Letters to the Editor, 07-14-2013

July 14, 2013 

NORTH STAR CHARTER

Keep school open

I urge the Meridian School District to uphold North Star's charter so that my grandson can continue to be a student there.

He benefited greatly as a third- and fourth-grade student at North Star and I want him to continue there. His teachers did an excellent job of instructing him in academics and in promoting good character development. They assigned monthly reports and oral presentations that helped him develop skills in research, public speaking and writing. He was challenged to do and to be his best.

North Star is an excellent school with a talented staff dedicated to producing responsible, well-educated citizens. Now that North Star has secured financial stability for the next school year, the school should be allowed to continue serving its students and the community.

Why would Meridian School District want to close down a great school like North Star, the largest charter school in Idaho? It makes no sense.

DAWN K. RICE, Meridian

NSA

What's the worry?

I don't understand why there's such a furor over Snowden's leaks revealing the U.S. programs recording phone calls and emails in search of terrorists. After all, the job of the CIA, Homeland Security, the FBI, and other such organizations is to search for terrorists at home and abroad.

It's my understanding that they don't actually listen to or read the messages (how boring), but just check for suspicious phone numbers and email addresses. Then there's a federal court, which decides if there's sufficient reason to further investigate any particular call. What would be really surprising is if they weren't doing it. I'm sure other nations and organizations with similar technical capabilities are doing the same thing, and knew we were. How does our knowing these programs exist affect our national security?

I was in the aerospace industry for 31 years, working on many highly classified programs, and saw a lot of overclassification, in many cases just for CYA.

While Snowden broke laws and should be punished, the death penalty talk is a bit extreme. (You'd think they'd do a better job of vetting their employees!) I'm for more transparency in government.

TOM NAGLE, Eagle

ARMING EGYPT

Dangers ignored

While the issue of background checks for private purchases of firearms remains unresolved, perhaps it is time to consider background checks on the U.S. government's arms sales (really donations) to foreign governments.

Recently, the U.S. government provided 16 F-16 fighter jets and 200 M-1 Abrams tanks to Egypt. The U.S. taxpayer supplied the foreign aid that enabled Egypt to procure these advanced weapons systems. How on Earth does a country that is over $16 trillion in debt donate advanced weapons to a country with a government that does not like us? In fact, those weapons might eventually fall into the hands of those who hate us.

Why is the Obama administration concerned about the revolver on some nightstand or the semiautomatic rifle in a closet, but not concerned about providing advanced weapons, for free, to a shaky regime in Egypt? The donation of weapons to shady regimes we hope to keep loyal is long-standing U.S. policy, but you would think that a man who won the Nobel Peace Prize might reconsider it.

FRED BIRNBAUM, Boise

A welcome ouster

This Fourth of July took on a special celebration of freedom with the ouster of President Morsi in Egypt. Christians have long prayed for his removal because of the Muslim Brotherhood attacks on the large Christian population in that country. Morsi's removal is reminder that God hears our prayers.

I suspect these same Christians who prayed about Egypt are praying for changes in our nation.

Let's see what happens next.

LARRY WOODARD, Meridian

EDUCATION

A math solution

Re: "Boise schools' math plan: Add teachers, aid students."

Hiring more qualified teachers is a wonderful idea, but wouldn't a decent problem for students to work on might be more effective. How does one try "to discern how to place a line parallel with a dot?" Lines are parallel (or not), but a point can never be "parallel" to a line. No wonder students had difficulty finding an answer!

JOANNE POWERS, Albany, N.Y.

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