The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 12, 2001 · Page 7
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 7

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Thursday, April 12, 2001
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THE SALINA JOURNAL THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 2001 A7 Tom Bell Editor & Publisher Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. 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® saljournal.com Quote of the day "It's hard to find that much bunting in eastern North ' Carolina." Jane Alligood a volunteer helping to decorate Greenville, N.C., for a visit by President Bush. prevail THE ISSUE China, U.S. reach agreement THEARGUMBilT Calm wins in the end P resident George W. Bush's course of action in his first foreign policy challenge was a bit wobbly at times. The message from the White House was not altogether consistent in the early days following the collision between a U.S. spy plane and a Chinese jet fighter. But there is one area where the president excelled, and that is in keeping harsh rhetoric under control. That single factor played a key role in China's promise that the 24 service men and women would be released. From the outset, U.S. conservative hawks wanted to ratchet up the war of words. They wanted to threaten China with trade sanctions during a time when Chinese officials are trying to find their way on the international stage. They wanted to warn Beijing that the United States could strangle efforts to make China home to the 2008 Olympics — an event Chinese officials view as essential in improving their country's global stature. They wanted to remind China that the United States is considering a major sale of military hardware to Taiwan, which China views as renegade Chinese property Apparently Bush and his advisors understood that such threats can backfire, especially when directed at a country where various factions are fighting for control. Nothing unifies a country like threats from an adversary, and it behooves us to appeal to peaceful elements of the Chinese leadership, not the generals. At Bush's urging, calmer heads prevailed and this matter appears on its way to peaceful resolution. We are grateful for the outcome. Our men and women are on their way home. The Bush administration has learned some key lessons in international diplomacy. And we all have been reminded that honest sincerity works better than threats. — Tom Bell Editor & Publisher 6 % * • TCAN SHE SAY THAT? Handling China in true Texas fashion People forget that we made peace with China practically all by ourselves D uring these international pickles, when stuff happens and no one has any idea what to do about it, we shouldn't criticize the people in charge unless we can come up with a suggestion about what they should do instead. So in that spirit, let me suggest that the Bush team blame the whole spy-plane problem on Bill Clinton and announce that they, being wiser heads, will never do such a thing again. They should call the policy of sending spy planes off the Chinese coast "reckless adventurism," denounce it roundly and then call off the flights, thus making the Chinese happy as clams. The beauty of this, as James Bamford pointed — ^— out last week in The New York Times, is that we don't need spy-plane flights. They're not only dangerous — they're dumb. You might even say they're reckless adventurism. The United States has land-based listening installations that can intercept whatever a spy plane can, not to mention the equipment on our satellites, which, we used to be told, could read license plates in the Soviet Union. All the cable news networks promptly gave this "crisis" its own logo and a near- • POINT OF VIEW MOLLY IVINS Fort Worth Star-Telegram Dead-Diana amount of air time. This is not helpful. Meanwhile, President Bush tried to revive his pat campaign phrase about China being "not a strategic partner but a competitor." Unfortunately, he got it backward. It not only helps not to be dumb — it helps not to sound dumb. Texans, of course, have a special stake in good relations with China, since we practically made peace with those folks all by ourselves. Lots of people give Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger the credit, but Texans know that during the first reign of Bill Clements as governor, the State Department shipped Premier Deng of China to Texas on the first-ever visit of a big Chinese cheese to this country. Clements, just the guy anyone would want in a diplomatic pinch, promptly announced to the whole state, "Now, we have to be nice to this little feller, whether we like chop suey or not." And so we were. We like to friendlied him to death and all wore our quaint native costumes so he'd know we were Texans. Who can forget the sight of Deng in a stagecoach at the Houston Fat Stock Show, all but swallowed up by the 10-gallon hat that we gave him, unable to stop grinning like a possum? The role of Texas in International diplomacy is often misunderestimated. In other news, recent events hereabouts unhappily bring to mind just why President Bush II's new policy of rewarding corporate malefactors is such a bad idea. . According to Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, Lockheed Martin, the giant defense contractor, is trying to pull a scam on the Pentagon that could cost taxpayers up to $100 million. So far this is just an allegation. The Defense Department spokesmen say the case is being taken "very seriously," and Lockheed's spokesman told USA Today: "We are in negotiations and are committed to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement on the subject" — the subject being whether they're ripping off the Pentagon by claiming fictitious losses and through lease-back schemes. The problem is that even when huge companies are assessed "record fines," the fines never even cause a blip in the bottom line of ^e multinationals. It's cheaper to pay the fine than to obey the law, be it for illegally disposing of toxic waste, endangering the lives of workers, knowingly producing unsafe products or just ignoring elementary labor law. Clinton's idea was to take repeat corporate offenders and say they couldn't get any more government contracts, whereat strange noises emerged from many of our most distinguished law-'n'-order demagogues. So Bush II promptly announced that he would suspend that policy, lest it inconvenience corporate contributors. I'm not quite sure what to make of Bush's decision to ignore health, safety arid environmental violations, at least to the extent of rewarding the perps with new contracts. I wouldn't have thought it politically advisable. Expedient perhaps, but not good for his image, which is how such matters are judged in Washington. I suppose we could just scrap all these laws that are supposed to control corporate conduct and pass a national motto instead: "Buyer beware!" Hey, it's only your kid's life. T LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL -ru • M» M 1 1 1^1 11 How to psych out adults Reinventing the game of basketball I have been in the teaching profession for a number of years. I have taught in a university setting as well as having been an administrator of a state education agency. As such, I have seen thousands of students come and