To The Editor:
Politics have become so polarized that an honest evaluation of the state of America one year after the invasion of Iraq seems almost an impossible feat. With national elections in November it is appropriate to attempt an evaluation of the events of the last year.
Whether the threat of weapons of mass destruction was hyped or not, the bottom line is that WMDs were non-existent. The claim of WMD was the basis used by President [George W.] Bush for sending America to war. That has proven to have been wrong. The vaunted capture of Saddam in his spider hole has not ended the daily killings of our service personnel. The insurgents seem to bomb at will and kill freely. An Iraqi civil war appears a likely outcome of the whole affair. Bin-Laden alive or dead, will not end al-Qaida’s continuing and growing danger.
Overseas, America is viewed as a major threat to world security. The U.S. has lost any claim of credibility. The recent statement by the Polish president that he was mislead as to the threat posed by Saddam is just the most recent discrediting of the U.S. America is seen as a unilateral cowboy who is abusive and threatening.
Nationally the economic recovery is close to invisible. The unemployed constitute an army of disenfranchised Americans who condemn the trade practices and tax cuts fostered by the Bush Administration. While the wealthiest become richer, unemployment benefits are being terminated for the 2 million Americans who have little hope of finding meaningful or gainful employment.
The obstinate and self-serving stands taken by the Bush Administration, from abrogating the Kyoto Accords to shunning UN involvement, has lead many to voice the battle cry of "anyone but Bush!" The ads run on behalf of Bush displaying the flag at the World Trade Center following the horrific attacks of [September] 11th seem hollow when no photo is shown of the president as commander in chief being present when a flag draped coffin is returned from Iraq.
Perhaps the most telling indictment of the Bush Presidency is its unwillingness to accept responsibility for anything deemed a negative. Assigning fault to others during your own watch raises questions as to the moral integrity of the Bush Team.
Pans Hold-Back Policy
To The Editor:
This is in regard to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to end school social promotion and hold back as many as 15,000 failing third graders [that] was approved Monday evening after the mayor fired three education panel members who disagreed with him. Well [it] seems to me that he’s running the school system like a dictatorship, but more importantly what ever happened to our government’s promise, "leave no child behind?"
I can understand his point though. How can you advance a child if they did not learn the basics of that grade? Being left back is not the answer either in my opinion. Furthermore, holding back up to 20 percent of the city’s 75,000 third-graders who failed standardized English and math tests [means] overall test scores for fourth-graders will likely improve dramatically next year. This as some opponents say, would ease the mayor’s path to re-election due to the disproportionate importance school districts place on fourth-grade test scores. They say that basing advancement to the fourth grade on one test is unfair, that being left behind stigmatizes children and that [the] plan will be too expensive to implement. They say the plan will lead to chaos and will increase the number of dropouts in a system in which only half of all students graduate after four years of high school.
This being said, I believe like UFT President Randi Weingarten has said, "We need smaller classes and more help for students who have special needs."
I really feel for these kids. I remember what I went through as a child in the public school system in the 1950s. I was asthmatic, [had] a severe stutter and was considered a slow learner. That was when I was only in first grade and it was suggested I be taken out of school because they could not handle a child with special needs. My mother would not hear of this and put me in Grace Lutheran Day School in Queens Village, where I received the help I needed. I was one of the lucky ones.
The key to success in that situation was smaller classes and those with special educational problems were put into smaller groups that dealt with subjects that needed more attention and teachers that cared for each child and were able to give individual attention when needed.
This I believe is a better solution than leaving a child behind. I believe we need to send our mayor a message of our concerns and write to him and tell him, "Listen Mr. Mayor, you made a bad call here and the kids are the ones who will pay the price."
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
FTAA Is A Trap
To The Editor:
The American people do not know any more about where they are being herded than a turkey on a turkey farm knows where he will be on Thanksgiving, Our federal government is waiting until after the election to herd us into the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas).
The FTAA will do to our independence and to our borders what the European Union has done to wipe out the independence and borders of the nations of Europe.
This is why illegal immigrants are being referred to by the bureaucrats as "undocumented migrants." Immigrants move from one nation to another whereas migrants move within the same nation.
When the FTAA finishes its job, America will be subsumed into the Western Hemisphere and ultimately the world. The goal behind all of this is to eventually merge all hemispheres into a single world socialist government.
In the meantime, terrorists will freely "migrate" across non-existent borders, American jobs will continue to "migrate" to socialist third-world countries, American small business will be taxed and regulated to death, and the American middle-class will disintegrate before your very eyes. Welcome back to feudalism, where us "worker bees" labor in the fields for the oligarchy.
Call your elected officials and demand that this treason be stopped immediately. Your future is at stake; it’s your choice. Will you choose an international socialist bureaucracy disguised as free trade, or will you choose the U.S. Constitution?
Hails Bush, NCLBA
To THe Editor:
President [George W.] Bush’s leadership has improved education in America. His No Child Left Behind Act helps kids learn and puts parents back in the drivers’ seat when it comes to their children’s education. The No Child Left Behind Act sets high standards for student performance and provides the resources needed to meet them. Under President Bush’s leadership federal funding for education has increased 59.8 percent from 2000 to 2003. A large portion of that money goes toward helping high-poverty schools. The funds also go toward efforts to retain high-quality teachers. Local control is another crucial aspect of education reform. The No Child Left Behind Act trusts parents and local school officials to direct resources where they will do the most good for their students. The law gives parents the right to transfer their kids out of failing or unsafe schools and into better schools. This issue is just one more example of how our President is providing the courageous leadership America needs.
West Hempstead, New York
Con Ed Safety PlanTo The Editor:
For more than 180 years, Con Edison has provided the energy that serves New York’s businesses and residents. The trust of all New Yorkers is important to us. I want to make sure you are aware of a plan we recently instituted to increase the level of safety in the work we do
• We surveyed more than 260,000 service box and manhole covers in New York City and Westchester County to find any stray voltage and correct the problem.
• We inspected more than 65,000 of our underground structures each year as part of our regular maintenance and construction programs. We will test all underground structures on an annual basis.
• We have completed enhanced refresher training for all of our splicers and mechanics, both in the field and in our classrooms.
• We are working to develop, test and implement new technologies that will improve safety in all our operations today and in the future.
• Since 1999, we have invested more than $2.6 billion in improving our electrical infrastructure. Over the next five years, we will invest billions more
As always, we encourage you to call 1-800-75-CONED to report any conditions of concern, and we will quickly respond. In addition, helpful safety tips are available on our Web site, www.conEd.com.
The 14,000 men and women of Con Edison have always been proud to serve you. Our tradition is one of reliability, service and safety. We accept responsibility for our work, and we stand by our commitment to the communities were serve.
Frances A. Resheske
Senior Vice President