- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 1, 2006

Fairness and immigration reform

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, says he is concerned about “fairness” in the current matter about immigration (“Panel OKs ‘amnesty’ bill,” Tuesday, Page 1). How wonderful. I’ll sleep soundly knowing he’s on top of the issues. I must admit, though, a couple of nagging little questions spring to mind regarding his point about fairness.

For instance, in granting amnesty to illegal aliens (under whatever label the wise senator wishes to apply to the process), is it “fair” to those immigrants who obeyed our nation’s laws and entered this country legally? Is his bill fair to those still waiting in line?

Is the good senator’s bill fair to the American workers whose wages have been depressed by a flood of illegals willing to work for subminimum wages? (Recall that Mr. Kennedy has been a strong advocate of a higher minimum wage to “protect” American workers.)

Is it fair to Americans at risk from illegals who drive on our roads using fraudulently obtained licenses, who have no insurance and may not have even taken a driving test?

Mr. Kennedy probably has never lost sleep over the plight of American taxpayers, but is it fair that they must foot the bill for the impact illegals place on our nation’s schools, hospitals, jails and other segments of the infrastructure? Illegals (i.e., “undocumented aliens”) burden our country’s institutions far more than they contribute in return. And, is it fair that Americans must make up for the billions of dollars in untaxed “under the table” wages that illegals send to their home countries?

I’d sleep much better if the good senator (and his co-conspirators… er, co-sponsors, that is) provided solid answers to these nagging questions.

And, while we’re on the subject of stopping illegal aliens from violating our national boundaries, recall that Mr. Kennedy has said that a fence along the border “wouldn’t work.” If that were so, maybe he wouldn’t mind tearing down that high wall surrounding his family’s compound in Hyannis Port, Mass.

SCOTT A. BYRD

Vienna

Upstart George Mason

With regard to “Cinderella’s off to the ball” (Page 1, Monday), I caught the bug for college basketball during graduate school at Duke University. After deciding to go to George Mason University School of Law two years ago, I was pleased to find out that the Patriots fielded a Division I basketball team. Who would have thought that moving from Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski to George Mason and coach Jim Larranaga’s kryptonite-wielding basketball team would be the best thing a college basketball fan could have done for himself?

With all of the interest generated by George Mason’s historic run to the Final Four, it is worth pointing out some of the core values and strategies George Mason’s athletic program shares in common with the rest of the university. As a university that is still relatively young, George Mason has not tried to be a leader in everything but instead has carved out its own niche areas of excellence.

In sports, this has meant that the university’s administration has resisted pressure to start a Division I football team, with all of the expense associated with such a decision, and instead has focused on building a top-ranked college basketball program.

In the academic field, George Mason’s strategy already has paid remarkable dividends for such a young university. In the Department of Economics, Nobel Prize winner James Buchanan, along with his colleague Gordon Tullock, focused on applying economic methods to the analysis of the political process, which spawned the field of “public choice” economics, and Nobel Prize winner Vernon Smith has applied experimental methods from other sciences to analyzing economic decision-making.

The law school has made a name for itself by focusing on intellectual property law as well as the growing field of law and economics that applies economic methods and reasoning to legal issues. George Mason is by far the youngest law school among the top-tier law schools in the country.

Coach Larranaga has contributed to George Mason’s most recent upset as an upstart university in a field traditionally dominated by older, established basketball programs. George Mason’s success owes much to two powerful ingredients: a university that asks the coach to focus on building a top-ranked basketball program over the long term even if it means sacrificing success in the short term, and a coach who comes up with ingenuous ways to show his players that he has the fullest confidence in them.

JONATHAN VAN LOO

Chicago

Pakistan and nonproliferation

With regards to “Missile defense still a key,” (Commentary, March 23): The international community, including the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency, has lauded Pakistan’s role in dealing with the proliferation network of which Dr. A.Q. Kahn was a part. As we all know, illegal networks have been operating in more than two dozen countries and predate A.Q. Kahn.

What Pakistan has done in the context of the involvement of A.Q. Kahn with the international proliferation network, if anything, is proof of how seriously Pakistan takes the issue of nonproliferation and that Pakistan has both the political will and the ability to deal with any challenging situation related to nonproliferation. We expect that the world community ensures that similar action is taken against the individuals and entities belonging to the proliferation network located in other countries.

The fears expressed in the article in regard to the possibility of Pakistan’s strategic assets falling into the hands of terrorist organizations, or “anti-American fanatics” are without any valid basis.

Pakistan is predominantly a moderate and forward-looking country. Both the government and the people are fully aware of Pakistan’s responsibility as a nuclear power. Pakistan’s political, security, military and strategic institutions have shown their resilience over time. We have a very strong command and control system through the National Command Authority headed by the president of Pakistan. The Parliament has already passed comprehensive legislation to strengthen controls on exports of sensitive technologies and material. Unfounded allegations against Pakistan and wild speculation would not be helpful in the contexts of regional stability or nonproliferation.

M. AKRAM SHAHEEDI

Press Minister

Embassy of Pakistan

Washington

Horse slaughter is inhumane

In “Meat plant ban a Trojan horse” (Commentary online, Sunday), Charles Stenholm states that people who send their horses to slaughterhouses can rest easy because the horses will be euthanized humanely. Mr. Stenholm is mistaken. The only humane form of euthanasia (meaning that the animal does not suffer and fear is minimized) is an injection of sodium pentobarbital, which causes animals to “go to sleep” quickly and painlessly. It also renders their flesh inedible.

At the slaughterhouse, horses are herded through chutes and surrounded by unfamiliar people, objects, smells, and sounds — a terrifying experience for any horse.

Some horses are stunned before their throats are slit, but many aren’t and suffer every horrible second it takes for the life to drain out of them. This is not humane, and responsible horse owners need to be aware of the unconscionably cruel death sentence they hand down if they send their animals to a slaughterhouse.

MARNIE GRAY

Chester, S.C.


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