Strock followed the essay contest money to a faulty conclusion
Re April 15 Carl Strock column, “Guess who gives money to knock zoning”: As the teacher of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High school student who recently won the Being An American Bill of Rights Institute Essay Contest, I would like to address several concerns.
First, this is a nationwide contest that required students to conduct in-depth research using primary source documents from the founding era and to reference constitutional principles and personal involvement in some issue to illustrate how important our system of democracy is to them.
Second, teachers must select their best five essays to submit, and there may only be one set of essays entered per school. Despite the fact that over 6,000 essays were submitted nationwide, thousands were written and read by teachers before they decided which ones did the best job of addressing the essay requirements.
Third, the student is presented with a list of constitutional principles to choose from. One of those concepts is supposed to reflect some personal experience that has taught them the value of trying to protect a basic right.
To suggest that the Koch family influenced any part of the process is absurd. There are many sponsors who contributed to programs that are developed by the Bill of Rights Institute. Mr. Strock implies that the Koch family controls every aspect of how their donations are distributed.
Two other sponsors over the years include the Liberty Fund and National Endowment for the Humanities. I have attended programs funded by both groups and can personally attest to the excellence of the materials, the workshop activities and the expertise of the professors who have been keynote speakers. We need to have national organizations who provide educators opportunities to learn more about the Constitution and provide a plethora of insights and interpretations of ideas to be considered.
I am very proud of my student’s accomplishment. Mr. Strock should be applauding it rather than denigrating the contest in order to go off on a tangent about a sponsor he personally seems to dislike and wants to discredit. He seems to have lost sight that this contest promotes learning about the democratic process, and that students should aspire to learn about their rights and how to apply them to their daily lives.
Romney’s record shows he’s not qualified
In response to Alex Arnold’s April 20 letter [“Romney is head and shoulders above crowd”] regarding Mitt Romney as the right choice for our nation: I submit there is a duty all voters have as we exercise our right to choose. That duty demands we look carefully at all aspects of each candidate before making a decision that affects us for the next four to eight years.
To simply highlight his success in the private sector ignores his dismal record as governor of Massachusetts. After one term, that state posted the second worst jobs record of any state in the country, and 14th lowest growth record of goods and services. In addition, the median weekly earnings of workers fell by an estimated 2 percent. How do I know? I did a search on the Internet and found the data as reported by The Boston Herald and The Boston Globe. And yet, Gov. Romney insists on being the best man to create jobs for this country?
As for his character, we can examine recorded videos and published articles. I suppose his excuse could be campaign advisers have made errors in judgment, but how does that reflect on him as a manager? His assertions that his party is not attacking women’s rights, while you read about new bills being introduced by Republicans doing just that, is hard to ignore.
He wanted government to let the auto industry go bankrupt, putting thousands of people out of work (a fact he glosses over today). His [claim] that President Obama is responsible for a 92 percent job loss among women, without citing a source for this data, is disturbing. Is he bending these facts for a reason?
I believe we have a lot more to consider than one facet of this candidate’s record.
Americans can’t afford not to be believers
Re David Buckbee’s April 6 letter, “Too many Americans on blind-belief bandwagon”: As a fellow skeptic, I would like to suggest two points to the writer, who decries people accepting what he claims as “unproven science.”
1) Consider the cost/benefit ratios of accepting some of these warnings. If I ingest less tobacco smoke, animal fat or salt, I’m saving money and may live a longer, healthier life. If I waste less fossil fuels, I save money and leave less mess for our children.
2) Follow the money! Education budgets for future voters and leaders are cut in favor of the “uncontrolled spending” by our recent $4 trillion invasion/occupation in the Middle East and our $16 trillion bailout of the greedy gamblers on Wall Street. (A financial transaction tax would have them pay this back and reduce the next bubble.)
A century and a half ago, [President] Lincoln warned of corporations taking over our republic. Half a century ago, [President] Eisenhower warned of the military industrial congressional complex doing the same thing.
The nerve having to show proof of identity!
I came home from the post office the other day. I was required to present two photo IDs to keep my 15-year-old post office box.
It got me thinking: How are folks without IDs going to get their government wealth redistribution checks?
If they push this further and IDs are required to vote, we could lose two large voting blocs — the cemetery/dead guy vote and the equally loyal but much younger multiple personality contingent.
The Legislature must act swiftly to halt this trend. It could affect elections.
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