- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 17, 2006

When Democratic opportunity knocked …

While Democrats in Virginia — and particularly left-wing national Democrats — bask in the glow of James H. Webb Jr.’s primary win to face Republican Sen. George Allen, one word comes to mind to describe Mr. Webb: opportunist (“Allen faces a unifier with Webb in race,” Metropolitan, Thursday).

It is obvious that Mr. Webb’s past political affiliation lays foundation for that notion. Former assistant secretary of defense, then secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, this is the same Jim Webb who not only endorsed George W. Bush for president in 2000, but, at the same time, also endorsed Mr. Allen. Mr. Webb, a former highly decorated Marine, I might add, was thumbing his nose at another former Marine, Democratic Sen. Charles S. “Chuck” Robb, who lost to Mr. Allen.

Six years later, I can’t help but wonder why, if he was this out of step with Mr. Allen, he didn’t challenge Mr. Allen in the recent primary,

Probably because he knew he would lose. Instead, he has chosen a route through a fractured Democratic Party in Virginia with support from the likes of Sens. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, and Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, who opportunistically turned their backs on longtime Democratic activist Harris Miller.

Opportunist. It fits Mr. Webb like a glove.

JIM MARTIN

Arlington

Animal testing helps humans

After reading the alarming misconceptions about the nature of animal research in “Animal testing useless for humans” (Letters, Wednesday), I am compelled to clarify.

An integral part of biomedical research involves comparative medicine. Scientists study animals just as much for their differences as for their similarities to humans.

For instance, sharks are immune to cancer. By studying their biological system, scientists hope to understand what mechanism prohibits shark cells from mutating into cancer cells and transform that knowledge into a medicine that prevents cancer from forming in humans and animals.

Animal research is strictly regulated. Laboratory animals receive the highest standards of care. Most experience no pain, or a slight or momentary pain such as a needle stick, or receive anesthesia and postoperative painkillers.

Insulin to control diabetes, kidney dialysis, targeted cancer treatments, vaccines, heart-valve replacements and techniques to restore mobility to those with spinal cord injuries are just a few of the many medical developments in which animal research played an essential role.

Although the thalidomide tragedy is cited to support the claims, they actually argue for a broader program of animal testing. Thalidomide, developed to control morning sickness, was not tested on pregnant animals before it was prescribed for women.

It was only after the human toll of deformities struck that scientists learned from studying pregnant animals that the same effects occurred in mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits and nonhuman primates.

If we are to conquer infectious and genetic diseases, develop treatments for those with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, find a cure for AIDS and provide better healthcare for our pets, animal-based research must continue.

ELIZABETH REITZ

Americans for Medical Progress

Alexandria

For the love of money

There seems to be a certainty out there that money represents wealth.

If someone is worth $1 million, he or she is worth more than someone who is worth less. There also is a mantra that says that this money is a wealth that belongs only to the ones who possess it.

It is why there are economists who tell us that we need to get rid of almost all taxation or, if there is taxation, that it should be levied in a fair and flat manner. Perhaps they are willing to give up 13 percent, or maybe 17 percent.

However, I think they are willing to have a tax so they can avoid the death tax. Then they can argue, as Paul Greenberg does (“Taxation without respiration,” Commentary, Thursday), that it is unfair to tax anyone twice, especially after death.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that it truly considers money to be wealth. It does not matter what happens to the rest of society.

It is all about the one who makes money. It is saying that it is truly his or her money. However, the last time I looked at money, it had two things placed upon it. One is the emblem of the United States. The other is the saying ?In God We Trust.?

This money comes with a reminder. This is not just one person’s money. It belongs to the greatest country in the world. This money was made because so many of our ancestors shed blood, sweat and tears to create such a great place. Did not the God in whom our money says we trust say we are here to help our neighbor? How can that happen if we care only about ourselves?

I have lived long enough to say that Ronald Reagan was a brilliant man when he said to the country, ?Are we better off than four years ago?? I think of that quite often as I see our country falling apart because of greed and selfishness.

We may have great monetary wealth in our banks and our stock market, but some of our schools and hospitals are falling apart. We are in a war that has no guarantee of success. We have two parties that have run out of ideas. We also have borders that are going to come down not to give fellow humans a better quality of life, but to guarantee cheap labor so the few can continue to keep their money.

It is better sometimes to wait a while before we decide whether we are better off. Twenty-five years after Mr. Reagan took office, we are not better off. In fact, we are in danger of disintegration unless we decide to change. We must realize that money is not wealth. Too much or too little for any of us opens up dangerous times.

ANDREW MCCARTHY

Leesburg, Va.

Senate is out of touch

In response to the article “House Republicans hit Senate immigration bill” (Nation, Tuesday), I would like to say that the entire Senate approach to illegal immigration is out of step with the opinions held by a vast majority of Americans.

In San Diego, voters declared their views when they elected Brian Bilbray, a stout advocate for immigration reform. His entire campaign can be summed up by his campaign slogan, “Tough on illegal immigration.”

He was at an extreme disadvantage, running for the seat held by Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who is serving a sentence in federal prison for taking bribes from defense contractors. Francine Busby, his Democratic opponent, tried to discredit Mr. Bilbray by running on ethics and referring to him as a lobbyist, never mentioning that his major client was FAIR, an immigration-reform group based in Washington. The Democrats were so sure of winning that they were ready to declare their victory as a mandate against Republicans and the Bush administration.

When taking his oath as a representative, Mr. Bilbray stated, “The greatest scandal in Washington is the fact that we have 12 million illegal aliens living in this country.” He vowed during the campaign ” to do everything possible to secure the borders and crack down on the employers who hire illegal aliens before considering what to do with those here illegally. He also predicted that many of the illegals will leave voluntarily, when strict enforcement dries up the jobs they held.

When it comes to illegal immigration, Americans are “mad as hell” and they aren’t “going to take it anymore.”

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

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