Letters to the Editor

By NEMS Daily Journal

‘Formerly proud’’ IAHS alum criticizes decision
As a formerly proud graduate of IAHS, I am appalled and embarrassed that my school would sponsor bullying of a child.
When I was in high school, one of my most terrifying moments was when a student committed suicide in the parking lot. When I was in high school there, teen pregnancy was out of sight, just like the dropout rate.
None of these problems has improved over the last 20 years.
So why are we, after all these years, still encouraging students and teachers alike to seek out the differences between people rather than the similarities among us all? Why are we encouraging the community to host its own exclusionary prom?
In a state with the highest teen pregnancy rate, requiring that dates to the prom be between a male and female sounds … well, it sounds like you’re encouraging premarital sex and pregnancy. And that just sounds backward.
What about the kids who go alone to the prom? Is that allowed, or should they be forced to call an escort service?
About the girl wearing a tuxedo, I have to ask: Seriously? You have nothing better to worry about? I have information that there are women in Mississippi who have the audacity to wear pantsuits to church. Perhaps the Itawamba County Formalities Committee should investigate these women, too.
I cannot believe that my alma mater would allow a child to be ostracized. I cannot believe that my school would try to judge her moral character rather than simply to teach her math, English and science.
I have seen firsthand that children deserve all the love we can possibly give them, all the time we can spare, all the understanding we can muster even if we don’t really understand at all.
They cannot be shunned or made to feel any less human because of their religion, lack of religion, sexuality, color, lack of affluence or any other trait that makes them less like the crowd. That’s just not fair.
Nellie Kelly
Tulsa, Okla.
IAHS class of 1993

School days reduction would threaten integrity
Other members of the Mississippi Board of Education and I are greatly concerned about legislation that promotes reducing the number of classroom instructional days for our students. As you know, there is a greater emphasis on student achievement and accountability than there has ever been. Based on this factor and others, including national and international comparisons, now is certainly not the time to threaten the integrity of the classroom by reducing instructional days.
While the ability to furlough all employees on non-instructional days will be an important tool for some school districts to survive budget cuts, reducing the school calendar may be viewed as an opportunity to reduce education funding in future fiscal years. Some superintendents have requested the flexibility to furlough all employees on non-instructional days to reduce both personnel and operational expenses. I support you and your school boards having this flexibility in the event of an extreme financial emergency.
I am extremely concerned about the organized support of reducing the length of the school year and conflicting messages presented to members of the Legislature by some in the education community. I urge all school supporters to contact members of the House of Representatives and ask them not to support the proposal to reduce the number of classroom instructional days.
I appreciate all that citizens do for the boys and girls of Mississippi.
Claude Hartley
Legislative Affairs Subcommittee Chairman
Mississippi Board of Education
Tupelo/Jackson

Sarcasm answers critic of Republicans’ actions
I always enjoy both editorials and all of your published letters to the editor. I was particularly entertained by the March 7 Republican strategies letter. The writer obviously has special insight into the Republican Party. This insight gives him the ability to see that the Republicans, by “their actions, resulted in the worst terrorist attack in our history.” The attack on the U.S. on 9-11 was not the fault of terrorists as all of the news channels reported. They are, of course, controlled by big business and therefore, Republicans. Anyone with his sense of politics and his insight would immediately know that the Republican Party is also responsible for these other calamities:
• Global warming
• The coldest winter since the 1930s
• The recession and unemployment
• The damage from Hurricane Katrina
• Toyota’s sudden unexplained accelerations
• The pirating of shipping on the oceans
• Rising medical costs
• Inflation
• The size of the national debt (which he cites in his letter)
• The U.S. hockey team loss to Canada at the Olympics (a political gesture of thanks to the host)
• The earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.
Albert M. Harris
Tupelo

