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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 18, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — HERALD-ZEITUNG — Tuesday, February 18, 2003 iForum Contact Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland 625-9144, ext. 220 Nkw Braunfels Herald-Zeitung 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. Doug Toney, Editor and Publisher Gary E. Maitland, Managing Editor (830) 625-9144 Other views Victoria Advocate on hands off the tobacco money: The Ihxas Legislature has a large pot of money _ perhaps as much as $5.8 billion _ that it could dip into to help reduce the $9.9 billion shortfall it faces for the remainder of this fiscal year through the next biennium. And lawmakers will be sorely tempted to do just that. But they would be making a big mistake that, whatever the short-term benefits, would harm the state in the long term. The Texas Association of Business is recommending that the Legislature cash in most of the $15 billion the state anticipates receiving over the next two decades from the 1998 multistate tobacco lawsuit settlement. States, including Texas, sued the tobacco industry to recover the money they had spent on health care to treat smokers for various tobacco-related illnesses. The resulting settlement amounts were to be paid over a quarter-century. But 16 states have already cashed in their payouts through a process known as securitization. They receive a portion of the money up front by selling the claim to all of it to investors. This is similar to the difference between cash option payouts from the Texas Lottery and spreading the total payments over many years. The Legislature, however, almost certainly would spend any money it receives from securitizing the state’s tobacco settlement payout, rather than investing it and earning interest on it to spend over many years in the future. Oklahoma voters had the right idea when they approved a state constitutional amendment establishing a permanent trust fund for that state’s tobacco settlement payout. The T?xas Legislature should consider putting a similar measure on the ballot, lf this state does not set up a permanent trust fund, the tobacco settlement payout will be a constant temptation for lawmakers to raid and spend.Today In History- By The Associated Press Tbday is Tuesday, Feb. 18, the 49th day of 2003. There are 316 days left in the year. Today’s history highlight: On Feb. 18, 1885, Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was published in the United States for the first time. On this date: In 1546, Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, died. In 1564, artist Michelangelo died in Rome. In 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as presidentPolicy of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Ala. In 1930, the ninth planet of our solar system, Pluto, was discovered. In 1960, the Eighth Winter Olympic Games were formally opened in Squaw Valley, Calif., by Vice President Nixon. In 1970, the “Chicago Seven” defendants were found innocent of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention. In 1972, the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s death penalty. Letters To The Editor Parents, there are dangers on Internet Over the holidays, my mother-in-law was concerned that a teenage guest in her home may have used their family computer for “less than pure” research over the Internet. She was worried about what may have been left behind on her computer for her two sons to find. Knowing my experience with computers, she asked me if I knew how to investigate what her computer may have been used for, and if I could get rid of anything that was left behind. Unfortunately, what I found only justified her fears. I was able to show her the Web sites that had been visited and what words had been typed into a search engine, presumably by the teenager. I was also able to show her the date and times, so she could confirm who was using the computer at those times.Write ’Em President George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, D.C. 20500 U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Dallas Room 284 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 8023 Vantage Drive, Suite 460 San Antonio, TX 78230 (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 U.S. Congressman Although my mother-in-law is not naive about what kinds of information are available on the Internet for anyone to find, she was disappointed, disgusted and ready to fight. The information that any child may come across (either intentionally or by accident) includes, but is not limited to: ■ Adult and child pornography; ■ How to build a bomb; ■ Solicitations from terrorists; ■ Nazi and all forms of hate groups; ■ Animal abuse/cruelty. I’m sure your imagination can lead you to think of numerous others. Because both graphics and text from these searches and Web sites remained on her computer, her own school-age sons could have stumbled across them at anytime. Once such sites are viewed on the computer, the door is opened for pop-up ads and other solicitations to find their way onto your screen at anytime for anyone to see. I cleaned all of these items from their computer and we are now installing some security devices that will block this type of information from finding its way onto their computer again. I hope this can serve as a warning to remind parents that their computer can be a useful and fun tool; however, we can’t forget the dangers that are out there. Our children’s minds are easy prey for such pollution, and we must protect them. We all know you cannot watch your children constantly, but there are other options. Many relatively inexpensive solutions are currently available to allow your computer to be a saf e and productive tool for your family