TO THE EDITOR
LOSING OUR REPUBLIC
As Benjamin Franklin was exiting the Constitutional Convention after writing the US Constitution, a woman asked him, “Well, Doctor, what have we got – a republic or a monarchy?” He replied, “A republic – if you can keep it.”
We have a president who has said he will do whatever he wants in spite of constitutional law, a Congress that either does not want do anything about it (Democrats), won’t do anything about it (self-concerned RINOS), or are afraid for whatever reason to do anything (any and all non-conservatives), and a Supreme Court that is sitting on the sidelines watching constitutional law being openly violated without taking any action, each in violation of their oaths of office. Is this the beginning of the end?
Will we keep our republic or, through the inaction of too many citizens, allow the first steps toward monarchy or, worse, a dictatorship?
The convention of states being called for by state lawmakers is a major first step, but unless citizens begin to get involved on a larger scale I believe this country, as we have known it, will begin a downward spiral “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Sound familiar?
Several years ago a friend with a masters in history said there is going to be a second American Revolution. Not just a societal revolution but possibly out and out fighting. Either way there is going to be a time of hardship and violence until America as we know it is restored or the republic falls by the wayside and we become a society of serf and noble classes.
It’s time to ask if Dr. Franklin’s words were a prophetic warning that has been ignored. And if they were a warning, how far are we as true Americans willing to go to save our republic?
In an earlier letter to the editor I outlined a modern day form of the Declaration of Independence. I do not advocate secession or violence, but we need to change the course of events or lose this country forever. Voting in people who will truly represent “we the people” is the way to do this.
This last quote is meant figuratively not literally: “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war let it begin here.” – Capt. John Parker to his Minute Men on Lexington Green, April 19, 1775.
US EDUCATION SLIPPING
Educationally the US has slipped down to an average rank of 20th in academic achievement compared to other countries.
The ’60s space program was carried out by slide rule and computers with less power than a basic computer. Today with powerful computers at virtually every child’s access, too many of our children can’t read or write. Reading and math are the cornerstone of all learning, not just general subjects. All sciences and foreign languages are essential for the US to rise in accomplishment again.
Throwing money at education and raising teacher salaries have failed us. We continue to follow the practices of failure, based on promises from the education industry. Methods have to change.
Until the third grade, English and math must be major concerns. Nobody should leave this grade failing these subjects. Look around and you will see a large percentage of doctors, engineers and nurses are from foreign countries. They succeed because they had a solid basic education.
Science and math teachers with academic training should receive double pay as an enticement. Incompetent or poorly performing teachers must be fireable. Love of teaching must take precedence over “just a job.” Teaching as a subject could be taught in one semester. The last college years should be in courses related to subject matter (e.g., a physics teacher should graduate with a degree in physics, etc.).
Demanding higher teacher standards is the only way to improve student performance. Those not destined for college should begin training for a trade. It’s the least we owe them. Many tradesmen make more money than college graduates and require just as much math and English.
It’s up to parents to start demanding results or continue to slide down the educational slope.
WE OWN AIRWAVES
The average cost of a Super Bowl commercial was almost $4 million. Believe it or not, we citizens actually own the airwaves. Television networks have made billions of dollars off of our airwaves. Where is our cut? Where are our residuals and user fees? If we own the airwaves then why do I have to pay for cable television? By the way, the National Football League is a nonprofit corporation.
TRASHING CITY SERVICE
I’m not happy with the City of Greensboro trash pickup. Recently I put out a large cardboard box that I didn’t have time to break down because of the staples and the thickness of the cardboard. It wasn’t picked up and I contacted the city. It seems this had something to do with it not being recycling week.
I then realized that I didn’t have a new recycle schedule for the year. I sent a message through Zack Matheny and he had one sent to me rather quickly.
A city email told me that they no longer print and mail the schedules because of the expense. We’re now supposed to go online to get these and print them ourselves. A lot of people are not going to go online, though, and we don’t currently have a printer since we’ve had trouble with the last three. Can’t they print and include these in the city newsletters that they send with the water bills?
Today I put out an old right front car seat and two cushions from the back seat. These weren’t picked up. It wasn’t recycling day but I considered these to be more in the trash category than recycling material. Why weren’t they picked up? If trash isn’t picked up it makes the neighborhood look bad.
For the amount that we pay in taxes, I think we should have better garbage service. Also, with the matter of our city and county property tax, we could afford more in the way of home repairs and improvements if the tax wasn’t so much. Our tax listing form each year asks for improvements to be listed. The tax is a hindrance to making improvements.
Also, it was thought that the water billing overall should not increase significantly after going from quarterly to monthly, but I think our monthly bills are pretty much what they used to be for three months combined.
STILL SEEKING ANSWERS
I sent this to Bill O’Reilly immediately after watching his 10 minute interview with Obama before the Super Bowl: “When is someone going to ask our president this question and get a straight-forward answer?”
Obama knows who told General Ham and the Navy admiral to “stand down.”
Obama tried to kill the 10-minute interview by rambling on and on. O’Reilly repeatedly tried to get him on course with his questions. It was so obvious he was stalling for time to keep Bill from getting a few simple answers.
