Speak Out 3/21/05

Monday, March 21, 2005

Paying for mistakes

ONE SENTENCE in a recent Speak Out comment says it all: "I have three children by two different men." The Medicaid system should use that as a slogan. If the American taxpayer wasn't paying for all the irresponsible pregnancies, there would be more than enough money to help the truly needy.

Honest intentions

WHILE I am not opposed to an increase in the alcohol tax for the right reasons, let's not soft soap it with some nonsense about alcohol education and making our highways safer. It is the state which has turned drinking into a pork-barrel project. A tax earmarked for education would inevitably wind up funding police departments and roadblocks, because driving under the influence is one of the only crimes that requires financial restitution, so it's a money maker. Special interests often get a thumbs down, but I hold government more dangerous because it can hide its motives through exaggerated social outrage or modifying public fear. At least the corporations are honest in their intent.

Watch the premiums

THE REPUBLICANS and the insurance companies finally got their limits on medical malpractice awards. Let's watch what happens to those rising malpractice premiums that have been dogging the doctors. Does anyone really think they'll go down?

Make those cuts

I BELIEVE people should get what they voted for. Matt Blunt and the Republicans made campaign promises that they would make cuts in spending. Now they've been elected and were given total power to put their money where their mouth is. But what do we see? Backtracking, backing down and whining about how hard the cuts are. Governor Blunt, show some guts and do what we sent you to do. You and your party are looking like a bunch of recycled Democrats.

Sending a message

FROM A Southeast Missourian article: "Senators gave first-round approval to the [Medicaid] bill on a 20-12 vote, with Republicans Kevin Engler of Farmington and Rob Mayer of Dexter joining all Democrats in opposition." Despite the fact that I am a Republican, I believe it is time for us to send a message to our elected officials: Next election, Missouri may turn Democratic. It disgusts me that so many elected Republicans must be so far to the right that they cannot be humane.

Target deadbeats

MOST OF the Medicaid and welfare comments I have collected from various sources have to do with fraud. Does this tell us what our politicians need to be doing to curb these programs? Instead of throwing needy people off of Medicaid or cutting their benefits, they should be using whatever means it takes to see that only the people honestly eligible should be on Medicaid.

All about money

MONEY. THAT is all Southeast Missouri State University is after. It does not care about students. I am a mother of a Three Rivers Community College student. We had been planning on applying to Southeast. I believe that is out of the question at this time. I have always tried to teach my daughter to be honest and straightforward. I do not want her to attend Southeast under these underhanded circumstances. We are looking at alternatives. It looks like Southeast is making promises they will not be able to keep. I think they are trying to get TRCC students. Then they will raise the prices when the students have no other options.

Welfare scam

A NEPHEW had two babies with two different women, then three more with the third girlfriend. After having to pay for DNA testing in an attempt to prove he was not the father, he now pays child support to the first two, who qualify for welfare. The third, because she and my nephew are still together, simply told DFS she had no idea who the fathers might be. They also live on welfare. Simple birth-control measures would have been intelligent.

Addicted to oil

IT SEEMS as if drilling for oil in Alaska is now a go. It is a horrendously bad idea, in my view. A far better way to address our dependency on oil would have been to start several decades ago seriously looking at developing alternative means of meeting our energy needs. But attention, funding and research are continually shifted away from developing means of power other than oil. It is criminal to realize that the planet is being degraded and harmed to the extent it is simply because a few extremely wealthy people's interests are served by keeping us addicted to oil.

Make a proposal

IF SOUTHEAST Missouri State University students want to pay for an aquatic center, let them. If faculty members think they are being underpaid, they should propose a fee increase just like the students did for the pool idea. I haven't seen any administrator pushing for anything.

Making a settlement

I SAT on a jury for a multimillion-dollar malpractice suit and experienced 17 weeks of explanations of why this family should be awarded a monetary settlement that would begin at $12 million and go upward with other factors. In the end, it was not proven to us that the doctors were responsible. Others on the jury felt sorry for the plaintiffs and wanted to award insurance money to them. Feeling sorry for their situation did not justify finding the doctors at fault. If people would quit feeling so free to give big monetary awards because they want to stick it to the insurance companies, insurance wouldn't be so high now. I'm glad there are limits now. Only those who are truly deserving of settlements should receive them. Congratulations to our legislators for doing the right thing.

Litter mayhem

THE MAYOR took a big risk confronting that litterbug. I did that once and ended up getting a beating for my trouble.

