Letters to the editor on God’s grandmas, arts education, wind tax credit, sequestration, Kansas’ relevance, anonymous comments, caregiver thanks
11/18/2012 12:00 AM
11/16/2012 4:50 PM
We all have the power to help kids
Thank you to The Eagle for helping us raise awareness that we all have the power to help kids (“‘God’s grandmas’ talk to kids about abuse, a class at a time,” Nov. 5 Eagle). Fighting child abuse is like working a great big puzzle. There is room for everyone. Professionals in this field have the hardest pieces to work, but there are still lots of edge pieces for volunteers.
Lily “Madrene” Hill and I are not teachers, counselors or preachers. We are just grandmas who went to the trouble of having background checks run on ourselves at our own expense. We are just grandmas who scheduled a meeting with Bill Faflick, assistant superintendent of USD 259, and Debbie McKenna, executive director of the Safety Services Department for USD 259, and were told that they would not tell schools they had to utilize us, but if the schools called they would tell them that we are legitimate.
We are just grandmas who talked to principals and offered our free services. We are just grandmas who found a way to purchase an $850 doll to help prevent “shaken babies.”
We are just grandmas who care and took action and need some help. We need help from other grandparents. To contact us, go to yardsignsagainstchildabuse.com.
BEVERLY “B.KAY” VAN ES
Teach the arts
Our schools need more arts education. The No Child Left Behind law has helped to push arts classes to the side.
Schools, especially those struggling, can retain their best teachers by becoming incubators for creativity and innovation – places where students want to learn and teachers want to teach. On average, students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages, better scores on standardized tests in reading and math, and lower dropout rates – findings that cut across all socioeconomic categories.
Congress should support an expansion of the federal arts education program to provide the best models for schools to include the arts in their curriculum.
Extend wind credit
The impending expiration of the production tax credit for wind and other renewable energy already has resulted in loss of construction orders and layoffs for Kansans working in the emerging wind-energy industry (Nov. 14 Eagle). The fix is simple: Extend the PTC, which will expire Dec. 31.
The PTC is credit against new taxes that result from new wind-power generation. The math is simple: No new wind turbines, no new wind-energy jobs, zero new wind energy to tax, zero new revenue to help balance the budget.
The PTC does not pick winners or losers. Winners succeed by generating real electric power, and receive tax credit for several years. Losers will fail, losing their own money. Successful new wind-turbine businesses will create new jobs, provide clean energy and produce new taxes until the sun burns out and the wind stops blowing.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts, and many of their colleagues from both parties, have seen the future. It’s time for Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and his colleagues to embrace the future and extend the renewable-energy PTC.
This January, core government functions such as medical research, education, public safety and air traffic control will face deep cuts under an arcane budget tool known as “sequestration.” If lawmakers can’t put politics aside to avoid it, these cuts will compromise our nation’s security, global competitiveness and economic growth as millions of American jobs are lost. Teachers could be taken out of our classrooms, airports could close, cutting-edge research on cures for cancer could be stifled.
Experts agree these essential jobs and services are not the drivers of our nation’s debt, and they already have done more than their part to reduce the deficit. I urge Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, and Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts to work with their colleagues in Congress to find a balanced approach to balance the budget. Only through balance can we avoid these devastating cuts and put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path.
The implications for the re-election of Barack Obama are still being sorted out, and will continue to be pored over in the months and years to follow. But one thing is clear: Mitt Romney’s loss means the death of this state’s political relevance.
On unions, health care, reproductive rights, gay rights and taxes, Romney deviated, if at all, only slightly from the standard Kansas political lines. Indeed, he even allowed Secretary of State Kris Kobach to more or less dictate his immigration policy. The results speak for themselves: Romney won Kansas and the usual red states, but lost union strongholds in the Rust Belt and Latino enclaves in Florida and Nevada. Demographically, he lost overwhelmingly with young voters and women.
The lesson that the GOP should take away from this is that you indulge the prejudices of Kansas and the Midwest at the peril of losing the national election. In the cold arithmetic of the Electoral College, that means Kansas has forfeited any future influence or relevance.
The days of Sens. Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum are gone. Kansas is doomed to be a political Jurassic Park where ideological dinosaurs like Kobach and Gov. Sam Brownback reign and roam free, isolated from a country that’s passed them by.
Of all of the unsavory elements in our political process, I feel none is worse than those who anonymously lob verbal bombs on the Internet, in Opinion Line, or from the secretly funded super political action committees.
When did we start caring what anyone had to say who was too cowardly to sign his or her name?
Certainly the Declaration of Independence would not be the symbol of the bold American ideal it is today if the Founding Fathers had signed it “Anonymous.” Imagine if John Hancock had meekly penned, “names withheld at authors’ request.”
I believe three actions would reduce the negative effects of the “anonymous” on our political system.
First, federal and state law should make it clear that anonymous political contributions are not a protected form of political speech.
Second, media outlets should reject all political ads from groups that are not transparent in their funding sources and affiliations. Also, media sources should not legitimize anonymous political comment by publishing unattributed opinions on editorial pages or blogs or airing them on call-in shows, etc.
Third, as citizens, we should always ask ourselves why someone wouldn’t take ownership of his or her own ideas and opinions. While the reasons may vary, the commonality is a cowardice of conviction.
November is National Family Caregivers Month. Caregivers provide invaluable services to millions of Americans every year, assisting with daily needs to ensure they are cared for physically, emotionally and, often, financially.
According to the National Center on Caregiving, there are more than 300,000 caregivers in Kansas providing about 275 million caregiver hours each year. That is the equivalent of more than 13,200 full-time “employees” donating time to help someone get dressed, have a hot meal, shop for groceries or just have contact with another person that day.
On Tuesday, the Mid-America chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will celebrate Kansas caregivers by delivering Thanksgiving meals as a small “thank you” for their selfless acts of caring for individuals with multiple sclerosis. I invite you to stand in partnership with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or organization of your choice to thank all caregivers for their charitable actions and commitment to individuals who are less fortunate.