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Five Ideas: What are your thoughts on these items in the news this week?

Saturday, September 6, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CDT

Hulshof's school plan

As November creeps closer, gubernatorial candidates are outlining their proposals for Missouri schools. Republican candidate and 9th District Congressman Kenny Hulshof showed a strong focus on math and science education in his work force development plan.

Hulshof's plan, released Wednesday, would work to increase the number of math and science teachers in classrooms by 1,500. Over the next five years, a new teacher in Missouri could earn as much as $15,000 through a gradually increasing annual bonus - unless, of course, that new teacher is certified in anything that's not math or science.

Only 150 of those 1,500 teaching slots are reserved for unaccredited districts, such as the St. Louis School District. The rest of the bonuses would be available to teachers anywhere in the state, which means that, while the plan could bring more math and science teachers to Missouri, there is no incentive to bring them to the schools that need them most.

Is Hulshof's plan enough to help our students, or do we need development in departments other than math and science?

Nazis on the march - again

They want to come back.

Police have denied the Missouri chapter of the National Socialist Movement's request for a parade permit on Nov. 8, the day before the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, when Nazi troops began violence against Jews in Germany.

Nov. 8 is also the day of the Missouri-Kansas State football game, and police have said they don't have the security staff to handle a home game and a downtown march in the same weekend.

But if the group and the city can't agree on a new date, the National Socialist Movement has threatened to rally downtown or at the game without a permit.

Hundreds of onlookers attended last year's march, when about 20 members from the same group arrived in Columbia to protest what they called the university's links to Marxism. The city spent $40,000 in security - including 110 police and law enforcement officers - for last March's demonstration.

How should Columbia residents react to another demonstration by the National Socialist Movement?

Vetting Sarah Palin

Last Friday, Republican presidential nominee John McCain announced Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, would run alongside him as the Republican candidate for vice president.

And by Monday, stories about Palin's family saturated political news coverage. The news that Palin's 17-year-old daughter Bristol was five months pregnant and recently engaged led articles on McCain's vetting process, the status of the Republican Party, the sex education debate and the unfavorable statistics behind teen marriage.

With five children, including an infant with Down's syndrome, and a grandchild on the way, Palin became the newest contender in the Mommy Wars. Media pundits and working mothers alike debated whether she had the time to dedicate to her job and her family. Even Hillary Clinton aides spoke out against the double standard.

"How dare they question whether Palin will have enough time to spend with her children while vice president?" asked former GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani during the Republican National Convention. "When do they ever ask a man that question?"

How much of Sarah Palin's family life should be off limits to the media?

Free parking on Game days

Hate trying to find a parking spot at Memorial Stadium when the Tigers play? Well, now you have a new option. This season, free bicycle parking will be available for eco-minded football fans.

Sustain Mizzou, a student environmental group, will set up portable bike racks at what they call the Tiger Cage, a grassy area just northwest of the Hearnes Center, near the intersection of Stadium Boulevard and Mick Deaver Drive. On Saturday, the Tiger Cage will have about 20 slots for bikes, and more will open as the program expands. The bike racks will not displace any vehicle parking.

Supporters say the racks provide a carbon-neutral way to enjoy Tiger football and could eventually help ease traffic congestion on game days. At the very least, fans can work off the hot dog, nachos and soda they get at the stadium.

Do you think free bike parking will cause more people to bike to MU football games rather than drive?

Dodging Gustav

Despite predictions by weather forecasters and government officials, Hurricane Gustav turned out to be a reminder, not a repeat, of Hurricane Katrina. The storm sideswiped New Orleans on Monday and was downgraded to a tropical depression by early afternoon.

Gustav killed 16 people in the U.S. directly or indirectly, whereas Katrina left about 1,500 dead in its wake. The levees that destroyed the 9th Ward during Katrina stayed intact. The mass looting that rampaged New Orleans three years ago was nowhere to be seen. Most damage in the Gulf Coast this week amounted to broken tree branches and fallen billboards.

Nearly 2 million people left coastal Louisiana to avoid the hurricane. As evacuees headed home after the storm, they hit state police roadblocks, where officials monitored closely who entered. By late Tuesday afternoon, media outlets reported that hundreds of motorists were queued up outside Louisiana road blocks, often without water, gas or shelter, waiting for their chance to get back home.

Was the government's reaction to Hurricane Gustav an attempt to "make up" for their inept response to Hurricane Katrina, or were the evacuation protocols handled correctly?

 


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