The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 24, 2001 · Page 7
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 7

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Salina, Kansas
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Tuesday, April 24, 2001
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THE SALINA JOURNAL TUESDAY, APRIL 24, 2001 A7 Tom Bell Editors. 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 "I said, 'This is a peace agreement. This isn't a remalce of Rio Braua'," Bill Clinton recalling how he talked Yasser Arafat out of wearing a pistol to the 1993 White House ceremony announcing a peace agreement with Israel. Time and money THE ISSUE Tobacco settlement money THE ARGUMENT More funds should go to prevention T •^he Kansas Senate Budget Committee has it right when it comes to funding tobacco- use prevention programs. Friday the committee agreed to expand a grant program to fund community-based tobacco prevention programs. Our community received the state's first and only grant last month, some $500,000 awarded to the Salina Area Tobacco Prevention Coalition. The grant will help the coalition undertake efforts aimed at reducing tobacco use in youth and adults. It's a worthy program. But the coalition's efforts will be stymied if the program is not funded for several years in a row. Changing people's habits — especially those based on physical addictions — take time and money The coalition needs both. Towards that end, anti-smoking advocates are lobbying the Senate and House to renew funding for the grant program, plus increase it to $875,000 so other communities can begin tobacco prevention efforts. That's a lot of money But it should be allocated for a couple of reasons. For starters, the funds will be matched by the American Legacy Foundation, which was created in the national tobacco settlement and is funded by tobacco companies. That means the state's $875,000 grant will turn into $1.7 million in funding. Perhaps most important of all, this $875,000 is but a small bit of the $57 million Kansas will receive from the tobacco settlement this year. Common sense tells us that more settlement money should be used in prevention programs if we hope to stem tobacco-related illnesses. The state grant made it through one hoop when the Senate Budget Committee approved increasing funding to $875,000. It has a few more steps to go, including passing the full Senate, the House, and then getting Gov. Bill Graves' signature to give it the force of law. Let's hope they all see the wisdom of expanding tobacco prevention programs, and decide to keep this funding in place. — Tom Bell Editor & Publisher LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL SJLetters@saljournal.com An apology is due Thank you for George Pyle's comments about the April 15 edition of "B.C." ("Cartoonist figures out wrong way to do Easter," April 16). When I read the cartoon, I too was appalled. The so-called candelabra looks very, very much like the Jewish menorah that has historically symbolized the faith. The seven-branch menorah was the symbol for Judaism long before Hitler's yellow star, and the now commonly used Star of David (Magen David). In fact, there is a huge seven- branch menorah, called Benno Elkan's menorah, in front of the Knesset in Jerusalem, given to Israel by England. I find it hard to believe that Johnny Hart drew this cartoon in ignorance, as the candelabra in the cartoon is so clearly menorah style. In any event, a huge apology is due all Jews. I am waiting to see what appears in Mr. Hart's cartoon strip in future issues. I hope he addresses this shameful, if not frightening, faux pas. And, if he does, that his apology comes Q ^om the heart, not as a result of social pressure. Otherwise, I will be convinced that the message portrayed in the "B.C." strip will be all too clear and should never be condoned much less printed by a newspaper the caliber of the Salina Journal. — MYRNA SPICER Abilene Bush and the truth Many people who voted for George W. Bush thought he would bring "honesty and integrity" to the presidency They were duped. During the campaign, Mr Bush promised to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The overwhelming majority of the scientific community agrees P.O. Box 740, Salina, KS 67402 that such reductions are necessary to reduce global warming. Then in March he reneged on his promise, saying that he would not interfere with industry And his recent budget would take the ax to programs that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, cutting their funding by 15 percent. In the third debate between himself and Mr. Gore, Mr Bush looked a Missouri farmer in the eye and promised to increase support for farm conservation. But his budget proposes to eliminate the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). This popular program has helped many farmers to reduce soil erosion and water pollution from run-off Mr Bush pledged repeatedly to "leave no child behind." But his proposed budget cuts funding for Childhood Development Block Grants by $200 million. He offers only enough funding to the Head Start program to cover about half of all eligible children. Just 12 percent of eligible families will receive federal help for child care. Apparently Mr Bush and the truth are not such good friends after all. — CHRIS PICONE Smolan Farmers deserve better The plight of the Kansas farm family is one of tragic consequences because it affects everyone. The small communities, the consumers, the motorist who becomes stranded and the sportsman who enjoys the land — we all have a stake in this. The loss of this Kansas heritage is very real and no one seems to be able to stop it. These big-hearted, hard-working families deserve better — RICHARD EARLEY Salina T POINT OF VIEW What America wants, America gets Sex and violence dominate the media because tiiat's what makes the most money I would like to start by saying that I love and enjoy living in America. I am almost always proud to be an American. Almost always. America is a great country, but sometimes the trends, of American society aren't something that I'm proud of. A lot of people complain about how violence is portrayed in the media. They blame the newspapers and television broadcasts for sensationalizing crimes like school shootings. We have to realize that the media are only giving us what we want. And what. America wants, America gets. What America wants is violence. It wouldn't be splattered over the media so much if it wasn't what people wanted to see. We also want to see scantily clad men and women parading around on TV and the movie screen. Violence and sex sell. If they didn't sell, then they wouldn't be staples of American pop culture. A prime example of sex selling is Miss Britney Spears. Her albums sell to millions of teens and preteens across Ameri- T VISIONS OF KANSAS KRISTIN CONARD for the Salina Journal ca. She, in my opinion, isn't the best of singers. You can