History argues against Johnson’s privacy stand
I am writing in regard to Rheta Grimsley Johnson’s editorial on Tiger Woods in which she argues that his private life does not deserve the public’s attention (2-27-10).
I disagree.
Over 2,500 years ago the Greeks portrayed the fall of heroic men in their tragic plays to educate the public about the nature of morality and suffering. The tragic hero was usually someone famous from history or mythology because the fall would be greater and more dramatic than that of an ordinary person. The hero’s fall was caused by his “hamartia” or tragic character flaw. This flaw was usually “hubris,” or the arrogant belief that he was above the rules of ordinary people due to his god-like social status.
A good play would cause the audience to experience “catharsis,” or a wide range of emotions such as pity, fear, and empathy. These plays were staged during religious festivals and all citizens were encouraged to attend as part of their moral and social education. Today TMZ and ET have taken the place of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides when it comes to mass education about our human nature via “celebrities.”
It is human nature to be drawn to the private lives of the famous because of the need to experience catharsis and to know that suffering is a universal part of the human condition. It is part of the American psyche to allow people to redeem themselves by giving them a second chance.
Thomas Witty
Tupelo

Journal sites viewed as places for incivility
In his Friday, Feb. 26, column, Errol Castens stated, “One goal of civil individuals and institutions is to know when to confront incivility …” Castens’ comment echoes that of Journal Capital Bureau Chief Bobby Harrison who, in his commentary on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009, stated, “Under the cloak of anonymity, people make value judgments and say hateful things. What does that say about us?”
Good question. In fact, what does that say about “A locally owned newspaper dedicated to the service of God and mankind”? I respectfully submit that a cursory review of NEMS360.com and its sister 360.coms show that, by providing the Forum, Journal Inc. is a full participant in the anonymous hurtful Internet posts that Harrison deplores and the incivility Castens suggests should be confronted. Worse, Journal Inc. is profiting from this activity! The increased traffic from those postings and reading the thoughtless comments generates advertising revenue for the parent organization of this paper.
In the 1972 charter meeting of CREATE Inc., George McLean said, “We believe this newspaper should always put the service of God and man as its first objective and that the profit making role should be secondary to the development of a Christian community.” In his column, Castens stated that a civil society should promote civil discourse. Journal Inc. can rejoin civil society by returning to its roots and removing “the cloak of anonymity” for all posters at NEMS360.com and all of the Journal interactive Websites.
Don Baker
Amory


Jefferson understood deadly burden of debt
Health care reform is like a cat with nine lives.
Even though polls show the American people categorically reject the Democratic plan, the leadership is determined to keep pushing it until is passes. There are many problems with this plan but first and foremost, it is unconstitutional. Health care reform is found under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution in those powers reserved to the states and the people and is not an authority granted to the federal government. Government control robs us of our freedom of choice over our own health care.
In just over a year this Congress and administration has tripled our national debt to about $13 trillion today. The health care bill will add in excess of another trillion to the debt. The Congressional Budget Office said, “To put it bluntly, the fiscal policy of the United States is unsustainable. Debt is growing faster than gross domestic product.”
One of our most respected founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, had this to say about public debt: “To preserve [the] independence [of the people,] we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude….”
He summed up these comments by stating, “The conclusion then, is, that neither the representatives of a nation, nor the whole nation itself assembled, can validly engage debts beyond what they may pay in their own time.”
We have a Congress and an administration that have stolen trillions from the American people that will inevitably result in huge tax increases and we have only the promise of more to come. Tell your representatives to oppose this health care reform legislation and restore some sanity to government spending before it is too late.
Raymond Settle
Blue Mountain

Democrats worst, except for the Republicans
Can you imagine, dear reader, a free country, fought for, died for, just a little over 250 years ago.
Can you imagine a country where we vote for leaders who will represent us in a forum of honesty, integrity and intelligence?
Did we then vote for individuals representing us, or did we vote for individuals representing a “Party”?
The Democratic Party is an organization that selects political candidates, funds their election campaigns, serves as a “one stop” source for influence by lobbyists of all sorts, and aggregately influences (or stifles) the future growth of this country. The Democratic Party destroys individual thought and progress for this nation. That is a fact. There is only one thing more detrimental to this Country than the Democratic Party, and that is the Republican Party.
“I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State …,” this from George Washington’s Farewell Address to Congress, Sept. 17, 1796.
I urge each and every one of you to read the observations of our Country’s first President. If you dare, and if you care.
Fritz Crytzer
1209 Highway 342
Pontotoc, MS 38863