WHY DOES the mere suggestion of limitations on weapons set off gun-loving extremists? The Constitution protects our right to own some weapons but not others. The line has to be drawn somewhere. Owning a pistol is OK. Mixing massive amounts of ammonium nitrate with jet fuel for recreational use isn't. If we interpret the phrase "right to bear arms" as a basic guarantor of defense, then the maximum power of personal weaponry should be limited to that which can protect against a realistic number of aggressors. The power to kill dozens of people in less than a minute isn't rooted in our notion of civil defense. We live in the real world, not the final scene of "Scarface."
A RECENT poll indicated that only 34 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party. This should be a signal to Republicans that they either need to change what they stand for or risk becoming the party of only the South. When I read comments in Speak Out, it is clear the GOP has not gotten the message and is well on its way to this destiny.
I DON'T know why everyone who doesn't agree with Rush Limbaugh thinks it is OK to call him names and attack his character. You have the right not to like Mr. Limbaugh because you live in a great nation. Just as you have the right to your opinion, so does he. Just because his opinion is different from yours doesn't mean he is wrong. We should respect the office of the president. Barack Obama is going to have to earn our respect. He was unwilling, as he was running for president, to answer the questions that people had about his views on some issues and his character. He was carefully scripted. I think the American people have the right to know just who Barack Obama really is. We don't know that yet, which is why people like Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham are worried about where our nation is headed under his presidency. I am scared to death. His unwillingness to be questioned about certain things makes you wonder what he has to hide. I am proud to say that Rush Limbaugh is from Southeast Missouri.
Leaning on government
EVERYONE COMPLAINS about the government, which is broken. However, have you ever stopped to think about your role in the shape our government is in? Seniors complain because their Social Security checks aren't big enough. The truth is, Social Security was never designed to be a person's sole source of retirement income. The seniors who are complaining should have better prepared a retirement pension of their own instead of depending on the government. People complain because Medicare takes such a big chunk of their Social Security checks. Waiting until you have Medicare and then having all kinds of surgeries and procedures forces the price of Medicare to skyrocket. The government cannot take care of all of your needs. It cannot be your income, your health care, your grocery money and all your other needs. At some point, you have to take some responsibility for yourselves and make sure that you have prepared to meet all of your needs as you age.
THE BEST advice for lay people who want to offer advice for school reform is to offer no advice. Educators are professionals and should be allowed to sort it out. I don't read Speak Out advice as to how a neurosurgeon should perform brain surgery, although in ways that might be easier than coming up with a foolproof method for successfully educating today's youths.
IT IS BAD when criminal fraud contributes to the mortgage mess. However, I'm not so sure that the definition of criminal culpability shouldn't extend to those in government who let this happen. The handful of folks who took advantage of subprime mortgages by betting that they were bound to fail cannot really be held accountable. Most of them were incredulous at what they were allowed to do under the law. If there was ever an indictment of the misery caused by unregulated capitalism run amok, this is it. We're all paying for it now.
It won't work
USING UNSKILLED, unemployed factory workers to build modern-day roads and bridges and schools, as our new president is going to suggest, is just plain silly. In the 1930s when we had the WPA all a worker needed was a pick and shovel to build a road. Today's road and bridge builders are highly skilled professionals. Would you want your child attending a school built by unskilled workers just so they could have a job? President-elect Obama, I would suggest you come up with your own ideas. What worked for President Roosevelt won't work today.
JOE SULLIVAN'S Sunday piece positing that what is needed to improve education is parent, student and school involvement was beautifully written with interesting, often heartwarming examples. However, once again, it must be pointed out that the only thing that has been proven to correlate with student achievement is the socioeconomic status of the parents. Thus, private and public efforts to improve the overall standing of those who raise our children seems to be the only real and perhaps lasting resolution to overcome some of the problems. Even though the Obama administration is faced with the almost overwhelming fallout from the Bush recession, progress can and will be made.
THIS IS a response to the person who said we kicked God out of schools. We didn't. Children are free to pray on their own or in groups in their free time. What was stopped was state-sanctioned prayer. It was taken out because it is unconstitutional. I'm an atheist, and I don't want my child being indoctrinated at school. If you want prayer in school, send your child to a private religious school.