- The Washington Times - Monday, March 21, 2005

‘Time to move on,’ Sen Byrd

West Virginians are justifiably proud of the exploits of the West Virginia University basketball teams for their excellent showings in the Big East tournaments and their invitations to the men’s NCAA tournament and the women’s National Invitation Tournament. Unfortunately, at the same time, we are ducking our heads when friends and colleagues ask us, “What in the world has happened to Senator Byrd?” (“Democrats to maintain filibusters on Bush nominees,” Page 1, March 2).

Unlike the Mountaineers, Sen. Robert C. Byrd has given us cause for embarrassment. First, he compared his Republican colleagues in the Senate to Hitler’s Nazis for changing Senate rules. Then we found that he had done the same thing himself. Then he was a speaker at a rally sponsored by radical billionaire George Soros’ favorite group, Moveon.org. His topic? How to defeat what the group called “Bush’s far-right corporate judicial nominees.”

We do need to ask ourselves the question, “What has happened to Mr. Byrd?” Many West Virginians admire his rags-to-riches story, his command of Senate rules and, yes, even his oratorical skills.

As interesting as his story is, it does not counter his current level of rage and extreme rhetoric. I think he is still fighting the last election.

Rather than accept that West Virginia rejected his candidate and voted overwhelmingly for the president’s re-election, he seems to be trying to void the results through tirades and trickery. This is not the senator West Virginians looked up to and wanted as their spokesman. Mr. Byrd needs to take the name of the extremist group to heart: Move on, senator.

If Mr. Byrd chooses to stand for re-election, I predict that he will be opposed vigorously and that West Virginians are going to closely examine his recent statements as well as his entire body of work.

In November 2006, it is more than possible that West Virginians will say, “It’s time to move on, Mr. Byrd.”

MICK STATON

Former U.S. representative

Inwood, W.Va.

Guarding Mexican border no picnic

I have the utmost respect for James Gilchrist and his volunteers in the Minuteman Project, who will patrol the Arizona border starting April 1 to aid in slowing the movement of illegal aliens across the U.S.-Mexican border (“Border vigil ‘not a call to arms,’ ” Nation, Wednesday). I am surprised, however, at the stated goals and some of the comments made by the leadership.

This is described as a peaceful demonstration to protest the government’s failure to control illegal immigration. I hope Mr. Gilchrist means the Mexican government and President Vicente Fox. It is Mexican policies and programs that advocate and encourage illegal aliens. Let’s keep the eye on the ball. This is not Woodstock. This part of the border is one of the most dangerous places on the planet. A lizard would rather move than stay here. The Minutemen will face a bandit society across the border that has no concern for the laws of a civilized society.

Chris Simcox, another organizer, has cautioned his volunteers to be respectful of the Mexican government. If the volunteers are no closer than a mile from the border, why should they care? What are Mexican government officials doing on this side of the border in the first place?

For all of their best intentions, Mr. Gilchrist and Mr. Simcox are on a fool’s errand. They act as if this is some picnic with campfires and a singalong. The Mexican government has made the border a very dangerous place by intent, not by accident. They should be confronting the Mexican government at every consulate in the United States, not on some obscure sand pile that even the press corps won’t visit.

WILSON L. FARIS

Gaithersburg

A wise appointment

President Bush has sent a second sheepdog to guard a coyote den with the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to the presidency of the World Bank (“Paul Wolfowitz picked to lead World Bank,” Page 1, Thursday).

Reform of this institution has been needed since its creation, and its policies have long been an obstacle to the creation of vigorous, market-based economies in the Third World. There is a strong constituency for policy as usual from the band of kleptocrats and surviving socialists who profit from the old ways of the World Bank. We should stop giving bargain loans to nations that have ready access to traditional sources of capital.

Perhaps it is time to remind a forgetful public that the supreme architect of the World Bank was Treasury official Harry Dexter White. White was a dedicated Soviet agent (albeit a bit timid in carrying out his espionage tasks) who did his utmost to bend our fiscal policies to suit the demands of the Kremlin. Among White’s other ploys was the “donation” of currency printing plates (for postwar German marks) to the Soviet Union. This facilitated a drain on our economy as the currency was exchanged for American dollars.

There will be the expected cries of anguish from the usual suspects, but this is testimony to the wisdom of this appointment.

ARTHUR DOWNS

Severna Park, Md.

A lesson in sex-ed

Cheryl Wetzstein incorrectly referred to some programs as “abstinence education,” which could lead to misunderstanding (“Virginity pledgers found no less susceptible to ills,” Nation, Saturday). The accurate reference is “abstinence-only” education, which is different. At issue is whether to teach abstinence but also contraception and consequences of sexual activity or to teach only abstinence.

Opponents of abstinence-only education do not oppose teaching abstinence; proponents of abstinence-only programs oppose teaching contraception and consequences of sexual activity.

The distinction ought to be made.

BOB HOFFMAN

Grandview, Mo.

The sounds of silence

The article “Unnaturally quiet” by Ann Geracimos (Metropolitan, March 8) provided valuable information to your readers. Her messages about the dangers of loud noise to hearing and the importance of caring for one’s hearing health provided a public service because problems are often not fully realized until it is too late and the gift of healthy hearing has been lost.

The article also benefited your readers by informing them of the comprehensive services provided by audiologists — the professionals who are nationally certified and licensed to practice autonomously in a manner similar to otologists. By virtue of these credentials, the public is assured that audiologists use clinical skills and judgment to diagnose hearing loss, balance and related disorders, and make appropriate referrals for follow-up care for people of all ages.

DOLORES E. BATTLE

President

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Rockville

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