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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 11, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zhtung — Wednesday, May 11, 2005FORUM Other ViewpointsCheerleading issue a ‘silly’ use of time Amarillo Globe-News on cheerleading bill: State Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, put a recent vote in the Texas House of Representatives in its proper perspective. A bill that would require the Texas Education Agency to intervene if school cheerleaders’ performance is too sexually provocative is a “silly use of the Legislature’s time,” Smithee said. Right on, John. Why, then, did he vote for the measure authored by state Rep. Al Edwards, D-Houston? “I guess we just wanted to make a statement,” Smithee said, adding that he doesn’t believe the measure will get out of the Senate. It’s a cockamamie idea to have the TEA regulate such things. Whatever became of “local control " of our public education system, the control that virtually all 181 members of the full Legislature — plus the governor and lieutenant governor — say they favor? Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, called tile bill “stupid and insulting.” Yes, it is. And while we’re on the subject of goofy behavior, the legislature can do without the pom pon-waving routine put on by several I louse members during floor debate of this nonsensical bill. Stick to the issues that really matter, ladies and gentlemen of the legislature, lest time anyone checked, we still don’t have a school finance bill heading for the governor’s desk. If lawmakers truly are concerned about our children’s future, that’s where they ought to focus their energy.Today in History fey The Associated Press Today is Wednesday, May 11, the 131st day of 2005. There are 234 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: Twenty years ago, on May ll, 1985, 55 people died when a flash tire swept a jam-packed soccer stadium in Bradford, England. On this date: In 1910, Glacier National Park in Montana was established. In 1943, during World War ll, U.S. forces landed on the Aleutian island of Attu, which was held by the Japanese; the Americans took the island 19 days later. In 1944, Allied forces launched a major offensive against German lines in Italy. In 1946, die first CARE packages arrived bi Europe, at Le I lavre, France. In 1949, Israel was admitted to tile United Nations as the world body’s 59th member. In 1973, charges against Daniel IUsberg for his role in the “Pentagon Papers” case were dismissed by Judge William M. Byrne, who cited government misconduct. In 1981, reggae artist Bob Marley, 36, died in a Miami hospital. In 1996, an Atlanta-bound Valujet DC-9 caught fire shortly after takeoff from Miami and crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing all I IO people on board. 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 anil 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. &***<, <    •    •    -    *&    V** *** Managing Editor Gary E. Maitland Editor and Publisher Doug Toney Circulation Director Jeff Fowler Advertising Director Neice Bell Operations Director Vilma Linares News Editor David Rupkalvis ■■I mmmm Watching Russian military parade keeps base closing issue in limbo 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- President Bush stood on a reviewing stand in Red Square on Monday while goose-stepping Russian soldiers marched by him. It served its purpose. Every president needs to watch one Russian military parade just to keep the Base Closing Commission in limbo. President Bush attended the Victory in Europe tribute in Moscow Monday. The world watched closely. Vladimir Putin throws oil men in jail for dabbling in politics and Democrats want to know if he uses the interlocking or overlapping grip. Russian president Vladimir Putin needled President Bush Sunday about Laura’s stand-up routine last week in Washington. He’s one to talk. Radio Moscow ran a contest Friday for the funniest Putin joke and the winner got 20 years. Tony Blair received congratulations Thursday after he won a third term as prime minister of Great Britain. There was great relief in America. Without Blair, who would we have to translate President Bush’s ultimatums into English? George Steinbrenner’s horse Bellamy Road finished out of the money Saturday at the Derby. Don’t worry. The horse won’t be forced to spend the rest of his life wearing a bridle and pulling an infield dirt smoother, that’s Don Zimmer’s job. Runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks was called an incurable showboat by neighbors in Georgia Sunday. Her fate is sealed. She either needs to get her own pulpit in Georgia or her own agent in Los Angeles, but either way she gets to work with snakes. The New England Patriots signed quarterback Tom Brady to a new contract. The deal includes a $14 million signing bonus. It s believed to be the first professional sports contract with the compensation indexed to gasoline prices. Prince I larry began his military career Sunday at the Royal Military Academy ARGUS HAMILTON Argus Hamilton's daily column of jokes on the news is carried in more than IOO newspapers across the United States and is also read and heard try millions on the Internet. He can be reached him bye-mail at [email protected] Sandhurst. He wont mind the spartan living conditions in the dormitory with the community bathroom. After 20 years, Prince Harry is used to being third in line for the throne. Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign was dragged into court Monday in a criminal trial over a Beverly I fills fund-raiser. Fund-raising is simpler than it used to be. If Republicans want to raise money they raise oil prices, Democrats raise video rentals. President Bush gave a Cinco de Mayo speech Wednesday and praised I lispanic contributions to America. He’s a big fan of their culture. Last week in Crawford, he purchased head cleaner at the video store thinking it was a Jennifer Lopez movie. