- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 19, 2006

Not the Wright idea

As a captain for American Airlines, I would like to respond to the article, “Dogfight over Texas” (Business, Saturday).

The debate over whether the Wright Amendment should be repealed has been going on for years and yet the politicians still haven’t managed to resolve this issue. It is laughable that city council members in Dallas and Fort Worth are asserting that it’s a local issue, given the fact the Wright Amendment is federal legislation. It is also absurd to suggest that laws should not be changed because a “deal is a deal.” My suggestion for doing the right — not to be confused with Wright — thing is to insert capitalism by repealing this artificial barrier, thereby removing the political posturing.

CARMEN D. VILLANI JR.

Chantilly

Partisanship and patriotism

The article “Political offensive targets Bush” (Page 1, Saturday) reveals the filthy banality and moral relativism gripping our political culture. The article reports Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s six-page memorandum titled “Real Security.” Mr. Reid encourages Democratic senators to stage town-hall events at military bases, weapons factories, National Guard units, fire stations and veterans posts using the U.S. and state flags, the national anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, veterans groups, Guard service members and military families as props promoting his party’s disapproval of certain national military policies. Obviously, he senses power in these symbolic indicia of national will and courage.

It isn’t that Mr. Reid’s plan and intent encourages military divisiveness and the enemy’s hopeful patience that inflames my consternation. Those results merely show his shortsightedness and desperation. Nor is it the evisceration of the hallowed tradition of protecting our nation at war — that partisan politics stops at the nation’s shores.

My chagrin, even disgust, is in the callous disregard of how such politically manipulated familial disharmony may affect those still in uniform giving so much of their life to a whole nation, led by their commander in chief, not to or by a political party. Mr. Reid morally justifies his memorandum’s instructional message and its inevitable, desired effects as a counteraction to the commander in chief’s efforts to explain the nation’s war policies and to encourage the troops from whom we ask so much.

Unfortunately, I scarcely doubt that such resort to manipulation of patriotic symbols and people to sow apparent disloyalty and discord offends no moral fiber when the commander in chief of the republic is not a Democrat.

NELSON KIEFF

Fairfax

Lackluster statemanship

Watching Sen. Russell D. Feingold’s performance on the Senate floor on March 13, calling for censure of the president, the Wisconsin Democrat appeared small in statesmanship (“Censure proposal fails to get vote,” Page 1, Tuesday). By maneuvering to prohibit a vote on his scheme, his Senate cohorts, obviously embarrassed, refused to be contaminated with Mr. Feingold’s showboating.

Mr. Feingold seemingly is a very modest man, and to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, the senator has a lot to be modest about. His chances, however, of winning the Oval Office in 2008 are about as likely as finding a surprise guest in the morning were one to leave the lights on for Jimmy Hoffa tonight. To be serious, comparing Kansas Gov. Alf Landon’s failure in the 1936 presidential election — winning but Maine and Vermont against Franklin D. Roosevelt — with Mr. Feingold’s chance to win even two states in 2008 may not be too big of a stretch.

HUSTON SMITH

LaQuinta, Calif.

Newspapers and the Internet

Cal Thomas gives a poor outlook for newspapers’ future (“What future for newspapers?” Commentary, Friday). He cites a 17 percent decline in the number of daily newspapers in America since 1980, and adds that the big three TV networks also are losing their market share. There are probably a number of reasons for this decline, but the biggest single factor has to be the rise of the Internet. When it’s so easy to find news stories online, posted as the events unfold, many people won’t wait to read a story (which they are already familiar with) the next day.

This isn’t an entirely bad thing for major newspapers; it just means that those newspapers need to find a way to make money off of their Web sites. And smaller dailies might need to shift their stories to more local events, the things people wouldn’t be able to read about on major news Web sites.

I think that Mr. Thomas misses the mark by placing so much emphasis on the perception that the news is “slanted.” Mr. Thomas calls this “the most important” reason that caused “the drop in journalism consumers.” Simply because 34 percent of journalists claim to be “liberal,” compared to 20 percent of Americans at large, doesn’t mean that those journalists are biased in their reporting, or even that newspapers are biased in their coverage (although I’m certain they frequently are). Objective reporting is still possible, even if the reporter’s bias leans another way.

The big picture is that even if newspapers started hiring more conservative journalists and printing more conservative stories, it would not salvage the decline in subscriptions and advertising. Younger people would still be more inclined to read the news on the Internet as it happens than to pay for a newspaper delivered to their door. Maybe all news will at some point be Internet-based, which would mean the end of newspapers but not the end of journalism.

JASON CUNNINGHAM

New York

Questions for Schumer

Former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee staffer Lauren Weiner is pleading guilty to accessing, without authorization, the credit report of Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, who is running for the U.S. Senate (“Ex-Democratic aide plans to plead guilty,” Page 1, Friday). Miss Weiner will get away with doing community service. Her ultimate boss, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, is ignoring the matter entirely — like it never happened.

This prompts questions that need to be answered: What did Mr. Schumer know and when did he know it? Who ordered Miss Weiner to lie in order to obtain Mr. Steele’s credit report, and what penalty is that person paying? The voters of Maryland have a right to know — and so does the country.

LYNDA MEYERS

Arlington

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide