So Round 1 of the GOP Debate Across America is now in the books (8-7, A1, “Sparks but no flameout”). What did we learn?
Trump is a blowhard who has the tact of a bull in a china closet. Jeb is still trying to lock down his message. Rubio held his own and moved up a few spots. Christie will make a nice White House bouncer but that is as close as he will get. Kasich took advantage of home-field cooking but did not hit the ball out of the park. Cruz did nothing to excite the base. And the rest of the Varsity Gang of 10 (Carson, Huckabee, Paul, Walker) were at best window dressing.
And what are the Dems doing? They keep pushing their debates back to hide Hillary as long as they can. They won’t even allow others to debate Hillary and prove her to be the fraud she is.
If we, the GOP, can’t win this one we need a new plan. These single-issue conservative folks out there have hijacked my GOP and are willing to let us lose just so they can keep their principles.
How has that worked for you the past eight years?
Caring for veterans
I’m continually appalled by Kansas’ government — particularly Gov. Sam Brownback and his Legislature. Numerous ridiculous actions followed by ludicrous justifications are indefensible.
Nationally, Congress’ ability to remove everything extraneous (e.g., partisan politics, special-interest groups) to focus on solving issues central to our nation and its citizens is imperative. We need substantial, well-considered legislation and targeted funding.
No perfection is expected. However, recent years have been a complete disgrace.
Caring for those most vulnerable isn’t optional. Providing the basics for elderly, disabled and children is an absolute minimum. No child should go to bed hungry.
And, children bear no responsibility for their parents’ actions. Yet, when cutting programs, frequently children suffer the most.
Last, but certainly not least, there’s absolutely no excuse for the way we treat — or frankly don’t treat — our veterans.
These people, and their families, have given the most and risked everything for our nation. Yet we shortchange them repeatedly.
Their care — in whatever form that takes — must be a national priority. No excuses.
Guns kill people
As mass killings become more common, pro-gun people assure us that “guns don’t kill people, people do.” But they miss the point entirely.
When John Wilkes Booth entered Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865, he was armed with a derringer (a one-shot pocket pistol) and a dagger. After shooting Lincoln, he slashed the arm of an Army major who tried to detain him, and then after breaking his leg in a jump to the stage, he had only the dagger to keep people away as he escaped.
But what would the damages have been had he carried a 21st century assault rifle with several clips of ammunition?
Now, let’s suppose the shooters at Sandy Hook Elementary School and in the Denver area theater had had access only to a derringer and a dagger?
The death tolls would have been a fraction of what actually occurred. More likely, the assaults would not even have been attempted.
Some apologists blame an increase in the number of people who are mentally ill. But there are probably no more of them per capita today than in the 19th century.
What has changed is the destructive capacity of the weapons that are easily available to them. More and better guns kill more people.
A recent news article on a “successful” program claimed it has reduced the risk of rape for college freshmen. The program, completed in three Canadian universities, provided training to freshman girls on how to avoid rape.
As a board member of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, I was hoping we’d gotten beyond the point of creating programs that train women to prevent themselves from being raped.
The Canadian program teaches young women about risk assessment, self-defense and personal sexual boundaries. But including self-defense and having these conversations strictly with women is missing the mark entirely.
As a behavioral scientist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said of the program, “It’s possible that potential perpetrators could encounter individuals who have received training and just move on to more vulnerable individuals.”
That is the real root of the problem. Until we stop putting the onus of responsibility on young women to defend themselves against rape and start making it culturally unacceptable for young men to target and exploit others’ vulnerabilities, it will continue to be a problem.
In search of marvels
Rare entities in nature are marvels. Why so? Consider that experts see the viewing of existence as worthy of exploration, vital to a timed awareness on this planet, never losing the chance to seek out rarities, the quirks allowing one to ponder cosmological constants or otherwise.
Individuals taking up such quests include chip-makers for computers, presidents, financiers making world markets and ordinary individuals. Life to them is more than wealth/fame/power. They seek beyond pedestrian life norms.
Others may be intrigued by jazz, hot dogs at Royals games, rare coins and paintings. Each comes in unique ways face to face with searching in life what makes events enthralling, carrying a focused predisposition, seeking out the oblique, and marching to unearth gratifying life rarities, elated when discovered.
One may opine such discoveries are a paradox, beyond possibility, yet viewed commonplace when discovered year after year after year.
Enjoy such pursuits, pursued with persistently open minds. Elation, gratification and quantum leaps in spirit will be the reward.
Brave Caitlyn Jenner
I do not necessarily agree that what Caitlyn Jenner did was the most courageous thing we have seen in the past year, but I will admit that what she did for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community at the 2015 ESPY Awards was very brave.
I did not know how she would use the platform given to her, but she used it to encourage acceptance among people. Her audience was a group of very powerful men and women who are considered role models by many.
If any people can help foster acceptance it is them.
I found it very courageous that she was able to stand in front of some of the most recognizable people in the world and deliver a speech that was a step in the right direction to fostering a culture of acceptance.
Funding teen health
We all know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but it looks as though both the House and the Senate appropriations committees think public health can do more with less.
Missouri has benefited from robust teen pregnancy prevention programs in recent years, and in return teens have made healthy choices and teen pregnancy rates have dropped sharply.
However, the Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee’s proposed budget would cut funding for the evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention program from $101 million to $20 million. This funding has supported programs in Missouri that are proven to change behavior.
This includes programs for students who are at greatest risk for teen pregnancy. These programs truly work, and without them many teens will not be given the information and support they need to choose healthy behaviors and avoid unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
Teen pregnancy prevention programs fill gaps in health education and create new generations of healthy young adults. They are worth far more than a pound of cure, and I only hope Congress will take note before it is too late.