Speak Out 10/30/06

Monday, October 30, 2006

Good students

I HAVE read several letters and comments about how unruly and disrespectful students are today. As a first-year teacher I understand how these teachers feel. I have had some bad experiences during my student teaching and field experiences. However, I was blessed with a contract at Eagle Ridge Christian School in Cape Girardeau. The students here are well-behaved and respect authority. I want to let everyone know that the next generation is not all bad.

Accepting science

BOTH THE St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Kansas City Star have endorsed Amendment 2 for stem-cell research. Dr. Michael Wulfers and other local diehards appear to want Missouri to replace Kansas as the laughing stock of the nation and the butt of late-night jokes for refusing to accept modern science and abandon medieval concepts.

Losing our rights

THE FEDERAL government can now abduct citizens, put them in military custody and hold them forever without charging them with a crime or allowing them a lawyer or judicial review of any kind. The government can search a citizen's home or office secretly without a warrant or probable cause. It can monitor a citizen's phone calls, Internet usage patterns and library and bookstore records. It can seize citizens' papers and effects without a warrant or probable cause. It can monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity and listen to prisoner-lawyer conversations with no judicial review. It can suspend habeas corpus indefinitely. The Bill of Rights is dead.

Be sure to vote

THANKS TO Dr. Scot Pringle and Dr. Michael Wulfers, we now have a better knowledge of the issues facing us. I truly appreciate their informed op-ed articles and letters. Remember, a failure to vote is not equal to a no vote. Please exercise your right to vote.

Teacher burnout

KUDOS BRIAN White. I am an eighth-year special-education teacher. Last year in April, I thought I was done teaching. I looked for other jobs, but with a special-education degree there aren't a whole lot jobs for which I'm qualified. I ended up coming back this year. I'm doing my best to keep my classroom positive, but I can't help but think, "Would my students be better off if I had given this job to someone who wasn't so burned out?"

Selective history

THERE IS irony in Gary Rust's complaining about other news sources selecting stories they wish to publicize. The Southeast Missourian has a long history of not reporting what it wishes readers not to know, of turning local news stories into opinion columns, and of suppressing letters it wishes not to print.

Thanks from veteran

I HAD the privilege and honor to participate in the Southeast Missouri State University homecoming parade and to hold the large American flag at the football game. It was a humbling and once-in-a-lifetime experience. As a veteran and a SEMO graduate, I want to say thank you, Southeast. And all who participated in the whole event.

Only the rich can run

WHAT IS newsworthy about the report that a Missouri candidate for the U.S. Senate is worth between $13 million and $30 million? This is par for the course for politicians who hold office at the national level. Only fat cats can afford to run. The average bear? Forget it.

Vouchers won't work

SCHOOL VOUCHERS are a horrible idea. They work under the premise that schools will shape up if parents are allowed to take their kids wherever they want if they are not happy with their home district. So in other words, the state or federal government will take even more money away from highly underfunded school districts and expect them to get better? Am I missing something? Most students who are doing poorly in public school don't have a snowball's chance in our private schools. Most private schools have highly accelerated curriculums with no help for students who struggle with learning. The answer is not vouchers. The answer is the federal government stepping up to take responsibility for a poor public-school model. The answer is to end NCLB, which is nonsensical and unreal. The answer is for everyone to get on board and make our school system what it should be.

Parade drinking

SATURDAY AT the homecoming parade, a woman asked directions to Houck Stadium. She said her family was visiting Southeast Missouri State University to see if they would like for their son to come to the university. Unfortunately, she also asked if those students who were drunk and passing out at 10 o'clock in the morning were typical students. I assured her they were not because both of our children graduated from SEMO and weren't involved in that kind of lifestyle. Why does this happen every year? Can't we do something about the drinking problem that goes on during the parade?

It isn't needed

NOW THE promoters of Amendment 2 are exploiting our veterans and making us believe that we need Amendment 2 to find cures for their deadly diseases. There are cures in stem-cell research. There is no doubt about that. But it they involved adult stem cell, umbilical blood and fat cells. This is being accomplished without Amendment 2, which would forever mar the Missouri Constitution. I beg you to vote no. Young parents who are promoting Amendment 2, please find it in your hearts to donate the umbilical blood of any future babies at their birth so this can be accomplished. Think how much more meaningful this would be to help find cures. We don't need Amendment 2 to get this accomplished.

