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Letters to the Editor Concerning the Textbook Debate
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Press Release

Letters to the Editor Concerning the Textbook Debate

Letters from our readers AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN Sunday, November 24, 2002 THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION AND OUR CHILDREN'S TEXTBOOKS Textbook irony The irony about the would-be textbook censors at Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy -- whom the editorial board correctly excoriates -- is that they profess, on the one hand, a commitment to free markets, yet, on the other, want to increase the monopoly power of government, through the State Board of Education, to edit and select textbooks.

11/24/2002
U.S. Consumer Groups Call Weyerhaeuser Proposal to Tax U.S. Lumber Consumers Up to 25 Percent 'The Wrong Idea At The Wro…
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U.S. Consumer Groups Call Weyerhaeuser Proposal to Tax U.S. Lumber Consumers Up to 25 Percent 'The Wrong Idea At The Wro…

An alliance of American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), formed to oppose continued quotas or taxes on softwood lumber imports from Canada, today called a proposal from Steven R. Rogel, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Weyerhaeuser, the wrong idea at the wrong time. Rogel has proposed that the Canadian government impose a border tax of as much as 25 percent on lumber going into the U.S. Currently, the U.S. is imposing countervailing and antidumping duties of 27 percent on imports, which were implemented last May. "This is a wrong idea at the wrong time," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for ACAH. "Canada has won its cases several times in the past in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and has already had significant victories this time. We believe that Canada will win again, and that it should pursue free trade and open markets in lumber between the U.S. and Canada." "ACAH believes that if the cases are handled expeditiously in the WTO and NAFTA, decisions should be announced within the next several months, possibly as early as February or March from NAFTA," Petniunas said. "If there are no appeals to drag the process out, a resolution to this lumber war can be achieved," Petniunas added. Because there are not enough trees available to produce lumber for home building in the U.S., Canadian lumber imports are absolutely vital for the construction of affordable new homes and to make improvements on existing homes in America. The U.S. relies on Canada and other sources for approximately a third of the lumber it needs. Led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland and southern landowners, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports filed petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department more than a year ago alleging that domestic lumber producers had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. The International Trade Commission approved the Commerce Department's action, and duties were imposed at the end of May. More than 110 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or have written letters to President Bush over the past year opposing duties and indicating their support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada. Workers in the lumber consuming business outnumber jobs in lumber production 25-1. The 27 percent duties already in place could add as much as $1,000 to the cost of a new home, and price as many as 300,000 families out of the housing market. ACAH has opposed those taxes. ACAH members represent more than 95 percent of the lumber consumption in the U.S. Members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, Free Trade Lumber Council, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

11/20/2002
Bureaucrat Busters!
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Press Release

Bureaucrat Busters!

Recently, the president released a proposal that would require federal agencies to rely on the private sector rather than the bureaucracy for many of the routine functions of government. All told, up 850,000 federal jobs—roughly half the federal workforce—could be shifted to the private sector. While the administration hails the proposal as an efficiency measure, unions and Democrats have decried the measure as "union busting" and an unnecessary attempt to downsize government. Yet, coupled with retirement trends in the federal workforce, the proposal offers an opportunity to streamline government while creating more manageable federal agencies.

11/20/2002
It's Spending, Stupid! or, Why There's No State Budget Quagmire
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Press Release

It's Spending, Stupid! or, Why There's No State Budget Quagmire

State budgets have rarely, if ever, been in worse condition than they are today. According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the cumulative national deficit for state budgets stands at $40 billion in this fiscal year, with another $40 billion shortfall expected for 2003. Such a glaring disparity between revenues and outlays has led legislatures and governors across the nation to retrench and meet for special sessions to address the problem.

11/20/2002
State Taxpayers, Take Cover!
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Press Release

State Taxpayers, Take Cover!

This is supposed to be the political honeymoon period. After all, Election 2002 was just three weeks ago. So, why are new state legislators and governors suddenly talking taxes?

11/20/2002
The Battlefield Ahead
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Press Release

The Battlefield Ahead

The liberals took a beating in the 2002 elections. Al Gore said it, Dick Gephardt, Tom Daschle, James Carville – the entire establishment of the Left itself admits 2002 went very badly for them. Yet what remains unspoken is the realization that liberalism did not die on November 5th. The organized left intends to make a comeback. Therefore, those of us who believe in less government, lower taxes and more freedom need to think through the liberals’ next moves.

11/20/2002
Newly Elected State Senators and Representatives
Who Have Signed the "No New Tax" Pledge in North Carolina
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Press Release

Newly Elected State Senators and Representatives<br> Who Have Signed the "No New Tax" Pledge in North Carolina

List of newly elected North Carolina State Sentators and Representatives who signed NC CSE's "No New Tax" pledge.

