- The Washington Times - Monday, August 30, 2004

A wasted vote?

I am very disappointed and dismayed to learn that Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich thinks it would be a waste of time for President Bush to campaign in the state (Inside Politics, “Forget Maryland,” Friday).

Mr. Ehrlich was reported as having said on WTOP radio, “My advice to him is not to come to Maryland… We’re not terribly competitive.” Given that defeatist attitude on the part of Maryland’s leading Republican, it is not hard to understand why the Democrats have controlled the Maryland General Assembly for more than 100 years.

As a Maryland Republican, I have this to say to Mr. Ehrlich: You obviously believe that we are too weak and unable to compete with so formidable an adversary as the Democratic Party, but when will we be stronger? How will we gain strength?

Will we grow stronger by conceding defeat and offering only a token opposition? Will we acquire the means of becoming competitive through complacency and inaction?

The Democrats have declared this to be “the most important election in our lifetime.” I am not willing to yield Maryland’s 10 electoral votes to Sen. John Kerry passively.

My closing question to Mr. Ehrlich is, presuming Mr. Bush is re-elected, will you advise him not to come to Maryland in 2006 to campaign when you are seeking re-election because we are not terribly competitive?


California, Md.

Parenting a full-time job

As a full-time mom, I found the article “Women’s work” (Culture, Wednesday) very interesting, especially as it did not appear one-sided as are similar discussions in other newspapers.

Having read and agreed with many viewpoints in Suzanne Venker’s “Seven Myths of Working Mothers,” I can understand why her opinion that motherhood is inherently valuable and that raising a child full time means making financial sacrifices contrasts so sharply with the opinions of Sherry Argov, the Los Angeles writer/broadcaster.

Ms. Argov believes that choosing to raise one’s children full time “leads to disastrous dependency, because husbands come to view a non-working spouse as an ‘expense.’ ” Ms. Argov’s lack of respect for what full-time mothers do every day is readily apparent.

The implication is that if a wife does not work outside the home, a husband will feel more inclined to want to leave his wife.

The divorce rate in this country has increased to approximately half of all marriages, as the number of two-career couples has increased tremendously. Obviously, couples in which both spouses work full time have no guarantee of a successful marriage.

In addition, the rate of childhood, and adult, obesity has also increased tremendously without a parent home full time to prepare healthy meals and snacks and supervise eating habits.

Without a parent home after school, children are also less likely to get a healthy dose of exercise. Numerous studies have also shown that children being raised exclusively by a parent often behave better and score higher academically than their peers under the care of others during work hours.

The work that a full-time parent performs has intrinsic worth, which society on the whole often does not acknowledge, and which may take years to be fully realized.

While Ms. Argov, day-care advocates and others in the media may choose to ignore the contributions that full-time parents have made and continue to make in our society, what is best for children will never change.

While some families cannot afford to have one parent stay home, the best situation is still to have one parent devoted to raising the children. Marriage should be a union of two people with a mutual respect and love for each other, who wish to create a secure environment to raise children, not a business merger between two professionals, neither one of whom may have an interest in raising their little “expenses.”



Treading a watery boundary

East Timor is on firm ground in demanding a midline boundary with Australia in the Timor Sea (“East Timor, Australia fight for riches beneath the sea,” World, Friday). According to international experts, there have been 80 instances where the median line has been applied to resolving overlapping claims between states less than 400 nautical miles apart. The only exception: the 1972 Australia-Indonesia Treaty.

Unfortunately, the Australian government continues to obstruct the new country’s efforts to define a fair maritime boundary in the Timor Sea. Meanwhile, Australia extracts billions of dollars worth of oil and gas from disputed undersea territory.

Neither the 1972 treaty signed between Australia and Indonesia, nor the 1989 Timor Gap Treaty signed when Indonesia illegally occupied East Timor, should have a bearing on current talks.

That Australia itself considers its own case weak became evident when just two months prior to East Timor’s independence in May 2002. Australia formally withdrew from international legal mechanisms — the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea — for resolving maritime boundary issues.

This action prevents the new nation from employing third-party arbitration to encourage Australia to resolve the boundary in a timely and cooperative manner.

The crux of the issue is not the great wealth which lies under the Timor Sea, important as that will be to the impoverished new nation. Nor is Australia being generous when it agrees to revenue sharing arrangements that appear to favor East Timor.

The issue is whether or not Australia will continue to attempt to bully the new nation. Instead it should respect East Timor’s sovereignty by participating in good-faith efforts to resolve the boundary dispute quickly and according to current internationally-accepted legal principles.

Barring that it should agree to go to arbitration as provided for in international agreements.


Media & outreach coordinator

East Timor Action Network


Scare tactics at Yucca

James K. Glassman’s commentary (“Nuclear waste backfilling,” Thursday) apparently intends to persuade us that moving nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain is a good idea. Unfortunately, he uses the industry’s argument that nuclear materials are just too dangerous to leave them where they have been sitting for the past 40 years, hurting no one.

Mr. Glassman tells us these materials are now “exposed to terrorism, corrosion and just plain accidents…The waste will start leaking into drinking-water supplies.” The material can’t leak anywhere because its ceramic pellets, clad in corrosion-resistant metal, inside stainless steel casks.

As reported in the authoritative journal Science, there’s nothing a terrorist could do to these casks that could cause a significant public hazard.

It’s probably useful to have one or more places to store this “spent fuel” until we’re ready a few decades hence to recover the valuable materials it contains. Yucca Mountain is better than most places for it. But in its hurry to get the material off its hands, the industry has agreed to ridiculous specifications and scared us into believing they are necessary.

Radioactive materials stay toxic for a long time, but get less toxic every day. Non-radioactive poisons — selenium, mercury, arsenic, lead — stay toxic forever, never diminishing.

The only waste at Yucca Mountain is misspent money.


Chevy Chase

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