Ethical ramifications

TO THE recent misguided comment that religion inhibited scientific progress" Please carefully consider Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s. In the name of science, horrific torture tests, amputations and unimaginably barbaric research experimentations on innocent people were carried out. Science, like any other man-made system, needs -- indeed, requires -- ethical and moral boundaries for its implementation. Those who most often chant the mantra that religion impedes science are those who desire to escape accountability and the ethical ramifications of their actions.

On the money

KUDOS TO Matt Sanders for writing a positive review of the Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Jake Owen concert last week. He was right on the money. Finally.

Maturity is coming

TJ GREANEY is still just an adult in training and shouldn't be condemned for his liberal, naive view of the world. Someday he'll mature and see the world as it really is. I hope he will not have done too much harm by then.

Best education

SO EDUCATORS want No Child Left Behind revised. Why not ask workers if they want less responsibility and accountability for the same money? When employers raise the bar, employees always complain. I want my grandchildren to get the best education possible, and I don't think they should have to go to a parochial school to get it. If the teachers or administrators can't cut it, get rid of them and hire someone who can.

Can't force students

NO CHILD Left Behind might have good intentions, but like most of President Bush's goals it is unachievable and costly. No one test should classify a school as a failure, and it is just ridiculous to expect every student in every school to meet those goals. If a student doesn't want to pass, no amount of federal legislation is going to force him to.

Sign enforcement

IN THE recent article, "Cape Girardeau tightens rules on water detention," a contractor, Brandon Williams, said he did not want this to be a complaint-driven ordinance. He wants to see the city hold all builders accountable. Don't count on that happening. Just take a look at how the city has handled the enforcement of the sign ordinance. Two citations were issued to a small-business owner on Kingshighway while the big corporate businesses like Wal-Mart, K's Merchandise and West Park Mall continue to display their banners. When citizens complain about this, we are told that the enforcement process started on Kingshighway and the city hasn't gotten to that area yet or, in the case of West Park Mall, the mall is waiting for permits for permanent signs and is allowed to use the banners temporarily. The business owner who received the citations on Kingshighway has applied for and has been waiting for a permit for a permanent sign as well. He gets a citation while West Park Mall gets a free pass.

Good contractor

IT IS a good move on the part of Cape Girardeau to try to protect homeowners with the new storm-water and sediment runoff regulations. One contractor didn't see the regulations as a burden but as something he has a moral obligations to do. Unfortunately, another contractor is already making excuses for why this will fail. The point is to be a good contractor and not to impose a hardship on somebody else.

Military honors

AS A military veteran, I want to thank Southeast Missouri State University and the National Guard for putting on a great show honoring all military veterans at the homecoming game. I also want to thank all of those who came up to me and said thanks for my service. While it was not necessary, it was appreciated.

Good spotting

WE KNOW exactly where one cow with mad cow disease is located among the millions and millions of cows in America, but we haven't a clue where thousands of illegal immigrants and terrorists are located. Maybe we should amend the Patriot Act and put the Department of Agriculture in charge of immigration.

Clean subdivision

I LIVE in a subdivision that has duplexes in it. The people who live in them are some of the best neighbors I've ever had. Most of them have been long-term residents. We all keep our yards mowed and clean. We speak to each other. We watch out for the children around us. Overall the entire subdivision is clean and quiet.

Yield signs

THE INTERCHANGE at U.S. 61 at I-55 is still dangerous. I go south onto I-55 every morning from Cape Girardeau. Every morning I nearly get broadsided by traffic coming from the west turning onto I-55 south. The yield signs are ignored.

Highway passing

TO THE people who travel on Highway 72: Directly after the construction zone ends, the speed limit goes to 55 mph all the way to Fredericktown. Please travel at the speed limit. If you cannot handle the speed limit, prepare to be passed. If you get passed, please do not speed up. I can't tell you how annoying it is to pass someone who is traveling slow and then find them tailgating.

Holiday havoc

THERE IS a cartoon circulating on the Internet showing a banner across a building that says "Merry Thanksgivoween Sept. 1 to Jan. 1." That's about what has happened, isn't it?

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