- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Theoretically speaking …

Monday’s Op-Ed reprint of “The Cooling World,” from a 1975 Newsweek article on the planet’s weather trends, was just the ticket. What a great example of “Trust us, we’re all scientists here.” Just 31 years ago, the Earth was thought to be in danger of becoming too cool, as the article reported. An intentional effort to partially melt the ice caps was an idea making the rounds: We’re all going to freeze to death; how can we heat the joint up?

Now, that fear has been turned on its head. Most of the same scientists who were alive then are around now, I suppose. Wonder what happened? Al Gore and the Friends of the Earth have decided it’s more profitable to have the Earth roast than freeze. Or something. Anyhow, in 31 more years, I’ll bet they’ll be saying the Earth is too loose on its axis, then too tight. Then the sun will be too bright, then too dark, to sustain life.

Sort of reminds me of an old Woody Allen short story that mentioned training the average citizen to snap into action in the event the Earth falls into the sun.

JACK WEBB

Springfield

In reference to your Monday editorial “Climate theology and its exponents,” I find myself in complete agreement with your observations about the lack of consistency within the scientific community.

Label me the skeptic. If our current meteorological observers do not have enough data even to be able to model our weather beyond five days, I hardly trust them to tell me that they know, with any degree of certainty, the nature of our climate and its outcome 20 to 30 years from now.

Adding to my skepticism is the never-mentioned reality that the sun’s brightness has increased 30 percent to 40 percent since it began its main life sequence, according to former astronomer Mark Garlick, as reported in the June 2001 issue of Scientific American. Further, the article states that the sun will become 10 percent brighter in the next 1 billion years, making life on the planet difficult. Not global warming, but solar warming.

The idea of global warming can be used as ruse or “reason du jour” to attack a highly efficient economic system — capitalism — that says consuming much also produces much. Certainly CO2 emissions are increasing, but to look at the problem through a straw of only the global environment and ignore the bigger picture of contributing solar activity makes it easy for one to trip.

Maybe that explains the lack of “depth perception” on the issue. It also forces me to consider that those climatologists who are pronouncing the coming calamity of climate change are either selectively ignorant or have a hidden agenda. It’s the same as taking a one-day snapshot of economic data and predicting stock-market performance as well as the winners and losers.

Since the monkeys seem consistently to outperform the professionally trained market analysts in predicting winning stock portfolios, my bet is the monkeys also would outperform the climatologists.

The global environment, like the free market, is always changing. The only accurate prediction is change. To promote penalizing our efficient economy, as the predictors of environmental doom would want, is a unsupportable as their “theory.”

SERGE WING

Alexandria

Ban corporal punishment

John Rosemond wrote that students should never be subjected to corporal punishment in school, and he further said that when local school boards fail to protect children by banning paddling, government should do it for them (“Spanking should be a child-parent issue,” Family Times, Sunday).

That is a good idea, not just for state legislatures, but also for Congress. Nearly every developed country in the world has federal bans on corporal punishment in schools. However, in the United States, 22 states still allow school employees to pick up boards and strike children as young as kindergartners. Bruises, welts and cuts, of course, all occur, and parents have no ability to protect children from this outmoded and brutal practice. Mr. Rosemond joins his voice with the chorus of organizations already on record calling for a ban on school paddling: the American Medical and Bar associations, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Education Association, the National PTA and Prevent Child Abuse America, plus many others.

Research studies all show the harm. Districts and states with paddling have lower scores on national achievement tests, more dropouts and more school vandalism as anger is displaced.

Whacking children with boards occurs primarily in the Deep South, although even there, many districts finally are prohibiting the practice. Good school discipline is instilled through the mind, not the behind. It is time for Congress to bring school discipline into the new millennium.

ROBERT E. FATHMAN

President

National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools

Dublin, Ohio

McKinney is no victim

Rep. Cynthia McKinney is no victim, and her attempt to portray herself as such by playing the race card and contending she was harassed is obviously false and clearly outrageous (“Lawmaker’s supporters hint at racism in police face-off,” Page 1, Saturday). When a U.S. Capitol Police officer did not recognize her on Capitol Hill and she did not stop when requested more than once to do so, she struck him.

The officer was doing his job in maintaining security at the Capitol and requesting her to stop so he could check her identity. The fact that he did not recognize Miss McKinney was no reason for her to physically assault him. The categorization of victim belongs to the officer because the representative assaulted him. She should be charged with assault on a police officer and prosecuted for her behavior.

For a member of Congress, her conduct and demeanor was despicable. Miss McKinney’s efforts to minimize or eradicate the perception of her uncouth and criminal behavior is disgraceful, and her attorney’s statement to deflect blame on the officer by saying Miss McKinney is a victim of excessive force is deplorable. Miss McKinney’s own contention that she is just a victim of being in Congress while black is a trite way of justifying her dishonorable criminal behavior.

Miss McKinney’s conduct was crass, and she is not even big enough to admit that her actions were wrong, let alone extend an apology to the officer. Instead, she errantly moans that she is a victim and misdirects blame from herself to others, where it does not belong. She seemingly thinks she can do anything she wants and get away with it by virtue of her position. If anything, she has proved that she is no victim.

KAREN L. BUNE

Adjunct professor of victimology

George Mason University

Fairfax

French degenerate

Edward Hudgins is close to the mark in his article “France labors at folly,” (Commentary, Saturday) when he states that “These failed economic policies have their origins in — and have in turn fostered further — the moral failings of France’s petulant population.” But the more profound question is why has France succumbed to this self-destructive urge?

Europe’s Christian heritage, far from perfect in its application, produced the modern scientific method, the moral underpinnings for representative government, outstanding universities and scholarship and breathtaking art, and not only subsequent to the Enlightenment but reaching back to the first millennium. This heritage has been all but abandoned in most of Europe, even to the extent of precluding mention of its historicity in the European Constitution.

Absent the objective moral framework that was once common to Christian Europe, human behavior, with rare exceptions, degenerates into unbridled self-interest and its cousin, hedonism. This is not a moral judgment so much as historical empiricism. Ironically, as we are witnessing in France, when individuals are obsessed with their self-interests, society and representative government are weakened, to the detriment of all.

THOMAS M. DORAN

Plymouth, Mich.


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