies out of strangers and spreading hate, despair, violence, anger and pain in every direction. Racist walls and words have no place in or even near a democracy. It should be enough to say that an offensive cartoon was a racist insult and that racism is wrong.

ANNE SELDEN ANNAB

Mechanicsburg, Pa.

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