Thursday, June 4, 2009

June 4: Sniglets on 20 Since Tianamen, Public Records At Colleges and Tom Glavine

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Those indelible images. The Statue of Liberty. The young man stopping the tank. Finally and tragically, the tanks killing protestors in the dark of night.

Twenty years later, the world still remembers the protests for freedom in Tianamen Square in Beijing. All the world, of course, except for one country, at least officially - The People's Republic of China. (Hong Kong, where thousands gathered for a memorial rally, is a notable exception.)

In 1989, the protestors, mostly young, were motivated by the push for freedom that was happening in a large part of the Eastern Hemisphere, particularly Eastern Europe. China had already embraced commercialism, but did not venture from the brutal totalitarianism of Mao Tse Tung's regime. That conflict flared up at Tianamen Square.

Since then, China has become a world superpower, hosting last year's Summer Olympics and currently holding a key to the future of North Korea's apparent conflict with the world. But China is also still a repressive country, with major human rights violations, the killing and jailing of dissidents and suppression of free speech, press and expression. As a global economic power, it makes and exports substandard products.

That last one may have sufficiently embarrassed the Chinese government enough to produce some baby steps at reform, at least in terms of manufacturing. China's leaders have yet to realize, however, that being a global power comes with responsibilities - something the Soviet Union found out, literally, to its peril.

Those in China who value freedom remember the events of 20 years ago. The voice of the dissident will rise again. The Chinese government, for the country's future, would do well to listen.


Great article earlier this week by Jill Riepenhoff and Todd Jones of The Columbus Dispatch on how colleges and universities across the country, including Florida, are abusing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act:

Sports programs have become big-money centers since Congress approved that law in 1974. Public colleges and universities are just that - public. Their records should be public record. Congress needs to modify this law so it follows the original intent of protecting students' academic records. This law shouldn't be used by schools or the NCAA as a cover-up when athletes, coaches, athletic directors or sports programs screw up.


A big raspberry to Atlanta Braves management for suddenly releasing pitcher Tom Glavine. An additional raspberry for the excuse given - Glavine, who was on a rehabilitation assignment, wasn't scoring on the radar gun the way they wanted. Since when has Glavine been known for the speed of his pitches?

Glavine gave his all to the Braves, with whom he made his big-league debut in 1987. He was there during most of their glory years, winning two Cy Young Awards and racking up most of his 305 career wins. He has been a gentleman besides, taking the heat as a players' union leader during the 1994-95 strike with grace. He will walk easily into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown when he is eligible.

The Braves owed Glavine much more. Their treatment of him reflects the decline of a once-great baseball organization.

No comments: