I read with disgust a recent letter on Michelle Rhee. As residents of the D.C. area, we are familiar with the Washington, D.C., schools and Ms. Rhee’s extraordinary efforts to effect change there.
Prior to her arrival, D.C. schools spent more per pupil by far ($24,600 — The Washington Post, April 6, 2008) than most American public or private schools but had one of the worst performance records.
Despite a bloated central bureaucracy, the district could not even deliver textbooks to the schools on time each year. The school system was in many ways more focused on providing non-productive jobs for its employees than in educating the children.
With the backing of a new mayor, Adrian Fenty, Ms. Rhee took on the school bureaucracy with amazing courage.
She fired non-performing principals, teachers and staff members, instituted performance metrics and closed low performance schools in an effort to apply structure, discipline and economic stability to a failing school system. As would be expected, this did not endear her to the unions or all employees.
For a more balanced view of what ails public schools and Ms. Rhee’s efforts I would recommend the documentary movie “Waiting for Superman,” available on Netflix and elsewhere. It provides a true picture of what happens to many of our most vulnerable children when they must rely on a public system that doles out a cherished few places in decent schools by lottery.
It’s a disaster for this country that some of our public schools have been such a failure with the disadvantaged. Under Michelle Rhee, D.C. schools started down the road to reform and opened up a national debate on the issue.
Jim and Jackie Frey
Pet shelter services
I am writing in regard to the March 19 article “Vets: Shelters hurt business,” by Diane Knich.
As an owner of two shelter rescued pets whom I love and adore, I was appalled. It could have been titled: “Greed hurts animals.” The vet quoted asked, “Is everybody entitled to have a pet if you can afford it or not?” He is asking the wrong question, and one a shelter would never pose.
The right question is: Is every animal that needs a home, food and shelter entitled to one if possible? Shelters are mostly run by volunteers and rely on donations. Perhaps vets who are pushing for this outrageous bill should visit a shelter or two and see the conditions sick and wounded animals live in.
They are well cared for by underpaid, dedicated employees and volunteers, hardly in luxurious surroundings, relying on donations of blankets, food, etc., to help stray, abandoned pets that people can’t afford to keep.
My husband and I have had to spend thousands of dollars at the vet. The costs are outrageous, more than my medical care costs me.
I was so outraged by this letter that I had to go walk my two adorable dachshunds, one of which would have died of pneumonia had we not rescued her. The first night we took her home, she cost us $1,200 in vet fees. We had a choice; it would have been cheaper to have her euthanized. Is this what our society wants? Killing animals instead of saving them?
Rescue pet owners deserve a break as we sometimes take pets no one else wants. My husband and I live on a tight budget. Shelters work out of love for animals, not for a profit. It costs $200 to have a dog’s teeth cleaned at the vet. (My highly respected dentist charges me $75). A neighbor’s dog was bit by a snake. The vet charged $1,800 for the antibiotic injection. Hand me those smelling salts.
In the March 23 “Savvy Shopper,” Abigail Darlington advised readers to go to a local athletic shoe store, get advice from the experts, use their specialized machines to determine the right kind of shoes, try on the shoes and then go online to search for cheaper, older models.
In effect she is telling readers that they can save a couple of dollars by taking advantage of their neighbors who own local small businesses.
If everybody took this advice, local stores would shut, unemployment would rise, and money would flow out of the Charleston area.
If shoppers plan on going into a store to take advantage of merchants’ knowledge, they should not repay them by picking their pockets.
Cult or science?
Your March 14 editorial “Warming reality also rises” appears to support the belief that CO2 is causing global warming. While the paper doesn’t propose outlawing oil and coal, it says: “It [evidence of global warming] does, however, strengthen the case for a balanced effort to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases — and to develop alternative energy sources as a means to the end.”
Many distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that CO2 is related to global warming. According to Princeton physics professor William Happer, global temperatures have risen roughly four-fifths of one degree Celsius since the “Little Ice Age” (early 1800s). Much of the increase occurred before industrialization, suggesting much of the warming is from natural causes. He is known for testifying before Congress that global warming is a cult.
In 2011, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) because he could “not live” with APS’s statement that global warming was “incontrovertible.”
The most stubborn fact is the lack of global warming over the last 10 to 15 years. Though a short period, it suggests that computer models predicting global warming are defective; they apparently exaggerate the warming that additional CO2 will cause.
So the cult has largely morphed into anecdotal data and weather extremes to validate its CO2 theory.
Why is there so much determination to solve a problem that may not exist? The answer is simple: money. Global warming drives government funding for academic research and tax-funded subsidies to businesses for “green technology.” Led by President Obama, it provides government the opportunity to raise taxes, expand the bureaucracy and grow the power of the federal government.
A study by Yale economist William Nordhaus shows that a very high benefit-to-cost ratio can be achieved by 50 years of global economic growth unimpeded by CO2 controls. His study highlights the fact that only affluent nations will have the resources and ability to combat global warming.
Everyone should support rational measures to protect our environment. However, apparently a growing portion of the scientific community believes it would be irresponsible and dangerous to expend resources based on an “untenable belief.”
Fix Bridge Run
Last year I participated in the Cooper River Bridge Run for the first time. My wife, Missy, had completed the race six times previously while we lived in Charleston.
It’s a spectacular event and so much fun.
I enjoyed the 2012 event immensely. We no longer live in Charleston, and playing tourist before the race was awesome. We ate at great restaurants, and Charleston people are still friendly with world-class good manners. On race day, Charleston never looked more beautiful than it did from the top of the bridge, and the weather was great.
But sadly, the scene at the finish line was a poorly organized disaster. I went to one of the vendor booths to get a banana. None was left. I went to the apple booth: none. Yogurt: none. Nothing was left but the litter.
But what was really infuriating: We had jogged six miles in the Lowcountry heat and arrived at the finish line exhausted and hot and there was no water.
Runners who had arrived ahead of us had armloads of apples, bananas, yogurt and precious water. But nothing for us.
I’m over 60 and semi-retired. When I get to the finish line this year, if I don’t get an apple, orange, yogurt, banana or bagel, I’ll live. But I expect water. We paid good money to participate in this event. We’ll be dehydrated at the end.
Thanks again for the volunteers’ patience and hard work.
Sautee Nacoochee, Ga.
Tribute to Terry
They say the game of golf is a “gentleman’s game.” If there ever was a gentleman destined to play the game, it was my good friend and classmate Terry Florence.
I met Terry over 40 years ago as we started our sophomore year at Gardner-Webb College.
During those undergraduate years it became apparent that he would go on to have a brilliant and successful golf career. I never played a round of golf with Terry for I was not a golfer. I did, however, have the opportunity to share a number of experiences with him.
Some of those included late night poker games, pool matches, ping-pong games in the student center and intramural basketball games. While Terry’s golf exploits are well documented, many may not realize that he was also an accomplished basketball player. His 6’5” frame and long arms made him a tough opponent.
The lasting memory I have of Terry is the times we made the 235-mile trip from Boiling Springs, N.C., to Charleston over a three-year period. We would stop at our favorite outdoor snack bar at the Lexington exit and eat our usual two hot dogs, an order of fries, an apple turnover and a cherry milkshake.
Terry at the time was dating his future wife, Hope, who was attending the College of Charleston, and I was dating my future wife, Mary, who was attending Charleston Southern University.
The Charleston area and the golfing community in particular were fortunate to have Terry as an ambassador. His family and many friends over the years will miss him.
The game of golf will surely suffer from his loss, because after all, where will the gentleman’s game of golf be without a gentleman such as my good friend Terry Florence?
Joseph E. Boyd Jr.
Sanford the man
In these times of senseless, wasteful, out-of-control spending, South Carolinians will do well to remember what Mark Sanford accomplished as both governor and congressman.
He was ranked the most financially conservative governor in the nation by the Cato Institute.
He eliminated almost $1 billion in debt and deficit and instituted commonsense reforms that streamlined government. His DMV reforms, for example, shortened wait times from 66 minutes to 15 minutes.
Sanford was ranked No. 1 in Congress by the National Taxpayers Union and Citizens Against Government Waste for his efforts to limit federal spending and taxation. Always a good steward of the taxpayer’s money, he returned $250,000 in unspent office funds to the Treasury each year.
Mark Sanford has a record of fiscal responsibility, and he has consistently fought for smaller government, lower taxes and greater individual freedom.
WALTER ROLANDI, Ph.D.
Rutledge Hill Road
Let’s send someone new to Washington.
Curtis Bostic is dedicated and committed to bring energy to solving the problems in Washington and helping South Carolina.