- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Coach stayed too long

Dick Heller’s column, “Gibbs’ retirement in ‘93 ended era for Redskins” (Sports, Monday), recalls the Hall of Fame history of Redskins coach Joe Gibbs and predicts success for him and the team in the future. I’m not so sure he’ll be a savior this time around.

I’m reminded of another Hall of Fame coach who stayed too long at the fair, the Miami Dolphins’ Don Shula. For many years, he figured out how to win with different athletes who had different styles. It was said that Shula could take his’n and beat your’n or take your’n and beat his’n. Then the magic seemingly vanished. What happened?

It looked pretty certain that the league had passed by the one-time legend, that Shula simply had lost touch (magic or otherwise). Has the same thing happened to Gibbs? Nobody knows yet, but by collecting a geriatric dream team of former coaches and trying to do things the way he used to do them, Gibbs may have exposed his own use before expiration date. The old boys have seemed simply out of touch, dinosaurs of another era. Only the contemporary defensive coach has enjoyed much success, precisely because of his familiarity with the league as it is now.

That’s my assessment, and I reckon that even the oft-smitten Dan Snyder will figure it out after a few more dismal seasons. What’s the saw about teaching old dogs new tricks?

DAVID KROSS

Columbia, Md.

Dean’s hateful message

An Associated Press report tells us that “an activist group from the Seattle area” gave Howard Dean a “backbone” award a year ago (“Dean award becomes badge,” Nation, Saturday).

Now let us turn to Jan. 29. On that date, two weeks before he was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Mr. Dean said, “I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for.” Hating one’s political adversaries does not constitute a display of “backbone.” It does, however, constitute a display of hostility.

The AP writes, “As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Mr. Dean appears to be trying to shift from flamboyant presidential candidate to cautious party spokesman.”

It also notes that he has “given tame descriptions of the party’s position on abortion and same-sex ‘marriage.’ ”

It strains credulity to believe that the preacher of “hate” of Jan. 29 miraculously became “cautious” and “tame” on ascending to the chairmanship.

How could the Democratic Party elect Mr. Dean chairman after he delivered his message of hate? Where are the Democratic leaders who repudiate such enmity?

NATHAN DODELL

Rockville

The asbestos ‘trust fund’

Two main problems exist within the current asbestos litigation system (“The asbestos bill,” Op-Ed, Tuesday). First, the victims who suffer most from the effects of asbestos exposure (primarily senior citizens) are not the ones receiving the compensation being awarded by juries throughout the country. Second, because of the enormous settlements being awarded (90 percent to “victims” whose exposure to asbestos has yet to affect their daily lives), 74 companies have gone into bankruptcy and more than 60,000 jobs have been lost, severely hindering America’s economic growth.

In his Op-Ed column, Sen. Arlen Specter mentioned the Senate Judiciary Committee’s work on legislation that would establish a $140 billion trust fund to fairly compensate workers based on the severity of their injuries — just like workman’s compensation.

Mr. Specter goes on to say that the Judiciary Committee is soon coming to a crossroads where compromises must be made or this latest opportunity to repair our flawed system will be lost. On behalf of the more than 4 million seniors represented by the Seniors Coalition, I call upon Mr. Specter and his colleagues in the Senate Judiciary Committee to make the common-sense decision to establish this trust fund. That way, those who suffer will be compensated, and it will remove an obstacle stunting our nation’s economic growth.

BEN BOXER

Director of public affairs

Seniors Coalition

Fairfax

Stop playing politics with safety

I found John B. Roberts II’s Tuesday Op-Ed column, “Close Mexican border to terrorists,” citing the dangers of al Qaeda terrorists entering the United States via our virtually undefended southern border, alarming. Unfortunately, I firmly believe that the Bush administration will be unmoved even by overwhelming evidence of an al Qaeda incursion from Mexico. Mr. Bush has made it quite clear by his words and his actions that he will continue to ensure a steady supply of cheap labor to the business interests that supported his candidacy by underfunding and underequipping the Border Patrol and by promising yet another amnesty for aliens who entered the United States illegally.

Mr. Bush’s flaccid response to what has become an illegal immigration crisis also has been precipitated by his determination to pander to the Hispanic voter based upon the notion — at best unproven and at worst false — that the majority of Hispanics in the United States are in favor of an open border with Mexico.

Recent reliable evidence suggests that Third World immigrants are a net drain on the U.S. economy. Immigrant smugglers and drug runners are becoming increasingly brazen and violent, destroying property and engaging in frequent and deadly gun battles with our undermanned Border Patrol. Reports show that Mexican Army troops have begun providing escort to smugglers — even entering U.S. territory. Now we are told that terrorists are seeking to bring weapons of mass destruction into our country via Mexico.

It is essential that our president stop playing politics with the safety and security of our country and do his duty by taking whatever steps are necessary to gain control of our borders.

STEVEN C. BUITRON

Baldwinsville, N.Y.

Time ripe for Hillary

I am a liberal Democrat who would happily vote in 2008 for Hillary Rodham Clinton to be our next president. (“Chameleon campaigner” Commentary, Monday). She would be much better than the president we have and better than anyone the Republicans might nominate as their candidate. Conservatives are so sure they are right on every issue; they are unable to admit mistakes or acknowledge they were wrong.

David Limbaugh seems to think liberals and liberalism are bad and out of the nation’s mainstream. After President Bush’s second term, the American people will be clamoring for a new president to take the country in a different direction. Mr. Bush’s call to privatize Social Security and become an ownership society connotes selfishness and a “survival of the fittest” mind-set. Most everything our president does on the economic front is primarily for his rich friends who put him in office.

The time is ripe for liberal Democrats to stop trying to be Republican-lite and return to their roots of standing up for the regular people — the majority — who are getting the shaft from the Bush administration. Mrs. Clinton has a tough mind and a tender heart, two qualities we want our president to have. If she is the Democratic nominee, I believe her ability, strength and character will enable her to withstand the heavily funded effort to destroy her campaign.

PAUL L. WHITELEY SR.

Louisville, Ky.

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