11/20/2002
More anti-Muslim Censoring in Textbooks After 9/11
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More anti-Muslim Censoring in Textbooks After 9/11

BY Lance Gay

The war on terrorism is giving fresh ammunition to groups protesting what they perceive as anti-Christian and anti-American propaganda in school textbooks. Watchdog groups contend publishers are so concerned about lucrative schoolbook contracts that during the recently completed book selection process in the Texas school system, publishers have opted just to delete some of the challenged portions of texts involving Islam, rather than fight to keep them in, or offer alternative wording. Steve Driesler, spokesman for the American Association of Publishers, said disputes over references to Islam in texts used in U.S. schools have become more controversial since the 9/11 attacks. He noted history and social science schoolbooks were re-written over the last two decades, under instructions that often came from school boards to come up with texts that weren't so concentrated on western European cultures, and views that gave a fuller coverage to other cultures represented in American schools today. "They have intentionally gone back and given a better understanding of other cultures and religion," Driesler said, contending the 9/11 attacks made the changes in the text more conspicuous and brought attacks on publishers' motives. Ashley McIlvain of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization battling what it sees as an effort by conservative Christian religious groups to push a religious agenda on schools, said positive characterizations of Islam and Islamic history are coming under increasing attack. "I think this is a direct result of 9/11," she said. Rather than fighting the groups, McIlvain said publishers are often deleting paragraphs and sentences involving Islam that conservative critics find objectionable. She said the outcome of the Texas fights over textbook language isn't just an issue involving the $600 million a year Texas spends on schoolbooks, but affects schools in other states as well because publishers want to produce books accepted by all states. Among changes made this year, textbook publisher Prentice Hall agreed to delete the sentence: "Many other teachings in the Quran, such as the importance of honesty, honor, giving to others and having love and respect for their families, govern their daily lives." Critics objected to the sentence as being "more propaganda" for Islam. Prentice Hall spokeswoman Wendy Spiegel said the book's editors found issues raised by the objectionable sentence were addressed partially in other parts of the text, and so agreed with critics to excise the sentence. In an other instance, publisher Glencoe, a division of McGraw-Hill, deleted the words: "Al Qeada's leader, Osama bin Laden told his followers that it was a Muslim's duty to kill Americans. No idea could be farther from Muslim teachings. The Quran, Islam's holiest book, tells soldiers to 'show (civilians) kindness and to deal with them justly.' " Critics objected to the passage, saying "this is going to great length to put a positive light on Muslim teachings considering other passages in the Quran." A Glencoe spokeswoman did not return a reporter's phone call. Peggy Venable of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, an organization whose volunteers filed many of the textbook complaints, said texts that don't emphasize American values and champion multi-cultural ideas should not be endorsed for use in the schools. "We want to see tolerance taught and to encourage students to see our government in a positive light," she said. "We saw in these texts a tone that de-exceptionalized the United States. To say all cultures are equal is absurd." Venable rejected charges that her group was censoring school texts. "We are parents and taxpayers," she said. Publishers agreed to more than 40 percent of the text changes members of her group made, she said, and "if you look at the texts, most of the changes strengthened the text books." Jen Schroeder, a self-described "soccer Mom" in San Luis Obispo, Calif., said it's not just the texts she finds objectionable, but role-playing activities the books promote in classrooms that her children are asked to play. Schroeder has launched her own Web site attacking the sixth grade social studies text, "Across the Centuries" published by Houghton-Mifflin because it asks students to imagine they are Muslim soldiers, or participate in building a mosque. "Asking children to participate in other religions is a huge violation of our religious rights," Schroeder said. "The propaganda is unreal." Houghton Mifflin spokesman Collin Earnst said Schroeder's complaints aren't founded, and the text has been used in schools for 11 years. He said that only 10 percent of the book concerns Islam, and that all other religions are included to expose students to a variety of other beliefs and cultures. Houghton-Mifflin, which is keeping the provisions in the text, said the classroom activities the books encourage are intended only to give students a deeper understanding of other cultures and religions. Andrew Riggsby, an assistant professor of classics at the University of Texas, said he sees the end results of school text battles in his classroom. He said he notices this in discussing how the Roman Empire expanded when students aren't aware of how European expansion into North America slaughtered the Indians because interest groups persuaded school text publishers to scrub those negative views of colonialists.

11/20/2002
Consumers, Credit, and Choice
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Press Release

Consumers, Credit, and Choice

Summary consumer position on credit scoring… Consumers can benefit from credit scoring and cost effective ways insurance companies and can lower the price of premiums or facilitate the inclusion of consumers who otherwise would be too expensive to underwrite.

11/19/2002
November Minutemen of the Month
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Press Release

November Minutemen of the Month

After a busy election season, CSE has selected three outstanding activists as the Minutemen of the Month: Lil Banks of Merritt Island, Florida; and Ed and Mary Copeland of Mebane, North Carolina.

11/19/2002

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