Columnists > Mailbag


Issue: "Mel Martinez: HUD's man," March 3, 2001

They were right

Regarding the presidential pardon of Patty Hearst, when she went on trial for her part in the bank robbery many pundits, supposing that her father's millions would get her off, were saying things like, "America has the finest justice money can buy." I guess they were right after all. - Tom Pittman, Spreckels, Calif.

Outside and in

I was shocked when I read the first few paragraphs of "Brutality behind bars." I thought of myself as pretty well informed, yet I did not know that John William King was the victim of a hate crime. There is a real need for prison reform, and James Byrd might be alive today had rape been treated as a crime inside of the prison as well as outside. - Shonna Shanton, Loganville, Ga.

Ringing for Bell

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Yes, there are people out there who listen to and believe Art Bell ("Flimflam with a straight face," Feb. 3). A close relative is one of them. She loves his program and searches it out on the dial wherever she goes. She refers to it regularly, too. And after a recent discussion with her about her pro-choice views and her opinion that religion has no place in politics, it seemed further proof that those who don't believe in God will indeed believe in anything. - Kathryn Wilton, Chesapeake, Va.

Sorry over Chavez

hank you for your recent coverage of the aborted Chavez nomination, especially Mr. Belz's commentary ("Flaws in us all," Jan. 27). From what I have read, I am impressed with Ms. Chavez, and I am sorry that she was intimidated by the "bullies." It seems a shame that she was taken down due to a misstep in not mentioning a merciful action of eight years ago which could easily be misunderstood. - Pam Ewing, Winthrop, Wash.


As a missionary English teacher in the Dominican Republic, I am disappointed in the attitude toward bilingual education displayed in "Hey, big spenders" (Jan. 13). I am sympathetic to getting the federal government's fingers out of education, but the implication that bilingual education is not worthwhile or perhaps is even a threat to our English-only society disturbs me. Bilingual education should not be looked at as a handout to students of other countries; proficiency in a second language should be requisite for graduation from high school for all U.S. students. - Kerry Dougan, Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic

No condemnation

With all due respect to my friend Bob Jones, I did not write an article blasting the Bush national testing plan as suggested in "Out of the wilderness." My article in The Washington Times condemned national testing in general with no reference to Mr. Bush's plan. There is a reason for this. President Bush's plan is not a national testing plan in the sense I have long opposed. His plan is for the states to pick their own tests. The states submit the scores to the U.S. Department of Education as a condition of federal funding. My battle has always been against a federally chosen or written test. If President Bush proposed such a thing, I would oppose it. But he is a man of his word and I foresee no reason to believe the feds will write or choose a national test in the next four years. - Michael Farris, Purcellville, Va.

All or something

was pleased to detect in "Out of the wilderness" (Feb. 3) some recognition of something that many conservatives have seemed unwilling to acknowledge. Far too many conservatives hold to the "all or nothing" strategy, which may explain why we have gained so little ground over the last few decades. As Gary North pointed out some years ago in Capturing the Robes, the radical left co-opted and took over the "learned professions"- law, academia, and clergy-by applying their strategy of gradualism, taking over a little territory at a time. Short of the Messiah's return, the only way we'll ever recover the ground liberals have captured is by using the same strategy: gradually and incrementally taking it back, one little piece at a time. - G. Robert Greene, Houston, Texas

Big banana republic

have been working in Latin America for almost 20 years and living in Paraguay for the last nine. Watching the presidential election and transition has saddened me as American public officials increasingly use the same "values" we have been fighting down here. The Florida Supreme Court decisions seemed very much like our experiences, where "law" is whatever you are able to bargain for or whoever your friends are. Perhaps even worse, Mr. Clinton's presidential pardons are so outrageous they compete with the outrages of our own former president of Paraguay ("Creative finance?" Feb. 3). I am convinced that Paraguay's economic poverty stems ultimately from the belief that individual people's interests are always more important than civil laws. The Paraguayan term for this is translated "corruption." I hope the United States can be stopped from moving down a road that would make it one big banana republic. If not, come see us for a glimpse of your future. - John Roskamp, Fernando de la Mora, Paraguay


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