- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 22, 2003

Bitter about the Buckeyes

Do your sports writers have something against the Ohio State Buckeyes? For weeks your writers have ranked the Buckeyes lower in the Times 25, and the reporting seems to always downplay OSU. They are historically wrong in predicting the Buckeyes will lose, but, worse, it’s the commentary that accompanies the predictions.

The latest insult was Thursday’s Monster Matchups section. The section regarding yesterday’s match between the Buckeyes and Wolverines starts by saying, “The BCS has spoken,” as if to imply that the formula that’s been in place for a number of years has been fixed to put OSU at No. 2.

Yes, the Buckeyes are ranked No. 4 in the two polls, but they are ranked No. 2 in the computerized polls that are devoid of emotions with the emphasis on the strength of schedule. OSU is playing one of the most gruesome schedules in arguably the best football conference in the land. To have survived 14 and 0 last year, beating out a strong Miami team in the championship game, and going 10 and 1 this year is no easy feat. Yes, the games are close, but that just means the Buckeyes know how to win the close ones, a mark of a true champion.

Maybe your writers like the 77-0 games like the OU-Texas A&M; game or the 73-10 Texas A&M-Baylor; game better than the three- and seven-point games OSU has been winning. But the fact that A&M; beat Baylor by such a huge margin doesn’t make them champions. So Ohio State University doesn’t have a high-scoring offense, but they do have a tremendous defense, and I’ll put up a good defense against a good offense any Saturday afternoon.

I guess what clinched it for me to write this was the comment later in the section, “The Buckeyes finally get the comeuppance they so richly deserve … ” Comeuppance means punishment — what did the Buckeyes do to deserve such vitriol? The Buckeyes play a clean game (with one notable exception by Reynolds, for which he was punished), they play hard defense, their special teams are excellent, the offense scores when it needs to and you don’t have the gangster mentality or the in-your-eye attitude that other schools have. While other schools would have let a star player remain on the team while going through legal troubles, OSU set the example by suspending him from the team.

If your writers don’t like the lack of offense, fine, but be objective in looking at why the Buckeyes are No. 2 in the BCS and keep the personal remarks within the pressroom.

Regardless of who won the Buckeye-Wolverine game this weekend, it was played by two great teams that have a great tradition.



More West, less Lynch

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James M. Inhofe’s suggestion that Lt. Col. Allen B. West is more worthy of a commendation than punishment is obvious to everyone except the pointy-head lawyers who have taken too many sensitivity courses (“West says he tried to protect his troops,” Page 1, Thursday).

Punishing Col. West for aggressively interrogating an Iraqi policeman sends a chilling message to other brave soldiers to walk a politically correct line — even when men die daily to a brutal enemy. A politically correct, feminine culture has obviously infiltrated the highest levels of our military. The most ominous PC development is the large number of costly “noncombatant” women in the military, solely because of political reasons. If female soldiers are phased out and replaced with male combatants of Col. West’s bravery, our effective fighting force will increase by 15 percent at no added cost.

Men are dying daily in Iraq, partly due to political correctness. It is time to stop playing PC games and get really tough to decisively beat the enemy. This may take pacifying Iraq block-by-block until the bad guys are rooted out. And this takes more combat manpower — soldiers who look and act like Col. West rather than Pfc. Jessica Lynch. The feminists may not like this, but neither will the enemy.


Jamison, Pa.

Secondhand smoke knows no boundaries

Every day in the District of Columbia, people go to work and breathe air that can make them sick — air that can aggravate asthma and bronchitis or cause lung cancer and heart disease. Who are these workers? They are those who toil in restaurants, bars, factories, taxis and those offices where smoking is still permitted.

The District’s law is one of the worst in the country in terms of protecting workers and the public from secondhand smoke. It is legal to light up in offices, health care facilities and day care centers. That’s why the Smokefree Workplaces Act of 2003 is a critical and long overdue measure in the District, contrary to what The Washington Times said in its recent editorial (“Let them smoke in peace,” Wednesday).

Secondhand smoke is carcinogenic. It has 4,000 chemicals, more than 50 of which are known to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke is responsible for 38,000 deaths annually in the United States, according to health experts.

Because of their high exposure to secondhand smoke at work, bar and restaurant workers are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to die of lung cancer than they would be if bars and restaurants were 100 percent smoke free, research shows. That’s plain wrong. No one should have to breathe secondhand smoke on the job.

Get another job, you say? It’s not that easy, and people shouldn’t have to. Workplaces should be safe for employees. That’s why major D.C. unions, including the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO, the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Local 25 and the American Federation of Government Employees Union Local 383 this week urged the city council to pass it.

Public places also should be safe for the public. Just talk to someone with asthma, and you’ll learn how dicey it is just to go out to eat. Parents need to be particularly careful; secondhand smoke is especially damaging to children.

The pending measure would require all workplaces to be 100 percent smoke free. Contrary to the editorial, however, the bill would not stop people from lighting up in their homes unless that home is used as a child care, adult day care, educational or health care facility.

For the record, smoking and nonsmoking sections are not a solution. Smoke travels; it knows no bounds. Further, ventilation has been proven ineffective. It can take the smell of cigarette smoke out of the air, but not the dangerous chemicals.

The Times’ concern about the economic impact of smoke-free workplace laws is also off-base. Study after study of tax data, employment figures and sales data show that in cities and states that have enacted smoke-free workplace laws, businesses do just as well, if not better. In the months after New York City’s law took effect, for example, 1,500 bar and restaurant jobs were created. Zagat’s restaurant survey said that the smoke-free policy, “far from curbing restaurant traffic, has given it a major lift.”

A smoke-free workplace law is not government intrusion. Restaurant and bar owners must abide by certain health and safety rules to protect employees and the public. For instance, it is illegal to leave foods out on the counter, crowd too many tables into a space or harass employees. Sneeze guards are now mandatory on public salad bars, and health officials routinely inspect for insects and potentially dangerous conditions in commercial kitchens. A comprehensive smoke-free workplace law is another such health and safety measure.

Smoke-free workplace laws are good for health and good for business. New York, California, Delaware, Maine and Connecticut, as well as cities throughout the country, have realized this and enacted measures to protect workers. It’s time for the District to follow suit.


Co-founder, Citizens for a Smokefree DC


Co-founder, Citizens for a Smokefree DC


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