New Braunfels Herald Zeitung, August 6, 2005, Page 4

New Braunfels Herald Zeitung

August 06, 2005

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Issue date: Saturday, August 6, 2005

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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - August 6, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, August 6, 2005 FORUM Our Opinion Now it’s your turn to talk about taxes Take some time j during the next j month, figure I out what is in the budget and j let your com- I missioner know j if you think a tax increase is ! necessary. C omal County commissioners presented their budget Thursday, asking for a 2-cent property tax increase to offset pay raises for employees and rising costs in other areas. County Judge Danny Scheel said the increased tax rate was necessary in part to help the county compete with private industry for the best employees. Most of the commissioners seemed to support the higher rate with some even asking for a greater increase. Now its your turn. The proposed budget is on display at the county clerk’s office and at county libraries. As any property owner can attest, taxes have been rising even as the rate has held steady. Scheel’s proposed increase will make the annual property tax bill even higher. If you are concerned about your tax bill or about county government, take some time to look over the budget. Ask your representative why a tax hike is necessary, ask what the county does for you. The answers may be surprising. Then head to the public hearings and let commissioners know how you feel. This is your chance to make an impact in how county government is nut. The two public hearings will be at 8:15 a.m. Aug. 25 and 7 p.m. Sept. 8. If the county budget is passed, property taxes will rise. So take some time during the next month, figure out what is in the budget and let your commissioner know if you think a tax increase is necessary. Today in History Bv The \ssociated Press Today is Saturday, Aug. 6, die 218th day of 2005. There are 147 days left in the year. Today’s I lighlight in I listory: On Aug. 6. 1945, during World War II, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on I liroshima, Japan, killing an estimated 140,000 people in the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare. On this date: In 1787, the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia began to debate the articles contained in a draft of the United States Constitution. In 1806, the Holy Roman Empire went out of existence as Emperor Francis I abdicated. In 1825, Bolivia declared its independence from Peru. In 1890, convicted murderer William Kemmler became the first person to be executed in the electric chair as he was put to death at Auburn State Prison in New York. In 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war against Russia, and Serbia declared war against Germany. In 1926, Gertrude Ederle of New York became the first American woman to swim the English Channel, in about 14 1/2 hours. LETTERS POLICY ■ Letters must be 250 words or less. ■The Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. ■ Guest columns should be 500 words or less and must be accompanied by a photo. ■ Address and telephone number must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Herald-Zeitung Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890 The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958, Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland Editor and Publisher Doug Toney Circulation Director Jeff Fowler Advertising Director Neice Bell Business Manager Valerie Shields News Editor David Rupkalvis Ebonics is not a foreign language Mail letters to: Letters to Editor do Herald-Zeitung RO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax them to: (830) 606-3413 e-mail them to: news@herald- zeitung.com The San Bernadino, Calif, high school district is now discussing the implementation of Ebonics — the street language of young African Americans — to be taught as if it were a foreign language. This is sheer idiocy, and anybody who would even consider such an outrageous idea has certainly never been to Africa. This Ebonics nonsense will do nothing but hold back black youngsters, keeping them behind such immigrants as the Vietnamese, who are struggling to make their way in a nation whose language they know they must learn to get ahead. When I read this Ebonics story, I recalled driving around in Nairobi, Kenya, just a week or so ago. I saw a billboard advertisement for Sony that read “Da Man and da Music." I asked a young Kenyan what he thought of that condescending ad and he said, “Oh, we speak the King’s English here. We never speak that way.” As I traveled around Kenya, I learned that in Kenya, English is the official language, and certainly not Ebonics — a gutter language Kenyans never heard of. Education is mandatory for all children and is paid for by the government. If the children don’t go to the government schools they are obliged to go to private schools, and their tuition must be paid by their parents. As a result of this, Kenyans have lifted their literacy rate to almost 79 percent because they understand that education is the most important means to lift them and their land out of poverty and into a prosperous future. The two things that most amazed me during my African safari were first, seeing the many children walking to school in the uniforms all students must wear, and that all the way up through high school they would have to walk two or three miles to get to their classrooms carrying back packs and books, all with big smiles on their faces. MIKEREAGAN Mike Reagan, the eldest son of President Ronald Reagan, is heard on more than 200 talk radio stations nationally as part of the Radio America Network. Second, if you stop to give them a little gift such as a pen, they come up to you and smile and say “thank you.” That would not happen in this country. To begin with, you’d be afraid to let them walk to school for fear that all those pedophiles out there would kidnap and rape them. School children in Kenya are safer than our kids here in the United States because they don’t put up with pedophiles over there. The children are more polite, they understand the importance of education and the importance of learning the English language for business purposes in the future. Moreover, every child is multilingual. They speak Swahili, their native language, they speak their tribal language, and they speak English and sometimes a foreign tongue as well. When I visited a Masai village in a remote area, I learned that these pastoral people who raise cows have a keen understanding of die importance of education, so much so that in their tiny villages where the buildings are