- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 13, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Chill terms

Apparently R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. wanted to write a column praising Grover Norquist’s new book, which is fine (“Crab-antics conservatives,” Friday). He then decided that the column needed a catchy opening, and so accused Linda Chavez of dissing Mr. Norquist on Fox News’ “The Live Desk.”

This is not fine. It’s not true. Anyone who knows Miss Chavez also knows that Mr. Tyrrell’s thesis — that she curries favor with liberals in order to advance her own ambitions (ambition to what, exactly?) — is absurd.

In all events, in the Fox News tradition, you judge whether Mrs. Chavez refers with “condescension” to Mr. Norquist in “chill terms” as “an obscure” and “margin[al]” figure of whom she “does not approve.” Here’s a transcript of what she actually said:

“All of this [speculation about Condoleezza Rice as John McCain’s running mate] started because she showed up at a meeting of Republican activists — a meeting that is run by an activist named Grover Norquist — and she’s not the kind of person who normally comes to those meetings, and so people thought that, well, maybe she’s doing that in order to shore up her base among conservatives.”

Wow. How will Mr. Norquist ever recover from that?

However, you might think that perhaps it was the way she said it that was derogatory. Fine: Here’s a link to the show itself — at about the 3-minute mark. The link:

click here

As I said: absurd. Mr. Tyrrell owes Mrs. Chavez an apology.

ROGER CLEGG

President and General Counsel

Center for Equal Opportunity

Falls Church

Costing out immigration

The article “Report says immigration costly” (Nation, Wednesday) faithfully reported the conclusions of a fatally flawed study designed to artificially increase the costs of immigration. Unfortunately the study ignored economic reality.

The study uses spurious logic to make its conclusion. One claim made is that $100 billion in taxes were not collected due to “the reduction of native incomes caused by immigrant workers.” That is as fallacious as saying that competing car manufacturers decrease the profits of GM, thus depriving the government of tax revenue.

Far from being a burden on public services, almost all of the nation’s population growth over the last 30 years has been due to immigration. When New York faced a declining population and bankruptcy in the 1970s, it was a radical influx of immigrants in the 1980s that returned it to financial stability. Far from costing the government money, immigrants fill the government’s coffers.

ALEX NOWRASTEH

Research associate

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington

Home-schooling and government

Brian Lem’s letter (“Hypocrisy and home-schooling,” Monday) suggesting that home-school parents who work for the government are hypocrites shows a very common misconception about home-school families.

The vast majority of home-schoolers are not anti-government. Quite the opposite: We are proponents of democracy and our constitutional form of government. We teach our children that it is one of the privileges of democracy to participate in government and an opportunity not to be missed.

However, that does not mean that only the government has a right to educate children. Obviously, few people believe that, or there would be no private schools. We believe that every child is unique, and the method of education needs to fit the child. We also believe that parents know their children better than anyone else, are legally responsible for their children and therefore have the final say in how their children will be raised and educated.

As for Mr. Lem’s comments about “government meddling,” I would hardly call it meddling when an employer (no matter who it is) pays his employee a wage for his work. I would not call it hypocrisy for the employee to accept the wage. If a person works for General Motors, does that person have to drive a GM car to keep from being labeled a hypocrite? Do you allow GM to come to your house and tell you how to maintain your car? That would be meddling.

As for the California case, the two students who asked to be sent to school were trying to find refuge from abuse and neglect. The solution is to remove those children from the situation completely until the problems are resolved. Because one home-school family has not properly cared for their children does not give California license to tar all home-school families with the same brush. Some pretty horrific things happen in public schools, but there is certainly no court measure taken to limit their scope or shut them down. For anyone who is interested in finding out the facts about home-schooling, I suggest the Web site of Home School Legal Defense Association at hslda.org.

DEBRA STEVENSON

Fairfax

Don’t politicize the Olympics

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says President Bush should boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing (“Protests hound Olympic flame,” Page 1, Tuesday). I think it would be a bad idea to mix the Olympic Games with politics.

With the exception of micro nation states such as Fiji, Andorra and San Marino, there are few countries in the world that are so pure that they can pass political or moral muster with every group on Earth.

If the United States were hosting the games this year or in 2004, you can bet some countries and some groups would call for a boycott because they are disgusted with U.S. policy in Iraq or Palestine or its perceived foot-dragging on the global warming issue.

If Japan were hosting the games, countless Asians who have been grievously harmed by Japan’s war of aggression, including thousands of “comfort women,” have an arguably legitimate demand that the international community boycott the games.

After all, Japan never formally apologized for its part in the war (including the use of chemical weapons on civilians in the occupied countries), never properly compensated the victims (unlike postwar Germany) and, in fact, has been seeking to rewrite its history books to whitewash its militaristic past.

More recently, Japan’s record on whaling has provoked an international outcry. Anti-whaling activists and organizations, including Greenpeace, would certainly want the world to boycott an Olympic Games in Japan until that country stops hunting and killing whales in violation of the rules of the International Whaling Commission.

Even Norway, so perfect by many a measure, falls short because its whaling practices have also aroused the ire of anti-whaling groups. The French foreign minister has been particularly vocal making boycott noises, but France has been far from blameless. There were definitely many people who did not approve of the way the French police cracked down on rioting youth in 2005.

Mrs. Clinton is desperate to tether herself to any issue that may potentially win her a vote or two, but the president would be wise to eschew politicizing the Olympic Games.

KWAN MING KOEHLER

Gaithersburg

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