- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 1, 2005

Robbing Washington, giving to Angelos

One month into the Nationals’ first season, Major League Baseball and Peter Angelos have removed any semblance of trust that Washington fans might have had in either MLB or our rivals in Baltimore. Backward television deals and colluded payments disproportionately benefit Mr. Angelos and the Orioles (“Network deal gives Angelos huge fee,” Page 1, Friday). Bud Selig and Bob Dupuy, baseball’s No. 1 and No. 2, have lost any sense of fair play or ethics in kowtowing to Mr. Angelos’ demands. Washington residents must stand up and refuse to support the Orioles in response.

MLB’s disregard for the long-term financial well-being of the Nationals is illogical and just wrong. MLB has offered almost no budget for marketing and advertising and has found multiple ways to limit the team’s expected sources of revenue. The latest news, that MLB will pay Mr. Angelos $75 million for a stake in the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, means the Nationals are forced to pay someone else for their own television broadcasts. That’s the worst deal in all of sports. Never has supporting Comcast seemed like a reasonable option, but its lawsuit against MASN and MLB might be the only hope for Nats fans to see quality television coverage and for the Nationals to retain a reasonable profit from television rights.

Nats fans aren’t naive enough to believe baseball isn’t “big business,” but MLB and Peter Angelos have shown us just how seedy and tarnished they have made our national pastime. This is yet another reason the antitrust exemption must be removed by Congress.



A post-Whitehurst Washington

In your editorial “Save the freeway?” (April 21), you ask whether the Whitehurst Freeway should be removed. For the sake of the long-term development of the District, I believe the unequivocal answer is yes.

By removing the Whitehurst, Washington would be following in the footsteps of cities across the country that have realized that urban waterfronts are key to successful development. Boston and San Francisco, as you point out, have removed major roadways to improve access to their coastlines. Pittsburgh transformed an industrial wasteland into a park, and Providence, R.I., has scheduled regular art installations and performances along its three rivers. Washington itself has several waterfront-reclamation plans in the works. Most notable is the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, which will support the explosive development occurring in Southwest, link to a citywide network of parks and pathways and provide environmental benefits. The removal of the Whitehurst is an important piece of the puzzle.

Despite all the benefits of the proposal, your concerns about the traffic impacts of removing the Whitehurst are valid. The city’s Office of Planning is undertaking a feasibility study — including counts of existing and projected traffic volumes — in order to better understand the project’s ramifications. However, current urban-planning principles recognize that in most cases, roads do not alleviate congestion. In a car-centric society like ours, increased supply only increases demand. What is needed is a holistic approach to solving the city’s traffic problems. Public transportation must be more accessible and more convenient to encourage use, and perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to install a long-overdue Metro stop in Georgetown. As for automobile traffic, it could be pushed underground (as in Boston’s Big Dig) or simply re-routed onto other major roads.

Experiencing Washington’s waterfront should not be limited to views from a speeding car atop the Whitehurst Freeway. This and other barriers to the river must be removed so that everyone — not just those with cars or those able to afford Georgetown’s harbor restaurants — may have access.




Arnold and the Minutemen

Kudos to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for praising the Minutemen and for not opposing their plans for patrols in California to help wage the critical war against illegal immigration (“Schwarzenegger praises ‘minutemen,’” Around the Nation, Saturday).

The Minutemen haveshown that illegal immigration can bestopped, and a growing number of brave politicians, including Mr. Schwarzenegger, are finally getting it right on this vital national security issue.

Once the borders have been secured, the next priority will be to identify and deport the millions of illegal immigrants in the United States.

Note to U.S. authorities: If advice isneeded on procedures forrapid deportation of large numbers of illegals, refer to the Mexican government and its methods. Mexican President Vicente Fox — so anxious to dump illegalsinto America so that we can educate and provide them with health care — is quite militant and efficient in kicking illegals who invade Mexico from his own country’s southern borders out of his country.


San Jose, Calif.

The record on animal experiments

David Martosko set a new record for error and distortion in his attack on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s support of clinical research and opposition to animal experiments (“Attack on medical research,” Op-Ed, April 21). As PCRM’s president, I want to offer corrections.

First, it’s no surprise that Mr. Martosko, who speaks for the misleadingly named Center for Consumer Freedom, is a cheerleader for animal experiments. CCF has received $2.9 million from tobacco giant Philip Morris and also is funded by the meat and junk-food industries.

Inhalation tests on animals consistently suggested that tobacco was “safe.” Similarly, experiments on dogs or cats would show that cholesterol and animal fat pose no risk. These conclusions serve Mr. Martosko’s industry sponsors well. However, human population studies convicted tobacco for its role in lung cancer and linked meat to colon cancer.

Mr. Martosko’s organization does not simply defend products that make Americans sick; it attacks those who aim to keep us well. Using whatever absurdities it can muster, CCF has attacked Mothers Against Drunk Driving, former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giulianiand many others. True to form, Mr. Martosko’s recent diatribe included an error-filled personal attack on me.

In 1984, I completed my medical training at George Washington University. Specializing in psychiatry, I have never entirely stopped seeing patients with psychiatric disorders. In the 1990s, I became the principal investigator for several research trials, including a current National Institutes of Health-funded nutrition study on people with diabetes. So when Mr. Martosko labels me “a psychiatrist with no medical practice,” he demonstrates his penchant for distortion.

Mr. Martosko faults PCRM for having accepted donations from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other animal-protection organizations. PETA never provided a major part of PCRM’s budget, but we appreciate the opportunity to work with others to challenge cruel policies and bad science. In 2000 and 2001, PCRM, PETA, the Foundation to Support Animal Protection and others tried to prevent a misguided Environmental Protection Agency program involving animal poisoning tests on thousands of industrial chemicals. Unfortunately, the program moved ahead, and it has proved cruel, expensive and useless. Not one chemical has been withdrawn from the market as a result of the tests.

Another CCF distortion relates to PCRM’s strict spokesperson policy, which forbids any comment that could be taken as promoting discrimination or illegal activity. This policy has become relevant only once. Some years ago, Dr. Jerry Vlasak, a surgeon who previously had been a PCRM spokesperson, was invited to comment in a debate about activist tactics, including illegal tactics. Although he was not speaking for PCRM at the time, his remarks easily could have been construed as permissive of such activity, and, as a result, Dr. Vlasak is no longer a PCRM spokesperson or member. Mr. Martosko characterizes the episode as suggesting that PCRM tolerates illegal activity, when, in fact, it shows the opposite.


Physicians Committee for

Responsible Medicine


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