- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 14, 2006

As much as we respect Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, he needs to brush up on his facts (“House Republicans hit Senate immigration bill,” Nation, Tuesday). In the context of discussing letting immigrants who, inter alia, have not paid taxes square things by a blanket payment of $2,000, Mr. Sensenbrenner is quoted as saying, “An American who fails to pay taxes for two years ends up in the federal penitentiary.”

Not if you’re a former District mayor. Marion Barry made no federal income tax filings for six straight years and received only probation.



Big Ben’s noggin

It’s hard to feel sorry for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, future poster boy for motorcycle helmet use, despite reports that his face plant onto a Chrysler New Yorker’s windshield while riding his 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa around the streets of Pittsburgh knocked out some of his teeth, fractured his left sinus cavity bone, scored a 9-inch gash in the back of his head and broke his jaw (“Steelers’ star QB injured in crash,” Sports, Tuesday).

Forget about any possible damage to his knees during the subsequent bounce from windshield to asphalt that alone could end the young Super Bowl champion’s career.

Personally I’m surprised star athletes, whose intact bodies are worth millions, don’t wander around in bubble wrap when they aren’t training or performing on the field. Still, I suppose I can understand how a flawless rookie season in the NFL and a subsequent Super Bowl victory might leave you feeling a tad superhuman.

A veritable walking lottery ticket of fame and fortune, 24-year old Roethlisberger had his illusions of invincibility promptly shattered when his helmet-free, wind-in-your-hair motorcycle excursion ended in the emergency room. Lesson learned — the very, very hard way.

Mr. Roethlisberger’s road to recovery is going to be long indeed. Foolishness of this magnitude will have taunting consequences for lucky No. 7 as the mood of the fans wavers between relief and outrage. I’m sure he has a load of I-told-you-so’s coming to him from Coach Bill Cowher and probably from Terry Bradshaw as well after he gets out of the hospital.

Though I pray for Mr. Roethlisberger’s speedy recovery, my sympathy is stronger for coach Bill Cowher, the rest of the Steelers team and the incomparable Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

We love the big guy, and we’re counting on him. Not everyone is blessed with such talents. I bet there’s a huge contingent of motorcycle enthusiasts who would gladly park their rides for a few years in exchange for Mr. Roethlisberger’s talent and his place on the Steelers team. The other way around? It?s not a fair trade.



European heritage

In “European identity” (Op-Ed, Tuesday), Tod Lindberg suggests geography, a common economy and post-national identity as factors linking the peoples of Europe, but the authentic factor that gave Europe its common values, its scientific leadership, its cultural vibrancy and its unique humanistic orientation was its Christian heritage.

That “language,” despite abundant human weakness, provided different peoples and tribes a framework for establishing priorities, resolving disputes and inculcating demanding virtues.

The slow but steady abandonment of this heritage started with the Reformation and with nation-states responsible to no higher authority. It continues with materialistic relativism, rendering each individual a self-interested island.

Unfortunately, self-interest does not produce cohesiveness or the self-sacrifice necessary for a vibrant society; witness the precipitous aging of Europe, the furor of the French at modest changes in their social security and Europe’s apparent willingness to accept a nuclear Iran on its flank.


Plymouth, Mich.

A common trap

The article “Hamas calls off truce after Israeli attacks” (Page 1, Saturday) fell into a trap common when reporting on the Middle East, portraying speculation as fact.

The story reported as fact that the shell that hit the family picnicking on the Gaza beach had come from the Israelis. In fact, the incident is still under investigation by the Israelis, who are not receiving any cooperation from the Palestinian Authority.

There is strong evidence that the shell may have come from the Palestinian side, either accidentally or deliberately, in order to gain world sympathy by blaming the Israelis, who will always express regret at civilian casualties and offer medical assistance no matter who was to blame.

The article also stated that Hamas called off its truce as a result of this incident, but there is strong evidence that Hamas intended to call off its truce several weeks before, although the Hamas definition of truce leaves a lot to be desired in light of its daily rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel.



Preserve King’s papers

No place is more appropriate for housing Martin Luther King’s papers than where he was born, raised and buried — Atlanta (“Sotheby’s to auction King’s papers, library,” Page 1, June 9). Like Abraham Lincoln, King belongs to the ages; everything possible must be done to preserve and promote his legacy.

Current and future historians should be able to do research on the King era at one location — a Martin Luther King library and museum. King’s papers are priceless, and he was selfless. I don’t believe he would want the papers auctioned off to the highest bidders. I have a dream that Atlantans will join and find a way to keep all the King papers in their fair city.


Louisville, Ky.

Balkanizing America

Americans have been so inundated by the Mexican invasion that it is beginning to seem normal. Exhibit A is the headline “500,000 Hispanic voters sought” (Metropolitan, Tuesday) — another indication of the skyrocketing balkanization of our once unified nation.

Imagine if the article stated that only white voters were being registered — ethnic advocates would raise the dickens — but organizing Hispanics exclusively is not considered out of the ordinary.

Also, no immigration article is complete without a bogus complaint by an open-borders cheerleader, in this case the statement by a Maryland Democrat that “information isn’t available in Spanish.” On the contrary, the federal Voting Rights Act requires ballots and information to be printed in Spanish and certain other languages when speakers of those languages reach a specified population threshold in a county.

Of course, even naturalized citizens are supposed to speak English, so foreign-language ballots severely undermine patriotic assimilation.

What is most disturbing is that the president and the Senate advocate the dissolution of American sovereignty as they welcome the millions of Mexicans who have no intention of becoming Americans, as immigrants once aspired to do.


Berkeley, Calif.

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