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said Sunday he’d like to put a tax on fast food restaurants to raise local revenues. It might just help fight the obesity crisis. We are living in a nation where one out of three people weigh as much as the other two. North Korea was reported Sunday to be ready to conduct its first nuclear bomb test, according to aerial photos. The world is aghast that they built a reviewing stand to observe the blast. Every country celebrates Harry Truman’s birthday their own way. The Kansas Board of Education began hearings Thursday into the teaching of evolution in Kansas schools. The region is bitterly divided. People in Missouri say that evolution can’t be taught in Kansas until evolution has occurred in Kansas. President Bush opened 58 million acres of western land to logging Wednesday. You could see this coming. Last week when he accused the Sequoias of terrorizing the shorter trees, you knew that the liberation ofYellowstone had begun. Bill Clinton appeared at an Austin bookstore Thursday to promote “My Life” in paperback. I lundreds of people lined up around the block to meet him. Austin is a college town and out of academic curiosity they want to hear evil’s side of the story. Lady Margaret Thatcher endorsed John Bolton for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Thursday. This should snap all the senators in line. A suggestion from Thatcher is the closest thing on Earth to a direct order from Ronald Reagan. TO CONTACTlifiillfllrt United States inmiiiii 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 TexasGovernment IITnilTffltlTl'i 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: PO. Box 2910 Austin 78768-2190 Telephone: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512) 473-9920 E-mail address: [email protected] 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 RO. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702Toepperwein Road #214 San Antonio 78233 Telephone: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262Airport security equipment is an expensive failure CALTHOMAS Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services International. He hosts "After Hours" on Fox News Channel Saturdays at ll p m. EST. Direct all mail for Cal Thomas to: Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 1500. Chicago. 60611, or leave an e mail at Three years and eight months after the terrorist attacks that changed our lives and after spending $4.5 billion on screening devices to monitor airports, seaports, mail and the air we breathe, the Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged what many of us frequent fliers already suspected. Hie money was misspent on equipment that has failed to do the job. As with most things governmental, failure does not mean having to try something else. It means spending more money on even more expensive equipment. Among the problems associated with the current equipment, as detailed in last Sunday’s New York Times, are devices used to screen airline passengers and their carry-on . bags. Auditors have determin ed the likelihood of detecting a passenger trying to carry a gun or bomb on board is no greater now than before federal screeners replaced private screening companies. For this we are charged a tax on every airline ticket and forced to endure inconveniences in the name of “safety." I knew the system wasn’t going to find real terrorists when I suddenly showed up on a “no fly” list last year. I had to copy my passport and driver’s license and submit other notarized documents to prove I am not the Thomas they are looking for. It wasn’t until I wrote about it that my name was removed from the list. My name is now back on the list, but on just three airlines. If I were a terrorist, wouldn’t I try to smuggle a weapon aboard an airline that doesn’t have me on their “no fly” fist? Here’s the way it works in this dysfunctional “security” system. Last weekend, I flew on one of the three airlines. The agent took my driver’s license into the back and returned 15 minutes later, while other passengers sized me up to see if they dared travel with such a “suspect.” When the agent returned, she brought with her a supervisor I had requested to see. The supervisor explained he had to check with the airline’s security office, using my birth date to confirm I am not the Thomas they are looking for. I asked, “Now that you know me, why can’t you enter this information in your computer so the next time I fly your airline I am not inconvenienced by having to repeat this ridiculous procedure?” That makes too much sense. That can’t be done. The agent smiled pleasantly, rejected my logical suggestion and appealed to his airline’s “rules.” The Transportation Security Administration has announced a new program, “Secure Flight,” that requests birth dates from passengers. They claim this will speed passengers like me through the screening process. We ll see. At Newark Airport last week, I spoke to a TSA supervisor about my “mark of Cain.” He gave me a “special” TSA num ber to call to register my complaint. I an wise to this tactic, having tried the num ber before, so I asked him to make the call. As he dialed, I said he could expect a recording to tell him to “press one for Bugfish" and then to leave a message. Hi would be promised a "prompt” reply, which he would not get. I Ie stayed on long enough to hear the press one for English" and hung up. He suggested I might try e-inailingTSA headquarters. I said I had and I received an automated response also promising < prompt reply." I received no reply at all Airline agents blame TSA for this mesf and TSA agents blame the airlines. After listening to the blame game recently at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, I took a TSA supervisor to the third airline that has me on its “no fly” fist. When she saw the TSA agent approach, the airline agent, who initially had blamed TSA tool me off the fist and removed the “S" from the ticket that requires a full body and luggage search. This proves to me that I SA is the final authority. ;