It’s 10:45 p.m. on July 4 as I write this. The fireworks started at noon, and they’re still going off.
It’s annoying and a huge waste of money. The smoke is thick outside. You can’t breathe. It sounds like a war zone.
I enjoy the big, professional displays that go on around the city. But I do not understand people blatantly breaking the law.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
You’re celebrating your independence — the right to do what you want. What about the veterans who fought for that right?
Couldn’t you have some consideration for others?
In regards to Hobby Lobby’s ad in Sunday’s paper that quoted historical figures such as Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin: The Founding Fathers, with their Christian roots and perhaps even church membership, were largely deists in heart and practice — the result of their Enlightenment education. They were a far cry from today’s “Jesus is the only way” Christians.
Franklin was instrumental in establishing the “preaching-house” in Philadelphia, which was, in his words, “expressly for the use of any preacher of any religious persuasion who might desire to say something to the people at Philadelphia … so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”
By the way, I am a Christian pastor, but not of the “Jesus is the only way” variety.
Farm Bill facts
After reading The Star’s June 23 story about the Farm Bill, one might believe it was the worst piece of legislation Washington has ever produced and anyone who voted for it must be a heartless ogre or worse. (5A, “Hartzler votes to reduce food stamps, expand farm subsidy”) I might believe that, too, if I didn’t know the facts.
Not only is the Farm Bill good for rural America, it is good for every American consumer who enjoys the most abundant, affordable and safest food supply in the world. This important legislation preserves our soil through expanded conservation, invests in rural infrastructure and broadband, promotes trade, provides a safety net for farmers when weather and market conditions beyond their control jeopardize our food supply, and assists families who need help accessing nutritious food.
These are all worthy goals and ones I care about. I am the only member of the House Agriculture Committee who is a mom who grocery shops every weekend, former nutrition teacher, lifelong farmer and past member of a local Council on Aging, which oversees Meals on Wheels. I understand food and nutrition, and I care about people. I am also a fiscal hawk. That’s why I supported eliminating direct payments to farmers in the 2014 Farm Bill and ensuring this year’s bill does not increase federal spending.
Contrary to the misinformation in last week’s article, this Farm Bill does not increase benefits to farmers nor does it “kick the poorest Americans off SNAP.” The bill actually might expand the number of people who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by increasing the asset limits to encourage savings and enable more people to seek assistance despite owning a home, owning a higher-valued car and having a savings account of $2,000.
The Farm Bill invests $1 billion a year into people’s futures by providing able-bodied adults on SNAP with personalized job training and the skills needed to get one of the 6.7 million jobs available in this country. No one is denied who wants to participate.
Work is good, and breaking the cycle of poverty is something we should applaud. The programs do this in a fair and compassionate way. Personalized training is open to able-bodied adults, and all that is asked of them to retain their SNAP benefits is to participate in the training or work 20 hours a week. (The disabled, senior citizens, those under 18 and parents with small children continue to receive benefits as under the former program.)
The realities of this new proposal are a far cry from how The Star portrays them. It’s time we all come together to ensure everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food by supporting the American farmer and by advocating for food assistance programs that foster work opportunities. That is what the Farm Bill does, and I think that is something we can all support.
for Missouri’s 4th District