The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on September 17, 2002 · Page 4
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 4

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Tuesday, September 17, 2002
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A4 THE HAYS DAILY NEWS OPINION TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 17,2002 Editorial Security hiring Lack of information about increased security at airport doesn't gain our confidence L eave it to the government to go overboard with a relatively simple assignment. The task is to hire new screeners for the federal airport gate security force. That includes Hays and other small regional airports with commuter commercial air service. Run a help wanted ad, take applications and send a person or two out for interviews. Simple enough? Not for the federal government. No, the feds descended on Hays two weeks ago and set up an operation at a local motel that looks like some sort of large-scale military or domestic defense tactical operation. The newly created Transportation Security Administration took over a whole wing of the motel and cordoned off the parking area around it with yellow caution tape. With signs on different motel room doors for doctors and security and storage, some local residents who saw this were a little alarmed about what was going on. The government was not much help. Feds on site were close-lipped. The motel people did not know much. The newspaper was given the number of a TSA media relations person who was out on temporary assignment. All of this production under such secrecy just to hire a few airport gate attendants. One TSA spokesperson said that 33 screeners would be hired for the Hays Regional Airport. That seems ridiculous given the airport only handles four flights daily. Even the local airport manager questioned the number. Possibly the TSA is hiring for other regional airports in the area, such as for Goodland, Garden City or Great Bend. But no one knows. Not even the airport manager. We do not mean to minimize the importance of these hires. The debacle of Sept. 11 laid bare our airport security vulnerability and was the impetus for the creation of the TSA. The government needs to hire good people, and it needs to train them well. Still, 13 motel rooms just for interviews and physicals and drug screenings and whatever else is necessary for the candidate assessments, plus who knows how many other rooms for the federal workers on assignment here, for two weeks running now? Seem like overkill? And if the sheer expense of it all is not a mind-bogging enough, we have all this secrecy, the yellow caution tape and so on. All of that serves only to make citizens uncomfortable about the way government operates, if not outright alarmed. After the Sept. 11 breaches of airport security, we said that federal government take-over of airport security was necessary, that nationalized airport security would be more consistent than the airport-by-airport private sector approach. We knew that it would cost money. But the blank-check mentality of the federal government, accompanied by the heavy-duty security leaves a bad taste about this change. editorial by John D. Montgomery Jmont@dallynews.net The editorials represent the opinion and institutional voice of The Hays Daily News but are signed by the author for the reader's information. Guest editorials are from other newspapers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Hays Daily News. Other content on this page represents the views of the signed columnist or letter-writer. The Opinion Page is intended to be a community forum. Guest editorials and syndicated columnists are selected to present a variety of opinion. Guest editorial Educating immigrants D espite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that forbids it, at least one candidate running for the State Board of Education would like to deny the children of illegal immigrants access to public education. How short-sighted and mean-spirited. Connie Morris, herself a teacher, says the cost of educating the children of illegal immigrants is draining state dollars. The St. Francis Republican has no opposition in the November election. Thankfully, she doesn't speak for every educator. Milt Pippenger, superintendent at Garden City, deals with many immigrants in his district. Pippenger, however, doesn't worry about whether they are legal or illegal. "From a moral standpoint, I owe it to educate every youngster living in my district," he said. "They have no control over what their circumstances are." Exactly. Race and citizenship aside, children who grow up without an education get into trouble that costs the state far more to correct than providing an education does. Barring children of illegal immigrants access to public schools is wrong. It makes the children pay for the sins of their parents, and it smacks of racism. editorial by The Topeka Capital Journal Reader Forum 'Homeland security' a pretext to centralized military, police On June 6, Coleen Rowley, an FBI whistle-blower, testified to a congressional committee that FBI headquarters had deliberately sabotaged the investigation of a suspected conspirator in the Sept. 11 attacks. But it was on that same day that President Bush made his "Homeland Security" sales pitch on prime-time TV His address eclipsed Rowley's testimony, so public attention was focused on expanding federal power instead of on the corruption, incompetence and negligence of federal officials responsible for Black Tuesday. Homeland security is just an excuse for a power-grab of stunning proportions, which establishes a police-state, i.e. an American Gestapo. Bush wants power to start wars at a whim and to jail anyone without trial, even American citizens. It is an effort to centralize military and law en- forcement'power in the executive branch. Some 20 security agencies would be