- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Slavery’s slavic origins (cont.)

Reader Douglas M. Forbes is wrong on the meaning of the word “slav” in German (“Slavery’s slavic origins,” Letters, Saturday).

In fact, the word “slav” with a supposed double meaning of “slave” and “Slav” does not exist. The German terms are “sklave” (slave, derived from the Latin “sclavus,” referring to Slavic slaves) and “Slawe,” which refers to members of Slavic nations.

THOMAS MOHR

Vienna, Austria

Kerry: friend or foe?

There has been a fair amount of controversy over Sen. John Kerry’s claimed contacts with foreign leaders and their supposed endorsement of his candidacy for president (“Kerry ‘endorsements’ under fire,” Page 1, yesterday).

I find it disturbing that he might fabricate such a claim. However, I find it more disturbing that it may be true. The notion that he would conduct back-channel foreign policy against the interests of the sitting president (and therefore against the interests of the country) for personal political gain is the real issue here and is a far more serious concern than the idea that he might put forth false claims.

We have only one president at a time in this country, and Mr. Kerry needs to realize that he is not it. We live in dangerous times, and Mr. Kerry going off and conducting a shadow government in league with foreign leaders puts all of us at risk. We can only hope that he is actually lying about this, because the alternative is far worse.

PATRICK T. McDONALD

Tall Timbers, Md.

Trim the fat

Regarding “Fast food and fat lawsuits,” by Jacob Sullum (Commentary, Monday):

We all should be ashamed that Congress has to address this issue when instead people should be taking personal responsibility for overindulging on fast food.

We all know the pitfalls of fast food, and yet too many of us point a finger when the calories, cholesterol and clogged arteries become a problem.

It’s time for all of us to take responsibility for our own actions — including making that unscheduled stop at the corner ice cream shop.

BILL SUMMERS

President

Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

Weslaco, Texas

The choice is clear

This week’s shocking Spanish election results should serve as a canary in the coal mine to the American electorate (“Spain ousts ruling party,” Page 1, Monday). The attacks last Thursday on the Spanish rail system were a horrific act. Unfortunately,votersfrom Barcelona to Madrid refused to place the blame where it belonged: on the terrorists.

In a moment of collective weakness, Spanish voters threw out the conservative Popular Party of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. In its place, they installed a pacifist, socialist government. The Socialists’ leader, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has stated a desire to establish ties with the appeasers in Berlin and Paris. He also vowed to bring Spanish troops home from Iraq. What a terrible message to send to al Qaeda.

Although it is sad, it comes as no surprise that the terrorists’ goals succeeded in Western Europe. Osama bin Laden apparently calculated wisely and got exactly what he wanted: the defeat of the pro-America government in a general election based entirely on the murders of civilians.

Now, the United States has one fewer ally to count on. American voters need to wake up and realize that terror, not the economy, is the most important issue this November. The choice is clear. Sen. John Kerry’s words and votes prove he doesn’t have the stomach for the fight. The fear and hatred terrorists feel for President Bush confirm he’s the man for the job.

JOSH DRAZEN

East Haven, Conn.

Washing away the facts

I suppose one of the nice things about being a columnist is that you can write your opinions even if facts don’t support them. How easy it is for Tom Knott to indict the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (WASA), conveniently ignoring any information that doesn’t go along with his beliefs (“Don’t swallow city’s excuses for lead in water,” Metropolitan, March 4).

However, I must say it is clear to me that not all columnists are created equal. Before she wrote her piece about WASA (“WASA chief: ‘facts will overcome fear’ on lead,” Metropolitan, March 2), columnist Adrienne Washington at least bothered to call me, the general manager of WASA, and ask some pointed and very challenging questions, listen to the answers and formulate her opinion based on the answers to her questions. I never heard from Mr. Knott. Nor did anyone else at WASA. But of course facts might have gotten in the way of the column he was writing.

Readers of The Washington Times should know the following:

• Our highest priority at WASA is to provide safe, clean water for the residents, guests and visitors of the nation’s capital.

• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers processes the District’s drinking water, and WASA delivers it.

• The Environmental Protection Agency regulates quality, and WASA has been in compliance with all the water-quality regulations.

m WASA found the problem of elevated levels of lead in the water, WASA notified residents about the lead issue, WASA is looking for solutions to the problem, and WASA is working with the local and federal officials and health experts in the agency that will ultimately have to fix the problem.

Providing accurate and timely information is an important function of the media. Misleading the public and creating fear, anxiety and anger is not what the media should be doing. The public would be best served by more of the former and less of the latter.

JERRY JOHNSON

General manager

Water and Sewer Authority

Washington

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