The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 30, 1998 · Page 20
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 20

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 30, 1998
Page 20
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C2 SATURDAY. MAY 30, 1998 THE SAUNA JOURNAL George B. Pyle editorial page editor Opinions ; ,expressed on .this page are those of the identified writers. • i To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (785) 827-6363 E-mail: SJLetters® EQuoteof the day » j for religious i ingervatives. He » f felt the true s- conservative defend the lividualfrom government £: intrusion." * grace Merill jgnjl and pollster of Barry bldwater, who Friday at 89. By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal Fighting fire with fire IKE ISSUE Threats of violence in schools THEARGUMBUT Pressure just promises more explosions "Get a shot off fast. This upsets him long enough to let you make your second shot perfect." — from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long, by Robert Heinlein T ON MEDIA Ci ; ould there be a worse way for school officials to have handled the case of a Salina high schooler who recently expressed a degree of anger sufficient to shoot people? Well, yes, it could have been worse. They could have done nothing. But by reporting to police the overheard remark of an angry adolescent, and having that person slapped in jail on a charge of making a criminal threat, the Salina School District has once again demonstrated a clumsy and ham- fisted approach to lawlessness that does little to encourage good behavior. Now that students know that the dropping of what may be a totally idle threat can get them thrown in jail, will they all become placid little lambs? Of course not. They will just know enough not to say anything where anyone can hear them. Shoot first, ask questions later. Granted, after school shootings in towns not much different than Salina, our school officials are understandably jumpy. But, once again, it is the rule-makers rather than the rule-breakers who are disrupting the educational process. Over in McLouth, a rumor of possible student violence caused the school board to cancel the last two days of that district's school year. So how many rumors and anonymous notes will it take to get the whole school year cancelled? Party on, dudes. The alleged, overheard utterance that got the 15-year-old Central High boy dragged into the criminal justice system was, we are told, "I could bring a gun to school and shoot people." Stating the obvious is now a crime? The Cold War joke was about a man caught running through the Kremlin shouting "Khrushchev is an idiot 1 ." He was arrested and sent to the Gulag for 20 years —10 years for sedition and 10 years for revealing a state secret. In Salina, now, it is a crime to tell the truth — the truth that young people are often angry and often feel some desire, however small, to express that anger through horrible acts of violence. The next child who feels that way is now on notice that if he or she would express that feeling, the official response will be swift punishment. Who will now come forward to ask for help? To find a kind soul who can help channel rage into therapy, tears, work, anything other than violence? Through this act of oppression, Salina school officials claim to have dealt with a potentially serious problem. But what they have really done is try to sweep it under the rug, and then place several items of large furniture on top to hide what they have done. It won't work. The more one tries to deal with problems by adding pressure from the top, the more certain it is that the problems will explode somewhere off to the side, perhaps where we least expect it. Looking for the quid pro quo Again, the question is, 'What did the president know, and when did he know it?' T! LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL MARTIN SCHRAM Scripps Howard News Service • he newly dubbed "Chinagate" affair has become a quest for a quid pro quo, as probers from the Congress and. the news media are in hot pursuit of a China connection that will validate the suffix that has already designated the allegation as a full-fledged American political scandal. Yet this may be one instance where a quid pro quo will never be found — yet the real scandal can still be revealed for all to see, reviled by all who care and reveled in by all Republican pols who are smart enough to curb their quick-lashing, quick-bashing ways and let the facts speak for themselves. Washington's quest for a quid pro quo began when The ^ New York Times broke the stunning news earlier this month that controversial Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung had told federal investigators he received $300,000 from a woman who is both an officer in China's military and an executive of a Chinese aerospace company — and that he contributed almost $100,000 of it to Democratic Party campaign accounts in the summer of 1996. So explosive was Chung's sensational but so- far unsubstantiated account that it blasted even Monica and Paula off the front pages and clear out of the prime time TV news. Then, on May 17, The New York Times carried an in-depth account that reported the alleged Chinese contribution followed, by, just a few months later, decisions by President Clinton to ease restrictions on the launching of American-made satellites on China's