Taking down numbers

I OFTEN drive from Fruitland to Cape Girardeau on Interstate 55. I am appalled at the amount of litter. Yesterday I traveled to St. Louis from Jackson. I started on Route D, which had litter scattered all the way to U.S. 61. As I headed north on I-55, I could not believe the amount of litter I saw. The situation did improve when I left Cape Girardeau County. I thought of the future trips I would be making to the St. Louis airport to bring friends to my home to visit. I would be greatly embarrassed for them to see the condition of our roadways. It appears we are a bunch of slobs who take no pride in our beautiful surroundings. I intend to start writing down license plate numbers when I see someone throwing trash from a vehicle.

Preying on students

I HAVE a son who attends Cape Girardeau Central High School. I have noticed for the past two years that the police are preying on teenage drivers -- around 7:30 a.m. and around 2:15 p.m. -- like bees on honey. Teens should not speed, but I think it is pathetic for the police to pick on these kids like they do. Their insurance is high enough without this.

Honorable profession

HOW VERY sad it is for a teacher to be scrounging through seat cushions for money to buy food. Teachers are a hard-working individuals who make one of the greatest contributions to our society. Teachers should be paid fairly. Their selflessness in this profession is to be commended. Teachers are making a significant contribution to the betterment of society and deserve to be compensated. Teachers' honor may not buy bananas, but it is much better than lacking both bananas and honor.

Just average

MUCH HAS been said about how people take advantage of the welfare system. I have an average income. My kids are average in school. We are trying to get into colleges, and it is going to cost a lot because we are average and don't qualify for loans and scholarships. Sometimes I think I could do better for my kids if I weren't married. Everyone says you have to have a college education to get anywhere in today's world. That's hard to do when it costs so much to go.

Unbiased presentation

I SAY bravo to the reader who praised Dan Rather. He has spent his whole career informing the American public about the world around us. Say what you will about his personal politics, but I have always found him to present the news in the most unbiased fashion possible. How many pundits in the world of cable news can boast the same? I personally will miss spending that half-hour with Dan.

The cheapest way

THE POINT is to get a diploma. We want cheap classes, and we don't care who teaches them, Southeast Missouri State University or Three Rivers Community College. A doctorate doesn't mean anything to me. I work hard to pay tuition, and I want low prices and a teacher who is interesting. If I wanted high-quality education, I would go to SIU.

Making a point

THERE'S BEEN so much concern regarding trash along our roads, but what about the real menaces out there? Meth and vandalism are still a reality. As the residents along county roads know, there's no way for the sheriff to catch every criminal out there. What resources are available to rural landowners to prevent senseless vandalism, theft and drug activity? It's too dangerous to carry a gun or to encounter these criminals on your own. To ever turn things around, it all goes back to education and setting an example for the younger generations. The high schools need to impress upon the kids that vandalism is a crime and not something you do just for kicks. Parents need to set an example by not littering while driving down the roads.

Heartless motorist

IT IS rude and inconsiderate to hit a dog and keep driving. Pets are important members of families. They are living creatures and should be treated that way. My dog shouldn't have been in the road, but I don't know how anyone could be so heartless as to hit someone's pet and keep driving like nothing happened.

Ignoring a problem

ONCE AGAIN, school board members have rallied around administrators instead of admitting there is a problem and fixing it. Its pretty sad when district employees are putting their public-school children in private schools because they see how bad our schools have become. The children in Cape Girardeau lose once again.

Times have changed

I WOULD have helped the teacher needing milk money by giving her my change jar. How well I remember the winters my construction worker husband was unemployed, and we walked the roads picking up pop bottles for refunds to buy milk, bread, beans and bologna for the kids. That was back in the days when one could get food commodities instead of food stamps. We didn't apply because we didn't consider ourselves poor. We thought poor was not having anything. We had a car, a TV, a telephone, a place to live. We didn't spend our small tax refund on stereos but saved it for the tough times. Times sure have changed.

Discipline problems

AS A teacher in the district, I know many teachers have complained to the school board about the state of affairs at the middle school and junior high school. They are not listening to us. Parents, you are the only hope. Discipline is inconsistent and sometimes nonexistent. Bullying and sexual harassment are huge problems. Communication and follow-through about any issue are a joke. Our leaders allow staff to act unprofessionally. This all affects the children we are supposed to be reaching. If I had children in the system, I would pull them out. Maybe the board could hire another consultant to look into the problem.

Something of a shock

I'M SO glad to see that Three Rivers Community College is standing up to Southeast Missouri State University. The university is used to getting its way. It must have come as something of a shock to the board of regents. Perhaps residents of the area should take note.

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