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April 22, 1997



By Peggy McCracken

Listen for the whistle
before you criticize

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It's easy to see the mistakes of others, isn't it? I can read a story
another person wrote, and nine times out of 10, I will spot at least one
mis-spelled word or a glaring grammatical error. But when I edit my own
copy, I miss quite a few mistakes.

It's like that in life. Naturally we think what we are doing is right.
If we didn't, we wouldn't do it. But if we could see ourselves through
the eyes of others, how many imperfections would we note? Quite a few,

Have you ever spent a day looking for what is right instead of what is
wrong? The Reader's Digest has a clip this month on that very subject.
It seems a professor put a small black dot in the corner of a white
sheet of paper and held it up before the class. "What do you see?" he
asked. In unison, the students answered, "A black dot." Not one person
saw the white sheet of paper.

Let's think for a minute about what is right with the people around us.
Maybe you have a co-worker who is late every morning and it drives you
up a wall. Does that ruin your day? Look closely to see if you can find
something about that person that actually makes your day better. Does
she make a fresh pot of coffee for the break room? Does he keep the
computers running? Maybe she stops to ask about your family and actually
listens when you dump your complaints on her shoulders. Or he offers to
take some of your work so you can leave early.

Everyone, no matter how aggravating, has something positive to
contribute. Yes, even me. Here I sit on Friday afternoon, the only
person in my department still working - and so tired I am making boocoos
of mistakes. No matter how much I gripe about being overloaded with
work, I stay until it is all done. Unless I collapse first, which I do

I'm not the only one who does that. But it is the only virtue I have
that comes to mind. And I thought you'd like to know I'm not all bad.

Margie Williamson tells about an aunt who really practiced the
Christian virtue of saying something good about everyone. When others
commented on a man who was "really an old reprobate," the aunt said,
"But can't he whistle pretty?"

Listen for the whistle.

"We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he
says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check." James
3:2, NIV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is an Enterprise writer and editor whose
column appears each Tuesday.


EPA should check air pollution math

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The Environmental Protection Agency recently admitted that it
overestimated the health benefits of its new and stricter proposed air
pollution standards. The EPA had claimed that proposed stricter ozone
(what we call smog) and particulate matter (what we call soot)
regulations would save 20,000 lives, but now they say they had a "data
glitch" and this estimate is wrong. It his is just one more example of
the shaky ground supporting the EPA's proposed clean air standards.

Why does the EPA want new air pollution rules? That's the $60,000
question. The EPA is relying on taxpayer funded research to back its
plan, but they won't release the findings. So, we're supposed to take
their word for it? It's our money and we have the right to see the

Many communities across the country who meet the current clean air
rules will not meet the new standards. Just when more American cities
have cleaned up their act, the EPA wants to send as many as 75 percent
of our nations counties to the federal doghouse. In Texas alone. 34
counties, urban and rural, would fall out of compliance under the new
standards. This means that new highway construction funds could be lost,
car pooling could be mandated and small businesses could face expensive,
burdensome new regulations. Even lawn mowers, barbecues and fireplaces
would be toughly regulated under the EPA's plan!

The real trouble is that there is a serious lack of science to back up
the EPA's proposals Even the EPA admits it. Everyone wants clean air,
but the EPA shouldn't use this as an excuse to justify its continued
expansion into our daily lives.

Despite public protests and doubt expressed by its own scientific
advisory committee, the EPA wants to strap America with its new $6
billion regulations. But they are silent on the tough questions. What
about the scientific studies that show that the current regulations are
protecting the public health? What about the lack of scientific data
supporting stricter regulations? No one knows these answers yet, and
until they do, the EPA should not be allowed to push ahead.

The American people have every right to demand that continued
investments in reducing air pollution will produce real benefits for the
environment and public health. So far, the EPA is giving them every
cause to be skeptical. The American people are reasonable. If the EPA
has a convincing case, they ought to be able to show it with honest
facts and real benefits. We're still waiting.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Henry Bonilla represents the 23rd Congressional District
in the U.S. House of Representatives.


China policy OK if rules obeyed

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One must hope that, when it comes to U.S. policy regarding China, there
is more there than meets the eye. The Clinton administration's public
posture toward this awakening Asian giant may well be the proper one,
but only if it is not all there is.

Publicly, Clinton and his administration say that isolating China would
be a mistake. There is, for one thing, a great deal of business to be
done with China. For another, bringing China into the world community -
by granting ``most favored nation'' status on a permanent, rather than
year to year, basis and admitting China to the World Trade Organization
- stands a better chance of influencing those areas of troubling Chinese
behavior than does branding the country a rogue state in the category
of, say, Iran or Iraq.

... Everyone hopes that this view is correct, and China should be
allowed every opportunity to prove that it's so.

But there is also substantial evidence that China has no intentions of
playing by any rules the world community devises. ...

-- Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal
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