Early childhood funding
Gov. Jay Nixon indicated that the proposed 2014 Missouri budget will see a significant increase in funding for early childhood care and education programs.
Funding for early childhood programs is a much-needed investment in the future of Missouri’s workforce.
Investment in programs such as First Steps, Missouri Preschool Project, Early Head Start and Parents As Teachers assist families in helping children get a strong start. Children who spend their early years in high-quality accredited programs develop strong social, emotional, physical and cognitive skills; are better prepared for elementary school; and have a better chance to succeed later in Missouri’s workforce.
We call on the state legislature to support the governor’s proposed budget and say “yes” to children and families.
Keep path to college
One of Gov. Sam Brownback’s campaign promises was to reduce the number of Kansas children living below the poverty line. So it’s surprising that his colleagues in the Legislature would consider abolishing one of the programs we’re already using to change the trajectory for poor children.
HB 2371 would eliminate the KIDS higher-education savings match program. The KIDS program provides a dollar-for-dollar match — up to $600 a year — to low-income families contributing to Learning Quest higher-education savings accounts.
Nearly 1,000 Kansas families use the KIDS program. To qualify for the matched contributions from the state, a family’s income must be at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
For these families, KIDS is a lifeline and sometimes the only route to higher education. Most important, KIDS provides the incentive to save.
University of Kansas researchers found that when money is set aside for college, families save more and view attending college as a more realistic possibility.
We all stand to gain when these children graduate from universities, junior colleges, and technical schools and become highly skilled works, ensuring a prosperous future for our state.
United Community Services
of Johnson County
We all know that in May 2011, a massive tornado heavily damaged Joplin, Mo. That month our illustrious Republican senator told a St. Louis radio station he was asking Homeland Security “to do more.”
Sen. Roy Blunt said: “I’m asking for 100 percent federal reimbursement to local governments. They’ve agreed to 75. I think they have to come to a better number than that, and the right number, I think, would be 100.”
Now fast-forward to January 2013, when a vote was taken for Superstorm Sandy aid for victims in the Northeast. Guess who was one of the 32 lawmakers who voted against it?
Such hypocrisy. This to me is one of the most uncaring “American” Republicans in the Senate.
The federal government has funneled billions and billions of dollars into Missouri over the years because of flooding on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. This is not counting the numerous tornadoes in this state.
It disgusts me that we have what I would call a senator who does not care about anything but his own.
To heck with the rest of these United States.
documents/publications/venezuela-2009-02.pdf. The executive summary on Page 3 tells the basics of economic growth, government debt reduction and improvements for Venezuelans’ education, health care and old-age pensions.
Robert L. Thatch
Pope Benedict XVI
It is sad to see the national media straining to see the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the selection of Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina as the new pope as a possible point to “modernize” the 2000-year-old church. Why?
The media ask themselves, doesn’t the church adjust itself to the culture at hand? There is, as you may know, such a thing as truth.
The old saw that 60 million Frenchmen can’t be wrong as they rounded up tens of thousands of the faithful and slaughtered them shows what happens when people abandon truth.
Objective truth is not a democratic process; it stands solidly as a guide to keep us from chaos.
It does not change at the whim of the populace.
Concerning Sen. Pat Roberts’ March 12 letter to The Star, closing the White House to citizen tours because of the effects of sequestration is sad for sure. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if the White House is making the move to emphasize sequestration’s effects.
Sadder still is that Sen. Roberts would take the time (or an aide’s time) to write about it when there are so many other issues on which we would all love to hear from him. Will his next letter explain to us how sequestration is affecting health care for children or tuition assistance for soldiers?
Probably not. Sen. Roberts seems to be more interested in continuing the partisanship battle. The letter was ridiculous.
Accounting for torture
During the early Dick Cheney-George W. Bush years, our nation’s leaders lost our moral compass. The U.S. is a signer of the Geneva Conventions Article 3, which protected civilian and military detainees from “cruel treatment, torture, outrages upon personal dignity, humiliating and degrading treatment.”
When I was in the Army, as part of our training, we were taught not to violate the Geneva Conventions III. The U.S. also signed the U.N. Convention Against Torture.
Led by Cheney, Bush, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft, the Bush administration endorsed the 2002 interrogation opinion giving the green light to the CIA and Department of Defense to illegally use “enhanced interrogation techniques.” This went directly against the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations and our Army field manual.
In the end, we lost our ethical high ground, the honoring of our commitments and our basic decency. The useful intelligence received was minimal at best.
Those responsible should be held accountable.
I once taught in a high school with a large Native American population. We occasionally played a nearby school whose mascot was the Redskins (a name the school has since changed).
My Native American students told me how they felt as visitors to the Redskins’ gym. One student said it felt as if the host school hated and mocked him because he was Indian. I could see why.
My students knew “Redskin” did not refer to the “handsome hue of their skin,” as purported by the opposing school. The red skin historically was the result of skinning your defeated enemy’s head, alive or dead.
It was a practice introduced to Native Americans by Europeans.
Personifying the Redskins at ballgames, the school had a student dressed as a cartoon-esque whooping and dancing Indian replete with feather, war paint and tomahawk.
People who don’t get that should try walking a mile in another’s moccasins to understand how a name like redskin could hurt.
Kids, joy of music
On March 11, we had the pleasure of attending Grandparents Day for the first-graders in Pleasant Hill. The children performed several musical choir numbers for us that were outstanding.
Their music teacher, Ms. Doll, has shown the children how music is so good for the soul. It truly was an inspiring event.
High-five, Ms. Doll. (I neglected to mention there were about 150 very well-behaved first-graders.)