Not all government programs are worth their weight

Re: "House GOP offers bill to fund government, cut $85b in spending," March 5

The threat of sequestration has led us to a debate about cutting government programs. Perhaps now would be a good time to differentiate between 24-carat-gold programs and fool's-gold programs that have the luster and shine of the real thing but are in reality worthless.

Between programs that have the capacity to create a vibrant, healthy, resilient country of self-reliant citizens capable of making their own decisions and willing to suffer the consequences, and to make the sacrifices necessary to secure their country against natural and manmade threats.

Between those who can clearly distinguish their allies from their enemies and can support well-trained, well-equipped armed forces.

Programs and policies that can be considered fool's gold have the opposite effect. They create a society increasingly dependent on government to provide financial stability, telling people how to live healthy lives, etc. One that has trouble bouncing back from disasters and distinguishing friend from foe.

David Tsuneishi


Driving is not a constitutional right

Re: "Liability insurance should be required for gun owners," From Readers, March 3

Of late it seems a popular meme is to draw a parallel between automobiles and firearms. Automobiles are highly regulated, it is argued, ergo guns should be too.

The flaw in this argument is the fact that driving is a privilege, not a right. Vehicle ownership is elective, and the belief that requiring liability insurance somehow bestows upon insurance companies the omnipotence to foresee who will be a responsible driver -- or gun owner -- is absurd.

And try as I might, I have been unable to find any mention of automobiles in the Bill of Rights.

Ben Arnold


Muslim women have more rights than Westerners

I am a student at George Mason University. Women's History Month is particularly important to me as a young Muslim woman because I feel that people get the wrong impression about me.

In the U.S., women received the right to vote, work and speak their mind and other "unalienable" entitlements in the early 1920s. However, over 1,500 years ago, women in the Muslim world were given more rights than even the Western world gives them today, thanks to the great Prophet Muhammad.

There are many misconceptions about Muslim women, such as they are forced by their husbands and families to cover and remain at home cooking and cleaning all day. However, I went to school this morning and cover myself of my own free will, not to please society.

My friend's mother is an immigrant from Pakistan who came to America with nothing but her knowledge. She now works as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. A close friend who is an Ahmadi Muslim grew up in America and is on the path to become an engineer. Another peer will soon be a doctor.

These Muslim women are clearly not suppressed, but are successful and happy. I aspire to be just like them.

Aneela Wadan