Troy will be missed with every mile

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 8, 2001

Dear Troy,

This letter is a farewell message to the warm, friendly community that has embraced our family for these past eight years. I will be the first to admit that my wife dragged me here "kicking and screaming all the way" from Dallas, Texas, but I owe her a debt of gratitude I can never repay. I didn’t know we were moving to the "Bedford Falls" of Alabama. For the first time in my life I realized that I was not just living within a city limit but residing within a living community. We have been remarkably blessed to have so many wonderful people become a part of our lives. It is with an anxious yet heavy heart that we leave our home and venture north. I fear that we will miss Troy more with each mile we travel.

The Troy City School System provided me with an opportunity to teach the youth of this community for eight years. During this time I have watched fondly and proudly as my students progressed through the triumphs and tribulations that have molded their characters. Teachers have but one true legacy: the children’s lives that are positively influenced through their words and actions. I witnessed my first class of fifth grade students mature and flourish into the confident young adults who recently marched across the graduation stage.

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The Troy City Schools System is definitely one of the best I have ever been associated with. I took great pride in being acknowledged as a member of their team. This system is truly dedicated to the children it serves. What has always impressed the most is the readiness and enthusiasm with which the teachers and administrators implement changes to better their schools. The faculty, support personnel, administration, and most of all the students have allowed me to work in an environment where I have felt needed, appreciated, and productive; my deepest thanks to all of you.

I am often referred to as Coach E because of the good fortune I have had to play sports with the kids. The Troy Recreation Department has perpetually supported my endeavors in making soccer a household word in Troy. Whenever I called the Rec. Department I was treated warmly and received a tremendous amount of help. My children participated in most of the activities that were offered from swimming to soccer and were extremely satisfied with their experiences. Like the rest of Troy, the recreation department is not only excellent, but also always striving to improve.

Living in a small town has made me very aware of the vital role all the city employees play in improving the quality of life for its citizens. The police, fire, sanitation, and utilities departments keep the city running smoothly, safely, and efficiently. These everyday heroes often go unnoticed

until disaster strikes, but please know that we are aware of your daily efforts to make Troy a great place to live. I can propose no greater compliment to the community of Troy than to say: "Troy is a grand place to raise a family!"

Ramine Ettefagh


Democrats should quit demogoging on energy policy

by: Morton Kondrake

For the country’s sake, Democrats and Republicans should quit squabbling over the energy crisis and work together to solve it.

Democrats, in particular, have been demagoging the issue, portraying California electricity shortages and high gasoline prices as energy industry conspiracies and President Bush as a tool of big oil.

To the extent that they admit the problem is real, Democrats act as if conservation and alternative fuels alone will solve the problem and that encouraging oil, gas and coal production is simply a plot to destroy the environment for the sake of boosting the profits of the energy industry.

The Democrats did put out a positive energy program, but they have spent most of their time attacking Bush’s — clearly demonstrating more interest in winning the 2002 elections than in making sure the U.S. economy has enough fuel to grow.

If they are interested in climbing down from their oppositionism, Democrats ought to consult the "New Democrat" Progressive Policy Institute, which has been critical of Bush, but which is developing a balanced, positive approach to the energy crisis.

To some degree, the Bush administration opened the way for Democratic attacks by initially portraying conservation as ineffective — almost wimpy — and by making fun of alternative energy sources.

Bush originally acted callous toward California, blaming it for the blackouts and indicating there was next to nothing the federal government could or should do to ease the pain.

The President also cut funding for energy research and allowed his first environmental announcements to suggest that pollution was simply the price America has to pay for prosperity.

Moreover, after summarily dumping the flawed Kyoto Agreement on climate change, Bush failed to say what, if anything, he plans to do about global warming.

So Democrats saw a juicy opportunity to play 2002 politics with energy and the environment and took it. The Democratic National Committee launched the Grand Old Petroleum Web site (

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle, D-S.D., quipped that GOP now stands for "Gas, Oil and Plutonium." And even though Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., plans to investigate high gasoline prices, he’s already made up his mind that "price gouging" is to blame.

