Not Poor or Pitiful, Just Proud
Jamie Pierson's off-the-cuff comment about Glenpool in her "Arkansas River Blues" piece ("In The City," UTW, 12-18 October) was quite astonishing to say the least.
Glenpool's Chamber of Commerce has adopted the following phrase for many years "Glenpool - the town that made Tulsa famous". My guess is that this is the "poor pitiful" slogan Ms. Pierson was referring to in her opinion column.
This phrase was actually made by a speaker at Tulsa's 50th anniversary gala for the discovery of the original well site the Ida Glenn #1. On November 22nd, 1905 this area was changed forever by that discovery, and Tulsa changed from a sleepy little town by the banks of the Arkansas River to a city of great prominence for decades to come.
If it were not for Glenpool, there would be no Warren, Chapman, Gilcrease, Skelly, Sinclair and countless others. These names helped found Tulsa into the city of eminence that it is today.
This is why we are proud to say that Glenpool is the town that made Tulsa famous.
J. Shayne Buchanan
Mayor - City of Glenpool
Editor's Note: Thank you for sharing with us a bit of history for which we should all be thankful--and much more aware.
Not Quite Sure About New Column
First I am appauled by this article (UTW's exciting new column, "Ask A Mexican!" which debuted in our 12-18 October edition. See Page 9 for this week's installment.)
No wonder there is such discontent about Latinos in the states. This guy is a wab. Thumbing his nose at the U.S. citzenry as a whole. There are laws here AND in Mexico. You break the law, you go to jail(or at least thats how it should work here). Mexico, you'd be lucky if you weren't beaten first. Its this attitude that lead rise to groups like the Minutemen.
I don't go to my friends or neighbors homes I don't demand they change to my ways and values. And I wouldn't allow them to take a fat dump on my front lawn too. To hell with this Punta, and don't print his crap anymore.
Editor's Note: If you don't like this column now, just keep reading. It gets even better! Free speech is an amazing thing. Maybe you haven't been in this country long enough to enjoy it. We are happy to have given you an opportunity to vent and get to know what this country is all about.
Oh, and by the way, our Publisher does a pretty good job of telling us what to print and not.
Whom Can You Trust? Oklahoma says its public schools rank top 10. National groups say otherwise, one survey giving Sooner State one of only two states in the nation to receive an overall grade of "F."
State Fudging on Performance Measures
Oklahoma leaders have no more important obligation than ensuring that schoolchildren receive a world-class education. A big part of that responsibility involves setting high educational standards. But when it comes to implementing the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the state is falling short.
NCLB is often described as a one-size-fits-all federal mandate, but it actually gives individual states a great deal of latitude to set standards as they see fit. States decide what students need to know, how to test that knowledge, and what score on the test counts as "proficient." States also set standards under NCLB for school performance, teacher qualifications, school safety, high school graduation rates, and much more.
Unfortunately for students, NCLB standards in Oklahoma appear to be unusually lax. In recent years, a host of national organizations and research groups have analyzed Oklahoma's standards and found them wanting.
Education Sector, a non-partisan education think tank, recently compared state reports of education progress on a variety of measures to objective national data. It found that Oklahoma is overstating educational progress relative to other states.
According to the federally administered National Assessment of Education Progress, Oklahoma students are well below average in reading and math--ranking 38th, for example, in fourth grade reading.
But the state-administered test tells a different story, putting the state in the top ten nationwide. Parents are getting a false impression of where their children really stand.
Paul Peterson, a Harvard University professor, and Rick Hess, director of education policy at the American Enterprise institute, recently graded all 50 states based on the rigor of state tests. Oklahoma was one of only two states in the nation to receive an overall grade of "F."
The National Center for Teaching Quality gave Oklahoma a "C-minus" for its teaching standards -- a lower grade than most surrounding states.
The Education Trust, which advocates for low-income and minority students, rated the accuracy of state high school graduation rates. Once again, Oklahoma fell below most of its neighbors.
This pattern extends to the way Oklahoma measures school performance under NCLB. Last year, the state reported that 97 percent of schools met the mark, the single highest rate in the nation. But it wasn't because Oklahoma has the nation's best schools.
It was because the state inserted a series of adjustments and loopholes into its NCLB school rating system which have the effect of taking pressure off schools that need to improve. As a result, students in low-performing schools are denied access to free tutoring services and the chance to transfer to a better school within their district.
