- The Washington Times - Monday, June 16, 2003

Eulogy to David Brinkley

Society has lost a giant in the world of broadcast journalism with the passing of the beloved David Brinkley (“Anchor David Brinkley, 82, dies,” Nation, Friday). Though he had many accomplishments, I most appreciated and consider most notable Mr. Brinkley’s founding and presiding over the superb “This Week With David Brinkley,” for years the premier Sunday morning news program. It attracted the most sought-after, prominent guests, and news was broken consistently on that program. “This Week” kept together its all-star team of Mr. Brinkley, Sam Donaldson, George Will and Cokie Roberts for an unprecedented nearly two decades. I rarely missed the Sunday show and always considered it the one program to watch to learn what was going on in the world and what people were thinking. What is left of “This Week” will never be confused with its glory under Mr. Brinkley.

David Brinkley got his point across but never abandoned his patrician, gentlemanly, low-key manner. He remained on the program beyond his prime, in the final years not having full command of the facts and sometimes appearing a bit foggy, but this did not dim his bright star.

David Brinkley is irreplaceable and will never be forgotten. Good night, David. Rest in peace.


Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Mexican ID cards

Mexico’s success in pressuring American communities to accept its illegal alien ID (matricula consular) (“Mexican ID cards gain more acceptance in states, cities,” Saturday) is not so much the result of good salesmanship as it is of the cowardly capitulation of local governments and naive law enforcement officials who have chosen to aid and abet criminal activity.

Police officers who support the matricula are on a fool’s errand because no federal agency is able to verify the security of these cards. Unlike passports or visas, the matricula lists only a U.S. address, so law enforcement officials can never be sure that a matricula holder is who he or she claims to be.

In those cities and towns where the Mexican ID has been accepted, it can only be said that those officials, all of whom are sworn to uphold the law, are acting as though they were elected to represent the interests of an arrogant and corrupt foreign government rather than of their constituents.

Thanks to them, American taxpayers continue to pick up the growing tab for aMexican government that finds it easier, and more profitable, to export its poor rather than use its vast natural resources to bring its economy into the 21st century.


Executive director

Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration

Lombard, Ill.

The campaign by Mexican consulates all over the country to gain acceptance of the Mexican-issued ID cards to their citizens living here is part of a carefully crafted plan to control them and also provide a document to allow them to live more comfortably, even though they have entered the country illegally. This is a calculated plan to circumvent our immigration laws, thus providing a means for illegals to open bank accounts and even gain access to restricted areas. It also paves the way for illegal aliens to obtain state driver’s licenses and to qualify for in-state tuition to many public colleges and universities. While the Mexican government has every right to issue these cards to Mexican nationals, state and local governments and other institutions should not accept them in lieu of identification issued to those in the country legally. It circumvents our immigration laws and gives false security to those who carry these cards. It also may mask true identity, as these cards can be obtained byusing easily forged Mexican birth certificates and other such documents. There have been many cases in which illegal alienshave been apprehended holding several ID cards with their photo and different names.


San Diego

More dissension concerning the Middle East

I was shocked to see two letters in the same issue of The Washington Times from two frequently published authors with credentials as vitriolic bashers not only of Israel, but of Jews in general (“Dissension and division in the Mideast,” Letters, Friday). I would remind William G. Garnett that not only does the presence of Jews in Israel antecede that of Arabs by more than two millenniums but the Amorites whom he cited as equally entitled to the land disappeared long ago. More pertinent is that a Jewish presence has existed in Israel for the past four millenniums despite persecution and expulsions.

When he mentions recent history, perhaps he should remember the infamous record of his own country during the League of Nations British Palestinian Mandate, designed for a Jewish national homeland, from 1923 to 1948. Great Britain gave away 78 percent of the Jewish national homeland to Jordan and France (Golan Heights), leaving just 22 percent for the proposed Jewish state. Furthermore, Great Britain, at the bidding of its Arab friends, prevented Jews fleeing the Holocaust from entering Israel, condemning millions to death.

Now the author insists that Israel wants to retain 78 percent of Israel for itself. Instead, Israel has just 22 percent of its original designated territory, and under the agreement negotiated and dismissed by Yasser Arafat, it would have had just 16 percent. If Mr. Garrett is looking for guilt, he should examine the obscene record of his native country during the period from 1923 to 1948.


Silver Spring

Teaching our children

I read with some dismay George Archibald’s article “Researchers verify reading ability gets a boost from phonics,” (Nation, June 10). He mistakenly reported that our study, “Teaching Children to Read: The Fragile Link Between Science and Federal Education Policy,” scored an advantage for systematic phonics instruction of d = .51. In fact, we could confirm an advantage only about half that size.

Bear in mind that the effect size d = .51 is based on comparing systematic phonics against no or minimal reading instruction. It has nothing to do with comparing phonics instruction against other active interventions. This difference in interpretation is important. Would one evaluate a new brand of shock absorbers on a car by comparing its ride to that of a similar car without shock absorbers? Good methodology uses the notion of competition to establish what works better, and the most sensible comparison is to what teachers already are doing. Thus, we should ask what the benefit is of changing from more typical to systematic phonics. The answer: a notable but small positive impact (d = .24 or .18), according to commonly accepted scientific standards.

Contrary to Mr. Archibald’s claim that our study “confirmed the premise of the Bush administration’s ‘Reading First’ initiative that systematic phonics instruction is essential in teaching young children of all backgrounds to read successfully,” there is nothing in our study that supports the proposition that systematic phonics is a necessary component of reading instruction. However, our study did show that tutoring and language-oriented instruction had effects as large as that of systematic phonics.



Rutgers University

New Brunswick, N.J.

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