Thursday, July 29, 2004

Ethical beach management

This is in response to an Associated Press story that appeared in The Washington Times on Monday (“Beach-rating group criticized over fees,” Nation). The Clean Beaches Council would like to address the issues raised by California lobbyist Steve Aceti, who claims our organization is seeking to “blackmail” Southern California beaches into our voluntary program.

The Clean Beaches Council’s environmental audit and certification are no different from many of the non-contested audit and certification programs conducted in other professions. (For example, teachers pay a fee to receive professional certification, and companies that receive International Organization for Standardization certification pay an “approved” organization to issue that certification.)

Responsible management of beaches is an ethic we promote nationwide. Mr. Aceti’s effort to smear our program because of the fee (which amounts to a week at the beach) does not take away from the good work that certified beaches throughout the nation are doing to be clean and healthy.



Clean Beaches Council


A clear choice

Your Monday editorial “Kerry’s coronation” states succinctly the most important reason why John Kerry must never be president of the United States. “Since 1970, shortly after his return from Vietnam, Mr. Kerry has been a tireless critic of a robust American posture against tyranny abroad.”

In his famous (or infamous) testimony before the Senate on April 22, 1971, Mr. Kerry said the following about the threat to America from communists:

“I think it is bogus, totally artificial. There is no threat. The communists are not about to take over our McDonald hamburger stands.

“Senator, I will say this. I think that politically, historically, the one thing that people try to do, that society is structured on as a whole, is an attempt to satisfy their felt needs, and you can satisfy those needs with almost any kind of political structure, giving it one name or the other. In this name, it is democratic; in others it is communism; in others it is benevolent dictatorship. As long as those needs are satisfied, that structure will exist. But when you start to neglect those needs, people will start to demand a new structure, and that, to me, is the only threat that this country faces now, because we are not responding to the needs, and we are not responding to them because we work on these old Cold War precepts and because we have not woken up to realizing what is happening in the United States of America.”

At a Democratic debate in South Carolina in January, Mr. Kerry said the following about the threat to America from terrorism:

“I think there has been an exaggeration. — [The Bush administration is] really misleading all of America… in a profound way. The war on terror is less — it is occasionally military, and it will be, and it will continue to be for a long time… But it’s primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation.”

Voters should focus on these statements. Whether this nation has a future will turn on the ability of voters in sufficient number to discern the inadequacy of this approach to tyranny and of the man (and party) who espouse it.


Falls Church

Tear down the Green Line

In his July 23 Commentary column “Moving forward on Cyprus,” Mehmet Ali Talat, prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (which is recognized only by Turkey) asserts incorrectly that the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is the fault of Greek Cypriots. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots was caused and continues to be caused by the Turkish military’s 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus and the Green Line barbed-wire fence erected by the Turkish military across the face of Cyprus. To contend otherwise is Orwellian.

The opening of parts of the Green Line in Nicosia last year and the more than 1 million crossings by Greek and Turkish Cypriots have demonstrated beyond a doubt that the Greek and Turkish Cypriots can live and work together and that there is no security problem for Turkish Cypriots. Mr. Talat recently refused the request of the president of Cyprus, Tassos Papadopoulos, to increase the number of openings.

The Turkish military made these decisions, not the Greek Cypriots. There is a way for Turkish Cypriots to improve their economic condition. It is not by distorting history and the facts. Instead, Mr. Talat should call on Turkey to remove the 35,000 troops from the island and tear down the Green Line. Do these things now, and the economic conditions in the north will improve substantially. The choice is for the Turkish military and the Turkish Cypriots to make.



American Hellenic Institute


A gentle ear and a helping hand

The comments and accusations made by Diane Lenning regarding my career while I served as a teacher at Concord Academy were not only personally hurtful but inaccurate and potentially libelous (“NEA groups protest award to gay studies activist,” Nation, July 3). Mrs. Lenning both misstates Massachusetts state law and grossly mischaracterizes a situation with a student who needed a teacher to talk to as described in my book “One Teacher in Ten.”

Since founding Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) as a national organization in 1995, I have dedicated my life to ensuring that all students, particularly lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender students, learn in school environments free of harassment and discrimination. More than four out of five of such students report being verbally harassed, and 64.3 percent note that they feel unsafe in their own schools. With these facts in mind, it is disheartening that Mrs. Lenning would challenge any teacher lending a gentle ear and a helping hand to a student in need.


Executive director

Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network

New York

A knee-jerk reaction

Audrey Hudson’s article “Syrians flew with expired visas” (Page 1, Tuesday) only exacerbated the level of ignorance and yellow journalism expressed in her earlier article addressing the same topic, “Scouting jetliners for new attacks” (Page 1, July 22).

Ms. Hudson’s editorializing in the two front-page stories smacks of the opportunistic bigotry so far reserved, almost exclusively, for extreme right-wing AM radio talk-show hosts and, on occasion, certain pundits on the Fox News Channel. The two stories, by default, advocate for the profiling of Arabs and Arab Americans.

The level of ignorance used in attempting to rationalize the irrational only reflects a delayed, superficial, knee-jerk reaction against the horrible and inhuman events of September 11. The Bush administration and law enforcement experts have made it clear that blanket profiling of individuals on such general bases as race, gender or national origin is an ineffective tool in the war against terrorism, just as we painfully learned of its ineffectiveness in the war on drugs.

Our nation is at war for the definition of what it means to be American. Our worst enemies are those few individuals, on all sides, who act based on their emotions to bring about changes that can damage our way of life and liberty. While extremists, be they foreign or domestic, continue to advocate a clash of civilizations, we should learn from our historical mistakes and understand once and for all that the approach of “with us or against us” has no place in this magnificent mosaic, the nation of nations we call the United States of America.


Director, legal policy

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee


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