- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lover of the ‘Skins no more

Daniel Snyder is quoted in an interview with The Washington Times as saying, “The vilification I get is from the media, not the fans” (“Dan dishes,” Sports, Wednesday). He is so out of touch it is laughable.

My father and his friends have had Redskins season tickets since 1952, and I have attended games for more than 30 years. However, my dislike of Mr. Snyder’s immense ego, his treatment of the fans, and his bumbling ways have ruined my love for the team.

I am tired of hearing how he is spending so much money, and that you can’t fault his effort. He has done all he can to squeeze the very last dime out of the fans — everything from charging for training camp, to building the famous fence at Landover Mall, to enforcing the famous “sidewalk law,” to his aborted attempt at the Redskins credit card. The list goes on and on, despite the way he brags that he hasn’t raised the price of my $79 seat in four years. Gee, thanks. I have been to only one game in the last two years, and it is not because of the media.

Maybe we won’t renew the tickets this year. Oops, too late, the money was due on March 15, nearly six months before the opening game.


Indian Head

Illegal immigrants and Virginia

I found amusing the comments by Jack Powers, director of community programs in Alexandria, who was paraphrased as saying that “the city does not have the money or people to check for illegal immigrants” (“Virginia counties decry alien bill,” Page 1, Tuesday). “This is just too far-reaching,” Mr. Powers said. “Where would the resources come from to do this additional screening?”

Resources for additional screening?

What is he talking about? The point of the bill is to require a person to present valid proof that he or she is here by legal means. That takes about five seconds at the start of an interview or application.

For first-time applicants, that means that they need to show a green card or an I-94 immigration form (for other than as a visitor), or other document issued by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services or Customs and Border Protection. These are the only two agencies that are lawfully authorized to give an immigrant documentation that proves legal presence.

For people who might be receiving aid or assistance from local government agencies, all that needs to be done is to ask that person to provide the documents mentioned above at his or her next office or clinic visit.

Mr. Powers also stated that he is worried that the city could be held in violation for providing access to soup kitchens, shelters for the homeless and crisis counseling. As these services are given to anyone on an anonymous basis, I don’t see how the city could or would need to account for these.

It’s time Virginians realize that their high taxes need to be focused on solving problems that don’t involve making life easier for someone who chooses to be in the country illegally.



In defense of Armenia

Hoping to smear Armenia and somehow make Azerbaijan look good, S. Rob Sobhani cites an alleged illegal arms deal involving an Armenian national that was never even consummated (A ‘warehouse of evil,’ Op-Ed, Monday).

The fact is that Armenia is the only country in that region of the world whose government, territory and citizens have never had links to al Qaeda or extremist Islamic organizations. That’s one reason Armenia has the largest U.S. embassy ever built.

Contrast that with Azerbaijan, which imported Afghan Mujahideen mercenaries to wage war against Karabakh Armenians. Dr. Yossef Bodansky, director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, has cited Azerbaijan as a base and transit point for violent Islamic groups with ties to Osama bin Laden. Nagorno Karabakh is a small democratic Armenian state that refuses ever again to submit to repressive Azeri rulers, such as the Aliyev dynasty that sits in Baku.

Which type of government would principled Americans prefer to support, Karabakh’s kind or President Ilkham Aliyev’s? It’s a no-brainer.


Newton, Mass.

Servant to God and king

I was intrigued by the argument offered by Bruce Fein in his Tuesday Commentary column, “Law libretto.” Mr. Fein cites the case of Sir Thomas More to bolster the argument of “the superiority of the rule of law to theological encyclicals.” He thereby urges all to acknowledge and accept the judicial rulings in the Terri Schiavo case.

The More case would seem an odd choice to support this proposition — for it was that same Thomas More who was executed for refusing to obey a law handed down by his government.

Although a loyal Englishman, he would not obey or accept a law that he knew to be evil. To quote More from “A Man for All Seasons”: “[W]hen statesmen forsake their own private consciences for the sake of their public duties … they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”

At the same time, he maintained respect and loyalty to that state and did not do violence against it. Thus, Thomas More died “the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” So may we all.



Combating TB

Sunday’s Commentary column by the heads of the U.S., British and Canadian development agencies (“Combating TB”), correctly spotlights the exemplary work these organizations are doing to help millions infected with tuberculosis.

However, curing those with TB is only part of the battle. Vaccines that can prevent TB infection are also critically important. Although the major international development agencies are providing significant support to treat people with TB, they have not provided significant investment in TB vaccine development. This is unfortunate because scientists predict that a relatively small increase in investment could produce a new TB vaccine within a decade.

The currently available vaccine, BCG, was developed nearly a century ago and fails to protect most people. A new TB vaccine is widely considered among the most achievable tools to improve global public health.

Multiple TB vaccine candidates have been developed over the past 15 years, and several have shown significant promise in animal studies. At least three candidate vaccines are in human trials.

To effectively turn the tide against TB, the major international development agencies need to support development of TB vaccines, just as they do for malaria and HIV vaccines. Science offers us the possibility of finally defeating one of humanity’s great plagues. We must seize this opportunity.


President and CEO

Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation


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