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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 21, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — Herald-Zeitung — Thursday, April 21, 2005 FORUM Other Viewpoints NRA should exhibit some regard for civil discourse Houston Chronicle on NRA convention: On a well-run rifle range, the range master will shout, “Ready on the left? Ready on the right? Commence firing.” At the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston... most of the firing was on the right. The NRA prides itself on the patriotism of its members and its devotion to education, training and Americans’ freedom to bear arms. It should show the same regard for civil discourse. ... Rock musician Ted Nugent urged NRA members not to rely on the justice system, but to shoot criminals whenever they attacked. He said supporters of gun control were a joke and that the real enemy was Americans who owned guns but had not joined the NRA. The NRA’s primary enemy is the vast majority of gun-owning Americans? Even discounted to allow for irrational exuberance, these extremist sentiments are prejudicial nonsense that does nothing to promote the NRA’s agenda. ... It fell to Rep. Tom DeLay to inject an element of reason. DeLay counseled a banquet audience not to regard its political opponents as bad people or to impugn their motives. Just as negative press coverage of America’s gun culture rallied gun enthusiasts to their cause, unrelieved, extremist hostility is more likely to erode the NRA’s hard-won political victories than to secure them. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Thursday, April 21, the 111 th day of 2005. There are 254 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On April 21,1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States. On this date: In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, which provided for freedom of worship for all (Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly. In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence. In 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Conn. In 1918, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace known as the “Red Baron,” was killed in action during World War I. Jn 1940, the quiz show that asked the “64-dollar question,” “Take It or Leave It," premiered on CBS Radio. In 1955,50 years ago, the Jerome Lawrence-Robert Lee play “Inherit the Wind,” loosely based on the Scopes trial of 1925, opened at the National Theatre in New York. In 1960, Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia, transferring the seat of national government from Rio de Janeiro. ELECTION 2006 Guidelines for election-related submissions ■ During the campaign period leading up to the May 7 elections, the Herald-Zeitung will accept letters to the editor and guest columns that deal with issues that are important to readers and citizens. ■ The newspaper will not run any letters or columns that endorse any candidate in any of the elections. ■ The cut-off date for receiving any election-related letters or guest columns is 5 p.m. Friday, April 29. No letters or columns received after this deadline will be published. 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 Editor and Publisher Circulation Director Advertising Director Gary E. Maitland Doug Toney Jeff Fowler Melee Bell Operations Director News Editor Vilma Linares David Rupkalvia !    VI J Letters to the Editor If drivers were more careful, engineers could lay off horns I have been following the letters on the horn blowing of the trains. Every year there are a lot of vehicle and train wrecks with few survivors. Most of these are because some driver hears the horn, but thinks he can beat the train, even going around barricades or stopped cars. These are like the drivers who fail to yield at yield signs that speed up, cutting into traffic, forcing other drivers to slam on their brakes to avoid an accident. T hese same drivers come up behind you while you are driving the speed limit and they have to pass you in a no-passing zone. Then there are the ones who run yellow and red lights and others on cell phones not paying attention. Maybe if we had less drivers like these, die trains wouldn't have to blow their horns so long and so loud. Edwin Preiss New Braunfels Outdated independent school district concept should change Texas has more independent school districts than it does counties. Years ago, when the independent school district (ISD) system was created in the great State of Texas, it was probably a sound idea. Is the ISD system still the best way today? With a world of improved technologies and automation, we should reconsider our ways of management. There are many independent school districts within Texas and the boundaries of these districts are now overlapping each other. They continue operating under their own designated command structures and budgets, which strangle our individual homeowners with excessive property tax revenues. In most cases, these people in this structure do not perform daily any of the following: Teach students, drive school buses, coach athletics or maintain school properties. In simple terms, they are not where the rubber meets the road. We have too many chiefs and not enough people to do the jobs of educating our students. During the time frame of 1966 to 1968, the Texas Governors Committee on Public School Education (GCPSE) attempted to redraw the school boundaries. However, our legislators have failed to take any positive actions on this matter. Let’s encourage our legislators to seriously consider the consolidation of the school boundaries into school systems run by the individual counties. With this consolidation, we could make more improvements in our schools and improve the salaries of the people who actually teach our students, as well as bus drivers and maintenance personnel. Roland Ward New Braunfels Don’t outlaw all 4-way stops; some speed up flow of traffic Just a short note to comment on an April 14 guest columnist’s critique on the condition of the streets in New Braunfels. I am in agreement with many of John Bryant’s suggestions, but disagree with his statement that all 4-way stops should be outlawed. I find a lot of 4-way stops actually speed up traffic flow as opposed to traffic lights. It was stated that John Bryant was a newcomer to town but did not say from where. I find that local drivers are generally courteous and take turns at these intersections. Perhaps Mr. Bryant is from the Midwest or the Northeast (I have lived in both areas) where a 4-way stop is an invitation to play “chicken.” David E. Johnson New Braunfels 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: (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: (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: (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 NOW TO CONTACT Texas Government GOVERNOR ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. 