New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, December 23, 2000, Page 6

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

December 23, 2000

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Issue date: Saturday, December 23, 2000

Pages available: 22

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All text in the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung December 23, 2000, Page 6.

New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 23, 2000, New Braunfels, Texas Page HERALDZEITUNO Saturday December OPINIONS FORUM LETTERS HERALDZEITUNG New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852 New Braunfcls Herald was founded 1890 The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958 Doug Toney Editor and Publisher Margaret Edmonson Managing Editor KUDOS We would like to thank Brad Cox the manager of Adobe Verde for the 50 percent discount that he gave our class when we celebrated our successful completion of the TAAS test at Adobe Verde We also would like to thank Mrs Margie Skolaut and Communities in Schools for their support Mrs Rambos Class Canyon High School Marisol Flores Chris Perez Jose Lopez Elizabeth Medrano Todd Steeno Cecilia Nunez Robert Maggiani Justin Schaefer Nic Spearman As a disabled retired Army veteran I would like to thank the Downtown and New Braunfels Rotary clubs and the New Braunfels Breakfast and Evening Lions clubs for donating money toward the purchase of flags for use at local funeral homes This past year with the cooperation of local churches and organiza tions I was able to raise funds for new flagpoles and flags that were distributed throughout the city This past spring 1 set out to do the same thing for local funeral homes to display flags during services for the deaths of veterans Most funeral homes have the American and Texas flag in the viewing room but not in the chapel area itself When my efforts became difficult in accomplishing this second task Michael Meek with the local chamber of commerce stepped in and offered to help raise the funds with the above mentioned local service organizations Through his efforts during the past two this pro ject soon will be a reality The chamber really does do the things that most people think just Manuel Camareno MSG Army IK i TODAY IN HISTORY BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Today is Saturday Dec 23 the 358th day of 2000 There are eight days left in the year Todays Highlight in History On Dec 23 1893 the Engelbert Humperdinck opera Haensel und Gretel was first performed in Weimar Germany In 1783 George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Army and retired to his home at Mount Vernon Va In 1823 the poem A Visit from St Nicholas by Clement C Moore was published in the Troy Sentinel In 1928 the National Broadcasting Company set up a permanent coasttocoast network In 1941 during World War II American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese In 1948 former Japanese pre mier Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were execut ed in Tokyo In crew members of the intelligence ship Pueblo were released by North Korea 11 months after they had been cap tured In 1975 Richard S Welch the Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Athens was shot and killed outside his home In 1980 a state funeral was held in Moscow for former Premier Alexei N Kosygin who had died Dec 18 at age 76 In 1986 the experimental air plane Voyager piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager completed the first nonstop roundtheworld flight without refueling as it landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California In 1997 a jury in Denver con victed Terry Nichols of involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing Book list for late yuletide shopping AUSTIN Procrastinators of the world unite Be it resolved that we will be found from now until quite late on Christmas Eve solving all our Christmas shopping prob lems at the best onestop shop in town the bookstore preferably a local bookstore I firmly believe it is well worth going out of ones way to shop at an independent bookstore The importance of independent bookstores to a healthy culture is not to be overestimated but if an independent is not available all the chains now have fancy cof fee Then of course for the eternal procrasti nator comes the problem of having bought a book for a loved one in Alaska two days before Christmas You can always take them and dump them at one of those places that Specializes in shipping things mis costs only a small fortune but I believe the bet ter part of valor is to carefully train your loved ones never to expect anything before Valentines Day This adds a piquant element of surprise to their dull February days We have an impressive array of public affairs books for the thoughtful citizen to choose from this year starting with two who were not afraid to tackle A Big Subject as well as some fine novels and excellent Texana Humanity A Moral History of the 20th Century by Jonathan Glover Yale University Press is just what it sounds like an ambitious attempt to understand how we could have done this to ourselves Why these atrocities In case you think thats the most depressing book you ever heard of I know somedne who is writing on genocide through the ages Besides Glover has enough sense to pay attention to the excep tions as well as the rules why did the Danes do such a remarkable job of saving Jews during World War II Physicians try to understand the causes of human diseases and so does Glover Glover goes easily from the practical the psycho logical remoteness of soldiers from ordinary Jife to the similarities in the history of downward moral spirals all the old argu ments about the ends and the means the dif ficulty of breaking through tribal identities MOLLY IVINS the gradual erosion of restraint Its not cheerful but it is fascinating and certainly despair is not the answer The slow growth of international law holds hope but Glover in the end prefers the solutions of psychology of training political and person al moral imagination to recognize cruelty Guns Germs and Steel The Fate of Human Societies by Jared Diamond Norton has already won the Pulitzer Prize and is out in paperback Diamond a scien