In contract bidding, Sessions ignores unfair trade practices

Your article on Sen. Jeff Sessions’s (R-Ala.) resolution to the defense authorization bill (“Sessions’s amendment seeks to ensure fairness in Air Force tanker competition,” July 11) sheds light on an emerging issue critical to our national security — the outsourcing of our defense-related capabilities and jobs associated with those capabilities to European countries already seeking to undermine our industrial base through unfair trading practices.

As Boeing and French aerospace company EADS vie for a $40 billion Air Force contract to replace its fleet of refueling tanker aircraft, it’s clear that Sen. Sessions is focused on the new 1,000-employee plant in Mobile, turning a blind eye to a $100 billion trade offense against the U.S.

EADS plans to leverage what our U.S. Trade Representative terms as “illegal” subsidies in the amount of $100 billion and the foundation for the WTO argument to undermine the U.S. commercial aircraft industry overall and to beat out Boeing specifically for the tanker contract award from the very same U.S. government. And while EADS does plan to assemble its tanker at a 1,000-employee plant in Alabama, they will keep most of their jobs in Europe. In contrast, Boeing’s tanker would be American-made, supporting some 44,000 American jobs, many of which provide crucial income for Latino working families.

It’s understandable that Sen. Sessions wants to protect his state’s parochial interests, but at what expense? The Air Force should not reward companies that refuse to play by the rules — especially when our defense capabilities and workers across America will pay the price.

~From Gabriela Lemus, executive director, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Washington



Shameful to label Southwick ‘controversial’

Only in Washington, D.C., would a person of sterling character and integrity such as Judge Leslie Southwick be labeled as “controversial” by your publication (article, “Specter walks tightrope on Southwick nomination,” July 17).

In what has become an ongoing pattern by liberal special-interest groups to label Southern Christian conservative judges, you have been tricked again into calling them “controversial.” Shame on you! Do you have no integrity? Where is your journalistic or intellectual ability to see that you have been duped again? Quit allowing others to label extremely qualified Americans as “controversial.”

~From Billy Taylor, Laurel, Miss.


Getting arrested is marijuana’s real danger

Is there scientific evidence to suggest marijuana is bad for developing minds? (article, “The marijuana lobbyist,” July 18). In reality it would be classified as mind-expanding. It is often used as a sacrament.

I certainly don’t recommend it for children. I taught my children that their bodies are the temples of their souls. However, when my children became young adults I told them the truth about drugs.

Over a thousand people die each day due to tobacco use! Close to 300 a day die from prescribed pharmaceuticals. Alcohol makes domestic violence eight times more likely; marijuana does not, according to a 2003 study. The tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical gangs deal drugs that kill many more annually than all illicit drugs. We tolerate their salesmen!

Save the children from Prohibition — from its collateral damage. I told my children, marijuana is a safer health choice in a recreational drug, but the collateral damage from arrest can be devastating and lifelong.

~From Colleen Minter McCool, Stephenville, Texas


Obama apparently now a heart surgeon

I see according to an article in The Hill this morning that “Obama says he would look into Court nominees’ hearts” (July 18).

I guess I wonder where he plans on doing this open-heart surgery. In the Senate chambers? The White House? What a stupid statement. No wonder he is second to Clinton. Even she is not that dumb.

~From Frank La May, Summerfield, Fla.