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A4 | Sunday, February 3, 2013

Viewpoint

The Stephenville Empire-Tribune

www.yourstephenvilletx.com

Public discourse is alive and well Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and a dumb-dumb and I should exit the world of spewing commentary and slip back into the kitchen. Preferably with an ugly apron. Those are just a few of the suggestions from angry readers who took offense to last week’s column suggesting that women don’t belong on the front lines of military combat. “So, women are smart enough and strong enough to birth and raise the humans in our country but not qualified to fight along side the same humans? What a bunch of BS! If society stopped stroking the egos of men over women as the ‘stronger’ gender, this would decline,” one woman posted on Facebook. See what I mean? Public discourse is alive and well. To wit: Yes, yes and no it wouldn’t. Here’s why. Intelligence and brains have nothing to do with the ability to give birth. Women’s bodies just happen to be made to do so just like men’s are typically made to be bigger and stronger. Those are facts.

FROM THE EDITOR

SARA VANDEN BERGE And saying those facts out loud in no way changes that undeniable truth. Where women’s libbers get tripped up is in their inability to accept that men and women are not created the same. They are equal in the sense that they should be granted equal opportunities for advanced education, equal pay for equal work and the right to pursue happiness - you know the drill. But the latest rallying cry seems to suggest that if we don’t embrace the notion that girls can fight alongside - or against the boys, we are somehow stuck in a day and time we would rather forget. In fact, one Tarleton student stated that my opinion took “the women’s movement back.” I’m pretty sure she missed

the more than 100 columns I’ve written over the past 13 years on women’s rights (not to mention the more than 50 I’ve written on equal rights for gays and minorities). I figure she was probably busy learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels back then. “Oh, and Wonder Woman would not have (backed) down from a fight,” she added. “She took on many male and female villians (sic). It takes a whole lot more then putting breakfast on the table and fighting grammar villains to be wonder woman…” True that. And here’s another truth. Wonder Woman doesn’t exist. She is fictitious - and so are her bracelets that deflect bullets. Though I jest about feeling Wonder Woman-ish at times and marvel at my remarkable ability to juggle a busy home life and demanding job, I do know my limits. Here is something else I’ve learned: No matter how many miles I run or how many weights I lift, I will never match my husband’s physical strength. And that’s OK. Women have only half

the upper body strength as men. True liberation means we accept ourselves for who and what we really are. Our differences should be celebrated not denied. Arguments against women in combat have nothing to do with skill, patriotism or misogyny. Those who think women should be engaging the enemy on the front lines should ask themselves this: If your son were at war, who would you want them to fight alongside? Or how about this: If your son was hurt in combat, who would you trust to throw them over their shoulder and carry them to safety? A female soldier or a male? I know who I’d choose. That’s no offense to girls, of course. I am one and I have a daughter of my own and I would fight like hell to make sure she has the same rights as her brothers. I will also fight like hell (no pun intended) to make sure she never has to engage a vicious enemy on the front lines of a war. So should society. “I have watched this country come a long way for women’s rights and you being a writer in

Republicans still refuse to face reality Now here’s a worthy project: Speaking to the Republican National Committee recently, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared that it was time for the GOP to “stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults ... We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. We’ve had enough of that.” Perhaps not surprisingly, there were few cheers. Today’s GOP thrives on idiot contumely. Nor did the crowd applaud Jindal’s pronouncement that Republicans “must not be the party that simply protects the well-off so they can keep their toys. We have to be the party that shows all Americans how they can thrive ... We are a populist party and need to make that clear.” Now exactly what Jindal means by a populist GOP is almost as interesting as what he thinks would constitute an intelligent political conversation. Apart from those attention-getting pronouncements, his speech was basically what you’d expect from a Louisiana governor to a Republican Party shell-shocked by President Obama’s decisive re-election. You know, Washington bad, Baton Rouge good; taxes bad, business good, government wicked. A lifetime public employee; Jindal scorns the federal government -- except, of course, he wants to be president. Despite Jindal’s superficial appeal, the idea that any Deep South governor advocating the policies he’s championed would be considered a viable candidate for the presidency in 2016 speaks volumes about the Republican Party’s refusal to face reality. But more about that anon. Republicans have commit-

