Thursday, September 20, 2007

Board is also responsible for rat problems

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Board is also responsible for rat problems

David Carson, methinks thou dost protest too much concerning the current situation in the schools ("Report the rats, but give equal time for achievment," Sept. 15 commentary).

If some of you older school board members had been doing your job properly, we would not have the four-legged rat problem, and certainly not the two-legged rat problem.

And isn't it great that we are getting new books after only 15 years? The SOL tests have always been in history, math, English and some science. AYP is based on math and English; yet, we're just getting books that address these subjects correctly.

I think the newspaper articles have been great to call attention to the deficiencies in our schools. Maybe now, we have a superintendent who will correct these problems.


Tech library problems should be a scandal

The Sept. 15 news that Virginia Tech's library funding is ranked 100th in the nation is scandalous ("Tech library system facing funding woes").

It was not appropriate that the story was buried in the New River Valley's Current (Metro) section. This is not a local story; this should have at least statewide exposure.

Given an average of two top-tier universities per state, that 100th place ranking puts Tech at rock bottom.

It is disgusting that Tech should plan to appeal for private funds when its "sports complex" brings in so much money from so many sources.

Carved above the entrance to Penn State's library is, "The University is a collection of books."

It appears that it would be appropriate for Tech to have, "The University is a collection of jocks."


Pillow talk isn't power -- or experience

As an independent who's watching all political candidates, I'm puzzled about Hillary Clinton's continued touting of her vast "experience."

As a U.S. senator, she's gotten pork for New York, but she hasn't authored much significant legislation. She's served four years on the Armed Services Committee, but that pales beside Sen. Joe Biden's 32 years on the same committee.

The thing most people probably remember about Hillary as a senator is that she voted to authorize this insane war.

Of course, she spent years in the White House, but as a hostess, basically. Throwing dinners for visiting dignitaries is undoubtedly tricky, but it's a far cry from actual experience in governing.

She didn't attend Cabinet meetings, wasn't in the War Room during crises, never negotiated with a single world leader.

True, she's traveled abroad and met important people, but so have many others. Hillary has always been on the fringes, close to power but never exercising power, never having to make the tough decisions that leaders have to wrestle with every day.

So how can she claim she's the most experienced, while attacking her opponents for their lack thereof? Pillow talk isn't power, and it sure isn't experience.


Morva trial coverage was distasteful

I would like to convey my complete disappointment in the distasteful coverage of the William Morva trial titled "Homicide on the Huckleberry" (Sept. 17).

In a time when the New River Valley has been exploited by the national media, I am completely shocked and disgusted that our native paper would employ the same lecherous tactics upon its own community to sensationalize a story.

I am a proud graduate of Blacksburg High School and Virginia Tech; moreover, I am proud to call Blacksburg my hometown.

For our community, for victims and their families and friends, for all the families in Blacksburg and finally for the Virginia Tech community -- act like you are a part of this community, lose the logo and cover this story with respectful professionalism.


Ohio marching band performs tribute

It's unfortunate that reporters missed one of the big stories from Saturday's Virginia Tech-Ohio University football game.

After the game was over, the Ohio University marching band gathered on the grassy area just outside the southeast entrance to Lane Stadium and performed half a dozen songs in a moving tribute concert that lasted a good 15 to 20 minutes. All of the band members wore maroon and orange ribbons.

Tech fans stopped to look over the rafters from the stadium and stood along the walkway to listen, and when it was over gave the band members the ovation they deserved. It was a moving display, and I felt honored to be there.


All opinions should be tempered with facts

This newspaper continues to spew distortions toward its readers through the opinion section. Editorial Page Editor Dan Radmacher was apparently sick the day they taught "don't make stuff up" in journalism school.

Contrary to his opening line, most polls show that "public disillusionment with the war in Iraq" has held steady or decreased in the last few months. Check into it.

Before casting her vote in favor of funding the war in 2002, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., said, "I come to this decision from the perspective of a senator from New York who has seen all too closely the consequences of last year's [9/11/2001] terrible attacks on our nation."

This war has not been conducted perfectly -- none are. But these facts are undisputable:

n Al-Qaida is killing Americans and Iraqis in Iraq.

n Al-Qaida wants to kill all Americans who are not Islamic fascists.

n Al-Qaida would have killed thousands more of us within the U.S. if they could have.

n Al-Qaida has failed to attack us for six years because of the policies of Bush, including the war in Iraq.

All journalists (even editors) have a responsibility to temper their opinions with facts.


Running out of oil is a more imminent crisis

In her letter of Sept. 17 ("Forget climate debate, concentrate on energy"), Vicki Dunaway reminded us that, with regard to oil, we face two crises in the not-so-distant future, not just one. The crisis that has grabbed the most attention this year is global warming, which is also called -- perhaps more appropriately -- climate change.

The other one is an equally serious but more imminent crisis: running out of oil, which by some calculations could happen before the end of this century. This may seem paradoxical to some. Reducing or eliminating the burning of fossil fuels like oil is supposed to be the best way for us to gain some control over the climate change issue.

However, running out of oil before we've replaced it with some other form or forms of sustainable energy would throw the global economy into chaos. This, of course, would have devastating results on civilization in general.

So instead of whistling in the wind and ridiculing Al Gore, we would do well to thank Al for the tip and invest in that wind -- along with other sustainable and renewable resources such as solar energy and biofuels.


Petraeus testimony wasn't self-serving

Your Sept. 13 political cartoon about Gen. David Petraeus exhibits extremely poor judgment.

In his report to Congress, the general was candid and objective and never patted himself on the back for his role in Iraq.

Just because Petraeus didn't say what the editorial staff wanted to hear doesn't mean he wasn't forthright and honest in his report.

Portraying Petraeus as overly decorated and self-serving is not just in bad taste and demeaning to him, but also slanders the apolitical, selfless service of all military personnel who have and are continuing to secure America's freedoms by fighting where, when and how America's civilian leaders direct.

The Roanoke Times editors continue to live up to readers' expectations with their shortsightedness and personal agenda.


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