go. At present I am engaged as a substitute teacher with the Salina School District and count this experience as one of the most enjoyable of my career. I have come to admire and respect the dedication of the teachers, administrators, secretaries, custodians and lunchroom workers who work so diligently for the benefit of the students. I have also come to admire the students and, quite frankly, it is I who learned a great deal from them. I have been amazed at the high level of teaching and learning, especially in the face of volumes of paperwork heaped upon the teachers, and the relentless distractions both in and out of school faced by the students. This letter is directed primarily to the "kids" of Salina schools, but I won't be offended if "kids" of all ages take a look. Believe it or not, teachers used to be your age, sitting for what seemed to be endless hours in the very setting in which you find yourselves today As ''kids," we faced the same emotions, temptations, insecurities, anxieties, distractions and feelings of love, frustration and loss as you feel today We felt like we were immortal and that nothing could harm us. Guess what? A lot of us still feel that way regardless of what life has dealt us. To the "kids" who attend the Salina public schools, I encourage you to be kids in the halls, the gyms, the cafeteria and on the playing fields of your schools. Just always be aware that someone younger than you is looking at and listening to you. You are a hero to someone, and your example for good or bad is affecting the life of someone you may not even know. Yes! Be "kids" in those places mentioned earlier. But! May I urge, you to leave all the "Yeahs," "Hu-huhs," Hunuhs" and "yos" in those places here the "kid" stuff belongs. When you set your foot across the threshold of the door to the classroom, you become a student. You become a systematic observer, learner and contributor of thought, fact and theory Your classroom is a sacred place where primeval grunts, guttural noises and the vulgarization of the English language has no place. Leave those noises to the rappers, MTV, screenwriters, authors, country music lyricists and to the Discovery Channel scientists studying and dramatizing the origins of man. Whether you are a creationist or one who believes in evolution, I prefer to believe that the Good Lord allowed our vocal apparatus to evolve to "Yes," "No" and "I don't know." By the way if you really want to psych out your teachers and parents with "shock words," try adding to your "no" or "yes" one of the two words that have passed into extinction. Those words — are you ready? "Sir" and "Ma'am." I remain convinced that were this to occur on a consistent and sincere basis, and as a mark of respect (not for egotism) the level of civility learning and, yes, teaching, would rise to levels unimaginable today. Such would have to be a natural occurrence coming from the heart, not from some legislator's desk. I hope to continue to "sub," and impress upon you "kids" the fact that many doors of opportunity will either be opened or closed to you based on your behavior and upon how you verbally present yourselves. Will you be marked as a person of civility and education? Or just the opposite? See you in class. — EARL R. EDWARDS Salina This group of teen-agers has come up with a creative way to have a good time T een-agers most often make the news when they do something bad. The most publicized teens are those who blast their fellow students with a sawed-off shotgun. Many people feel that there is too much media coverage about the delinquency of teens, and there should be more about the positive things that they do. Taking matters into my own hands, I'm going to write about the creativity and initiative of some of my peers. I'll do this by writing about the Jazz Invitational Tournament (JIT). "What are you talking about, again?" This is a quote from Jared Hulstine, an innocent and unsuspect- ^ ing student at Salina Central High School, when he was asked about the JIT. You, also an innocent bystander, probably have no more idea what I'm talking about than Hulstine did. I'm talking about a sporting event that, if you see it, it will change your ideas about basketball and team sports forever. Let's start with some background. The Jazz is the name of a basketball team that started out two years ago as a team playing in the Salina Parks and Recreation KRISTIN CONARD for the Salinajournal leagues, and they have now matured into starting their own tournaments. The first- ever JIT will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday at Roosevelt-Lincoln, with the championship game taking place at Kansas Wesleyan University The JIT includes several teams from all over Salina. There are the Penetrators, made up of all seniors. The original Jazz team is made up of juniors John and •James Jordan, Daniel Romans, Andrew Schneider and Ken Baxa. Teams aren't only made up of guys, there is also a girls team. The girls could be the ones to watch if they can focus on working together. Each team has its own particular flair. The Penetrators have a secret player, which seems a bit sketchy whom they refer to as The X Factor. They also are said to have secret plays and strategies. A real edge is player Adam Lebahn, who played basketball for Salina Central. The Jazz have always been known for their crazy antics on the court. They're known for such plays as "six-man confusion" and the tomahawk defense, where the goal is to foul whoever you're guarding as quickly and flagrantly as possible. Their advantage is that they have playfed together before. The other teams have smatterings of outstanding skills and talent. The rosters for each team seem to change daily, so the only teams I can really talk about are the Jazz and the Penetrators. Coaches for the teams are also high school students. Referees include high school students, as well. It's rumored that at the championship game, Mark Ramsay, a former basketball coach at Salina Central, will make a guest appearance as a ref. "The Penetrators will revolutionize the game of basketball," says John Nguyen, coach of the Penetrators. He is not only a coach, but he also plays when he feels the team could benefit more from his skills on the court than his coaching skills. Clint Leahew, another coach, is on the injury list and decided to help his team from the bench with his clipboard in hand. The Jordan brothers first had the idea for a JIT. Playing for the Parks and Rec just didn't seem like enough. They gathered players and teams. They also made the bracket, which seems to be suspiciously favored towards the Jazz. The Jazz are most likely team that, will come out on top in the East. The West is really a toss up. The Mavericks and the Pen­ etrators will be playing the first game, and that will probably be the closest game of the tournament. Whether you like basketball or not, you should really make an appearance on April 14 at Roosevelt-Lincoln. What you will see will shock and amaze you. You will see basketball at its most intense. Come on out to support your local youth and have a good time. • Kristin Canard is a senior at Salina Central High School who is writing for the Salina Journal Viewpoints page as a part DOONESBURY FLASHBACKS By G.B.TRUDEAU

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