There’s evidence that Democratic attacks are achieving some political success. A Time-CNN poll last week revealed that 49 percent of voters think Bush’s energy performance is "poor," while 38 percent believe it’s "good."

Various polls indicate that a plurality of Americans believe that energy companies, not the laws of supply and demand, are responsible for shortages and high prices.

Even so, poll scores won’t solve the nation’s energy crunch; only a balanced program of more production and more conservation will — a program that includes oil, gas, coal, and nuclear and renewable sources, such as wind, solar, biomass and hydropower.

Bush belatedly came up with such a plan, unveiled May 17, but his early bias toward fossil fuel and nuclear production makes his pro-conservation and alternative-source ideas sound phony.

While the President is right to say that price caps will not solve California’s electricity shortages — in fact, they will encourage consumption — he’s given next to no credence to the idea that generating companies may be unfairly jacking up prices.

Moreover, Bush is misusing the California crisis to campaign for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. Oil accounts for only about 5 percent of the fuel used in electricity generation.

Just as the Democrats are pummeling Bush, Republican groups are in the process of mounting an advertising campaign to blame current energy problems on former President Bill Clinton.

However, when the finger-pointing is done, there has to be a solution to energy shortages. PPI is working on a "third way" strategy emphasizing a balanced approach and technology.

Technological advances, one member of PPI’s task force noted, make it possible to extract, produce and use energy more efficiently, safely and cleanly than ever before.

The bottom line is that the Bush administration, legitimately criticized for its callousness on energy and the environment, has finally advanced a broad policy. Democrats ought to quit skewering Bush for past mistakes and start working with him on real solutions.


(Morton Kondracke is executive editor of Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill.)

Copyright 2001, Roll Call Newspaper

Distributed by Newspaper Enterprise Assn.



In World Affairs, Play It Smart


Nick Costes

Common sense

Is no arcane art.

So in world affairs,

Play it smart.

After a two-year absence J.W. rejoined S.C. and me in our locker-room. Not missing a beat, J.W. told me, "If they put you in charge of the nation’s economy, we’d be in the black overnight, and they’d fire you the next day."

He knows my frugal habits and political ideas, agreeing with most. That evening I kept thinking about what J.W. had said, and a dream expanded his remark.

I am elected president on the Play It Smart ticket, having campaigned to be fair, honest, cut pork, ignore lobbies and, most important, prevent and correct errors on world affairs.

My first challenge is Taiwan, formerly a republic of China. To most Americans Taiwan may just as well be on the other side of the moon. It is a mere bullfrog’s hop from the Chinese mainland.

As a democracy, our brasshats deem it an outpost against the communist giant, deserving protection. By "protection," they mean going to war in its defense.

I ask the brasshats, "If ideologies were reversed, China a democracy and Taiwan communist, would you still consider war?"

They stare in amazement, "Of course not!"

"Well," I reply, "I ain’t going to war over ideology."

As Taiwan fades I hear laughter and recognize Saddam Hussein. He laughs when we bomb his dummy radar stations; he laughs that we house a small army in the desert to watch him; and he heartily laughs over our confused foreign policy.

Unlike George One and Two I order our troops home pronto. From now on perimeter Arab nations can take over the job, and I tell them, "We’re through babysitting ya’ll."

Ex president Clinton wags a no-no finger at me. "What will you do with the Serbs and Kosovars?"

I wag a no-no finger back at him. "The same I did in Saudi Arabia. Fighting still goes on there, reduced to acceptable, nonmedia interest."

"But you must stick with NATO," Clinton urges.

"Only when trouble directly involves us," I counter. "The Euros can handle mini-fusses without our help."

I next witness a nut blow himself up in crowded Tel Aviv. Scores die and the Israelites respond with tanks and planes.

Both Arafat and Sharon plead that I render aid. "Send us more ammo." I courteously decline, and decree, "If you continue to kill one another, lip service is all ya’ll get."

I wake up in a cold sweat and blame J.W. for the nightmare. But if ever a commonsense party as Play It Smart decides to organize, I will nominate J.W. for president.

He can then appoint me in charge of the economy.


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