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 WHILE IN AUSTIN: P.O. Box 2910 Austin 78768-2190 Telephone: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512) 473-9920 E-mail address: carter.casteel @ STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 Fax: (210) 826-0571 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: (512) 463-0125 Fax: (512) 463-7794 E-mail address: [email protected] ■ Judith Zaffirini P.O. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627How can a right-wing nut criticize left-wing conspiracy? MOLLYIVINS Molly Ivin is a columnist for Creators Syndicate. She also does occasional commentary for National Public Radio and the McNeil/Lehrer program. AUSTIN — Spring fever is taking a weird form this year. Politicians say nice things for political reasons and then revert with a vengeance — a sort of political Tourette syndrome, they can’t help what they say. Tom DeLay, of all people, recently issued a fatwa on the need for good manners, a concept so bizarre there is no metaphor for it. It is itself a metaphor: “... as weird as the time Tom DeLay gave us all a lecture on manners.” In his new role as the Lmily Post of politics, Delray informed us, “It is unfortunate in our electoral system, exacerbated by our adversarial media culture, that political discourse has to get so overheated, that it’s not just arguments, but motives are questioned.” Did someone question his motive in taking an all-expens-es-paid vacation from a lobbyist? This would be the same Tom DeLay who said, “Screw the Senate,” when he learned Bob Dole had cut a deal with Clinton to end the government shutdown caused by Newt Gingrich. “We’re in charge. We don’t have to negotiate with the Senate.” Same as above. “We are ideologues. We have an agenda. We have a philosophy. I want to repeal the Clean Air Act,” he said in 1995. “You don’t want me as an enemy,” DeLay to Jacqueline Blankenship, wife of a business partner who sued him. When the local Republican sheriff hired Ms. Blankenship, DeLay spent $75,000 to defeat him. “This whole thing about not kicking someone when they are down is.... Not only do you kick him — you kick him until he passes out, then beat him over the head with a baseball bat, then roll him up in an old rug and throw him off a cliff into the pound(ing) surf below!” That gem was in a DeLay staff e-mail about Clinton’s impeachment. “I can’t afford you as a brother anymore,” DeLay to his brother and lawyer Randy after Randy's lobbying had embarrassed him. “The EPA, the Gestapo of government, pure and simply has been one of the major claw-hooks that the government maintains on the backs of our constituents,” DeLay said in 1995. And this truly spectacular outburst just a few weeks ago: “God has brought to us Terri Schiavo to elevate the visibility of what’s going on in America.... This is exactly the issue that’s going on in America of attacks against the conservative movement, against me and against many others. The point is, the other side has figured out how to win and defeat the conservative movement, and that is to go after people personally, charge them with frivolous charges and link that up with all these do-gooder organizations funded by George Soros — and then get the national media on their side. The whole syndicate that they have going on right now is for one purpose and one purpose only, and that’s to destroy the conservative movement. It’s to destroy the conservative leaders.... This is a huge nationwide concerted effort to destroy everything we believe in.” Whew. There is much more from Delray that is unprintable in a newspaper. For some rich samples, try “The Hammer” by Lou DuBose, my sometime writing partner. According to The Associated Press, DeLay has urged the Republicans in Congress, when asked about his ethics problems, to blame Democrats. DeLay also said there is a “mammoth operadon” funded by Democradc supporters designed to destroy him. People on the right just will not give up this eternal pretense of being victims. DeLay’s unlikely excursion into defining proper conduct came a few days after he had made a comment about the judges in the Schiavo case, which he repeatedly described as murder: “The dme will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.” Some picky people thought there was an implied threat or encouragement to violence in that. Even DeLay had to admit he had expressed himself “manfully.” But, happy to report, DeLay’s newfound temperance did not last long. He just keynoted the convention of the National Rifle Association in Houston, where he cheerfully told the audience: “I feel really good. Because when a man is in trouble or in a good fight, you want to have your friends around, preferably armed.” How armed? The NRA is now defending the .50-caliber sniper rifle as a “standard hunting weapon.” The manufacturer’s brochure for the sniper rifle states that jet engines and helicopters “are likely targets for the weapon, making it capable of destroying a multimillion-dollar aircraft with a single hit delivered to a vital area.” The brochure also states, “Cost effectiveness of the model cannot be overemphasized when a round of ammunition purchased for less than $10 can be used to destroy or disable a modern jet aircraft.” That’s some bargain, all right. As to DeLay’s claim of a vast left wing conspiracy out to destroy the conservative movement, nonsense. I like conservatives. They’re opposed to all questionable adventures abroad and for fiscal prudence and responsibility. It’s right-wing nuts I can’t stand. ;