- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006

New baseball season, same bad service

I’m not sure what baseball game was attended Tuesday (“Take me out to the ballgame for more than peanuts, Cracker Jack,” Page 1, Wednesday), but it couldn’t have been the Nationals’ home opener. Concession upgrades might have been made; however, I didn’t see any.

My season tickets are in the 400-level seating. The only food I saw was at the same sausage stand, next to the same ridiculously overpriced chicken fingers and fries stand that is opposite the same hot dog and plain pizza stand. My friend and I tried on five occasions to go to a concessions stand for a hot dog and a drink. Each time, we returned empty-handed, not wanting to invest the three-inning minimum that any of the lines required. Other fans around me who braved it were commenting that they waited in line for several innings for a beer and, once at the front, were told none was cold. Others said the food stand where they stuck out the wait didn’t have any heated hot dogs.

The service is inefficient. The food appears to be the same old second-rate fare from last season. I’d recommend taking your own. I hope Aramark doesn’t get the contract for the new stadium.


Fairfax, Va.

Stop horsing around

The horse anti-slaughter proponents argue that it is unethical and unnecessary to slaughter horses in America for food. They bolster their argument with claims of slaughterhouse cruelty (“Slaughtering horses is cruel,” Op-Ed, Friday). Though I believe horses are magnificent animals deserving of great care and respect, they are still animals. I grew up on the plains of Nebraska and began riding horses before reaching school age. Although I love horses, it is not my rightful place, nor that of anyone else, to demand elimination of the humane slaughter of horses for food.

Horses long have been a food source in parts of Europe and Japan. This market is not going to disappear anytime soon. Laws should not be passed that would effectively eliminate the export of horse meat to viable markets. At some point, each horse will die naturally.

Why not harvest this protein before the animal dies, putting horseflesh to good use instead of burying it in the ground? The anti-slaughter crowd must not be allowed to extinguish the rights of those who desire to sell their livestock for cash to the meat-processing industry.

After the legislative end to the humane slaughter of horses, are we going to do the same for cattle? Why not rabbits and sheep, too? Ask any child, and he or she undoubtedly will tell you that none of these “cute” animals should be slaughtered and eaten. However, childish views don’t dictate the rights of society, and adults with childish views shouldn’t either.

Anti-slaughter proponents don’t present the whole picture. Theirs is a world of “pet” horses, stabled in pristine stalls and paddocks. They conveniently leave out the fact that many horses in America are working horses, or beasts of burden.

Those who use horses to make a living often can’t afford to keep a “hay burner” around until it dies a natural death. The horse-meat-processing industry provides a market for such ranchers and farmers to sell their animals.

I invite critics to travel to the Western U.S. and while there, visit a cattle ranch or even a small farmer with working horses. I don’t think they will find many owners of working-stock animals who think there shouldn’t be a market for horseflesh, especially when a horse has reached the end of its working life.

Christopher Heyde’s Op-Ed column made his real motive apparent. Like his close cousins in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, he is on a crusade to end the legitimate slaughter of all animals. This animal-hugging crowd believes animal rights trump those of humans. His plea to end the legitimate slaughter of horses for food is just the first step in that direction.

The slaughter of horses is his way of presenting the argument. After all, who doesn’t like horses? He could have used the slaughter of hogs to make his point, but there are a lot more horse lovers in America than hog lovers.

If Mr. Heyde and his cohorts succeed in getting a legislative ban on the humane slaughter of horses, they will have their foot in the door. Once that is accomplished, they will move quickly to try to ban the slaughter of other species, to include cattle, hogs and sheep. We must stop this from succeeding. Let the legitimate horse-meat industry continue to exist in America so that those who want to sell their livestock for cash will have a market.


Woodbridge, Va.

Entitlement follies

As part of his 1972 presidential campaign, Sen. George McGovern proposed having the government send each citizen a check for $1,000. He was ridiculed and went down to a landslide defeat.

Charles Murray (described as “farsighted”bycolumnist Michael Barone), proposes replacing all entitlements with payments of $10,000 a year to every adult (“Slouching toward France,” Commentary, Tuesday).

Why only $10,000? Why not $20,000? or $50,000? And why only to adults?

And why isn’t such a proposal as laughable as it was 34 years ago?

Here’s a thought: Be a responsible adult. Provide for yourself.



Face to face

Instead of leaning on the White House to rein in Taiwan over its so-called “pro-independence moves” (“Hu wants Bush to rein in Taiwan,” Briefly, World, Friday) perhaps Chinese President Hu Jintao would be better served to drop the intransigent attitude his country has taken toward the democratic island and negotiate with it face to face.

Such a move would do much to thaw cross-strait relations and would allow each side to address the other’s concerns without putting the U.S. in the awkward position in which it finds itself today.


Silver Spring

12 million illegals and counting

The worst thing about the compromise immigration legislation recently under debate in the Senate (“Senate kills border-security bill,” Page 1, Saturday) isn’t the 12 million or so illegal aliens who would be allowed to stay in this country, but the millions more who would follow them.

It is just common sense to observe that people will judge you not for what you say, but for what you do. On the one hand, the bill seeks to secure the border with Mexico and get tough with anyone who attempts to sneak across it. On the other hand, it rewards those who already have crossed it illegally by letting them stay here and putting them on the path to citizenship.Thegovernment would be working at cross purposes, attempting to stop illegal immigration while at the same time encouraging it.

Twenty years ago, we had the exact same debate in this country over illegal immigration. A great compromise was reached in 1986 that promised to secure the border but allowed illegal aliens already in this country to stay. We now have four times the number of illegal aliens that we had then.

If precedent holds (and there is no reason to imagine that it won’t), that would mean 48 million illegal aliens in the U.S. in a few years. No country could ever hope to absorb that many immigrants in that a short a period of time and expect its political and civil institutions to survive intact.

The compromise bill about which Sens. Bill Frist and John McCain were so excited last week could offer some political advantages in the next two elections for its sponsors but would, in the long term, be a disaster for this country.


Lynchburg, Va.

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