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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 31, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung — Saturday, December 31, 2005 FORUM IK Our Opinion Think before you drink this New Year’s Eve Dont drink and drive on New Year's Eve. We want to see you around for 2006. Pl lanning on ringing in the new year with the bubbly alcoholic drink of your choice and a festive, drunken drive home afterward? Here’s a few statistics I that hopefully will sober you up: ■ Drunken driving is the most ftequenUy committed violent crime in our nation, and Texas leads the nation in alcohol-related traffic deaths. ■ According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,745 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in this state in 2002. ■ The Texas Department of Public Safety reports that alcohol-related crashes caused 25,142 injuries in 2001, and arrests in Texas for driving while intoxicated top 96,000 annually. ■ Young adults between the ages of 21 and 34 are more likely to be in drunken driving crashes or to be arrested for driving drunk than those in other age groups. ■ The DPS plans to have all available troopers on state roadways for the holiday weekend. Troopers during the same holiday period last year arrested 243 people on DWI charges. DPS arrested 50 underage drinkers for driving under the influence. Drinking and driving isn’t just stupid — it’s deadly and illegal. Too many lives are shattered because a drunk partygoer who has no business driving gets behind the wheel. Simple planning can curb the risks and keep you and other motorists much safer. Some advertising campaigns tell partygoers to “think when you drink.’’ Truth be told, many can’t think clearly when they drink. Rather, we urge you to think before you drink. Have a designated driver in place or have plans made to have a friend, relative or cab pick you up after you’re ready to call it a night. Enjoy New Year’s Eve, but enjoy it safely. We want to see you around in 2006. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Saturday, Dec. 31, the 365th and final day of 2005. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 31, 1879, Thomas Edison first publicly demonstrated his electric incandescent light in New Jersey. On this date: In 1862, President Lincoln signed an act admitting West Virginia to the Union. In 1905, IOO years ago, Broadway composer Jule Styne was born in London. In 1946, President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II. 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. 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- 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 1950. Managing Editor Jeremy Pafford Editor and Publisher Doug Toney Circulation Director Jeff Fowler Advertising Director Neice Bell Business Manager Valerie Shields News Editor David Rupkalvis Letters to the Editor Common sense dictates that we ban fireworks during drought Most years, we have fires that are attributed to fireworks. Many years, people are hurt, sometimes severely, by fireworks. Every year, dogs and other animals are terrified by fireworks. I just don’t get it. Fireworks can and do cause damage for many other than the user, yet we permit them in the county. Already, one fire in the Canyon Lake area has been attributed to fireworks. Of course, fireworks are banned in New Braunfels, but in the county, we ban only certain airborne fireworks. Does that imply that fireworks that remain on the ground do not start fires? Which type started our last fire? It seems only common sense to me that in an extremely dry period such as we are experiencing that all fireworks should be banned. Jerry Welch New Braunfels Resolving to go vegetarian a noble goal for the new year Dec. 26 marked the tragic anniversary of the world’s worst natural disaster, when a tsunami extinguished the lives of nearly 200,000 people in southern Asia and Africa. Yet, each year, seven times as many Americans die of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other chronic killer diseases that have been linked conclusively with consumption of meat and dairy products. Meat consumption also dumps animal waste in our waterways, destroys wildlife habitats to grow animal feed and tortures innocent animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Let’s make a New Year’s resolution to replace meat and dairy products in our diet with wholesome, delicious vegetables, fruits and grains. With supermarkets featuring a variety of these foods, it’s got to be the easiest resolution we’ll ever keep. iKevin Snuzle New Braunfels Left making a big mistake Whom did the Valerie Flame leak hurt? Valerie, who went from undercover to on the cover when she posed for Vanity Fair? Joe Wilson, who got a best-selling book out of the deal? The current leak, however, of classified material relating to National Security Agency tactics in intercepting conversations between people abroad and those within the United States is a vastly serious proposition that may have materially compromised investigations in progress and tipped terrorists off to our methods so that they can hide among us undetected. This leak, far more than the Valerie Plame incident, deserves a full investigation to identify who spilled the beans and to whom and how. The consequences of this leak alone merit an independent investigation and, perhaps, a trial for treason. Why does Bush need to use taps without warrants in the fight on terror? The answer is obvious: We often don’t know who or what we are looking for. Our analysts’ best hope of catching and exposing terror plots against us lies in combing the airwaves, listening for suspicious words and phrases or patterns. Unlike criminal investigations, which are deductive — predicated on a single suspect or a number of alternative suspects — terror investigators want to find out what is going on and only an inductive approach — amassing lots of material and searching for patterns — has any chance of success. DICKMORRIS For example, in 2002 the federal government tipped off the New York City Police Department that there was a lot of chatter about the Brooklyn Bridge. The resulting police tactics stopped the attack and eventually led to the apprehension of the would-be bomber. What warrant could thel anti-terror investigators have gotten to allow such a search? They had no “.    .   _    ____ Dick Morris was an name, no phone num-    adviser to m Clinton hers, no idea of what to for 20years look for. But a careful analysis of the data averted a massive tragedy. Politically, the left is making a big mistake in focusing on the issue. Bush is well-served by bringing the terrorism debate home. Isolationists — about 40 percent of the nation, divided between the two parties — will not back him on a war in Iraq but sure will support him against attempts to handcuff homeland security in the name of privacy or civil liberties. By raising this issue — and the concomitant issue of the Patriot Act renewal — the Democrats are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Iraq is a winner for the left. Homeland security is a loser. Eileen McGann co-wrote this column. 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 Fox: (210) 821-5947 ■ Henry Cuellar 1404 Longworth House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-1640 Fax: (202) 225-1641 Web address: SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: STATE HOUSE ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Telephone: (830) 627-0215 E-mail address: carter.casteel@ STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: (512) 463-0125 E-mail address: [email protected] ■ Judith Zaffirini RO. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702Toepperwein Road #214 San Antonio 78233 Telephone: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262Democrats, liberal media misjudging tide of public opinion MI KEHE AGAN Mike Reagan, the eldest son of President Ronald Reagan, is heard on more than 200 talk riulio stations rationally as part of the Radio America Network. The Democrat appeasement hounds are in hill cry thinking they have the president up a tree, cornered and powerless to save himself and his party from being chewed to bits. They had better take a second look — that’s not a tree he’s climbing, but the polls — where he’s quickly moving up into a position that will all but guarantee a crushing loss for defeatist Democrats in the 2006 House and Senate races. In what may prove to be the most gigantic political miscalculation of all time, the Democrats and their eager allies in the Marxist media bet all their marbles on the idea that President Bush’s policies in the war on terrorism are his Achilles’ heel and would help them to win control of Congress in the 2006 elections. They also eagerly jumped on the revelations that the U.S. had monitored com munications between al-Qaida terrorists abroad and al-Qaida agents in the U.S., believing that the public would be angered by the operation which they and their media allies were falsely portraying as an assault on the civil rights of all Americans. Boy, were they ever wrong. According to the authoritative Rasmussen poll: A Dec. 23 poll showed that fully 50 percent of American adults approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as president. That’s up 6 points since the president’s speech days earlier. It’s also the first time since July that the president’s job approval rating has reached the 50 percent mark. He earns approval from 81 percent of Republicans, 23 percent of Democrats and 42 percent of those not affiliated with either major political party. Another poll on Dec. 28 showed that a whopping 64 percent of Americans believe the National Security Agency should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. Just 23 percent disagree. That view is shared by 51 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of those not affiliated with either major political party. Sixty-eight percent of Americans say they are following the NSA story somewhat or very closely, and only 26 percent believe President Bush is the first to authorize a program like the one currently in the news. Forty-eight percent say he is not while 26 percent are not sure. Ask most Americans if they agree with such defeatists as Democrat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the majority of her far-left colleagues that the U.S. should cut and run in Iraq, and the great majority give a resounding “no.” They want our troops to come home, but not until the job is done. But Pelosi continues to stupidly put her party in a position opposite that of the majority of the voters. Their misjudgment of the mood and temper of the electorate — the absurd notion that they could override the patriotism of the American people by turning them against their president in a time of war — has put them in a position that can only be seen as favorable to an enemy sworn to kill us all. Even more incredible is the open alliance between the Democrats and the Marxist media, which have proven to be a reliable mouthpiece for our enemies. The New York Times prints one story after another that gives aid and comfort to al-Qaida, revealing top-secret operations meant to protect Americans from another 9/11. Instead of demanding that the leakers be brought to justice as they did in the case of Valerie Plame, the Democrats jump on the bandwagon and begin agitating for Congressional hearings that would reveal even more secrets to our enemies. It’s becoming apparent that the only way to keep the Times and the Democrats happy would be to appoint al-Qaida representatives to sit in on White House and NSA strategy sessions to monitor all U.S. intelligence operations to assure that the terrorists' civil liberties would be protected and they would be kept abreast of our war plans. 1149 E. Commerce St., Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 271-2851 Fax: (210) 277-6671 ■ Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 RO. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512)463-1849 ;