Thursday, February 23, 2012

To the clown who thinks the school lunch guidelines are a government infringement on parental rights

Your new satire writer Carolyn Goodenough must have come from The Onion, her piece titled “Stand up for freedom; end government intervention” was hysterically funny. I did find it odd that you’d place it in the letters to the editor but I guess that was part of the joke. She really had me going so I looked up the new healthy lunch program called “Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs” just to be sure she was kidding us.

Thanks for including her funny material but perhaps you should place her next piece in a more appropriate location like the comics page.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Response to letter claiming that our President is at war with religion

Dale Wehrle’s letter History and God is so full of half truths and outright fabrications that he out to take up fiction writing for a living.

In his first paragraph Wehrle claims that the “…Supreme Court has ruled it illegal to pray in school or mention God or Christianity in commencement addresses.” The fact is that the Supreme Court has said nothing of the sort, what they have said is that representatives of government meaning elected officials and those on government payrolls like superintendents, principals and teachers may not, in their official capacity, offer prayer as part of a commencement address or before the assembled student body.

Wehrle’s next fabrication is, “Our current president went on record to proclaim, ‘We are no longer a Christian nation!” All you have to do is look it up on, a non-partisan organization, to learn that the real quote is “We are no longer ‘just’ a Christian nation, but a nation of many other faiths as well.”

I take personal exception to Wehrle’s last paragraph in which he refers to Hitler having overrun most of Europe “He appeared unstoppable, except for divine providence.” I know that it was the blood and sacrifice of WWII combat veterans like my three brothers and their buddies which drove Hitler’s troops back at the Battle of the Bulge.

We should all take heed of Sinclair Lewis’ prescient remark, “When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

So you think religious groups should be able to deny insurance coverage for contraception

Michael Gerson’s op-ed “Insurance rule declares war on religion” is just one of many I’ve seen lately that make this entirely spurious claim. No one said that any of those who believe that contraception is immoral has to use it, the Obama administration simply said that insurance has to cover contraception for those who choose to use it.

But let’s assume for the moment that the Bishops and others making this case have it right, what then do you say to the Christian sect known as Quakers who say that war is against their religion, should we close the Defense Department? Should we allow Quakers a discount on their taxes so they aren’t paying for this nation’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the not quite wars in Yemen and Libya?

What if a religious group opposed Viagra and other drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction? Their argument might be that if God intended you to have sex he wouldn’t have taken away your ability to have an erection. Would that group have the right to deny coverage for such drugs from any insurance plan they offered their secular employees?

As the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State frequently reminds us, this is a secular nation of laws not a theocracy based on the Christian Bible. That’s a good thing, because as you can tell from the variety of Christian sects they don’t even agree on a single interpretation of their own holy book.

Response to Ruppert letter attacking local tax hikes

Charles Ruppert's letter published January 26 blasts everyone from the TEA Party to Democrats for failure to be outraged by local tax hikes. Cibolo residents will remember Ruppert as the mayor who wouldn't spend the money to fix potholes and drainage problems on Main Street. Apparently everyone but Mr. Ruppert understands that local taxes provide local value such as well maintained streets and drainage that prevents rain water from running through people's homes.

Local taxes provide police and fire protection and they provide as significant portion of the local school district's funds. When Mr. Ruppert was mayor of Cibolo he boasted of repeatedly lowering local property taxes. Subsequent administrations and city councils, which are majority Republican, have recognized that low taxes aren't everything. They've pulled back from the idea that "low taxes" are an end in themselves so that residents of downtown Cibolo and visitors alike don't risk damaging their cars by driving on Main Street.

If Ruppert really is so enamored of low taxes and vanishingly small government I suggest that he visit Somalia where he can experience pirates, dirt roads and cholera first hand.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Negotiating your pay like the Pentagon budget

At my next annual review with my boss I’m going to use the Pentagon’s budget tactics. While my co-workers are taking pay cuts or getting pink slips I’ll make outrageous demands for 5% increases every year for the next decade then I’ll back down to a 1% cut this year while retaining my inflation adjusted salary from that point on.

That’s what the reported $500 billion budget cut Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is crowing about really is. He’s not talking about significant cuts to current spending he’s simply saying that we won’t increase spending as much as previously planned.

The real question is; if we’ve just ended the occupation of Iraq and we’ll be out of Afghanistan by 2014 why would we need to maintain high levels of defense spending let alone continue to increase it? We already spend more on defense than the next 13 nations combined. Why aren’t we returning to pre-war spending levels?

President Eisenhower, no military slouch once said “Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”