Out of respect for the privacy of this young person I will omit her (hyphenated) name....

"I am a 13-year-old student at Sheldon Elementary School and frankly, I am appalled at how the government has handled some of the situations of which it's presented.

Today I'm going to expose the use of oil. We should not try to drill our way out of this situation. Instead, we should come up with alternate sources of energy like solar power, windmills and electric cars. We can use solar energy on so much more than just cars, like in factories and in houses. I am not willing to watch the government do things to the Earth that will affect my generation. The gas prices will soon hit $5 a gallon! The oil companies are emptying our pockets with these outrageous prices for gas. Some things need to be changed, for the better of the American people.

All of the choices made today will affect me, and others, whether you want them to or not. So please help save the environment, let's not try and drill our way out of the problem, or take the money from the American people with gas prices. There are other ways of solving our problems, let's use them.

(First Name Last Name-Last Name)

    It may look like I'm coming down on this young person but actually I'm going for the teachers. Grammatically and logically, this is pretty sad writing. At age 13 any student ought to be able to write better than this and ought to have enough grasp of science to present better logic. First the mechanical stuff:
    "I am appalled at how the government has handled some of the situations of which it's presented."
    So am I - for example they do a lousy job of educating kids in basic skills, as evidenced by this sample 'of which we have just been presented' you might say.

    "So please help save the environment, let's not try and drill our way out of the problem...."

    "There are other ways of solving our problems, let's use them."
    Here we have two examples of separate sentences combined into one by hitching them together with a comma. Any second grader ought to know better than that, especially when the writing is not informal but is being submitted for print in the newspaper.
    Has this kid been left with too many others to 'discover' her own learning, with a 'facilitator' instead of a teacher? I suspect she's had her head pumped full of 'you are special' crap but I see almost nothing of worth in the letter even if it had been written with better structure.
    "I'm going to expose the use of oil..." What? We've been using OIL?
    Then the idea that we can use solar power "on so much more than just cars." I wasn't aware we even actually could use solar energy on cars, other than things built like giant egg cartons which run on flat surfaces in sunny deserts as college experiments. Hey, let's slog up that snowy hill in our four wheel drive Solar SUV! The other suggestion of 'electric cars' also mystifies - from where would we get the power to charge their batteries?
    Clearly this kid has also been fed the wind-turbine nonsense as well. When it's ten below zero and a dead calm, I hope she doesn't have 'wind power' and electric heat. One final note - gas prices will soon hit $5 a gallon, she says. Based on what? If you are going to submit letters to the paper, it's good to have them grounded in some sort of factuality. This letter was nothing more than a waste of time by some basically nice kid who I'm sure means very well, but fails miserably to present anything other than how poorly kids are being taught in the public schools.
    On to the next letter, which is excerpted to the parts that need my response...

"I hope national politicians will not be able to ignore poverty after New Orleans. It is distressing and embarrassing to see third world poverty in our richest nation on earth. ....." One bright spot from the Vermont Legislature was a real health care plan for all Vermonters. Unfortunately, Gov. Jim Douglas vetoed it in the interest of his friends at insurance corporations. Universal health care could be resurrected now in the Vermont Senate. We must make it difficult for them to run and hide from these issues.

    This is just typical blithering  nonsense. First, about New Orleans: anyplace that chooses to call itself "The Big Easy" doesn't strike me as a place where people are devoted to hard work. Truth to tell I have never been much impressed with the place nor have I ever wanted to visit it, especially when their chief claim to fame is an uncivilized,  drunken public spectacle known as Mardi Gras. Their poverty level exists  not because for 40+ years we've been 'ignoring poverty.' What we've spent on the war in Iraq wouldn't buy a saltine cracker at the buffet table of social programs we've laid.
    Back to the letter, what is this second part about "Jim Douglas vetoed (universal Vermont health care) in the interest of his friends at insurance corporations"? Who are these friends and at which corporations? The ones who don't do business in Vermont anymore anyhow? As it is, Vermont chased the private insurers away by ordering them to do business in certain ways that made it unprofitable to even continue. Meanwhile, people in other states can take advantage of those evil private insurance corporations and pay a small fraction as much for their health insurance as people are forced to pay in Vermont for the socially-engineered system.


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