TO CALL a copied letter to the editor of a regional newspaper plagiarism is an insult to the Jayson Blairs of the world. Had Alan Journet been submitting an academic paper or writing a book, then perhaps the criticism would be founded. The Opinion page of the Missourian, however, is not quite the same.
WHICH IS worse, a minor plagiarism in a non-academic, newspaper situation -- which still preserves the truth -- or the daily lies, manipulations and distortions of the right-wing propaganda machine? Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity distort more in one hour than a person can even count. These Speak Out callers who are after Alan Journet are trying to get at somebody they want to silence in any way they can. The Missourian threw them a little red meat. Like their leaders, they are not really interested in the truth, just political warfare at any cost.
BY NOW, it's fairly evident that higher tobacco taxes do not lower smoking rates. Like any addict, the smokers and their families will cut back on other things to be able to afford their fix. And whoever believes youngsters will be discouraged from smoking is blowing smoke. It's all about money -- more taxes and more money for the government to waste, all in the name of health. This is our government's way of convincing the populace to agree with tax increases.
NO, WE are not exactly getting what we voted for in the last election. As usual, we wanted to believe what the candidates promised and suggested. Believe it or not, there are multitudes of Republicans (not to mention Democrats) who voted for the compassionate conservatives and now are seeing no compassion, just more far-right policies. What we should be pushing is an amendment saying that if a candidate makes promises while running for office, he or she should be fired if those promises are not accomplished within a year. That would cut down on the false promises and on the promises made with just a hope they can be kept.
IT SHOULD be clarified that the "No-cheating policy" item in Speak Out came from professor Alan Journet's Biology 225 course Web site.
WE DO have an exit strategy in Iraq. It is to train the Iraqi military so that it can defend its own country. We can approach that one of two ways. We can stay the course until we're certain the military is sufficiently trained. If we do that, we'll be out by 2097. Or we can publicly say the Iraqi military is sufficiently trained (while privately admitting it's not) and have the troops home by Christmas. If we choose the former, there will soon be a military coup and the emergence of a military dictator in Iraq -- a Saddam Hussein type. If we choose the latter course, there will be a civil war out of whom dictatorship by a cleric will emerge.
THERE SEEMS to be a growing split within the Missouri Republican Party. Democrats have an opportunity. One approach would be to try to convince moderately conservative Republicans to vote Democratic. Another would be to try to get the more extreme (populist) right-wing supporters of the Republican Party to realize that they've been duped into voting on values issues that the Republicans do little or nothing about while voting against their own economic self-interest. To me, the latter is the most difficult but more honorable approach for the Democrats to take. It might lead them back to the days when (on economic issues) they sided with large segments of the middle class, working poor and underclass instead of remaining what they've become on bread and butter issues: "me too" Republicans.
I'M A Southeast Missouri State University alumnus and have to share my disappointment over the state's continuing to pay the former president of the university a ridiculously outrageous amount of money even though he doesn't even reside in this state. There's no way you'll ever convince me that he works full time to help this area while students and their families are footing the bill.
I'M SURE glad we can spend $1.2 million in federal funds to make sure that the terrorist hotbed of Southeast Missouri is safe for one trip by President Bush to Poplar Bluff, Mo.
LAST WEEKEND I attended my son's graduation from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind. Because of the discipline and conservative values he has been raised with, he was able to obtain grants to attend this fine private university. This was good because I certainly could not have afforded to send him otherwise. He has had a good job in his field waiting for him since before Christmas. If the person complaining in Speak Out about the bleak job outlook for college grads had worked harder at obtaining a marketable degree from a good school, perhaps his father would be writing proudly about him too.
AFTER ATTENDING so many graduations, the one for Jackson was really a delight. Having the teacher speak about students that he knew made it so much more personal than just having someone give a speech. It was very enjoyable, and the teacher was great.