tist is engaged in historyfromadifferent specifically the application of a great variety of scientific knowledge to the question of why human societies are so dif ferent from one another Why does someone born in Papua New Guinea or Rwanda have such a radically different life from a Canadian or a Swede And what happens as now when the soci eties come into ever greater proximity Unlike most economicsbased histories Guns Germs and Steel has a remarkably wide scope about differing cultures The Paradox of American Democracy Elites Special Interests and the Betrayal of Public Trust by John B Judis is a relatively narrowfocus study of where we are in American politics The beauty of the manda tory subtitle in nonfiction these days is that it almost eliminates the need for book reviews You know the subject matter now all you need to know is that Judis is a good guy and a good writer with a killer instinct for happy hype I found the total effect far less Whew were going to be all right than Holy hail lets get to work Novels For any intelligent woman of a certain age Gloria Emersons Loving Graham Greene Random House is a spe cial treat funny but not mean about American idealism and its oddities Blue Ridge by Pearson a lovely writer could be a mystery or a Southern novel or just about people Its a honey of a read What a rich year for Texana its been I should explain that I am not recommending books by friends but most Texas writers are friends of mine simply by virtue of my hav ing been around so long Stephen Gates of the Alamo Knopf has been widely praised as the almost unthinkable a fresh look at the Alamo Harrigans scholarship goes well beyond what he calls the Revised Standard Version the debunking that got most of us past the enoughtogagamaggot hyperadu lation on which we1 were raised N Even the Revised Standard Version Sam Houston told those fools to get out of there is not adequate to the debunking needs of this case but it is still after all one great story Cherry by Mary Karr Viking is the second volume by the memoirist from the Golden Triangle living proof that you can grow up absolutely anywhere and still get literary material from it This book is about being a female adolescent a horrible fate the best that can be said of it is that one does recover The extraordinary thing about Karr in addition to the poetry of her writing is her stunning honesty She calls it writing with out without the selfdelusions that we all use in the endless struggle to think better of ourselves Absolute honesty like all surprises makes people laugh For the allpurpose coffeetable book gift covers entire families and couples of dis parate I recommend a lovely book of photo essays by Rick Williams Working Hands Texas University Cowboys and roughnecks sure but high tech workers and scientists too A lovely book of modern Texas Molly Ivins is a columnist for the Fort Worth Dont take military out of Military City USA WASHINGTON When United States Air Force officials convened this past week to announce their intention to award a million Lackland Air Force Base service contract they threatened to displace almost 900 San Antonio area workers and their families effectively sending them into the New Year unem ployed Following two decision reversals and a meeting in my Capitol Hill office senior Pentagon officials encouraged the Air Force to delay awarding the contract pending an investigation of the A76 publicprivate competition bidding process The Air Force relented delayed the contract award and will participate in a thorough investigation of this process Numerous mistakes committed by the Air Force highlight the need for a thor ough investigation to ensure that the CIROD RODRIGUEZ Lackland A76 process and future com petitions are conducted in a fair impar tial manner Federal government employ ees and their families deserve nothing less A76 studies initiated by the Air Force are designed to compare bids by private contractors with the performance by employees at military bases Taking place across the country the comparisons are supposed to encour age competitive bidding improve effi ciency and reduce operating costs These are all worthy goals but only if the comparisons are conducted fairly In the case of this Lackland A76 study serious questions were brought to my attention which warranted my intervention Earlier this Air Force awarded the contract to the private bidder then reversed itself after the federal employ ees appealed Then in a move that caught everyone by surprise the Air Force again changed course giving the contract back to the private bidder because of certain inadvertent Air Force errors This seesaw approach by the Air Force which ignored the human impact certainly ruined the holiday season for many San Antonio area fami lies in the process More than the timing is off however Confused contract evaluations a flawed cost comparison study miscalculations and bureaucratic explanations from rank ing Air Force officials further underscore the need to reexamine the way our mili tary conducts A76 competitions After the most recent tally the difference in the two bids was only percent of a nearly million contract Further the appeal process for consid eration of the contract awards is flawed Government employees are provided only one appeal opportunity but private contractors are afforded numerous opportunities to further examine an award This isnt right and our federal employees deserve a level playing field While I am pleased the Department of Defense and the Air Force have cho sen to delay granting the award the vic tory is only temporary The investiga tion initiated by the bipartisan cooperative efforts of the local San Antonio Congressional Delegation and our two Senators is the perhaps the final opportunity for the Air Force to set the record straight I will contin ue to urge th0 Air Force to take all of the factors of the bidding process into consideration The Alamo Citys labor force deserves better than the seesaw policies that have threatened the livelihoods of so many hardworking South Texans Its an investment in our city our nation and our national security that we cannot afford to lose Giro D Rodriguez represents District 28 in the House of ;

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