COMMENTARY

GENE LYONS ted the unpardonable political sin: They believed their own propaganda. Many can scarcely comprehend how most Americans see things. Last week Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote something shrewd about the right-wing fixation with President Obama’s otherness. It was always a mistake, she said, to claim “that he’s a Muslim, he’s a Kenyan, he’s working out his feelings about colonialism. Those charges were meant to marginalize him, but they didn’t hurt him. They damaged Republicans, who came to see him as easy to defeat.” They also hurt Republicans among voters who wondered about the character, motives and competence of people who ranted about transparently false allegations. However, Noonan then proceeded to conjure her own imaginary Obama: a hardcore leftist determined to redistribute income from rich to poor, the striving middle class be damned. “’You didn’t build that,’” she wrote “are the defining words of his presidency.” That’s right, conspiracy buffs. To Noonan, President Obama’s political legacy consists of a truncated quote yanked out of context to distort his plain meaning: basically, that the best restaurant in town couldn’t thrive if customers had to bushhog their own roads to get there. This same Obama, a veritable American Lenin, emerges in the columns of the Washington Post’s Charles

Krauthammer. “Obama is the apostle of the ever-expanding state,” he writes. “His (inaugural) speech was an ode to the collectivity.” As evidence, Krauthammer cites the president “clinging zealously to the increasingly obsolete structures of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid ... the very definition of reactionary liberalism.” Did somebody mention the stupid party? Putting aside Krauthammer’s characteristic intellectual dishonesty -- he pretends that demographic changes since 1936 doom Social Security -- he fails to grasp a fundamental fact of American politics: All three programs are extremely popular with voters. Sixty-eight percent in a recent poll opposed cutting Medicaid; Social Security and Medicare are valued even more. People don’t think they’re obsolete; they want their finances improved and defended. Obama made a crucial point in his inaugural address. “We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives,” he said, “any one of us at any time may face a job loss or a sudden illness or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative. They strengthen us. “They do not make us a nation of takers. They free us to take the risks that make this country great.” Once people see that Obamacare enhances their personal freedom by making it possible to change jobs without giving up medical insurance, it’s apt to prove equally popular. A political party incapable of grasping this elemental truth deserves to lose power. Meanwhile, down in

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Your E-T staff

Sara Vanden Berge, managing editor: sara.vandenberge@empiretribune.com Daryl Robinson, circulation manager: daryl.robinson@empiretribune.com Brad Keith, sports editor: brad.keith@empiretribune.com Donnie Bryant, staff writer: donnie.bryant@empiretribune.com Jessie Horton, staff writer: jessie.horton@empiretribune.com Morgan Downs, graphics/composition: morgan.downs@empiretribune.com Joseph Myers, graphics/composition: joey.myers@empiretribune.com

Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s idea of populism is to eliminate state income taxes altogether while doubling sales taxes. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, this scheme would greatly benefit corporations and the richest 1 percent, while sharply raising everybody else’s taxes. A public outcry recently caused him to back off a scheme to trim Medicaid costs by eliminating hospice care for terminally ill patients. Due to entrenched poverty, Louisiana receives far more from the accursed federal government than it remits in taxes -- and always has. People mostly understand that. In today’s America, however, I seriously doubt that Bobby Jindal’s act is going to play.

Sara Vanden Berge is the managing editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 968-2379 ext. 240. Follow her on Twitter @ ETeditor.

READER FEEDBACK

What is your favorite part of the Super Bowl? Commercials and the half time show - Brandy Fisher Commercials for me - Amber Robinson Carpenter Commercials AND food! Stephanie Elizabeth Haby Being able to spend time with great friends - Stephanie Armstrong Diener The halftime show - Brandon Hughitt This year it’s the cold beer, no work, food and Colin Kaepernick. - Morgan Downs

Arkansas Times columnist Gene Lyons is a National Magazine Award winner and coauthor of “The Hunting of the President” (St. Martin’s Press, 2000). You can email Lyons atenelyons2@yahoo.com.

For Your Information

Address: 590 South Loop, PO Box 958, Stephenville, TX 76401 Phone: 254-965-3124 Toll Free (Subscription and service) | Fax: (254) 965-4269 Website: www.yourstephenvilletx.com The Stephenville Empire-Tribune is published 5 days a week, all rights reserved. Member, Associated Press, Texas Press Association, Inland Press Association.

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a published paper have taken us back many generations,” another wrote on Facebook. “Perhaps you don’t realize the responsibility you have and your personal opinions should be kept to yourself and left to those who are trying to pick this country up. We have fought many wars right here in Texas to have women’s rights equal. This article makes me angry I have gone through unequal rights and when no matter how cold it was we as females were not allowed to wear pants to school. I wanted to be a firefighter but my dad said no you are a girl. My whole life would have been different if it weren’t for people like you. Stick to writing recipie (sic) columns.” No can do on the recipe columns, though I have a good one for chicken tacos you might enjoy. Message me and I’ll get it to you. Meanwhile, I’m going to keep speaking the truth.

