The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 26, 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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Thursday, April 26, 2001
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Page 7
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THE SAUNA JOURNAL THURSDAY, APRIL 26, 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: SJLeners® saljournal.com Quote of the day "In all my years of doing this, I've never seen otte do that that quickly That's something I'll never forget as long as I live." Dick Elder chief meteorologist at the Wichita office of the National Weather Service, on the tornado that struck Holslngton Saturday night without warning. Good law, bad bust THE ISSUE Search and seizure THE ARGUMENT The Supreme Court doesn't get it "Once or twice in my career, I feel I have done more harm by my detection of the criminal than ever he had done-by his crime." — Sherlock Holmes T "^here are two things we should all keep in mind when the United States Supreme Court makes rulings on the limitations of police powers and behavior. One is that the justices' reading of the Bill of Rights sets a minimum standard for government respect for individual rights. There is nothing, in tradition or in law, that prohibits a state, community or individual officer from having more respect for individual rights than the court demands. The other is that the only time a justice of the Supreme Court ever sees a police officer, the officer is respectfully tipping his cap and. holding a door open for the justice. To members of the high court, the concept of police brutality is just that — a concept. It is nothing with which our loftiest judges have personal experience. That is the only possible explanation for the fact that five of the nine justices ruled as they did Tuesday They said that it was no violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of "unreasonable search and seizure" for police to seize — arrest, handcuff and toss into jail — a Texas woman whose only crime was failure to wear a seat belt. Now, wearing seat belts is a good thing. Everyone, including this woman and, especially, her children, should have been wearing them. It is the law, and that law is a good one. But a good law can be ruined by bad enforcement. Busting an otherwise innocent woman and carting her away from her frightened children is hardly good PR for police, seat belts or the law in general. Suing that officer, his chief and the city he worked for for, oh, $10 million, might have made that point quite nicely But the court's bare majority ruled that no suit would be allowed because no violation of rights had occurred. Well, maybe the Constitution was not offended. But common sense and good police work were. There are two things we should all keep in mind when we read about this, the latest anti-individual decision of the supposedly conservative Supreme Court. One is that the officers of the Salina Police Department, in accordance with state law, do not place people under arrest for such minor crimes. The other is that we should appreciate that and hope that our state and local officials remember that, while they may not have less respect for individual rights than the Supreme Court demands, they can, and should, have more. — George B. Pyle Journal Columnist T EDITORIAL NOTEBOOK We're all in this together ^T^he future economic via- I bility of Salina is tied to _L Ellsworth and other towns Former Ellsworth City Council member Dane Britton lost his bid to serve on the Salina City Commission. However, the issue he raised about Salina and its ties to the state's north- central region should continue to sound with voters and city officials. During the campaign, Britton talked about the importance of Ellsworth, Wilson and other smaller communities to the well-being of Salina. On its own, our larger neighbor to the east could not support many of the services it now enjoys. Perhaps the best example is Salina Regional Health Center and the medical community. Because of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of citizens who drive into Salina, the town is able to attract surgeons and other specialists it wouldn't have otherwise. That means citizens there don't have to drive to Wichita or some other city for more specialized health care. There are other examples. Central Mall. Restaurants. Movie houses. Jobs. In repayment — and for the T TO THE CONTRARY Study designed to frighten parents These 'aggressive' children sound like most journalists and politicians I know P arents of children in day care went scrambling unnecessarily into panic mode this past week. The reason: a government-funded study, laden with mixed messages and (in some respects) insufficient data. The 10-year, 10-city research project tracked 1,300 youngsters and was financed by a ^ branch of the National Institutes of Health. It found that 17 percent of children who spend more than 30 hours a week in child care exhibit aggressive tendencies. It also says they can be disobedient and defiant, while 6 percent of children who spend 10 hours or less in day care exhibit those same tendencies. There are several troubling aspects to this report. First, almost all parents would rather stay home with their children nowadays, at least for the first few years. But economics prevent that, especially in single-parent households. Reports such as this one only make parents (especially mothers) feel guilty while accomplishing little more. Second, according to one media account, the report lumped all sorts of day care (even that provided by a relative or a pri- • LIBERTIES BONNIE ERBE Scripps Howard News Service « vate nanny) into the same study. It is preposterous to equate the experience of a child raised by a grandmother or grandfather while the parents work with that of a child who is one of 25 in a room being monitored by one or two low-paid staffers. Third, the report's findings seem to say that time with mothers (and not fathers) is the only way for children to avoid these behavior characteristics. Fourth, since when is "aggressive" (as opposed to violent) behavior a categorically bad thing? One woman quoted in the Associated Press on this study said she agreed with its findings (on aggressiveness.) Cheryl Sullivan of Minneapolis, who has one son in day care twice a week said, "The kids who are there five days a week, they're much more attention-getting, screaming and running around," she said. Without meaning to, Sullivan just described most of the successful media and political figures I've ever met. Fifth: study the actual figures themselves. As noted above, only 17 percent of kids who spend more than 30 hours a week exhibit these tendencies. That's not a very high percentage (isn't 17 percent of the general population pu^hv and obnoxious, regardless of whether people were raised in day care or by full-time parents?) and the 11-point spread betweeh children in 30 or more hours of child care versus 10 or less per week is pretty miniscule as well. Finally, the report's good news about day care was virtually ignored by the media, while