Don’t take early childhood funds
Gov. Sam Brownback plans to partly solve the state’s self-inflicted budget crisis by taking funds set aside for future early childhood development programs (Dec. 10 Eagle).
Other countries in Europe and and Asia have long recognized the benefits of investing in early childhood programs. One symposium in this country at MIT in 2004 showed that every dollar spent in early childhood education and development saved taxpayers up to $13 in future costs in the form of lower remedial costs, better job preparedness, higher earnings and tax receipts upon graduation, reduced public assistance and lower criminal justice costs.
In the blitzkrieg of political ads leading up to the recent election, I recall the governor touting his early childhood education initiatives. For him to now claim he had no idea about the budget crisis before the election is at best disingenuous or, worse, delusional.
WILLIAM C. SKAER
GMOs aid farmers
Kansas farmers are choosing to raise crops enhanced through biotechnology in an effort to boost yields and efficiency. This year 95 percent of the corn and 94 percent of the soybeans grown in Kansas were biotech crops. When yoked together with a broad array of farming practices aimed at conserving water, biotechnology is a premier, powerful tool that enables producers to grow more with less. The once-dreaded corn borer infestation that could cause incredible yield losses – in spite of multiple, costly insecticide applications – is now a nonissue in most cornfields because of biotech seeds.
Americans have been consuming genetically modified organisms for nearly 20 years, and no credible scientific body has noted a single health concern. Yet politically and financially motivated anti-GMO activists disseminate inaccurate and misleading information as a ploy to spook the American public. These activists have targeted certain states in an effort to mislead voters to support individual state mandatory food-labeling initiatives. Nationally, a patchwork of varying state-labeling laws would cause massive, crippling disruptions to interstate commerce, leading to a spike in grocery prices.
Fortunately, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, has introduced legislation that would reaffirm the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authority to establish consistent and uniform food-labeling standards across the country based on sound science. Growers like me, in Kansas and across the country, are pushing back to defend our option to choose biotechnology and support the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.
If there were ever cause for a celebration in our country, Monday is it. It is the day we recognize as the birthday of the U.S. Bill of Rights.
Dec. 15 is the 223rd anniversary of the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which spell out succinctly the individual rights we hold so dearly in America.
Freedom of speech. Freedom of the press. Freedom of religion. The freedom to peaceably assemble. The freedom to petition government for a redress of grievances.
We hold those five freedoms as dearly as any others because they guarantee each of us the right to stand up and be counted in America. And they undergird the other nine amendments by giving us the right to speak out if we believe our other rights are being trampled.
Those freedoms provide us with the tools to exercise that great American pastime – to dissent. If we don’t like what the government is doing, we can express our opinions loudly and clearly, in print, on the street corner, online, across the airwaves or across the coffee shop table.
So as we observe this 223rd anniversary of the U.S. Bill of Rights, say a word of thanks to George Mason, James Madison and others who made sure those rights were codified as the first amendments to our nation’s Constitution.
They exhibited true foresight in recognizing that the answer to expression we don’t like is not to suppress that speech but to encourage even more speech from those with differing opinions.
Kansas Press Association
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