Corrections: The Empire-Tribune will gladly correct any error or clarify any information that is unclear or misleading that is published in the newspaper or website. To request a correction, call the newspaper office between 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Letters: All letters must be signed and include a valid phone number and hometown of the author for verification purposes. Names of businesses will be omitted. The newspaper has the right to edit for grammar and style. Please limit letters to 400 words. One letter per month per writer, please.

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To subscribe: To get the newspaper delivered to your home, or make a change in service, call the circulation department 8 a.m.-5 p.m. MondayFriday at 254-965-3124. Delivery deadline: Stephenville and Dublin, 6 a.m.; Rural areas, 8 a.m. POSTMASTER (USPS 521-320) Send address changes to: Empire-Tribune, PO Box 958 Stephenville, TX, 76401 Periodicals paid at Stephenville, TX 76401


A4 |

THE STEPHENVILLE EMPIRE-TRIBUNE

Sunday, August 11, 2013

www.yourstephenvilletx.com

Viewpoint OUR VIEW

An open letter to our kids (and yours too)

D

ear D.J., Aaron FROM THE EDITOR and Brooke, I feel a little silly writing you a letter like this. After all, the things I’m about to say are the same things your dad and I have been telling you all SARA VANDEN BERGE your lives. But today, I feel compelled to remind you about a couple of things. After all, I’m a mom and mothers love their children with every bit of their being. Since the day you were born, I have worried non-stop about your safety. When you were babies, I used to creep into your rooms at night and gently place my hand on your chest to make sure you were breathing. When you were toddlers, I practically pureed your dinner out of fear that you would choke. As you grew taller and began riding your bicycle, I chased behind you for miles in fear that you would topple over and scrape a knee. As you entered grade school and began mingling on the playground, I fretted that you would become a victim of some bully’s taunts — or worse — that you would make the bad decision to make fun of or hurt someone smaller or more timid than yourselves. When you began driving, I trembled in fear about the unthinkable. But by the grace of God, a little shadowing on my part and good choices on yours, you have managed to so far live happy, healthy and relatively unscathed lives. But things might not always be easy. You aren’t children anymore. And as life for each of you moves forward, you will no doubt face struggles along the way. You will meet people who are nasty and mean and enjoy hurting others — and when that happens, you will have to be large, look the other way and learn to forgive. Never forget that there are more people in this world who are kind, caring and compassionate. Model yourselves after them. During your journey, you will face a variety of temptations which can lead you down a destructive path. Stay strong in your beliefs and never waiver from doing what you know is right. You will make mistakes. Some might cause you embarrassment, but remember that it will be short-lived. People will forget and move on. They always do. The past week has been a hard one for this community, particularly for the class of 2013. We lost one of our best and brightest young people. We hurt beyond words for the family left behind and her friends who are lost and confused. Adults are struggling to find the right words to offer comfort and make sense of the unthinkable, but it’s hard. Someday, when you’re a parent, you’ll understand. But for now, remember this: You are loved. There is no problem ever too big to overcome. Dad and I love you more than anything in this world. So do your grandparents and a slew of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. If you ever feel alone, know that you have a family who will never stop supporting you. No matter what. Ever. And never forget that hard times don’t last forever. You have to trust the old people on this one. Love, Mom Sara Vanden Berge is the managing editor of the Stephenville Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 968-2379 ext. 240. Follow her on Twitter @ETeditor

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READER FEEDBACK

Do you get annoyed when people talk on their cell phones in public places? Not really. I’ve heard some really good gossip that way! — Theresa Hutchins I do think talking on your cell phone while checking out at a store is rude. — Amy Chew Stoker Yes especially when I am trying to wait on them and they hold up their hand to tell me to wait because they are on the phone! — Shannan Johnson Bowling

her table to have a phone conversation and not disturb the others at her table. The trouble was she stood by the table next to us and yacked on the phone in our direction. I had no interest what so ever in her cousin’s kidney stones. Blah — Pamela Frank Huckabee Use common sense and manners. And not while driving! — Carol Martin Primarily when you are in a public restroom and you don’t know who they are talking to. Awkward. — Jeannie Schlicke Collins Yes, especially in restaurants. — Claire Kielich Bauer Follow the Empire-Tribune on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/empiretribune