I HAVE read there are thousands of embryos that will go to waste. Our president positioned himself with several young couples who had been blessed with children by using some of the embryos. I felt good that these embryos were used for life. My understanding is the unused thousands will go to waste. If this is correct, how can that be pro-life? They go to waste, and individuals with horrible conditions are denied the possibility of a cure.
THE SLIMY dirty tricks throughout the Nixon administration certainly should make everyone in this area proud that Mark Felt had the guts and integrity to fight back. Watch the movie "All the President's Men." They were playing dirty tricks from top to bottom.
I'M READING the comment "Thanks to deputy" where deputy Dover in Alexander County pulled two people out of burning vehicles. He's a hero, but there's not been any mention of the man and woman who got out of their car and also risked their lives helping pull these people out of these cars. They deserve some recognition too.
I READ in Speak Out every day advice on how to take care of the budget, health care, Medicare, college problems, sidewalks and problems with our government. But no one has answered the real burning question I have -- and one we can do more about. Why does grass always grow taller and quicker in places where you have to use a trimmer?
I AM an elderly lady who has never been interested in the Sports section of any newspaper. However, several months ago, I began noticing the action photographs on the front page of your Sports section. They are always attributed to a Don Frazier. Thank you, Mr. Frazier, for sharing with us your wonderful talent. Your photos are truly memorable. I hope some day you will publish a collection of your action photos. I now look forward to seeing that part of the paper every morning.
I SEE they finally got the gardens up and running at the Red House Interpretative Center. That's great. But who's going to maintain the gardens? The beds are full of weeds. So are the little walks, and it looks like a number of the little bushes that were out are dying. Maybe they're getting too much water. I take walks down there all the time, and I notice these things. If you're going to have gardens, you need to keep them up.
THIS IS about the yellow ribbons. Would the people who put up the yellow ribbons on Interstate 55 north of Jackson please take them down? They are dirty, have faded and look terrible. You put them up. You take them down. Don't expect me to do that.
THE TACO Bell on Kingshighway had a faithful employee. Her name was Dale. She always made you feel welcome to the establishment, and she always made you feel that your business was very important to them and very appreciated. She recently passed away. Our sympathy to her family.
THANK GOODNESS my children were raised before children were given the "rights" of adults. Who in their right minds would believe that children should be making the decisions about having sex and abortions? The loss of parental control is sad, although perhaps some parents are happy to be absolved of the responsibilities they incurred when they decided to become parents.
THE CITIZENS of Europe get to vote on the European Union constitution. Some countries have turned it down. How would Americans vote on the economic and cultural changes that result from massive illegal immigration? We won't know, because we are not allowed to vote on that.
THIS IS not the first time the fear factor has come to Cape Girardeau. The first time the fear factor came was when the Republicans took over.
A 50-YEAR-OLD woman and self-described advocate for teen rights took a strong stand in favor of the right of teens to dye their hair. Sometimes I get irritated with Speak Out callers who concentrate on the trivial. I'm glad to read comments like the one from the aforementioned teen-rights advocate, because that is such a crucial issue. I'd dye my hair if I had any.
THE 100-MILE Yard Sale is not a hazard. It is once a year. Motorists should slow down. Someone's junk is someone else's treasure.
NO ONE was injured in the 100-Mile Yard Sale? Ask the pedestrian and motorcycle driver in Delta and the drivers of the 18-wheeler and Pontiac that were involved in an accident just south of Advance, Mo. It's time to let the sale go. It's too much aggravation.
I WOULD like to respond to the "advocate for teenagers' rights" who called abortion a "privilege" that teenagers should be allowed. Abortion should not be considered a privilege for anyone. Abortion is murdering your child because you realized, after the fact, that having sex was not a very good decision and a baby would be inconvenient.
NOT ONLY do we worry too much about everything, we are now learning from a new book ("Everything Bad Is Good for You") that much of what we think is bad for kids actually contributes to more sophisticated brain development. Without endorsing the sometimes violent aspect, a lot of the increase in brain-based skills can be directly traced to video games.