- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 22, 2007


Spoiling sacred ground

When I heard the extremely offending news that President Ahmadinejad of Iranwanted to visit Ground Zero (“Iran doesn’t love New York,” Editorial, Friday), one question came to mind: How dare he? That is all I can say; how does he have the nerve to ask to visit such sacred ground? Unfortunately, in this case,it is a free country (part of the reason he despises us) but if he wants to go, there should be no protection for him. Our tax dollars should not be used to protect a madman.


Ocean, N.J.

I’m as fair-minded, evenhanded and (dare I say it) liberal as the next guy, but when it comes to inviting Iran’s dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to take part in addressing New York’s Columbia University, I object (“Columbia invitation to Ahmadinejad hit, Nation, yesterday). It’s called “Where do you draw the line?” I just did.


Massapequa, N.Y.

A world without cars

Wednesday’s editorial “Car free?” states, “Automobiles are indispensable.” Yet our country somehow got along without them for more than 200 years. Cars are no good without fuel to run them, and our fuel of choice oil runs out at exactly the rate we use it. Global oil production will enter decline sooner rather than later.

Oil discoveries peaked in the 1964, and we have been burning more than we discover since 1980. Old oil fields are running out faster than new ones can be found. Our own production peaked in 1970 and since has slipped to the levels we produced in the late 1940s.

D.C. Car Free Day isn’t a feel-good PR ploy. It is an invitation to imagine how we can continue a functioning economy as oil goes into decline. It is a recognition that cars bring pollution, noise and traffic danger along with mobility and a hope that if we put our minds to it we can do better.



History lessons

Cal Thomas’ Wednesday Commentary column, “Cheating college students,” is misdirected. Historically, colleges presumed that applicants had taken American history in high school. In college, you were expected to broaden your knowledge of history to include other parts of the world. Obviously, the high schools have failed, and the colleges must institute a remedial required course in history just as most have instituted a remedial course in basic algebra. I am sure that those of us who graduated from high school back in the dark ages found the sample questions in Mr. Thomas’ piece very easy, and most of us never had a college-level course in American history.



To B.C.E. or not to be

W.J. Layer is bent out of shape because some writers are using B.C.E. and C.E. instead of B.C. and A.D. (“Ignorance before and after school,” Letters, Wednesday). Big deal. The term Common Era is not an attack on Christianity but rather a recognition that the world is bigger than just Christian Europe. As the Jewish, Ethiopian, Muslim and other calendars differ from what we grew up with, using C.E. and B.C.E. is simply a sign of respect for all humanity.

Let it also be noted that C.E. and B.C.E. still use the numbering system based on the presumed birth of Jesus, who, historians believe, was actually born in the year 4 B.C.E.


Savage, Md.

Warming observations

Ben Lieberman is correct to draw parallels between the environmentalist establishment falsely taking credit for predicted disaster not coming true in the context of ozone depletion, and now with “global warming” (“Ozone: the hole truth,” Commentary, Wednesday). Consider, for example, the great champion of these schemes for supranational governance, the European Union. The EU is failing in its unilateral insistence on the rationing scheme demanded under the Kyoto Protocol, by actually increasing their emissions since Kyoto was agreed and faster than the United States, by the way. Recently, the EU suddenly shifted its boastful if unsupportable rhetoric, from consistently vowing how it had promised to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations to some level that would “avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system,” (what they promised under Kyoto), to claiming that Europe had promised to keep global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius from where they were at the end of the “Little Ice Age” (or approximately the beginning of the Industrial Revolution).

This abrupt, unannounced change was possibly due to Europe’s failure at reducing emissions, or possibly because they looked out the window. You see, three decades of careful observation which short period is all that lies behind many lurid stories about, e.g., “record” Arctic ice melt (while Antarctic ice mass grows, to no such media fanfare) reveal a warming trend of about 0.17 degrees Celsius, or 1.7 degrees over a century. Further, the warming stopped in 1998. I hereby confidently predict that although Europe’s data expose how they will not reduce their GHG emissions they will soon claim that Europe, alone having had the courage to act, kept temperatures below some arbitrary point above which it became clear they were not going to rise during the current warming, anyway.


Senior Fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute


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