Make permanent budget cuts before increasing taxes
The Herald-Leader editorial board takes the position that tax increases must be part of any responsible deficit reduction. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Congress, whether controlled by Democrats or Republicans, has demonstrated in no uncertain terms that it will not address the budget deficit nor reduce spending.
Increasing any taxation before real, structural reductions in spending would be the height of folly.
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Providing political cover for yet another round of spending increases would serve only to increase the deficit, especially when coupled with the harm to the fragile economy that tax increases will cause — a fact that is never accounted for in government calculus concerning tax increases and budgets.
Real spending reductions must be locked into law before any increase in taxation can be contemplated. Otherwise, we are simply stepping on the accelerator, moving faster toward the implosion of our economy.
Stepfamily not simple
I tend to agree with columnist John Rosemond's philosophy and tactics for parenting, but he struck out on his advice to stepparents in a June 7 column. Check his bio, the reason is obvious; he became part of a stepfamily at age 7. By his own testimony he drew his conclusions about how stepparenting works based on his experience with a stepfather at that early age.
Children who are introduced to a stepparent at age 10 or 14 have a much different experience. This is because the rate with which parent-child bonds develop is in proportion to the age of the child when introduced to a stepparent. An older child will not as quickly develop a bond with a stepparent, so the stepparent's moral authority will be much weaker with an older child than with a younger one.
By applying his experience to other stepfamilies, Rosemond reminds me of the reprobate who had a religious conversion after falling into a well.
Afraid of dying, he promises God that, if rescued, he will become a devoted follower and evangelist. God answers his prayer. Someone happens by and pulls him from the well. He keeps his promise. From that day forward, wherever he went, he pushed people into wells to facilitate their conversion.
James Robert Ross
In support of the proposed Confederate flag license plate, a recent letter writer argued that the South seceded not because of slavery but due to unfair federal tax policy. He bolstered this claim by referencing the Emancipation Proclamation, which allowed many states and parts of states to keep slaves. While such a claim may mesh well with current political trends, it certainly is not an accurate historical analysis.
Slavery was both the undeniable cause of the Civil War and the organizational principle of the Confederacy. The public statements of leading secessionists demonstrate these facts. In his March 1861 "Cornerstone Speech," Confederate Vice President Alexander Stevens bluntly stated: "Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth." Unlike their modern-day apologists, contemporary Confederate leaders openly acknowledged that their desire to protect and expand slavery motivated secession.
The Confederate flag symbolizes this openly racist and frankly un-American notion. Kentucky was wise enough to reject that tainted flag in 1861. I hope we can make the same wise decision 150 years later. The Confederate flag and the racist ideology it represents have no place on our license plates or in our hearts.
Flag, slavery linked
The Confederate flag is a powerful and historically important symbol. Unfortunately, so are the U.S.S.R.'s hammer and sickle and the Nazis' swastika. I do not claim that everyone who wore those symbols or flew them on their flags were monsters or that they even agreed with the problematic stances of their governments.
What I do say is that all of those symbols are associated with terrible ideas and that it is madness to pretend that people will not think of the Holocaust when they see a Swastika, communism when they see a hammer and sickle and slavery when they see the Confederate flag.
Also, to claim the Civil War was not fought over slavery is just as crazy. Granted, it was not fought only over slavery. It was fought for many reasons, some clearly apparent at the time and some not. However, even the Confederate Catechism on the Sons of Confederate Veterans' Web site does not deny that many of the reasons for the South's secession centered on slavery.
There are also plenty of arguments that the South wanted to preserve states rights, but the primary right they wanted preserved was the right to choose whether or not to allow slavery in each state. Slavery and the Confederacy are linked for a reason, and the reason is that the Confederacy primarily existed because the southern states thought they couldn't give up their slaves.
Observe Flag Day
Patriotic citizens who appreciate the freedom they enjoy respect and honor the flag of their homeland.
They do so because it means something special. A genuine sense of pride fills their hearts when they see that flag wafting in the breeze on a clear day. They are reminded of what the flag stands for and gratitude wells up in their hearts.
Although not a legal holiday, June 14 is a very special day in the United States. It is Flag Day, and it commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the flag by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.
Flag Day's origin has been traced to Waubeka, Wis. On June 14, 1895, Bernard John Cigrand, a 19-year-old teacher, placed a small flag in a bottle on his desk and asked the students to write essays about its significance. Through that simple act, a young teacher brought about Flag Day.
Cigrand's efforts were successful. On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed a nationwide observance of Flag Day. His efforts came to full fruition in August 1949, when President Harry Truman signed an act of Congress that designated June 14 as Flag Day.
The flag is more than a plain piece of cloth that displays a combination of colors and a dazzling geometric design. It is the standard of the nation and the ensign of the people, and it stands for freedom, independence and unity. Therefore, Flag Day is a time to display the flag and show proper respect to it.
Save it for history
The Associated Press protested the Obama administration's refusal to share with the news media details of the commando raid that removed Osama bin Laden. The AP's business is informing the public. The U.S. Defense Department's business includes maintaining intelligence and counterintelligence of our nation's defense.
Our national defense trumps AP's commercial wants. The bin Laden affair will supply volumes of history.
Rex J. Phillips