Wednesday, March 12, 2014
I was able to meet and listen closely to Sen. Ted Cruz, the fiery Republican from Texas, for the first time at Princeton University reunions last June. I was impressed with Mr. Cruz as a man, a legal scholar and a passionate American on so many levels – thanks to a forum devoid of liberal media filtration, manipulation, blackout and bias.
The format of the talk was a challenging Q&A via political professor Robert George, who also injected unrehearsed audience questions. No speechwriters, no teleprompters, no spin.
Mr. Cruz's resounding message: The future of the conservative movement and the Republican Party both require fearless and committed Americans to come forward with more passion and vigor than the increasingly angled, slippery slope of liberalism.
As a top honors Princeton and Harvard Law School graduate, Senator Cruz clearly has the brains to lead America, unlike Rick Perry, Chris Christie and others nowhere close to his brainpower. As a champion debater and U.S. Supreme Court and Constitution expert, Mr. Cruz clearly has the judicial brawn to lead America, akin to Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and other disciplined scholars.
As a speaker, Ted Cruz tells it like it is in a most resonating and educating way. As he answered live questions and spoke candidly afterwards, Sen. Cruz translated complex political, economic and international quandaries into simple concepts that I believe every American could act upon, get behind and solve more logically. After an articulate and insightful two hours of discourse, Senator Cruz earned a standing ovation, in a packed campus hall, with mostly Republicans and some moderate Democrats in attendance.
All in, this razor-sharp Texan came across as an honest, conservative American brave enough to revive the Republican Party, help stand up to and defeat Bill (a.k.a. Hillary) Clinton in 2016, and explain to voters that “the next president of the United States should be the candidate who is truly leading the most” – and not merely the next politician in line for the proverbial gold watch.
With the time quickly approaching to think about fresh vegetables, we have an excellent alternative right here in our backyard. One of the hidden gems of Mount Pleasant is the Boone Hall CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, a national program where you can buy a share of a local farm's crops for a growing season, such as the upcoming spring/summer 2014 season.
As a seasonal shareholder with Boone Hall Farms, picking up my box of produce each week, April through June, is the best part. For a reasonable fee, you get a weekly box of everything Boone Hall is harvesting that week. One week I had tomatoes, bell peppers, cantaloupe, eggplants and more, and another week I had fresh corn, sweet onions, peaches and grapes. In addition, every week they give you a surprise, such as a small bouquet of flowers or a jar of their own blackberry jam.
Supporting local farmers is important to our area, and CSA shares are limited, so contact them at www.BooneHallFarms.com, or check out www.LowcountryLocalFirst.org for other local farms' information.
In New York City there exist two distinct realities in one physical location. I am referring to the Success Academy Charter Schools located in the same buildings as government-run public schools. While they share the same hallways, roofs and parking lots, they are as removed from each other as planets in the solar system. You see the Charter School pays no dues or homage to the Teachers Union. They are free of the bureaucracy of public education and its pernicious infestation of a self-preservation, survival mentality that destroys its responsibility to educate the children. The Success Academy Charter School pays its educators based on performance. The most effective teachers make more money than those who aren't. That basic capitalistic premise allows “excepionalism” to flourish, and it permeates each and every class and subject taught. The results speak for themselves as the academy students outperform their government student counterparts in grade-level math and English by a factor of 10. The differences in educational achievement by the charter students is irrefutable, undeniable and wholly remarkable. The student who “graduates” from a public high school without verifiable, tested competency in Composational English and Advanced Algebra has been cheated and treated with a level of educational abuse that borders on criminal, and we will continue to pay for their incarceration in weak, unprepared minds to the same level as when they end up behind bars.
Mark R. Shields
In a recent letter to the editor, Joe Briley complains about bicyclist behavior and attitudes. I live on Sullivan's Island and ride a bicycle, so I travel the causeway often on my bicycle. First we should talk about South Carolina law as it pertains to bicycles and other vehicles. These are contained in Section 56-5 of S.C. code. From subsection 3425: “Bicyclists may ride on the roadway when there is only an adjacent recreational bicycle path available.” And from subsection 3435: “A driver of a motor vehicle must at all times maintain a safe operating distance between the motor vehicle and the driver.”
Briley's description of the bicyclist and his behavior in paragraph two, it is clear that 1) the bicyclist was obeying the law, and 2) Mr. Briley broke the law. To maintain a safe operating distance in most states means a minimum of 3 feet between the rightmost car part (the mirror, for instance) and the bicyclist.
On the connector, that means the motorist must slow down and wait for an appropriate spot to pass, much like one would need to do with a moped or a piece of construction equipment or mower. Judging by the cyclist's response, he clearly did not do that.
If one is dissatisfied with the law, one can petition his representatives to change it. In the meantime, we are all required to obey – the same section, subsection 3500, lays out penalties from $100 to $1,000. If the cyclist in question chooses, if he deems Mr. Briley's actions as harrassment, he can report it to law enforcement, which according to subsection 3445 can result in a fine of $250 or more and/or imprisonment of up to 30 days.
The bicycle and pedestrian path next to the causeway is being redone over the next 90 days – in the meantime, the speed limit has been dropped to 35 mph; the path itself is closed.
In Mr. Briley's closing paragraphs he bemoans the changes to the Highway 41 Wando bridge and to the Ashley River bridge to accomodate pedestrians and bicyclists and goes on to neatly discuss the car-centric universe in which we operate. To the first, I respond to Charleston Moves and others who got DOT to modify the design – well done. To the second, eight members of the Charleston city council who bravely voted for the lane change – again, well done. The 16 seconds maximum it will cost commuters seems well spent.
As for a car-centric universe – we see the cost of that every day. Our children are fat and don't ride their bikes or walk to school; downtown our parking spaces are full and new decks take up valuable land. Our streets are clogged with short trips that could easily be done on a bicycle – to the library, to church, to the grocery store or coffee shop. Studies show that children that do walk or bike to school score higher on tests, and obviously all of us need exercise and can save money by bicycling on short trips.
President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry must live in a dream world if they think that Russian sanctions will work without the support of our European friends and allies.
Please note that the Europeans get their oil and natural gas from Russia.
The conclusion should be obvious regarding retaliations from Russia. Looking back at history, the Russians gave up Ukraine, including Crimea in 1954. Perhaps Ukraine should negotiate the return of Crimea to Russia.
This is just another world crisis which we should avoid.