UI VS. BSU
Success is shown in graduation rates
When Mr. Joki points out the stability in leadership and national reputation of BSU, what is he really pointing out? Is he pointing out that even after a short period at the University of Idaho, both White and Nellis are actually sought after enough to lead a major university or system of universities or is he pointing out that after 10 years at BSU, Kustra is not qualified?
Mr. Joki, maybe you should reflect on Boise State's four-year graduation rate of 8 percent (UI's is 23 percent), and six-year graduation rate of 29 percent (UI's is 51 percent).
How exactly has that changed in the last 10 years? The only thing that Kustra has proven he can lead is an athletic department that in spite of losing only 14 football games since he arrived, lost nearly a million dollars last season. Meanwhile, the UI lost nearly that many games last year and broke even.
I wonder how the $5 million payout to the Big East and the $2 million to the Big West for leaving the conferences will be spun next year when it's ultimately due? Can he distract attention by calling someone nasty or inebriated?
AL MIDDLETON, Boise
Parents should take responsibility for diets
I would like to take Ruthann Howard's letter about junk food a step further. No question I support her complaint 100 percent. I too find it unbelievable the Meridian School District is allowing junk food to our kids. Yes, my kids will be instructed not to spend their money on junk food.
Still, parents need to take a hard look at how much they allow, and in some cases how much they cheer on consumption of sugar-laced desserts and other food items. Sugar is deadly. Sugar is a sweet poison. Parents who tell their kids alcohol is bad and destructive for their bodies are right, but on the same note they are pure hypocrites if they celebrate desserts, candy and junk food.
My point is the parents need to step up and watch their kids sugar intake, and the school district needs to shut down the access to junk food immediately.
DON MILLER, Boise
Environmentalists have wrong approach
Environmentalists caused the African elephant to become an endangered species. Who says? Dr. Allan Savory, the man who recommended that 40,000 elephants had to be killed to save their habitat. Other experts concurred and the slaughter commenced.
After seeing the desertification of elephant habitat increase and the populations of predators that relied on elephants decrease, Dr. Savory has been working to correct his error and tell the public that the solution to desertification is large herds of grazing livestock. Exactly the opposite of what environmentalists have been pushing for decades.
In the U.S., the massive herds of buffalo kept the grasslands healthy. With the buffalo mostly gone, replacing them with properly tended herds of cattle and sheep will restore the former buffalo range. You can watch videos of Dr. Savory's presentations here http://preview.tinyurl.com/b27b9dz.
GREGG ESHELMAN, Weiser
Government can afford small budget reductions
An interesting dynamic has occurred since the sequester went into effect. The Obama administration has tried to play the $85 billion in cuts to a $3.6 trillion federal budget to maximum effect. At first they predicted that local teachers and first responders would be laid off. Then when that appeared to be overly dramatic as well as inaccurate they moved to making the cuts as visible as possible; e.g. ending tours of the White House and cutting military tuition assistance.
President Obama faces a major dilemma in making his case. If the economy is so fragile that $85 billion in cuts in the context of a $16 trillion economy push it over the edge, then we don't have a real economy, but a house of cards.
Does any taxpayer really believe that federal spending is so well managed and efficient that a 2 percent spending reduction could not be absorbed? Yes, it is true that the cuts are concentrated to non-entitlement spending, but if the operating agencies cry foul it might be worthwhile reminding them how much their budgets have grown since Obama took office.
FRED BIRNBAUM, Boise
FETAL PAIN LAW
Adoption beats abortion
I read the article on fetal-pain law, and while I do agree with a woman's right to choose, and that the law should be changed to allow an exception if the woman's health is in jeopardy due to this pregnancy.
I was sickened that Ms. McCormack thought nothing of aborting a five- to six-month-old fetus. She was more then halfway through her pregnancy. If she had just held on and had the baby, she could have easily given it up for adoption and saved a life, rather then taken one.
I was adopted and not a day goes by that I don't thank God that my mother chose to have me and give me up rather then the alternative. The fact that Ms. McCormack is not being held accountable for her actions is yet another reason I question the ethics of this state.