the alleged bad news was hyped to the hilt. Buried inside was this tasty nugget: Researchers found children in • high-quality child-care programs perform ; better on language and thinking tests than those raised at home. Learning how to push to the head of the line (as kids must : do in large groups with scant supervision) ; may make them obnoxious in some ways. ; Sadly, it may also help them achieve in the j real world later on when they become j adults. ( Actually none of this should surprise I anyone who has followed the work of Dr. | Jay Belsky, a researcher with the National | Institute of Child Health and Human Development and a principal investigator on this study For years his research has guilt- tripped working moms (not dads, just moms) to stay home with children. In 1989 he was quoted in the New York Times about a study he performed that showed, "infants under 1 year old who were in non-maternal care for more than 20 hours a week were more likely to be insecurely attached to their mothers than others, and were more likely to become aggressive 5-year-olds." In a 1985 article on women leaving the home and going to work while becoming new parents, the now-divorced Dn Belsky said, "Something's got to give, as they acquire a new role and the joys and burdens of that role. What gives is the marriage." Funny that at the same conference where this paper was delivered, two other studies showed vio-. lent video games and movie fight scenes also lead to more aggressive children. But'; those surveys did not receive anywhere " near the attention as did the one that chastises working parents. From Scarlett to Gidget to Bridget sake of their own future — Britton urged Salina citizens to reach out — to offer expertise and comfort to neighbors, many of them strapped by declining populations and shrinking tax bases. Again, Salina Regional Health Center was offered as a model. The center and its administrators have forged alliances with Ellsworth County Medical Center and other hospitals in north-central Kansas. Salina Regional provides management services and other assistance to smaller hospitals in its territory It's a necessary fact of life for Salina city commissioners — or those who would be commissioners — to focus on overpasses and street improvements. But a vision for the future also is necessary, and that vision must include the counties of north-central Kansas if the Salina of tomorrow is to be as vibrant as the Salina of yesterday and today Britton, having lived the better part of his life in Ellsworth, knows this. It's time for the other citizens of Salina to acknowledge the relationship in attitude and deed. — The Ellsworth Independent Tracing the arc of great heroines, it's hard to know if we're making progress W ASHINGTON — Tracing the arc of the great heroines of fiction, from Scarlett to Gidget to Bridget, it is hard to know if women are making progress. Consider the eternal question of the rake vs. the square. Bouncing between Rhett and Ashley Scarlett learns that the bad boy is good and the good boy is all wrong. With Moondoggie, Gidget discovers that the bad-boy surfer is the good boy her parents want her to date. Veering between the tousled Daniel Cleaver and the tailored Mark Darcy Bridget figures out that the bad boy is bad and the good boy is good. Not much illumination there. Maybe the feminist angle will shed some light. Look ^ — at the evolution from Scarlett O'Hara (the Southern heroine of "Gone With the Wind," played in the movie by a British actress) to Bridget Jones (the British heroine of "Bridget Jones's Diary," played in the movie by a Southern actress). With women, some things never change. Scarlett and Bridget are both Daddy's girls who obsess about their waistlines. Both are much more interested in themselves than in what's going on in the world. MAUREEN DOWD The New York Times "Fiddle-dee-dee! War, war, war," Scarlett pouts. "This war talk's spoiling all the fun at every party this spring." Bridget makes a lame effort to chat about the war in Chechnya to impress her date. Scarlett gets in trouble after she makes the man she loves her employee. Bridget gets in trouble after she falls in love with her boss. Both get into the habit of consuming what Bridget calls "alcohol units" at home, even though Rhett warns Scarlett that drinking alone will ruin her reputation. Scarlett eats raw turnips. Bridget eats leek soup. But beyond the superficialities, our mini-skirted heroine and our hoop- skirted heroine could not be more different. Bridget is lovable and pathetic. Scarlett is ruthless and calculating. Bridget plugs away on self-improvement. It would never occur to Scarlett that there was anything to improve. Bridget doesn't know who she is. Scarlett doesn't know anything else. Scarlett is captivating because she seems invulnerable, willful and strong in an era when women were expected to flutter and faint, Bridget is captivating because she is vulnerable, a muddle of fluttery neuroses in an era when women are expected to be driven. The antebellum girl, grappling with the Civil War, has to rescue herself and everybody around her, marrying three times, never for love. The modern girl, struggling with London parties, is a singleton waiting to be rescued by true love. We started out with an intrepid heroine, and we ended up with a trepid one. DOONESBURY Scarlett paid for her pushiness. She lost her rake. Bridget was rewarded for her passivity She won her square. Bridget and her American counterparts, the neurotic, boy-crazy Ally McBeal and. Carrie Bradshaw, are not inspirations,, They are consolations. There are some signs of irritation with., these avatars of modernity, these ditzy,. • cocktail-swilling, ice-cream-scarfing, man; obsessed, lonely self-regarding, endlessly' yammering creatures who have defined,, women in their 30s. In a reader survey this month, British . EUe reports that "those over the age of 30 are impatient with the character" of Bridget Jones, "agreeing that, 'she needs to get a life,' " to stop waiting for Mr. Right, and build a life with Mr. Good-Enough or Mr , Right Now, After the women's movement exhausted all of us with the idea that women should • be mini-me's of men, dressing and behav- . ing like them, it was refreshing when the pendulum swung back to ruffles. . , "Women can relate to something in Brid-., get — the cigarettes, the drinking, the public humiliations, the inability to fit into the media paradigm for beauty — but they don't have to be as compulsive or neurotic as she is," says Renee Zellweger, the ac-,. tress who brings Bridget Jones beautifuUJ-; to life. "I love this character, but the 'gotta^r get a man' thing is not on my list. I do, however, understand when you're trying to put on the right pair of heels on your way out the door That's the exciting part of being a girl." The trick now is to lose the desperation but not the femininity By G.B. TRUDEAU SlR.MASSm 17V< OJTS STATES INTO Ff5CAL CRISIS.! TOimOOUNTK/ amr YOUANP yOURSP07»5R HAV&PONBTO 1 STATser ieS/ lMeAN,NO! Ncmne cRisisno PART/ JUeTTHSfflSS AR^&OOP/

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