and to block any unwanted information. Other solutions allow you to review all the activity that has happened on your PC. Michael Finn New Braunfels Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio Room 2231 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-4236 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 821-5024 Governor Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 P.O. Box 12428 Austin, TX 78711 (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 Texas State Representative Cartel Casteel, R-New Braunfels How to contact in Austin: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512) 473-9920 e-mail address: carter.casteel @ Texas State Senator Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio, TX 78209 (210) 826-7800 Fax: (210) 826-0571 How to contact in Austin: (512)463-0125 Fax: (512) 463-7794 E-mail address: jeff. Wentworth @ senate, state, tx. us The Herald-Zeitung encourages the submission of letters. Letters must be 250 words or fewer, and the Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. An address and telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor c/othe Herald-Zeitung P.O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax: (830)606-3413 e-mail: [email protected] ’Em City Council Mayor Adam Cor* 608-2100 city hall 609-1958 home mayor® District 1 Sonia Munoz-Gill 608-2100 District 2 Larry Alexander 609-1242 home District 3 Debbie Flume 629-2496 home/work District 4 Robert Kendrick 643-1177 home (281) 686-7480 work District 5 Lee Rodriguez 629-4901 work District 6 Ken Valentine 625-7384 home [email protected] Comal County Judge Danny Scheel 150 N. Seguin Ave. New Braunfels, TX 78130 620-5501 Fax: 608-2026 Precinct 1 Commissioner Jack Dawson 620-5504 (830) 899-2948 home Precinct 2 Commissioner Jay Minikin 620-5509 (210)651-9672 home Precinct 3 Commissioner Cristina Zamora 620-5503 606-9208 home Precinct 4 Commissioner Jan Kennady 620-5508 (830) 625-6739 homeBush talks himself into a diplomatic hole The diplomatic riff with Europe is about the only amusing thing that has happened in this buildup to war with Iraq. Its funny that the president brags about having the support of Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria and Denmark. Those countries together couldn’t whip Iraq. They haven’t played a significant military role in the past two centuries. He can call France and Germany the “Old Europe” if he wants to (nobody would mistake him for being well-informed about geopolitics anyway), but they are the powerhouses of the New Europe. Another funny thing is the United States trying to get NATO to defend Turkey from Iraq. You probably don’t know this, but the original U.S. proposal was that the NATO countries would agree to defend Turkey — and to help pick up the tab for rebuild- Charley Reese ing Iraq. All Europe, old and young, said, “No way.” So the United States adopted the fallback provision of defending Turkey, just so the United States can claim NATT) support for its war. So far, France, Germany and Belgium have said, “Get out of here.” What’s funny is that Turkey isn’t going to be attacked by Iraq. Iraq wouldn’t dare attack Turkey. Any time it chooses, the Turkish army could fight its way into Baghdad without any help from NATO or us. The Turks ruled that whole part of the world for half a millennium, and at the end of World War I, they bloodied the British and the French. They were the only country in that area that didn’t become a European colony or protectorate. The founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, once sent a telegram to a British politician who had said Turkey was ruled by “a drunk and 11-man council.” You are wrong, Ataturk wrote, Turkey is ruled by one drunk. Ataturk was not only a great soldier and revolutionary, but he had a sense of humor. The Turks don’t fear Iraq. They are only going along with this ploy because they want to be members of the European Union and think that full participation by NATO in their defense would help them. By the same token, the United States doesn’t need allies in a military sense. The little countries of Europe are just window dressing so that President Bush can deny that a war he wants and that our forces will fight is not “unilateral.” Why wouldn’t this “coalition of the willing” be willing, since its not going to cost them any soldiers or equipment or money? They are woefully short of all three. I’m sure the Bush administration has offered them bribes in one form or another. I’m afraid that our fearless leader has talked himself into a diplomatic hole. Its hard to insult people and enlist them as allies at the same time. It will be hard to blame the U.N. Security Council if he goes to war without a resolution. The whole world knows what most Americans don’t: Israel has defied more U.N. resolutions than Iraq, and it has defied them because the United States blocks any attempt to enforce them. In other words, our claim to be concerned about U.N. credibility is a sham. We use the United Nations if it suits our purpose and ignore it if it doesn’t. That’s been true since Day One of the United Nations’ existence. On the othej hand, the president, having foolishly said he would go to war with or without the United Nations, now stands to lose credibility if he doesn’t go to war. We went through this in Vietnam; 58,000 Americans died to save face for politicians in Washington who in the end stabbed them in the back. George Bush’s credibility isn’t worth a single American or Iraqi life. He can say simply, “I’ve changed my mind.” That’s a heck of a lot better alternative than war. In the meantime, he has sent exactly the opposite message from what he wanted to. He has said to the world, you’d better arm yourself'like North Korea or well attack you. Not a good message. (Charley Reese is a syndicated columnist.) ;