say that I'm jealous, I don't care. I don't think she's a good singer What sells her albums is her body. Her costumes are very tight and revealing, and girls everywhere are imitating her If American society didn't exploit sex so much and put so much value on looking stereotypically beautiful, then girls wouldn't feel pressured to imitate people like Britney Guys aren't immune to this problem either Teen-age boys are pressured to be strong and big. High school and college athletes are especially pressured to be as big, fast, and as strong as possible. They use possibly dangerous supplements like Creatine, a weightlifting enhancer, to be bigger and better Money adds itself to sex and violence as things that drive our society The more money you have, the higher status you have in our society Who cares if you shoot a gun in a public place, as long as you have money and status you are accepted. The aspiration of many of my classmates is to have millions of dollars. Having lots of money is more important than being intelligent or kind. If you have money and you're attractive, you have a high place in our society Besides being dominated by violence, sex and money, American society is ruled by white males. We insist that we live in a modern and enlightened age with equal opportunities for everyone, but we don't. Men everywhei-e are being paid more than women for the same jobs. There aren't just differences between the sexes in the workplace, there's differences in race. People are being denied jobs or salaries because of their race. They are judged simply by their backgi-ounds. That doesn't sound very enlightened to me. I'll use an example from high school, because that's what is familiar to me. On every standardized test that I have taken, there is a box where you write in or check a box beside your "ethnic background." I am all for ethnic heritage, but why should it be on a test? It's an optional section, but I think that it should be taken out altogether Why compare scores between races? Who cares? It just promotes racial tension. Having it on standardized tests that are given to students as young as elementary school students is sending them a message that race is an important factor in society America has a lot of things to be proud of, but the things that seem to drive American high society aren't very admirable. I realize that there can never be a perfect, ideal society, but it could get better We know the problems, we have to do what we can to help solve them. Don't look outside yourself for the cause of these problems. Look inside yourself for the solution. • Kristin Canard is a senior at Salina Central High School who is writing for the Salina Journal Viewpoints page as a part of the career intern program. No tax liike for fair-haired brother Higher education does what is asked of it, but K-12 gets all the rewards P residents of the state's regents universities might identify with the older brother in the biblical story of the Prodigal Son. The older son acted dutifully toward his father while the younger son abused dad's trust and ran off to party Dragging his heels home, the Prodigal expected paternal scorn, ^ but was welcomed with a huge feast, plunging his brother into a self-pitying sulk. Likewise in education in Kansas. Higher education is accomplishing most of what the Legislature ordered when it reorganized the regents system in 1999. Duplication has been reduced, cooperation among community colleges and four-year schools has improved, the six regents universities have carved distinct niches for themselves to give Kansans the advanced knowledge and skills needed in a postmodern world. In short, Kansas is in the process of building one of the country's finest higher education systems. Meanwhile, the fair-haired younger brother — K-12 public education — fails miserably at its job, refuses to reform its ways, resists public accountability and DAVID AWBREY for the Salina Journal then has the gall to demand more money. Which does the Legislature embrace? Bring out the fatted school-finance formula! The Legislature might raise taxes to reward an incorrigible school lobby while trashing the hopes of the obedient colleges to retain and recruit top faculty and to maintain and expand superior programs and facilities. When the 2001 Legislature returns to work Wednesday it must decide how to cover a $205 million gap between state revenue and spending for the next fiscal yean Higher education has been targeted for significant cuts, including lower faculty pay raises and wiping out state support of a technology program partly financed by students. Yet some legislative leaders still want to increase state aid to public school districts by $68 million, a plan likely to require either a large tax increase or massive cuts in programs for the elderly the disabled and the mentally or physically ailing. A few days ago, the federal government reported that roughly 40 percent of U.S. elementary pupils tested scored below grade level on math and reading tests. That result matches the latest Kansas state assessment tests, which show more than 50 percent of the state's primary students scoring below proficiency on math and reading. The state scores were even worse among high schoolers, with more than 66 percent below proficiency in math and reading. Moreover, recent teacher shortages have revealed glaring weaknesses — especially intellectual — in the state's teacher-train- DOONESBURY ing system. Unless the state moves aggressively to lure more liberal arts graduates and midcareer professionals into teaching, the quality and quantity of the state's teaching force will decline dramatically Nothing, however, has come from the educational establishment this session to . suggest a willingness to change. Indeed, the school lobby opposed one of this legislative session's most significant reform plans: House Speaker Kent Glasscock's "tools for tots" program to enhance basic skills in early grades. As it pushes for a tax hike and fights reform, the school lobby should remember the old adage to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. If taxes are raised without major reform, 1 predict a voter backlash that could fatally wound public support for education for years tu come. It's hard enough to justify a tax boost in a slumping economy; it's impossible to justify one that entrenches mediocrity and complacency A few years ago the Legislature got it right when it restructured higher education. The colleges have responded since then in good faith and have made fundamental changes for the better For that they get the back of the legislative hand. No wonder the K-12 establishment keeps acting like an ungrateful and spoiled child. And why not if an indulgent Legislature won't say no? • David S. Awbrey, editor of Ad Astra magazine, can be reached by e-mail at aw- brey@sunflower.com. By G.B. TRUDEAU tNm(As,AsrARr- llN0AaMf9S/ON. CUTSmVBBeEN a:?'Sf''^^.f

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