Daily Archives: Nov. 15, 2005

Standards not about religion? Yeah, right

Kansas State Board of Education chairman Steve Abrams has a commentary in Tuesday’s Eagle defending the state’s new science standards. He argues that critics of the standards are misinformed. And he claims that the new standards aren’t about biblical creation or intelligent design.
It’s true, as he says, that the board’s new definition of science doesn’t mention biblical creation. But by removing the phrase “a search for natural explanations” from the definition, the board has opened the door to the supernatural. That’s a radical change from the traditional role of science.
It’s also true that the standards don’t specifically mention intelligent design. But the “criticism” of evolution included in the standards came from intelligent design supporters. These same folks also provided the attorney and the “experts” at the board’s kangaroo court hearings last spring.
It seems clear that what is really motivating most of the conservative board members is their own religious beliefs, not good science — as there is no controversy in mainstream science about evolution. Abrams himself has said in the past that you can’t believe both in evolution and the Bible, even though millions of Christians throughout the world have no problem reconciling the two.
Posted by Phillip Brownlee

Good news on Gaza passage

The United States has kept its distance from the Israeli-Palestinian struggle for so long that Tuesday’s big news from the region was as much about the deal maker, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as it was the deal — to allow Palestinians in Gaza more freedom of movement and trade. What actions follow the accord will be crucial, but it’s good to see the Bush administration fully engaged in the process. And the closer the Israelis and Palestinians can move toward peaceful co-existence, the less likely their differences will fuel trouble elsewhere in the region.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Would senators still vote for war?

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., whiffed on a softball question during the presidential campaign, saying that he would still vote to go to war with Iraq if he knew then what he knows now.
Huh? We know now that Iraq didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction, that it didn’t have ties to al-Qaida or any involvement in Sept. 11, and that our invasion produced a quagmire in which we will be stuck for years. But Kerry still thinks voting for war was a good idea?
Now, a year after the campaign is over, Kerry’s running mate, former Sen. John Edwards, is finally coming clean.
“It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002,” he wrote in a Washington Post commentary over the weekend. “I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn’t make a mistake — the men and women of our armed forces and their families — have performed heroically and paid a dear price.”
Even Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has acknowledged that senators didn’t do their jobs by accepting at face value some of the prewar intelligence. “I think a lot of us would really stop and think a moment before we would ever vote for war or to go and take military action,” he said on “Fox News Sunday” this weekend.
Posted by Phillip Brownlee

Go ahead — rev those engines!

Kudos to the local veterans and bikers who recently formed a motorcycle group, the Patriot Guard, to counter the Phelps clan’s ugly protests at veterans’ funerals.
According to an Eagle article, the group is growing fast and attracting members from across the region.
When the Phelpses show up with their hateful signs and shouts, the motorcyclists move in and block their view to ensure that grieving families don’t have to see or hear the picketing.
It’s good that the Patriot Guard has found a way to counter these fanatics in a dignified and effective manner. Loud motorcycles never sounded so sweet.
Posted by Randy Scholfield

So many drug plans, so much confusion

The sentiment won’t comfort area senior citizens struggling to make sense of the Medicare drug benefit options and get through the enrollment process, beginning today, but the program was a well-meant, overdue response to the need to help elderly Americans pay for their prescriptions. With medications having become so essential to health care in the four decades since Medicare’s creation, the government had to update Medicare accordingly. It’s just too bad that leaders didn’t give more thought to keeping the program simple and understandable — or to the political implications of failing to do so.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Boathouse decision: burden of proof

The burden of proof is on WaterWalk developers to show why tearing down the Wichita Boathouse is a clear plus for the city — and that burden grew a bit heavier this week with news that Larkspur restaurant wants to operate a catering business out of the riverfront building.
Larkspur’s proposal could earn the city up to $900,000 over 10 years of operation. Moreover, some Wichitans have expressed strong support for keeping the Boathouse, which is undeniably attractive.
Still, if WaterWalk officials can show a significantly greater economic and cultural benefit from putting in the new corporate headquarters (developers cite a potential $300,000-a-year property tax revenue, up to 150 new high-paying jobs and a new riverfront restaurant), then they might have a compelling case.
Some other considerations: Could the Boathouse be moved? Is the open parklike area just north of the Boathouse available for the proposed office building?
Wichita City Council members need to ask a lot of questions and weigh all the options before making what is sure to be a tough decision.
Posted by Randy Scholfield