all made from cow dung — they are happy about it because Jesse Jackson isn t there to tell them they shouldn't live in houses made of cow dung — they all have one-room schoolhouses. They have built them just outside their villages and the kids go to school every day. I visited one of these schools where the students were between four and eight, and was amazed to see that just as in my school days, they had the ABCs posted on the wall along with a I-to-IOO chart. Every one of those children could count to IOO, they knew the English alphabet, and they were learning English and arithmetic. I could not help but think that there is not a single public school in America where children that age would know the English alphabet or count to IOO. Wily would San Bernardino consider doing such a great disservice to the black community? It is sure to hurt their black students by not teaching them how to speak the proper English they need to get by. Its interesting that if real Africans get it, why can’t African Americans get it? I think the answer is that the American educrat NOW TO CONTACT United States Government PRESIDENT ■ George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: http://hutchison.senate.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 145 Duncan Drive, Suite 120 San Antonio 78226 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: http://cornyn.senate.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE: 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512)469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN ■ Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2184 Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 Web address: http://lamarsmith.house.gov/ (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: http://www.house.gov/cuellar SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1149 E. Commerce St., Suite 21C San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 GOVERNOR HOW TO CONTACT Texas Government lllllllllllllll ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 RO. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Telephone: (830) 627-0215 Toll Free: (866) 687-4961 Fax: (830) 627-8895 E-mail address: [email protected] STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800People can evade reality, but not the consequences of doing so CHARLEYREESE Charley Reese is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. You can write to him at PO. Box 2446, Orlando, Fla. 32802. A young lieutenant on maneuvers near Fort Bragg in North Carolina was studying a map when a sergeant said, “Have you figured out where we are, Sir?” The lieutenant said the map indicated there should be a hill, but he couldn’t see one. “Well,” the sergeant said, "when the ground don’t agree with the map, the map is wrong." That young lieutenant, now a psychiatrist and writer, used that anecdote in an article in ETC, the quarterly magazine of the Institute of General Semantics. Its a wonderful article on choosing and keeping a mate, but the principle the sergeant referred to is applicable to all of our lives. There are at least two wor'ds. One exists inside our heads and is constructed mainly with language and memories of personal experiences. The other one exists outside and independently of our heads and is often called reality. General semantics often refers to the world inside our heads as a map, and the goal is to get our maps as close to the world outside as possible. We are quite limited as far as data input goes. Genes seem to play some part, but mainly there are only our five senses — touch, smell, sight, hearing and taste. It is only through those that we have contact with the world outside of ourselves. What distinguishes humans from other animals is what general semanticists call time-binding. Because of language, both verbal and written, we can pass along knowledge to succeeding generations. I would guess that 99.9 percent of everything we “know" is knowledge developed by people in the past. During the 1960s, it became a fad among the types of people Ernest Hemingway ridiculed in the 1920s to place a high value on “creativity” and “originality.” Both, in my opinion, are practically nonexistent. Their opinions about creativity and originality are based primarily on their ignorance of the past. Besides, striving to be creative and original for the sake of being creative and original is a fool s waste of time. If we learn the knowledge of the past and add to it, we are progressing. If we refuse to learn, then society will regress. You’ve probably already concluded that I’m talking about education as a lifelong process, not as an institutional event that starts with matriculation and ends with graduation. That should be considered only a start. Our generation, however, faces a unique problem. That problem is the tremendous proliferation and the instantaneous distribution of data. We are drowning in information, much of it inaccurate, irrelevant, or commercial and political propaganda. Our task is to edit. The best advice I saw on this subject was, “Don’t learn to read fast; learn what not to read.” By extension, we must learn what not to watch and who not to listen to. Its always been my practice that once I discover that someone deliberately lies, that person ceases to exist, as far as I’m concerned. I ’m not talking about avoiding unpleasant facts. I’m talking about learning to separate the trash from the valuable. Some people have fine minds and can offer us valuable insights. Others are just windbags. There are liars, and there are truth-seekers. A huge amount of the information directed at us is nothing more than sales pitches for products and services. Life equals time, and time for each of us is limited and nonrenewable. Wasting time is literally wasting one’s life. Of course, no one can possibly learn everything, so one of our editing tasks is to decide what knowledge we need and what knowledge we don’t. For example, unless we are going into the hard sciences, we have no need to study advanced mathematics. I believe one of the problems of institutional education is that not enough thought is given to the curricula. I heartily recommend general semantics for mind stimulation. You can reach the institute at www.time-binding.org or at P.O. Box 1565, Fort Worth, TX 76101. Since we have just this one life, we should try to make it as rich, as interesting and as productive as possible. We all have a part to play in what an old Hollywood studio used to call the passing parade of human progress. And remember the old sergeant’s advice: Don’t confuse the map with the ground. Ayn Rand used to say we can evade reality, but we can’t evade the consequences of evading reality. ;

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