- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Colorado’s water crisis

Sunday’s Page One article “Colorado’s Water Crisis”neglected to mention one reason the city of Aurora is running out of water. It has rubber-stamped the approval of townhouse, condominium and subdivision projects as if there is no tomorrow, and it continues to do so. City officials have never seen a construction project or a traffic light they haven’t liked. Single- and multifamily housing continues to spring up everywhere like weeds in the spring. In addition to the water crisis this has caused, the traffic here is abominable and the street department doesn’t have a clue what to do about it. Our mayor and City Council members are idiots.


Aurora, Colo.

The wrong prescription?

You are wrong about the benefits of the proposed prescription drug legislation (“The right prescription,” Editorials, yesterday). You failed to address the issue that 75 percent of seniors have drug coverage from a variety of sources and will end up spending more under the proposals. Retirees will find that their former employers will rush to dump the coverage and force them into the much more expensive government program.

At present, their drug coverage is not means-tested, but it will be. This is nothing more than another redistribution of wealth for callous political reasons.

There has to be a method of taking care of those who need coverage without harming those who already have it.

Many retirees worked years under employer assurance that they would receive retirement benefits. In most cases, the benefit program was used to explain lower compensation. Now, Congress wants to wipe out years of toil and increase taxes, yes taxes, on seniors.

This is wrong.


Naples, Fla.

Now let me see if I have this straight: The Washington Times approves of awarding a prescription drug benefit to “deserving” seniors because the cost of drugs has escalated (“The right prescription,” Editorials, yesterday). Wonderful. Let us now work toward legislation to provide these seniors with a “nutritious food” benefit since food costs have no doubt escalated in step with other living costs.

When we complete this, we can turn our thoughts toward a “necessary gasoline cost refund,” since the high price of oil has limited these “deserving” seniors to a fraction of the travel that they have grown accustomed to over the years.

Having done all this and therefore assured that you and I, our children and their children and grandchildren will be paying probably 60 percent to 70 percent of their income in taxes, it only remains to determine who among the seniors is “deserving.” Do you suggest a blue-ribbon committee of social intellectuals to make this designation? Or perhaps a committee of randomly chosen seniors can do the job. Maybe we should do a poll, such as the one you insist that showed 75 percent of voters would approve such legislation. If that statistic is correct, the determination of who should receive the benefit would be a cakewalk.

Ah, it is indeed a pity that, at my age, I will not likely be around to reap the benefit of this brave new world.


Pass Christian, Miss.

Ohio lawmaker’s ‘idiotic flag law’

Armstrong Williams is asking the wrong question, (“Can we punish disrespect?” Commentary, Saturday). The proper question is: How long can this nation survive electing idiots such as Rep. Steve Chabot to Congress?

The first question that must be asked when writing a new law is: Can it be enforced? Feel-good laws are a waste of taxpayer money.

What makes a law prohibiting the burning of the official flag of the United States unenforceable is that:

1. The legally prescribed method of destroying a worn-out or damaged flag is by burning it. After a flag has been burned, how does the prosecution prove the flag was not worn-out or damaged?

2. Each element of the flag has specific proportions in relation to the size of the flag. After the flag has been burned, how does the prosecution prove that the elements were in the required specific proportion to the size of the flag. And how does the prosecution prove the original dimensions of a flag that is now ashes and scraps of charred cloth? Also, each element of the flag is of a specific color and 100 percent of each element must be of that specific color. How does the prosecution prove that from ashes and scraps?

Mr. Chabot, an Ohio Republican, is the one showing disrespect, by wasting the taxpayer’s money. Surely, the Republican Party can find a better person to do the job that Mr. Chabot pretends to do. If I were a resident of Ohio and a Democrat and not an independent, I would be waving his idiotic flag law in his face.


Lorton, Ohio

Racial preferences

Professor Lloyd Cohen’s offering on what he termed racial preference (“A thumb on the racial scale,” Forum, Sunday) is sadly disappointing. His logic is either intentionally misleading, flawed or maybe a little of both. Mr. Cohen seems to believe that admissions procedures at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) are discriminatory because 10 of 11 black applicants were selected for admission. Heaven forbid that so many black students demonstrated exemplary talent and aptitude, I suppose.

Of more than 3,000 applicants that year, 10 of the 11 black applicants placed in the top 800 scorers on an empirical, mathematical index of entrance examinations and grades. Those 800 qualified applicants were then further evaluated by a “herd of nine committees,” as Mr. Cohen put it, and 450 were then offered admittance. By Mr. Cohen’s admission, the TJHSST requirements extend beyond the objective criteria — test performance and grades — to identify the initial 800 scholastically qualified students. A subjective process is used to identify the final 450 students to be admitted. That selective process more than likely assesses, among other factors, leadership, extracurricular interests, diversity and family legacy in balance with scholastic performance. So, for Mr. Cohen to intimate that black students are admitted to TJHSST for reasons less than their stellar qualifications is not only absurd, but also offensive.

Mr. Cohen further asserts that one of the admitted black students ranked 716th according to the index. Even though that ranking finds that student still undeniably qualified, Mr. Cohen’s chicanery with facts is alarming here. He fails to disclose whether or not other non-black applicants with comparable or even lower rankings were admitted. Couldn’t it simply be that a black student possessed qualifications beyond skin color such as poise, breadth of interest, intellect, or advanced interpersonal skills?

Mr. Cohen attempted to reduce these deserving students to nothing more than their race: the TJHSST admissions process though, laudably endeavored to assess applicants at depth, to a level more than skin deep. I suppose it is far beyond Mr. Cohen’s comprehension that these applicants were judged not by the color of their skins but by the content of their characters.


College Park

A plan for peace

The Washington Times’ excellent analysis (“Iran and Mideast peace,” Editorials, Friday) of Iran’s support of terrorism lists three choices in dealing with this threat.

However, the administration should expand the “middle ground” option it has chosen by providing stronger U.S. support for the democratic forces in Iran in order to destabilize the current regime. A bipartisan Senate initiative, the Iran Democracy Act, aims to do exactly that.

Given the current turmoil in the Islamic Republic of Iran, this legislation, introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, deserves our strongest support.



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