SALLY LYNCH, Middleton
Stretch must be safer
Tragically, the Feb. 25 snow on the Palouse brought yet another traffic-related death on U.S. 95's Reisenauer Hill south of Moscow, further emphasizing the critical need to correct this section of road. How do we do this? ITD Thorncreek to Moscow DEIS alternatives C-3 and W-4 will turn this stretch of highway into a four-lane divided highway, bring it up to Federal Highway Administration safety standards and eliminate the safety problems.
However, the ITD preferred alternative E-2 will abandon this stretch of highway, and Latah County will inherit the problem. There are no provisions for making it safe. The problems will remain albeit with less traffic at least initially, assuming rampant residential development isn't immediate. However as many have pointed out, local residents, children on school buses, and "drunks" will use this dangerous section of road almost exclusively since there will be little other access to the E-2 option of the new U.S. 95.
Inexplicably, despite the best efforts of many local residents to convince them otherwise, Latah County Commissioners voted unanimously to endorse E-2 with no reservations. Citizens must take care of this lethal problem themselves, once and for all. Urge ITD to reject alternative E-2 for this project (http://us95thorncreek.com/schedule-2/comment-period/).
AL POPLAWSKY, Moscow
Congressman backs gridlock
Raul Labrador has revealed his true anti-democracy colors. He was quoted in the N.Y. Times as saying that he was frustrated with his fellow Republican leader of the House, John Boehner. He said it was "a huge concern" that Speaker Boehner would bring to a vote any legislation that would require Democrats to agree!
Mr. Labrador wants gridlock. He wants to block even considering any legislation that can't pass with Republican-only votes. He is against bipartisanship. He is against the concept of majority rule and believes in using bullying tactics to get his way even if most Americans and most members of Congress disagree with him.
Shouldn't we American voters expect more of our representative in Congress than gridlock? Shouldn't he be working to solve our country's problems, not blocking constructive legislation that both Democrats and Republicans can support?
JUSTIN STORMOGIPSON, M.D., Coeur d'Alene
TEACHERS COME LAST
Bills hurt education
It is actually a good thing that Sen. Goedde and the Idaho School Board Association have reintroduced the teacher contract portions of the Students Come First legislation.
It is now clear that these provisions have nothing to do with students coming first or with student learning but were intended to punish teachers. In fact, students are not mentioned anywhere in the new legislation.
It is interesting that the online learning component, which is the only part of last year's package that actually might have a direct impact on student learning, is left out completely.
I also find it interesting that the ISBA is now pushing these provisions. As a high school teacher in Idaho, our school district depended on its teachers to get out the information about how the Students Come First legislation was not good for students. I find it ironic that ISBA is now using backing these new bills that take away the rights of the very teachers they depended on to defeat these bills last year.
Congratulations to Sen. Goedde and the ISBA for finally showing their true intentions this session. Since we all like catchy nicknames, they can call these bills "Teachers Come Last."
NICKY HOFFMAN, Osburn
Idaho contributes to exploration
I was recently cleaning out my desk at work due to a transition into a new building, and I came across an Idaho Statesman article entitled "From Flash Gordon to NASA" (Life section, Nov. 4, 2007) which my mother had sent me.
My name is Richard Koelsch (born and raised in Mountain Home), and I just wanted to share with you that Idahoans are continuing to press the bounds of space exploration much like Gary Bennett (from the Statesman article) did years ago.
I work as an engineer for Lockheed Martin on NASA's Orion multipurpose crew vehicle at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Orion will be the spacecraft that will eventually take astronauts beyond low Earth orbit and next year the country will embark on a new era of space exploration with Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1). EFT-1 is an uncrewed mission planned for September 2014 and this test will see Orion travel farther into space than any human spacecraft has gone in more than 40 years.
After re-reading that article from a couple years back I thought it was worth sharing that Idahoans are still contributing to the lofty goal of space exploration.
RICHARD KOELSCH, League City, TX