missiles. Control of export licensing for communications satellites was transferred from the State Department to the Commerce Department. The shift was originally opposed by the departments of State and Defense and the CIA; it was strongly urged by Commerce, the American aerospace industry (which wanted to take advantage of China's low fees charged for launching satellites) and, of course, by China. The Times report ran under a front page headline that said: "How Chinese Won Rights to Launch Satellites for U.S.; Tie to Donations Denied." Some Republicans rushed to denounce the idea that a Democratic president would even allow China to launch satellites for U.S. industries and thus gain valued high tech info. Had they stopped to carefully read that Times account, they'd have noticed that it was President Bush who issued the first waiver of restrictions that had been enacted in response to the massacre of protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1990. What that Times article didn't go on to say — but should have reported — was that in his remaining two years after the Tiananmen T VISIONS OF KANSAS Had Republicans stopped to carefully read the Times account, they'd have noticed that it was President Bush who issued the first waiver of restrictions. Square killings, Bush signed nine presidential waivers that allowed U.S. firms to place satellites on China's missiles, all approved by the State Department. And Clinton signed 11 presidential waivers for Chinese launching of U.S.- made satellites in his five years, eight approved by State and three by Commerce. Later news reports raised the specter of another possible quid pro quo, this one made in the U.S.A.: The chief executive of Loral, the U.S. company that made the satellite most recently approved by the Clinton administration for launching after an inter-agency battle, is also one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party. Loral's CEO, Bernard Schwartz, denies his contributions were made in exchange for satellite or any other business considerations. Meanwhile, Chung's allegation prompted both China and the military officer implicated, Liu Chaoying, to deny any contribution was given. But probers need not discover a perhaps unobtainable quid pro quo for Chung's per-! haps unprovable allegations to spotlight the scandalous conduct that seems to have been pervasive in the Clinton campaign effort. Instead, investigators from Congress and the media would adapt Howard Baker's 25- year-old script and begin asking: What did every member of President Clinton's campaign chain of command know about the sources of Chung's contributions? And if they didn't know anything, was it because they figured this was something they dared not ask about — something they knew they didn't want to know? And while reporters are at it, they might ask! a timely follow-up question of a quick-to-attack' pol who not only charged that the president "has permitted five additional American-built satellites to be launched by the Chinese" but added that because of that, the president "really is an incurable patsy for those dictators he sets out to coddle." The politician who leveled that attack was Al Gore; the president he was attacking in the last days of the 1992 campaign was then-President Bush. Now Vice President Gore deserves an opportunity to explain whether the stan-, dard of ethics in missilery he set in 1992 applies equally to the current president. Or does : he believe that today's even softer policy calls for an even tougher denunciation of his boss? • Martin Schram writes on media issues for Scripps Howard News Service, 1090 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20005. Teaching the teachers about Kansas When the tweeds meets the seed caps, Kansans will understand each other better L DAVID S. AWBREY Kansas Press Association [frnsas students reach the top raduations are in full swing across the state of Kansas. With each of them mjes the hopes, dreams and ins of graduates. Most high fiobl graduates look forward to htinuing their education at a liege or technical school. In the majority of high hcjol seniors take the ACT test, w iiph is used by post-secondary ii Jtjtutions for admission purpos- »The ACT tests students in core ai ademic areas and compiles a to- ti 1 score. The highest possible s$pr£ on the ACT is a 36. Across tljc nation this year, approximately»i million students took this test. Ofctfiose students, 39 received per- f^jt scores. Kansas was honored to h&yasixof those 39. At the May meeting of the State B lard of Education, we had the o jportunity to meet and visit with top-notch kids. we hear about the failures .'society, so it gives me great Jasure to recognize those who resounding successes. from Washburn Rural in Tope- Dawn Dechand and Adam flrielka were recognized. From V jchita East, Anna Perleberg and K Jtie Mitchell achieved perfec- ti «. Timothy Clark, who is home- ei ucated at Hoisington scored at tl &L-top. Shawnee Mission West 4 student Scott Benolkin also received a 36. These winners gave the state board some pointers on what it takes to be a great student. They mentioned hard work, parental support and good study habits. They also talked about taking responsibility for their own successes and failures. In addition to high test scores, these mental athletes were involved in many extra-curricular activities. They deserve this recognition and my hat is off to each