To be clear, nearly all of these provisions were approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Oklahoma isn't violating the letter of NCLB. It's violating the spirit, by failing to set high standards of performance for students and educators.
Today's students need access to world-class academic standards and an educational system that is constantly challenging itself to improve. The data suggest that Oklahoma's educational leaders have yet to meet that goal.
Tortured by Torture
Is anyone else as upset as I am by the revelation of the torture of an innocent Canadian man--torture at the hands of the U.S. Government, torture that we say we "don't" do--torture that in this case we turned over to the Syrians. It's still us. We turned him over for torture.
Maher Arar, an engineer from Canada, was picked up at Kennedy airport in September of 2002. He was flying back home to Canada when American authorities, acting on information from Canada (which turned out to be false) snatched him up and without due process, sent him off to Jordan, then to Syria where he was tortured.
What happened to him? Well, he was put in hole about the size of a grave where he stayed for most of a year, never having a chance to prove his innocence. How on earth can we condone this? How on earth can we let it continue?
We let it continue because we are too lazy, too comfortable, too scared maybe, to say ENOUGH. Not in my name any more. If this case were the "eye-opener" it should be, why are we letting the Bush administration talk us into more of the same? Why are all but a few of the 450 people held in Guantanamo held with no charge against them and with no due process? Shouldn't we care about what is being done to innocent people in the name of the United States and freedom? I see an irony there.
Maybe it's because I imagine myself in a hole. I'm claustrophobic in very small spaces, so when I put myself in Mr. Arar's position, unable to explain why I shouldn't be in a hole, I can just (I mean just) begin to feel what he must have endured. And I wonder how many others like him did not make it home. Doesn't everyone deserve their day in court? "Innocent until proven guilty" can only work if there is a day in court
These prisoners may be out of sight to us, but their families live in hell each day, so maybe we should consider how we would feel if this happened to our sons and daughters, our husbands, our fathers. I wonder what the administration has in mind for those held in overseas prisons. It seems that after the legislation just passed, they will they be there indefinitely. And even if they do get out they can never ask for restitution or challenge our government or the president for putting them there.
Let's turn the table. What happens when our kids are captured on foreign soil or one of us is traveling and picked up like Mr. Arar? What will protect them (or us) from the same fate? What will assure us that our captured soldiers will eventually come home to us? All those captors have to do is look at our treatment of prisoners and just say they are following the same rules.
Luckily for Mr. Arar, the Canadian government realized the mistake they made and fought for his release. They have apologized and cleared his name. But the U.S. government has not apologized. It's not our way. It seems as if we can't apologize publicly for anything because then we admit we were wrong.
With the passage of the new legislation, the one that "defines" the Geneva Conventions, our president, "the decider", gets to decide what happens to "enemy combatants". In fact, he gets to decide who is an enemy combatant.
Since I'm not the government, but I am a U.S. citizen who loves her country, I would like to take this opportunity to say to Mr. Arar, I'm sorry. I apologize from the bottom of my heart for what happened to you. I hope that your life will soon return to normal, that you will find work again, that you will not suffer from nightmares and that you and your family will live the rest of your life in freedom as we all deserve.
Milly Moorhead West,
It does appear that Senator McCain has not yet recovered from the pimp-slapping he took from George Bush and Carl Rove in 2000. Here is a man who announces to the world, "We have a deal", after agreeing in effect to remove the protection of Habeas Corpus from the constitution, now blaming America's last known elected President for North Korea's nuclear ascendancy.
Alright, he is adjusting his position in order to run for President but does the office he fantasizes not require the character of responsibility? Apparently the only political responsibility Republicans deem necessary is the one to win elections and by any means necessary because it is obvious that the act of proper governing escapes them at every attempt. How else could a group of individuals in total control for close to six years seriously contend that the previous administration is to blame for our present disasters?
The writing has been on the wall since our dictator-in-resident declared his intentions, at the outset, to disobey the non-proliferation treaties of the past. Has this declaration been forgotten? Sen. McCain, have you no shame?
So now that every tinfoil ruler throughout the world has been busy acquiring nuclear weaponry the blame rests squarely with the last known U.S. President with an intellect. This is a crazy scenario and would have been laughed out of town had we a media with investigative skills. It seems all we have left is a Democratic Party that has lost its gonads and afraid to incorporate its bellows.
All I can say is "Come back Bill". Please blast these suckers one more time and remind us what it is to have leaders not afraid to show us the way it ought to be.
Colin T. Bent
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