Cheney off base
It was with a mixture of anger and laughter that I recently read about former Vice President Dick Cheney calling President Barack Obama “weak.” Why would anyone care about Mr. Cheney’s views?
This man helped orchestrate the pointless war in Iraq, condoned torture and helped destroy America’s moral reputation in the world community. The truth is that President Obama has the kind of strength that neither Cheney nor former President George W. Bush could possibly understand.
It’s the strength that comes from careful and prudent consideration of all the facts before committing our nation to action. President Obama speaks softly but carries a big stick, as all wise leaders do.
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GOP assemblies in both states have recently reinforced our nation’s perception that this part of the country is stuck in a politically myopic time warp, being worthy merely of a flyover.
This does not bode well for economic growth. Heartland voters and businesses deserve better than representatives beholdin’ only to their own re-election and an influential few.
Now that the Kansas capitol is renovated, Kansas voters can focus on renovating their assembly. The Missouri assembly needs a major update, too.
Middle East conflict
Let us remember the words of Golda Meir: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
It is obvious that they do not value human life at all because they use their children and other civilians as human shields when they shoot rockets from areas where children, women and elderly are located.
How can teaching their children to hate, fight and become terrorists and martyrs show love for them when they are certainly putting them on a pathway to early death?
A July 10 article, “Colleges faulted on assault inquiries,” detailed Sen. Claire McCaskill’s charges that our colleges and universities are not properly handling complaints of campus sexual assaults.
Sen. McCaskill would do well to investigate next the epidemic of assaults on student civil liberties taking place in our college classrooms. Every day, college instructors in this country coerce, intimidate and insult students into acceptance of their left-wing political ideologies. Dissent and open debate are not available options.
Students are intimidated into silence, fearing grade-book retaliation. The problem exists most acutely in the social sciences and humanities, where critical discussion is vital for intellectual development.
On a rare occasion when a complaint is lodged and faculty or administrators are exposed and embarrassed in a public forum for such abuses, they always express regrets and promise reforms. Sadly for our students and their First Amendment freedoms, nothing ever changes.
Can you help, Sen. McCaskill?
Kenneth G. Hartman
Prairie chicken plan
The July 11 article, “Prairie chicken plan is hatched,” was both laughable and sad. This plan was used in an effort to save the prairie chicken that lives only on the Texas Gulf Coast.
That bird is just days away from extinction. This plan simply does not work, and to think that people who are supposed to know came up with it in Kansas is sad and scary.
Prairie chickens don’t need help breeding; they need help surviving. It does not matter how many chicks there are if the habitat to support and protect them is not there.
Instead of Kansas using an inordinate amount of money on a worthless scheme, the bird and all prairie wildlife would be better off if the money were used to work with ranchers. We cannot continue to remove 100 percent of the prairie every year and expect ground nesting birds and the wildlife that depends on them to survive.
Research and efforts by some ranchers show that patch burning works to build a healthier prairie that supports wildlife and cattle.
Teachers with guns
I can’t believe that any concerned grandparent would want to keep a qualified teacher from being armed and able to stop an attack on children. It’s inconceivable to me that some grandparents would rather wait for 911 responders to arrive than to have any chance to stop the threat as it occurs.
I can’t help but feel that these grandparents have another agenda.
Justice in VA abuse
There are many suspected and reported deaths of veterans waiting for appointments in the government-run veterans health-care system.
The very people who answered the call of our country to risk their lives for our freedom can’t get the medical help they deserve because government unions hide the truth about waiting times so they can get pay raises and bonuses.
It’s time to rid the government of unions and to fire and imprison those people responsible for this injustice to our soldiers. We can’t let our brave men and women die because of this greed and incompetence and be unable to dismiss and punish the low lives in the Department of Veterans Affairs who let this happen.
This must not stand.
Endless VA runaround
I recently called 1-800-827-1000, which is the number for contacting the Department of Veterans Affairs about benefits, and put the call on speaker phone so my dad could witness the runaround I get.
I asked when I should expect an answer on the appeal I filed. The representative told me the average wait time was 172 days. I asked him how long my claim had been waiting on appeal, and he said my appeal was certified May 17, 2013, so I asked him how long I already had waited and he replied over twice the average.
When I asked him to provide a reason my claim had been at a standstill for more than a year, he said he could not provide a reason nor could he estimate a date when the appeal would be addressed.
My original claim was filed while I was on active duty after the medical boards found me unfit by reason of a physical disability that occurred in the line of duty. The VA turned down my claim within three months of my medical discharge.
Claims that take more than a few minutes to evaluate are being denied because VA adjudicators are rated on how fast they can clear the backlog. This pushes claims into the appellate courts, which are being swamped.
I suggest that workers given bonuses based on how many claims they complete should be docked when denied claims are approved on appeal. Maybe this would make them focus on quality and not just quantity.
If someone paid you $5, would you torture a chicken? Probably not.
Humanely raised chicken breast meat costs about $11 a pound. Factory-farmed chicken breasts cost about $6 a pound.
If you buy the factory-farmed chicken, in effect you are allowing someone to pay you $5 to torment a chicken because factory-farmed chickens bred for meat are raised in unspeakable conditions.
Don’t close your eyes and say, “I don’t want to think about it.” Do the kind thing and buy chicken that has been certified humane.
Linda N. Refer
If athletes in college sports become union employees, will they pay income taxes on their $20,000-plus scholarships?
I think colleges need to get out of sports, like Europe, where colleges are for people who are smart enough to contribute to making the world better. Most of our college athletes are not smart enough to pass college exams.
The National Football League should start a development league to get players. Right now, colleges develop them for billionaire team owners.