combined including the Coast Guard, Customs and Immigration. The stage would be set to grab control over local police. Russia, China and other communist countries are the promoters of terrorism, although our leaders pretend to believe otherwise. Also, this is another good reason to get the United States out of the United Nations, with so many of its members supporting terrorism. Homeland security did not originate with Bush but rather with the Council on Foreign Relations, a patrician group that promotes world government using subtle and devious tactics. The CFR is hostile to our system of government, yet there are hundreds of its members in key positions in the administration. Homeland security not only is unconstitutional, but it also thwarts our federal system of government. We must stop this dangerous bill by contacting our senators. A.F. Donnelly Mission Column about new restaurant buffet was inappropriate You have strange way of welcoming the new Chinese restaurant to town. If it is supposed to be sarcastic, it is. I find the Sept. 1 column full of holes and quite a slam at the Chinese and Mexican communities. Years ago we found the buffets better than fast-food when feeding children. We couldn't get home without someone being hungry after a trip to a fast-food restaurant. John Hagen 1328 Lawrence Reader Forum policy A community is best served when residents are willing to discuss issues publicly. You can be part of the discussion by participating in the Reader Forum. Please limit your submissions to 600 words. They will be edited for length and clarity. They must be signed and include a name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. We reserve the "iqht not to print a submission. We do not accept for publication on the editorial page poems, consumer complaints, business testimonials or group letters. Mail them to Reader Forum, The Hays Daily News, 507 Main, Hays KS 67601.You also can send them by e-mail at letters@dailynews.net. Please include an address and daytime telephone number. President's war talk not 'hasty' WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who aspires to be the 44th president, accuses the 43rd of "hasty war talk." The adjective "hasty" suggests impetuousness. But although the president's policy acquired special urgency with the terrorist attacks, the thrust of the policy was a campaign theme of candidate Bush before the first primary of 2000. In New Hampshire on Dec. 2,1999, he said: "If I found in any way, shape or form that (Saddam Hussein) was developing weapons of mass destruction, I'd take 'em out." Although he spoke of disarming Iraq, not "regime change," surely after more than a decade of United Nations impotence regarding disarmament of Iraq, the burden of proof is on those who say disarmament can be achieved without regime change. Iraq is flagrantly violating agreements it made with the UN. in 1998, when the UN. responded to Iraq's flagrant violations of agreements made after the 1991 Gulf War. Surely the burden of proof is on those who say the United States should stay its disarming hand until the U.N. has reached yet another set of undertakings with an Iraq that is contemptuous of such things. On Dec. 2,1999, Bush said the trigger for pre-emptive action against Iraq should be not just Iraq's acquisition of such weapons but Iraqi progress hi "developing" them. Hence the importance of evidence that Iraq, which has endured sanctions costing it upward of $200 billion rather than permit weapons inspections, has been buying hardware necessary for developing nuclear weapons. Those who are most skeptical about the justification for military action to depose Saddam pass over his possession George F. Will COMMENTARY of chemical and biological weapons and ask: Is his acquisition of nuclear weapons "imminent"? But skeptics must answer this question: Suppose U.S. forces topple Saddam and discover that instead of having been one year away from acquiring such weapons, he had been, say, four years away. For what, exactly, would America have to apologize? For the "premature" defanging of one of the few tyrants of the ballistic missile age — Hitler was the first — to launch such missiles in war. America, says Kerry, must not go to war unless the president can say "we had no choice." But nations always have choices. France and Britain chose not to enforce Germany's obligations on March 7,1936, when Hitler held his breath and remilitarized the Rhineland, in violation of the treaties of Versailles and Locarno. Calling the 48 hours after his three battalions entered the Rhineland "the most nerve-wracking" of his life, Hitler said: "If the French had marched into the Rhineland we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs." France and Britain shrank from supporting Czechoslovakia militarily during the 1938 crisis over the Sudeten- land. Hitler finally met military resistance in September 1939. The following five years confirmed Douglas MacArthur's axiom that all military disasters are explained by two words: "Too late." Too late in discerning threats, too late in countering them. Britain's current leader understands this. