- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2005

Sleepy scholars

Kudos to Kathleen Maloney-Dunn for her well-researched article on the reason so many school systems have switched to later high-school start times (“Rise and shine?” Family Times, Sunday).

Here in Fairfax County, which prides itself on being ahead of the curve in all things school-related, we are just waking up to the crucial need to let teens sleep.

Our grass-roots organization has worked for close to two years to raise awareness in our county of the health and safety benefits of later high-school start times. At our Web site (www.SLEEPinFairfax.org), we have more than 4,800 signatures of Fairfax residents on our petition urging the school board to act. We cannot continue to expect our students to meet school-buses as early as 5:23 a.m. (the first school-bus pick-up time in Fairfax County).

With the recent hiring of a transportation consultant to realign bus schedules to accommodate a later secondary school start, we are hopeful of change. But (with apologies to Robert Frost) we have miles to go before we sleep.

SANDRA EVANS

PHYLLIS PAYNE

Co-founders, SLEEP (Start Later for Excellence in Education Proposal)

Falls Church

Cyprus and Turkey

“An uphill climb” (Op-Ed, Tuesday) is nothing but a dissembling falsehood from the pen of a one-sided journalist who does not seem to understand that Cyprus is the one that has been held hostage by Turkey for more than 30 years, and not the other way around.

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 and still occupies over one-third of its territory in flagrant violation of U.N. resolutions and numerous decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. This is a historical fact.

Another fact is that the totality of the territory of Cyprus is now a member of the European Union, a club that Turkey aspires to join. Yet, Ankara issues a statement saying it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, one of the club members.

Miss Daloglu justifies the unjustifiable by citing last year’s negative vote by the vast majority of Greek Cypriots against a U.N.-proposed reunification plan that did not adequately address the fundamental concerns of one of the two sides.

That vote was not against reunification. The government of Cyprus is dedicated to bringing about a just reunification. The question is whether Turkey is willing to extend its custom-union agreement to the 10 new members of the EU, including Cyprus.

Will it open its ports and airspace to Cypriot-flagged ships and planes? Will it work constructively toward a settlement in Cyprus that will be agreeable to both sides? And finally, will it withdraw its thousands of troops and illegal settlers from an EU member state?

Miss Daloglu seems to be rewriting history as easily as she misrepresents it. How else can one interpret her comment about Cyprus being the EU’s “trojan horse” — the one delaying the development of an independent European foreign and defense policy — which she also describes as Greece’s gift to the club? Cyprus is an independent, sovereign country that is a member of the United Nations and the European Union and supports Turkey’s EU aspirations. The only country that doesn’t recognize this is Turkey. And, obviously, Miss Daloglu.

ANNIE CHARALAMBOUS

Press counselor

Embassy of Cyprus

Washington

Tom DeLay and the GOP’s future

Some Republicans are currently wringing their hands over the plight of deposed House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, concerned that the Republican agenda could be derailed with him no longer at the helm to push it through (“The DeLay indictment,” Editorial, yesterday). I do not join these fellow Republicans in their angst.

I see great potential for positive developments through Mr. DeLay’s removal, as he has helped to steer the nation in the wrong direction and has abandoned cherished Republican Party hallmarks.

Mr. DeLay, through his consistent actions relating to ethics, the injection of massive amounts of money in politics, which is laundered for maximum benefit for his causes du jour, and “employing” family members at lucrative salaries, has possibly committed violations of law, but at the very least has shown that he has a tin ear, that he has no concern about the appearance of impropriety.

The GOP has traditionally stood for smaller, less intrusive government, yet Mr. DeLay has joined our drunken-sailor-in-chief president and spendthrift fellow members of Congress in consistently seeking to maximize government’s reach.

His endorsement and heralding of the pork-laden highway and energy bills and enacting the largest entitlement since the days of the giveaways of President Lyndon Johnson’s disastrous Great Society programs, strip him of any credentials he may claim as a leader in the party of fiscal responsibility.

In one of the most shameful episodes in our nation’s history, Mr. DeLay abandoned the tenet of getting the government out of the way through his exploitation of the Terri Schiavo debacle, asserting that he knew better than Mrs. Schiavo’s physicians what her physical state was and whether she could be rehabilitated.

He was proven to be completely wrong, but has not apologized for his overreaching into the most private and horrific event a family ever is forced to confront.

A new House leader who is truly beholden to the roots of our party, and who is a person that values honesty and integrity and will be mindful of ethical considerations and appearances, could improve our party and its appeal and remove a punching bag Democrats have struck with repeated success and resonance.

Tom DeLay has failed his party and the nation. If he is to remain a member of Congress, may it be as a backbencher, not a leader. We have a lot of work to do before the 2006 elections. Let us begin now to rebuild the Republican Party and with it provide the American people what they deserve: good, honest government.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Gas, political falsehoods and hypocrisy

Richard W. Rahn has it exactly right on claims of gasoline price malfeasance (“Price-gouging?” Commentary, Thursday), but never underestimate the propensity of our elected officials to do the wrong thing in time of crisis. Of course, with recent events, that is an understatement.

Having lived through the Carter-invented gas shortage of 1980 and the attempt to ration by a set of rules rather than price, my greatest fear is that it will be repeated.

I remember long lines and fistfights at the pump. There may have been rationing by license-plate number and odd-even days for buying gas, as I recall.It made no difference whether you were a doctor trying to get to the hospital, a stay-at-home parent or a retiree out to top off your tank.

The rules ignored all of this.The government rationing system ignored price and substituted time and public inconvenience and safety (or lack of it), all the while ignoring each individual’s need as related to the price they were willing to pay.

Gasoline and oil will run out some day, but the current shortage has a purely political origin. As pointed out in the Wall Street Journal this week, the return on investment for the refining industry in the last 10 or 15 years has been about 50 percent of that of the companies in the S&P 500. If the oil industry could make big money on building refineries, they would have done it already.

Of course, the contrast between gas prices and the public’s perception of the moral rightness of being able to sell a home for whatever the market will bear, and reap a windfall, made all the more possible by the $500,000 capital-gains exclusion, is just stark public hypocrisy.

SAMUEL BURKEEN

Reston


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