YOUR VOICE

Communication problem at Dublin ISD The “soul” of Dublin ISD is shadowed! After meeting with DHS administration and staff in February 2013 regarding severe problems in the communication tools used (or not used), and the repercussions from this we were forced to file a formal grievance on behalf of our daughter. We had been initially asked not to file formally by the DHS principal so he could “investigate.” We didn’t file until he told us we should only to have it “dismissed due to timeliness.” There have been ongoing issues with the parent portal, paper grades/corrected grades not being entered correctly or not at all. We had frequent correspondence with teachers and I.T. who assured us it was a “technology” problem. At no time did any DISD staff member ever relay any problem with Cheyenne’s work, nor had there been any notations of any kind in the portal indicating missing or failing grades. We and several other parents did not or rarely receive three week progress reports. Our calculated averages did not match DHS’s, we were informed the reason was due to three zeros and that Cheyenne had “chose not to do the work.” Those who know Cheyenne know she is a diligent, trustworthy, caring individual who is extremely focused on her future — attending either A&M or the Naval Academy — and would never choose not to do an assignment. She has only received one zero K thru present and maintained A Honor Roll every single year. She has never had any blemish on her record, period. We were forced to request records via Federal Law and found not three, but nine zeros! We discovered two

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No, just go on with what you need to do unless they are holding you up getting your goals accomplished... they can ramble all they want aaaand I could care less what they are saying and who they are talking too. — Cecilia Ramirez if they are not in a check out line or at a restaurant where they have someone trying to wait on them, then i think it’s ok. otherwise...it’s ok to talk in public as long as you arent overly loud or disruptive — Kat Matt Yes — Moumin Quazi It all depends on how loud they are and how clean they keep their language. — Becky Cloyd Yes! Just yesterday we were in a restaurant and a woman got up from

Jerry Pye, publisher: jerry.pye@empiretribune.com Sara Vanden Berge, managing editor: sara.vandenberge@empiretribune.com Eric Bauer, advertising manager: eric.bauer@empiretribune.com Daryl Robinson, circulation manager: daryl.robinson@empiretribune.com Brad Keith, sports editor: brad.keith@empiretribune.com Donnie Bryant, staff writer: donnie.bryant@empiretribune.com Jessie Horton, staff writer: donnie.bryant@empiretribune.com Caleb MCaig, staff writer: caleb.mccaig@empiretribune.com Morgan Downs, creative services: morgan.downs@empiretribune.com

Academic Achievement Records based on exactly the same grades that had different GPA’s and class rank! We found that DHS runs “zero reports,” (which we were told are “not geared toward kids like Cheyenne”); students are pulled from athletics to complete work and, if not completed, are sent to Saturday school. Cheyenne was not afforded ANY of these “safety-valves.” We have recorded conversations with DISD staff admitting non-use of the notation portion of the portal; admission they did not send up any red flags; admission not communicating problems, yet DISD has had absolutely no interest in investigating the problem. Since filing, Cheyenne has been accused (and cleared) of cheating twice, been humiliated by staff in

FOR YOUR INFORMATION

Address: 590 South Loop, PO Box 958, Stephenville, TX 76401 Phone: 254-965-3124 (Subscription and service) | Fax: (254) 965-4269 Website: www.yourstephenvilletx.com The Stephenville Empire-Tribune is published 5 days a week, all rights reserved. Member, Associated Press, Texas Press Association, Inland Press Association.

POLICIES

Corrections: The Empire-Tribune will gladly correct any error or clarify any information that is unclear or misleading that is published in the newspaper or website. To request a correction, call the newspaper office between 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Letters: All letters must be signed and include a valid phone number and hometown of the author for verification purposes. Names of businesses will be omitted. The newspaper has the right to edit for grammar and style. Please limit letters to 400 words. One letter per month per writer, please.

front of peers, and accused of forging a teacher’s signature. The question remains, why is this administration not interested in the truth and welfare of this student and maybe many others? The communication breakdown in this district is the “timeliness” at issue. The district is using this tactic to cover up and not acknowledge the problem, all at the expense of a student who has done nothing but improve the population at DHS. Please contact us at 254-842-8391 or shireholt@embarqmail.com with questions or information regarding these problems. Edward and Bonnie Holt Dublin Follow the Empire-Tribune on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/empiretribune

SERVICES

To subscribe: To get the newspaper delivered to your home, or make a change in service, call the circulation department 8 a.m.-5 p.m. MondayFriday at 254-965-3124. Delivery deadline: Stephenville and Dublin, 6 a.m.; Rural areas, 8 a.m. POSTMASTER (USPS 521-320) Send address changes to: Empire-Tribune, PO Box 958 Stephenville, TX, 76401 Periodicals paid at Stephenville, TX 76401


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