- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2003

In their blood to be heroes

The National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) extends its thanks to The Washington Times for its article on the moving and significant tribute to Michael Paul Ragusa and the other New York City firefighters who perished on September 11 (“With little to bury,” Commentary, Wednesday).

Mr. Ragusa’s funeral was held Monday in New York. Although Mr. Ragusa’s remains were never found, the National Marrow Donor Program was able to provide his parents, Dee and Vincent Ragusa of Brooklyn, with a vial of his blood that was laid to rest. The NMDP is grateful to have been able to play some small part in helping the family attain closure for one of America’s heroes.

Mr. Ragusa already was a hero before September 11. He had donated that vial of blood when he joined the NMDP Registry of unrelated volunteer marrow and blood stem cell donors. More than 5 million people have joined the registry to become potential donors, like Mr. Ragusa.

New York’s bravest have been frequent volunteers. Almost 50 New York firefighters have donated marrow and have given a second chance at life to patients in need. One out of every two New York firefighters has registered to be a donor with the NMDP. And of the 343 firefighters who fell at the World Trade Center, 113 had volunteered for the registry through the New York Blood Center.

The NMDP has facilitated more than 16,000 transplants throughout the world for patients with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia and aplastic anemia, as well as certain immune system and genetic disorders. The NMDP offers searching patients who do not have suitable family donors a single point of access for all three types of stem cells used in transplantation: marrow, peripheral blood and umbilical cord blood.

Because of Mr. Ragusa’s volunteerism, the Ragusas have found closure. Because of the volunteerism of so many of the New York’s bravest, hundreds will be given a second chance at life.

Let’s pay tribute to them — the firefighters and donors who became everyday heroes even before September 11.


Chief executive officer

National Marrow Donor Program

Minneapolis, Minn.

Deanspeak about trade

In holding Howard Dean accountable for his reckless statements concerning international trade (“Dean’s damaging doublespeak,” Commentary,Thursday),Donald Lambro has exposed the Democraticpresidential wannabe as the chief panderer among the nine Democratic candidates seeking the White House. Mr. Lambro cites statements by candidate Dean calling for a national policy that would require developing countries to meet American labor and environmental standards as a prerequisite for gaining access to American markets.

Mr. Dean is pandering to big labor in an attempt to build political support from a large American voting bloc. The fact that Mr. Dean’s policy would be disastrous for big labor, our economy and the economies of developing countries is well documented by Mr. Lambro.

In making the case against Mr. Dean, Mr. Lambro cites a statistic that seems to be lost on all of the Democratic presidential wannabes, as well as the Bush administration: “every $1 billion in exports creates 19,000 U.S. jobs.” If that is true, then is it fair to say that every $1 billion in trade deficits costs 19,000 American jobs? I believe it is.

With the 2003 trade deficit likely to hit $500 billion, that translates into 9.5 million jobs. If we were able to reduce the trade deficit by a measly 20 percent, then we could create 1.9 million new jobs. That’s 1.9 million more Americans working, paying taxes and helping the domestic economy grow. Everybody wins. So, who has a viable plan?

I watched the Democratic presidential debate from Morgan State University; they were so busy criticizing President Bush that there was no time left for voters to learn how they would deal with the trade deficit and our high unemployment.

This newspaper’s editorial, “Payrolls and the recovery” (Thursday), explains what is meant by a “jobless recovery”; the economy grows out of recession through increased productivity, not an expansion in employment. We are indeed in such a period, where macroeconomic data show improvement but unemployment remains high. Even a modest improvement in unemployment is misleading because it does not report the wages those finding employment will earn. The fact is that high-paying manufacturing jobs have left for such cheap labor markets as China, while workers finding new jobs earn much lower wages.

Our current leaders and all those wannabes had better wake up to what is going on today instead of making promises they cannot keep tomorrow. There is a crisis occurring with our burgeoning trade deficit, and if left unchecked, it will be our economic undoing. High-paying manufacturing jobs are leaving every day, and neither President Bush nor those who want his job have offered a viable solution.


North Olmsted, Ohio

On the difference between ‘liberal’ and ‘left-wing’

Lately, the term “left-wing” is frequently misused (“Liberals find many ways to spread word,” Page 1, Sept. 2). Move-on.org is liberal. It is not left-wing. No real leftist community has existed in this country since the end of the Cold War. For starters, actual leftists support Third World struggles, excessive taxing of the wealthy and solidarity with the Cuban revolution. Left idealists seek a more just society through some form of socialism.

While most of the few remaining leftists have no preference for either of the two main political parties, Move-on is a virtual adjunct to the Democrat Party, rather than an advocate of traditional left values. Move-on was created to support Bill Clinton (whose politics are the most right-wing in his party) despite the bombing of Iraq in 1998. My sense is that if Al Gore (also the farthest right of his party) were in White House with the same situation, most noted Move-on member Martin Sheen and friends would have advised that we “move on” to Baghdad, instead of spending millions of dollars opposing the war.

Writer James G. Lakely exposes the strange phenomenon of the growing number of liberals and, yes, a few leftists, who are joining in an empty movement rooted in hysterical hatred and fear rather than trying to understand and solve some of the complex issues of our times.



A shoutout to America

In the midst of all of the global challenges we face, here comes this refreshing sports columnbyJonJansen (“Shoutout to champ after opening win,” From the Trenches, Sports, Wednesday) that takes us to the very essence of what it’s all about — individual commitment and team effort.

In this case, we’re talking about behind-the-scenes Redskins football, but this delicious insider look at an all-American pastime says a lot about our real American guys. We’re strong; we’re focused; we may have our setbacks; we may even have our soft side, but we are out to win. And we will. Keep it coming.


Ann Arbor, Mich.

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