of them. My hope is that younger students will choose to model themselves after students like these. Scott Benolkin was asked the question, "How many times did you take the ACT," by one of the board members. He sheepishly replied, "Twice." The board member responded, "Don't be embarrassed, many kids take it twice." To which Scott responded, "Yes, but not when they scored a 35 the first time." To me this typifies the spirit these kids possessed. Anything less than their very best, just wasn't good enough. To the six of you: Lead on!! — SCOTT HILL Abilene * Scott Hill is a member of the Kansas State Board of Education. et's deal with the stereotypes first. The male professors will wear beards, ikhakis and tweed jackets with brown suede patches. The female faculty will be in sensible shoes, frizzy hair, broom skirts and African-made *~ jewelry. The typical Kansas men will be in seed caps, workboots and denim overalls. The women in flower-print dresses, no makeup and left-over Farrah Fawcett hairstyles. For the second year, a group of faculty and staff from the University of Kansas set out in late May to discover what to many of them is an exotic, unknown land — the state of Kansas. The trip should help $ dispel the simplistic stereotypes that lead to damaging suspicions between Kansans and their state universities. The Wheat State Whirlwind tour was the idea of KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, who wants his faculty members to have a better understanding of the, people who pay their salaries and a deeper awareness of the background of their students. This year's tour takes about three dozen Jayhawks from their nest in Lawrence to such places as the Kickapoo Reservation north of Topeka, the Konza Prairie near Manhattan and the historic black settlement of Nicodemus. Hemenway expects the tourists to look and, perhaps more important, to listen. Kansans, the faculty will find, are people of the land. Even in urban areas, many Kansans are a generation or two off the farm, and they Each small Kansas town spans the spectrum of human personality — cranks, church ladies, drunks, Main Street merchants — and makes tolerance a primary Kansas virtue. 'Just don't scare the horses,' my grandmother said in describing acceptable social conduct. still honor the small-town, rural values of their grandparents. Constantly at the mercy of unpredictable nature, many Kansans accept life as something they can't control and define themselves as part of a larger order. That's the wellspring of a profound spirituality which, as the KU travelers will see at St. Fidelis Church near Victoria, makes most Kansans deeply religious. Kansas was founded on a moral ideal — to end the curse of slavery. It has been a crossroads of the nation, attracting people from all points to the promise of agricultural abundance and opportunity, mixing cultures as diverse as ex-slave Exodusters and Bohemian peasants. Those forces have made Kansans prize personal dignity, yet recognize that true individuality is nurtured in community. Each small town spans the spectrum of human personality — cranks, church ladies, drunks, Main Street merchants — and makes tolerance a primary Kansas virtue. "Just don't scare the horses," my grandmother, the daughter of a Reno County judge, said in describing acceptable social conduct. Unlike Eastern states where the best stu- dents tend toward private colleges, most of Kansas' brightest young people enter a state university. Wildcats, Jayhawks, Shockers, Gorillas, Hornets and Tigers are the state's primary ethnic groups, with enough cultural, baggage — rituals, rivalries, social status — to fill a doctoral dissertation in anthropology. What Kansans want most from their universities' professors is that the faculty members participate fully in the state's public and intellectual life. Too many professors, however, feel greater loyalty toward their narrow academic disciplines than to either the state or their college. I doubt, for example, that some KU professors have ever been farther west in Kansas than Allen Fieldhouse, but they have- traveled extensively overseas. They have more; likely dined at Rules in London than at the Brookville Hotel. -.Kansas is small enough for each citizen to; make a personal impact on the state, yet large* enough that what happens in Kansas matters- to the rest of the nation. The state needs quali-* ty educators to serve its larger purpose as the, "center" holding the nation together. Most of Kansas' future leaders will graduate from the state's universities. Similarly, acade^. mic study and research, from new wheat- strains developed at Kansas State to new metti-C ods of local government drafted by the Hugo., Wall Center at Wichita State, are vital for Kansas in the 21st Century. The state's destiny; will largely be determined in the laboratories and classrooms of the six Regents universities.:Who knows, maybe cooperation will go so"; well that a Kansas farmer will ask a KU pro£ fessor where he can get one of those tweed jackets. ; . • David S. Awbrey is the former editorial page editor of the Wichita Eagle and now an independent journalist. You can write to him in care of the Kansas Press Association, 5423 SVK 7th, Topeka, KS 66606. •> By G.B. TRUDEAU MAHfWHATA MU&THAVK 0eEN ID LIVE THIS OOS& TO <KMHP5N- ,! HAT&TOSPGAK. RGA1, PAINA9A N&6H0OR,, . MHICHON& WHICHROCK?

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