- The Washington Times - Monday, May 5, 2003

Watching the first Democratic debate over the weekend, I found myself repeatedly astonished at the complete lack of reality in almost every view espoused by the competing candidates. Of the candidates, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio takes the prize for being the most hilarious candidate for believing he has a shot against President Bush. Mr. Kucinich must have read the Communist Manifesto before the debate. “Take the profit out of health care” was a phrase he repeated several times. Does he not know that it is profit that inspires innovation? Does he realize that if the profit motive is taken out of health care, aspiring doctors will not enter the profession, medical researchers will not conduct research and current medical practitioners will no longer practice? Continuing in the same socialist vein, he talked about health care for all, jobs for all and this and that for all. Yet, the only way to implement everything for everyone is through a government-controlled economy. Adding to this growing list of horrific economic policies, Mr. Kucinich proposes to fund health care for all by passing a 7.7 percent payroll tax on employers. If such a tax were passed, would employers — the bad guys, according to the average Democratic candidate — take the hit, or would this be reflected in higher prices and lower wages? Mr. Kucinich, in reflecting on his term as mayor when Cleveland went bankrupt, said he stood up to monopolies and asked the audience to “imagine a president who will stand up to…” this monopoly and that monopoly. On the other hand, is he ready to stand up to the near-monopoly the federal government exercises over public education, or does he believe that the only good monopolies are government monopolies? JASON VANZINBridgeville, Pa.Crossed jurisdictionsColumnist Richard W. Rahn is ignorant of what he writes about in “Legality a la France?” (Commentary, Friday). He confuses the jurisdictions of civil and common law, respectively. Civil-law jurisdictions publish a code of commonly understood general principles from which everyone can deduce specific legalities. That’s the function of civil codes. On the other hand, common-law jurisdictions expect citizens to know thousands of specific precedents that might affect the adjudication of a new case. So when it comes to governmental corruption, it seems to me there is much less selective prosecution in civil-jurisdiction countries such as France than there is in countries with English-speaking common-law jurisdictions. On another point, the type of plea bargaining to which Mr. Rahn refers — under which, for example, someone who has committed murder can plead guilty to tax evasion and be convicted for that crime in lieu of facing trial for murder — is unknown in civil-law jurisdictions. However, political crimes and criminal politicians in both civil- and common-law jurisdictions are governed by special considerations.GEORGE A.T. DONELY III Lexington Park, Md.Heavy metal blunderThe article “Heavy metals” (Life, Thursday) has a misleading subheadline: “Certain weeds extract toxic minerals from contaminated soils.” The term “heavy metal” describes a metal with a specific gravity greater than 5, meaning platinum, iron, silver and most other metals are classified as “heavy.” The term, often misused as a mark of an environmental problem, in fact includes many metals that are not the target of any environmental cleanup effort.The article goes on to describe how some plants extract zinc from contaminated soils, noting, though, that scientists must use fertilizers to create optimal conditions for the plants to do their removal jobs. I’m confused: Zinc deficiency in soils is prevalent throughout the United States and around the world for many crops, and, as a result, farmers for decades have used zinc fertilizers to enhance crop production. Not only is zinc beneficial to these soils (hardly contaminating them), but wouldn’t it be more than a bit ironic if the fertilizers to which the article refers contained zinc?GEORGE F. VARYExecutive directorAmerican Zinc AssociationWashingtonHe protesteth too muchWerner Fornos, president of the Population Institute, claims he has never supported forced abortion (“Setting the record straight,” Letters, Saturday). Yet, he defends the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which, in the words of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, is helping the government of China carry out its population program of forced abortion “more effectively.”Mr. Fornos also supports abortion. He believes overpopulation threatens the world. But people are our greatest resource. The greater threat in the world today is underpopulation. Abortion, as a method of population control, and population control in general, do not promote economic development, despite what Mr. Fornos, UNFPA and the totalitarian government of China might claim. Forced abortion is a crime against humanity.Mr. Fornos should rethink his strategy for global economic development and embrace effective policies that do not violate the rights of women.SCOTT WEINBERGDirector of governmental affairsPopulation Research InstituteFront Royal, Va.Equal treatment for illegal aliensAlthough I generally agree with The Washington Times’ editorial views, I respectfully suggest that your position against Maryland allowing illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition rates is wrong (“No tuition breaks for illegals,” Editorial, yesterday). It’s also inconsistent with your proper opposition to the University of Michigan in its affirmative action case. Allow me to explain.Like The Times, I support equal opportunity and advancement through education. I support color-blind, gender-blind and ethnic-blind admission practices. As the grandson of an immigrant from Latvia, I know how education can be the great equalizer, constantly replenishing America’s need for skilled talent. As a former member of the Montgomery County Board of Education and as the nephew of a former school board member in Harrisburg, Pa. (both of us good Republicans, I might add), I saw firsthand how opportunity rewards America, not the other way around.I don’t consider my support as being “pro-immigrant” per se. My support is pro-Montgomery County, pro-Maryland and pro-America. In Montgomery County, our high-quality educational system and highly educated work force are viewed as major assets for economic development. We know that even vocational jobs will require two years of post-high school training. Making those opportunities available to qualified Montgomery County high school graduates is in our county’s interest. Maryland will need a better-educated work force to compete with other states and nations in a global economy. I don’t believe Maryland is served well when we fail to educate motivated graduates of our public schools. Denying cost-effective admission for qualified high school graduates seems to me to be short-sighted.I agree on most issues with Delegate Herb McMillan, the leading opponent of tuition breaks. We both believe Maryland-based Americans serving in the military should be accorded in-state tuition rates irrespective of the technicality of residency. We both would prefer all immigrants to obtain legal status and abide by our federal laws. We both would like to see the federal government accept its responsibility of either enforcing immigration laws or reforming them. Where we disagree is whether the decision by Maryland requiring public schools to educate all children within its borders regardless of status has an impact on the in-state tuition issues. He doesn’t think so, and I do. I believe the decision to mandate a public education makes the status issue quite similar to the armed services technicality of residency.STEVE ABRAMSChairmanMontgomery County Republican PartyRockville, Md.

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