- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 17, 2004

TV generation

Your Inside the Beltway item “Costly rerun” (Nation, Aug. 10) should have commended Sens. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, and Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, for their bipartisan efforts to fund a comprehensive study of children and the effects of total screen time.

Instead, the column attacks the only ongoing government effort to help parents figure out what children should or should not be watching. Though innumerable studies have highlighted the negative effects of excessive viewing of violent television, no study has looked at the combined effect of television viewing and computer use — a common occurrence in most American homes.

I applaud Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Brownback and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, for coming together in bipartisan sponsorship of a bill that would benefit our children and make good use of our tax dollars.

JIM STEYER

CEO

Common Sense Media

San Francisco

Truth to Edwards’ rhetoric

Democrats have long maintained that the riches of the wealthy come at the expense of the poor. As a loyal reader of the great free-market economists gracing your editorial pages, I never believed them — until now.

Your article on the million-dollar settlements John Edwards has earned by suing doctors has me questioning all that I have learned from reading your paper (“Edwards’ malpractice suits leave bitter taste,” Page 1, Monday). Mr. Edwards did indeed become a millionaire at the expense of the poor, it seems. The two Americas of which he speaks really do exist.

In fact, a good economist easily could chart a correlation between Mr. Edwards’ bank account and the number of North Carolinians who have lost their health insurance and the number of doctors who have left the state because of the crushing insurance premiums they must pay to stay in practice.

Mr. Edwards became wealthy by convincing gullible juries that he could channel the thoughts of babies being born with cerebral palsy. Using dubious science, Mr. Edwards blamed the palsy on the doctors. As a result, medicine is more expensive for everyone in North Carolina.

Though Mr. Edwards may not be the first senator with the ability to channel, perhaps he could use his gift to tap into the concerns of unborn babies who are facing abortion? Granted, there are no deep pockets behind such cries, and their voices are likely to go unheard. Nevertheless, he does claim to represent the little guy in his two Americas.

THOMAS M. BEATTIE

Mount Vernon

Skimming the skies

Audrey Hudson’s article “Air marshals cover only a few flights” (Page 1, Monday) points out, to say the least, an example of the government’s failed attempt, time after time, to protect the American people.

Now we have federal air marshals being taken off planes because they aren’t wearing sports jackets.

Does a terrorist have only to look for people with sports coats? Most of the flying public goes with a more relaxed mode of dress. I would think one would want the marshals’ undercover status protected better than that.

Who is making these rules, anyway?

I am further convinced that arming the pilots is imperative, and the recent bill, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush, allowing former police officers to carry concealed firearms in all states should be extended to allow them to carry the weapons on aircraft as well.

What a great way to bolster safety on airplanes while at the same time not having to pay the bill.

Naturally, they would require training, and the government should foot the bill. However, the government would not have to pay their salaries, and the air-traveling public would be better protected.

DAN SERRANO

Port Deposit, Md.

Audrey Hudson says the Federal Air Marshal Service protects less than 5 percent of all daily U.S. commercial flights, but she neglects to mention some pertinent facts.

U.S. air carriers conduct roughly 35,000 commercial aviation departures each day. To protect each flight, the service would need approximately 70,000 marshals each day. However, that number does not include marshals needed for support and supervisory positions, on leave or in training. So the number needed to cover all 35,000 flights on a day-to-day basis would be astronomical.

Then you would need to pay and provide for them. This would mean the government would have to spend even more money, but many citizens are complaining that the government already spends too much. I doubt the American people would like to get rid of another government agency or entitlement to pay for the extra protection, so that would mean more taxes.

The reporter should have asked Sen. Barbara Boxer which federal program California would surrender to fund the larger federal marshal presence.

Another option is to address the terror threat at its source rather than in our airports and onboard U.S. aircraft.

ELAINE BRADFORD

Manassas, Va.

Beware alien insomnia

Your article “Immigration plan envisions ‘incentives’ to illegal aliens” (Page 1, Aug. 10), about Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson, demonstrated just how far removed from reality he really is about immigration in this country.

He presented an administration proposal to ease efforts to capture illegal aliens because he feared they might be losing sleep at night worrying about the possibility of being captured and deported. Funny, all this time I thought that was Mr. Hutchinson’s job.

At no time did the article indicate that Mr. Hutchinson ever considered whether American citizens might lose sleep worrying about this criminal element and the catastrophic damage illegal aliens are doing to the American medical, legal and educational systems.

It is estimated that illegal aliens cost Maryland $40 million to $100 million a year just in medical costs alone.

Combine that with new construction to house illegal aliens, subsidized housing for illegal aliens, crime committed by illegal aliens and money sent out of this country by illegal aliens. Then multiply it by 50 states, and you will find that this damage far exceeds the cost of September 11 and makes the cost for the war in Iraq look like pocket change.

Recently 250,000 Mexicans marched in protest over their government’s failure to lower the crime levels in Mexico and drove a government minister from office.

President Vicente Fox will solve this problem for his people once President Bush or Sen. John Kerry allows his criminals free access to our country. Our two presidential candidates seem determined to turn the United States over to foreign powers.

Mr. Bush would allow America to become one gigantic barrio, and Mr. Kerry would approve of the Mexican flag flying majestically over the White House.

What is wrong with this picture?

WILSON FARIS

Gaithersburg, Md.


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