Historically, a presidents nominations for cabinet members have been routinely confirmed by the Senate. Its not so, however, for President Barack Obama.
Republican senators are trying to make the cabinet appointment decisions for him.
First was the shameful bullying of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, President Obamas reputed first choice to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
Rather than create a confirmation battle, Rice withdrew her name.
Now comes the bullying of former senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican who is too moderate for GOP war hawks.
Although his impeccable qualifications for secretary of defense include his decorated war service in Vietnam, he made the unforgivable mistakes of voting against President George W. Bushs war of choice in Iraq and of giving sanctions a chance to work against Irans nuclear ambitions before rushing into war.
When will the Republican senators wake up and learn they lost the election?
Empty promises in KC
Exactly what is the deal with the sculpture park at 12th and Vine streets? It has been more than a decade since the sculpture park was dedicated, and although it has signage dedicating the park and promising that a new sculpture will be added every year it still is vacant.
I know for a fact that the citys Parks and Recreation Department does have a number of statues in storage, so why not place at least one of them in that location?
I for one feel embarrassed that the city has shirked its responsibility to the people in general and has instead deemed it more important to build large projects instead such as the Sprint Center, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Power & Light District while so very close by we have an empty sculpture park.
North Kansas City
Tax guns in America
The National Rifle Associations suggestion for putting armed guards in every school sounds typical.
What else could you expect from a group that has opposed all gun regulations in the past 40 years and has even argued that the federal law prohibiting felons from owning firearms is unconstitutional?
What the gun lobby failed to explain was how putting armed guards in every school would be paid for.
Here is a thought.
Let us impose a gun tax on every gun in America. We have property taxes, and we have a tax on tobacco and alcohol, and in many states boats and other luxury items are taxed.
So why not a tax on gun owners to pay for all of this training and arming that tens of thousands of guards will require? This tax could also help pay for the shooting victims who are in need of medical help but cant pay for it.
If the NRA is serious about this plan of putting armed guards in every school and it isnt just another one of the groups red herrings, then the NRA should endorse this idea. And the organization should do so promptly and lobby hard for its passage.
Although I am all for drug tests for welfare recipients, I cant help but wonder what the outcome would be if our elected officials were given random drug tests.
Perhaps something could get done in the halls of Congress and our various statehouses if all of the druggies and alcoholics were ousted.
Mary Mylar Arends
Tax fun in violence
The National Rifle Associations Wayne LaPierre blames gun violence on movies, video games and the media. His solution to protect students is to put armed guards in every school (at an estimated cost of $2 billion a year).
This is a good idea. The expense could be covered by a federal excise tax on every gun, clip and round of ammunition sold.
Also, place an excise tax on shooting ranges, concealed-carry permits and video games and movies that feature gun violence.
Even more revenue could come from an excise tax on BB and pellet guns, toy guns, cap pistols and other toys that make violence fun.
Gail Collins column
I was both saddened and angered that Gail Collins, in her Jan. 12 column, On abortion, the nation remains deeply divided, seems to view the anti-abortion movement simply as imposing one particular theology on the rest of the country while she hypocritically overlooks the fact that she and the pro-choice movement could be similarly labeled.
She seems to disregard the thousands of caring, kind, compassionate women (and men) who reach out, love, care and assist women who face unplanned pregnancies in clinics all across the country.
She also seems to be so concerned with the women seeking abortions who have been put through a lot of unnecessary trauma ... while disregarding the millions of unborn children who have really been the ones who have been put through unnecessary trauma, often times slow and painful deaths.
True, embryos are smaller than newborns, are less developed than adults, still reside in the womb and are dependent on their mothers.
It does not follow that they are therefore inhuman. Reducing the issue to womens rights is ignoring the fact that abortion is murder of human life.
With the Sanctity of Human Life Week beginning Sunday, we would all do good to more closely examine the issues and side with life.
Help young athletes
Shouldnt professional sports businesses spend some of their megamillion-dollar profits helping young sports figures deal with what I call their instant success, rags-to-riches syndrome?
It seems we take young athletes, many from simple, low-income environments, and make them high-profile professional sports figures.
It seems their significantly increased incomes give them a sense of power and entitlement, an above-the-law mentality and a belief they have immunity from all communal responsibilities.
They need help in overcoming their histories and becoming responsible citizens.
I recommend their professional sports orientation include training in: anger management, domestic violence, relationship building, social skills and how to be a positive image for youth. They should be required to attend and learn something from them.
Doesnt the NFL have rookie camps with player-engagement training that includes these and other urgent topics? Perhaps if the above had been taken seriously by Chiefs players, the recent tragedy would have been avoided.
And now we learn that the Chiefs player who killed his girlfriend and himself had a history of domestic violence and abuse? At his funeral he was remembered as a humble, kind young man. Whoa, what happened?
David J. Draper
What were you thinking (1-12, A4, Same leaders, same insanity)?
Rep. Nancy Pelosis age has no relevance in her performance as speaker of the house or minority whip.
She has been inspirational as well as influential during her tenure.
Shame on you.