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Tony Blair told the Trades Union Congress: "Suppose I had come last year on the same day as this year — Sept. 10. Suppose I had said to you: there is a terrorist network called al Qaeda. It operates out of Afghanistan. It has carried out several attacks and we believe it is planning more. It has been condemned by the UN. in the strongest terms. Unless it is stopped, the threat will grow. And so I want to take action to prevent that. Your response and probably that of most people would have been very similar to the response of some of you yesterday on Iraq. There would have been few takers for dealing with it and probably none for taking military action of any description." It took the terrorist attacks to galvanize the Bush administration. But even without the attacks it would have been justified in preparing, as Tuesday's Los Angeles Times reported, to implement the policy Bush foreshadowed as a candidate. The Tunes says the military buildup around Iraq includes weaponry and supplies for the 30,000 troops already in the region, and that 150,000 fully equipped troops "could be routed to the region well before Christmas." In addition to signing "big contracts for commercial air and sea cargo space," the military has "bought and built more, faster and better ships and aircraft — enough to cut by more than two-thirds the time it should take to deploy a large military force to Iraq." Such measures are a prudent response to MacArthur's axiom. George F. Will is a columnist for The Washington Post. Texan's funeral was fitting AUSTIN, Texas — Billie Carr, the godmother of Texas liberals, passed last week at 74. Sue Lovell of Harris County Democrats said she knew Billie was gone when she leaned over the bed and said, "Billie, should I get you a mail ballot?" and there was no response. Billie wanted her funeral conducted in the same political tradition in which she had spent her entire life: "I'll be half an hour late. I want a balanced delegation of pallbearers — blacks, browns, gays and an equal number of women. And I want an open casket and a sign ... that says: 'Hi there! My Name Is BILLIE CARR.'" They did it exactly as she wished. There were voter registration cards by the guest book. Hundreds of us were there, wearing tags that said, "Hi there! My Name Is ..." and people wore old political buttons from ancient struggles. I haven't had such a good time at a funeral since Nixon died. Oh, she was so much fun. Irreverent and improper, and absolutely fearless. And she had the greatest laugh. She attended Her first political convention in 1928, when she was 26 days old. Her parents pinned a credential on her diaper. Carr was a working class Democrat her whole life. Her granddaddy stood down the KKK, her parents were both politically active, and her husband, David, was a steelworker. But she always counted Frankie Randolph as her greatest political mentor. What a pair. Randolph was known as "the Eleanor Roosevelt of Texas." She was from an upper-class background, and although she was a shrewd political player, she also was a Southern lady to her bones. Tall, red-headed, raucous Billie, who cussed like an art form and fractured English grammar to the end of her life, was not. She venerated Randolph, but she had the special gift of being completely comfortable with who she was. COMMENTARY Between the two of them, plus Ed Cogburn, they built the Harris County Democrats into a key political power. They did it the old-fashioned way — by precinct organizing. Billie's book "How to Do It! Or Organizing a Precinct Can Be Fun" is still the manual of choice. Billie believed politics is about people — you have to listen to them, you have to talk to them, and all the rest is applesauce. All over Houston, ever since Billie died, they've been having "a moment of silence" in her memory at the public shindigs. How ridiculous is that? If you were having a Billie Carr Minute, obviously everybody would start talking at once, at a very high volume, about some hot political topic — or at least start a good story. Billie often said of politicians, "They are ALL alligators." If you don't feed them, they eat you. The word is now part of the lexicon of Texas politics: To be an alligator means you sell-out on one issue or another. To all the alligators Billie ever chewed out, I would say: She only cussed you out if she cared. If she thought you were hopeless, she never would've called. Carr had known Bill Clinton since he was a baby alligator, come to Texas in '72 to run McGovern's campaign. She later worked her tail off for him. A main thing about Billie was, she didn't just work herself, she made everybody else work, too. When President Clinton got himself into that Monica Lewinsky mess, Billie was upsetonly a woman of a certain age can be about men and their I stupidity. She defended him against the Republicans, but she was steamed. Clinton made the mistake of inviting her to the White House in the middle of that deal. Here it is, a big reception line, everyone duded up, all these important folks around, and Billie came though that line, looked the president of the United States in the eye and said, low and hard, "You dumb son of a b~~." Which is, of course, what every Democrat in America wanted to say to Clinton at the time. Such a tragedy there was no one there to write down the rest of it, but we do know that Clinton started laughing and said, "Billie, I knew you were gonna do that." Which proves he wasn't all dumb. I love Texas, but it is a nasty old rawhide mother in the way it bears down on the people who have the fewest defenses. Not many can claim a better record for justice and freedom — she was there for the workers and the unions, she was there for the African- Americans, she was there for the Hispanics, she was there for the women and she was there for the gays. And this wasn't all high-minded or we-should-all- be-kinder-to-one another. This was tough, down, gritty, political trench warfare — money against people. She bulled her way to the table of power, and then she used that place to get everybody else there, too. If you ain't ready to sweat, and you ain't smart enough to deal, you can't play in her league. I reckon Billie's somewhere up in heaven, in an old-fashioned Texas icehouse, with the ceilin' fans goin' and the beer and soda pop hi those long ol' bins full of ice water. All her family's with her, and Randolph, Millie Bruner, Bob Eckhardt and Ralph Yarborough — and they've all got Bob Bullock cornered at last. Molly Ivlns Is a columnist for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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