- The Washington Times - Friday, August 25, 2006

Voting against school choice

The editorial “A question of bias” (Tuesday) criticized the 2006 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll, which found that respondents opposed school vouchers 60 percent to 36 percent and that by 71 percent to 24 percent they preferred improving public schools over “finding an alternative system.” The editorial then asserted that “school choice and voucher programs are popular with the public.”

The truth, however, is that the PDK/Gallup findings are supported by the best sort of opinion poll, a statewide referendum vote. In 25 such referenda from coast to coast, voters have rejected vouchers or their analogs by an average percentage of two to one.

The PDK/Gallup poll also found that 88 percent of respondents rated their children’s public schools satisfactory to excellent.

EDD DOERR

President

Americans for Religious Liberty

Silver Spring

Life for a 2-year-old

The heartwarming article, “Brain injuries to newborns” (Life, Tuesday), about a 2-year-old girl who was brain damaged at birth and is improving with treatments using her own umbilical cord-blood stem cells, provided another reason for birth mothers to save their babies’ umbilical cord blood. However, there were several misstatements regarding the morality of using umbilical cord-blood stem cells therapeutically.

Storing and using umbilical cord-blood stem cells to treat diseases and injuries is not “moral quicksand” nor is it in any way “contentious.” The Catholic Church — a prominent defender of human life in all its forms, stages and ages — encourages all stem cell treatments and research that do not kill or injure human life.

President Bush did not “block federal funding for such (CBSC) research.” Bush vetoed a funding increase for embryonic stem cell research which kills a new human being on moral grounds. His 2007 budget includes $38 million for ESCR and over $600 million for adult and umbilical cord-blood stem cells research.

Embryonic stem cell research governmental funding proponents use children with Juvenile Diabetes to lobby legislators for embryonic stem cell research funding without anypromiseof a cure. Meanwhile, a pilot study using umbilical cord-blood stem cells is underway at the University of Florida that has helped a young New Jersey Juvenile Diabetes patient.

CAROLYN NAUGHTON

Silver Spring

Economics, oil, politics

Carl Henn, in his letter to the editor (“Oil and economics,” Wednesday), proposed taxing fossil fuels. There were four reasons he did so: 1) to reduce inflation; 2) to balance the budget; 3) to encourage conservation; and 4) to limit the oil revenues of those who would do us harm.

For the first reason, it should be observed that a tax increase on oil would raise prices. So, if anything, his proposal is inflationary. Generally, inflation is a monetary phenomenon. The way to reduce inflation is with the tools Mr. Henn decries — higher interest rates and slower money growth.

As for balancing the budget, that will more than likely not be achieved. Give Congress the money, and it will spend. The best to be hoped for is spending restraint, and that is achievable by reducing taxes.

As for oil conservation, that has been occurring with no additional tax on fossil fuels. From 1972 through 2005, U.S. oil usage per dollar of real gross domestic product fell by more than half. Moreover, before the current run-up in oil prices (as of about the year 2000), oil prices, relative to the GDP deflator, were below their pre-Yom Kippur War level. Even today, in relative terms, they are below their highs of the late ?70s.

Mr. Henn’s final reason is to limit revenues of those who would do us harm. That is achievable, but not by a tax increase. Instead, it is by producing more oil domestically.

Potentially, huge oil supplies exist off the Atlantic continental shelf, and ditto for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Then, too, we can build more nuclear power plants to produce as much electricity as is feasible with nuclear power. All of that is attainable, but the political will has to be there to overcome obstructionist objections.

In the ?70s, with oil prices sky-high, many claimed that production had peaked. The late Julian Simon, an economist, forecast that ultimately there would be plenty of oil and that prices would fall.

He was right until about the year 2000. Today, we are, to some extent, back to where we were in the late ?70s, with high prices and the same claims.

Those claims, though, are belied by ever-increasing global oil output. The high prices of today are actually a result of extra demands by the rapidly growing Indian and Chinese economies. As oil supplies readjust to those demands, I think Julian Simon will be right once again.

JACK RUTNER

Silver Spring

Bloodied hands

The piece by James Lyons (“Winning respect,” Commentary, Tuesday) is a perfect example of how skewed the media can be over the Middle East. The cartoon included with Mr. Lyons’ article blames Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah for the war and the refugees, and yet Nasrallah is a hero to his people. The article then goes on to condemn the fact that Hezbollah is actually providing aid to those same refugees and starting the rebuilding of Lebanon while the United States and others are simply talking about it.

Well, admiral, you would do better by speaking of the Navy — something you know well ? and leaving the politics to the misguided administration in power. It is true that Hezbollah captured the two soldiers — but did that justify Israel’s destruction of Lebanon, starting with the airport in Beirut and ending in the massacre in Qana? They still don’t have their soldiers back, but do have a lot of deaths.

You correctly report that Hezbollah is actually doing something about the desolation and suffering, while Washington is still trying to get Israel’s permission to do anything at all. If the United States wants to become a true player in the peace settlement of the Middle East, it needs to be an honest broker and not one with a biased approach that favors one country over others.

JOHN TIESO

Arlington

Take care of home, Congress

The editorial “Brain-dead appropriations” (Aug. 17) discussed Congress’ decision to cut $7 million from the requested $14 million budget of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.

Congress was cited as saying it just doesn’t have the extra funds. The trauma centers are there for the treatment of our troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. At same time, President Bush gives $180 million to Lebanon.

I say, charity begins at home. Let Syria and Iran go broke funding Lebanon. Lebanon is a puppet for Hezbollah. We shouldn’t underfund the needs of our fighting troops, veterans or military retirees by giving money to our enemies.

We should take care of our military and the needs of America first.Those in Congress ought to cough up the needed money for the Brain Injury Center.

SMSGT. JAMES J DAWSON JR.

Air Force, Ret.

Clinton, Md.


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