NOT AFRAID OF
DEATH ... PANEL
Back on Dec. 26, Phyllis Picklesimer wrote a letter including several bold allegations regarding the future effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Among these allegations Phyllis raised up the old “death panel” baloney first peddled by Sarah Palin back in 2009 and recently by a news reporter named Mark Halperin. In a new letter on Jan. 16, she defends her honor by once again floating out the death panel allegation. Phyllis says she has read the bill, but again does not cite where in the ACA she finds the specifics of death panels or rationing of care.
Among other dubious awards, Palin’s death panel statement won Politifacts Lie of the Year for 2009. This, by the way, is the same award won by Mitt Romney for 2012 and by Obama for 2013. Strange bedfellows indeed.
As for Mark Halperin, back in November he pronounced in an interview that death panels are in the law and will decide who gets care and who doesn’t. But guess what? When challenged he provided no reference to any specific clause in the law and appeared to back away from his use of the term death panel. See articles in the internet version of Forbes magazine and other sources you can Google under death panel. Apparently Halperin thinks that the Independent Payment Advisory Board will have the free time to come to North Carolina and pull the plug on me and other disagreeable Medicare recipients.
To conclude, death panel won Lie of the Year in 2009. I see no reason to believe that this lie has now become true. The ACA is a big, complicated law intended to bend the curve in years to come on the enormous, inefficient and unsustainable US healthcare expenditures. There will be many flaws to be criticized and corrected without resorting to the death panel lie.
I am a senior at Southeast Guilford High School. Recently, students and parents were contacted by the principal, informing us of an online survey. I can honestly say that this is the first time I recall the school reaching out to students and parents, asking for our honest opinion. Keep in mind that I have attended the middle and high school for seven years. The survey consisted of about 40 multiple choice questions and three free response questions about the quality of our education.
As I was filling out the survey, I caught myself answering the majority as “disagree” or “strongly disagree.” These were my honest answers to whether my educational needs were being met. What really caught my attention though, were the free response questions. They asked what I liked, disliked and thought could be improved about the school. I answered them respectfully and truthfully, and I am not sure how my answers will be viewed.
That is one thing that I think is flawed about our school system. Whenever I see an article or see criticism about Guilford County, it is always written by an outside source – a county worker, an angry parent or the opinions of those who aren’t even involved in the school system. What about the opinions of the students? The students who are trying to further their education, but are limited to what they can do? Do the schools even know how to respond to that type of honesty or will my opinion be thrown in the trash, and only the positive opinions voiced?
When I talk about limitations, I’m not talking about being limited by things like gender, race or social status. I am talking about being limited by the school itself. When asked the question, what do you dislike about our school, this was my response:
The incompetence of faculty to place students in the correct classes. I would take an honors English class and end up sitting beside another student with a second grade reading level. I hardly felt challenged. Instead of learning new material, I had to sit there while the teacher went over with other students things they should have learned in middle school.
I spent most of my time in high school dealing with this incompetence, not learning anything. I want to do well as a student, but when I look around me and the only kids getting extra attention to their educational needs are the difficult ones, why should I even try? Either I become difficult, and get the extra attention, or I sit there and behave and get ignored.
Great job, Guilford County. You’re really nailing this higher education thing. My siblings have already been withdrawn from Southeast and put into a different county because of the level of education offered, and if I weren’t graduating this year I would jump at the opportunity too.
My high school experience in a nut shell, well, it sucked. Going into freshman year, I valued education. Over the past four years I have developed a very cynical attitude towards public education, though. No matter if I try my very best, or barely slip by, I still graduate in the same auditorium as everyone else. I still shake the hands of the same people, get handed the same diploma. It is a messed up system.
I hope that someday people will hear the voices of the students. I think that the public would really enjoy our opinions and a more in depth insight into public education.
I am a longtime reader of the Rhino Times, especially Scott Yost’s column and John Hammer’s Under the Hammer.
I write you this letter because of Yost’s column from this week’s newspaper dated Thursday, January 30, 2014, titled, Yost Says Cannibal Rats Would Settle For Anxious Cows. He writes a paragraph about UNC and its current wave of problems involving both the academic and athletic departments. While his points one, two and three are both true and well known (and by the way you forgot to write about Leslie McDonald) what followed intrigued me and I would like to ask for some clarification.
You wrote that while watching an episode of Cops, there was a car chase followed by what it seems an arrest and provided two photos (page 31) both showing a guy wearing a North Carolina basketball jersey with the number 23; one of the photos has a police officer pointing a gun at said guy.
You then write that we “can clearly see, is a UNC basketball player,” and then you went on to assume that he “just left practice or something.”
There are inconsistencies with Mr. Yost’s statements, one of them being that UNC’s basketball jersey number 23 was worn by Michael Jordan, and that number was retired in 1984 – meaning that no UNC basketball player can ever wear it again for official games (and I highly doubt that any UNC basketball player would use that number for practice).
The show Cops was created in 1989, and in doing some research I found that no UNC player has ever been on this show.
Am I missing something? Maybe there is sarcasm in this story that I just did not get. Maybe I did not do enough research?
This is why I ask for some clarification.
Letters may be sent to email@example.com or P.O. Box 9023, Greensboro, NC 27427.
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