Daily Archives: Dec. 15, 2006

Rumsfeld’s ‘final throes’ as defense secretary

Here’s a farewell Christmas song for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on his last day in the job — his “final throes,” as the Washington Post blogger puts it. Most think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be Rumsfeld’s legacy, though his efforts to transform the military for a post-Cold War mission were noble. Columnist Cal Thomas predicted on our pages this week that Rumsfeld’s “principled stand” against the enemy “will be proved right.”
Meanwhile, Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army’s chief of staff, warned Thursday that the Army’s 507,000 active-duty soldiers “will break” under the stress of rotations and needs to expand by 7,000 or more soldiers a year.
Get to work, Secretary Gates.
As for Rumsfeld’s future: The best idea I’ve heard is “Dancing With the Stars.”
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Close encounters of the bright kind

Those super-bright LED billboards popping up around town are the work of an evil alien intelligence, I argue in my column today.

And the sign at Rock and Central appears to be the UFO mother ship.
Just try to look away. Resistance is futile.
Motorists need a dimmer switch or some other defense against this invasive new species of signage.
Posted by Randy Scholfield

Get well wishes for Sen. Johnson

It’s unseemly how the national media have reported the bad news about Sen. Tim Johnson’s health — as a hurried opening line to a big political story. I understand that American history hangs in the balance and all. But surely the breathless “what if” debate about a 50-50 Senate (should the South Dakota Democrat be unable to complete his term and the GOP governor choose a GOP replacement) could have waited, out of respect to the senator and his family. And it’s really offensive to keep playing the radio interview during which he had strokelike symptoms.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

From a conservative, the case for Obama

Does anyone think Barack Obama will not run for president in 2008? If so, George Will has an excellent column on why the junior senator from Illinois should seize the moment, regardless of reservations about his relative youth or lack of experience.
Will’s thesis is that excitement surrounding Obama’s possible candidacy is probably near its peak, a circumstance the senator has helped bring about. Deciding not to run now could brand him a tease and squander a lot of good will. As Will puts it, “if you get the girl up on her tiptoes, you should kiss her.”
Hel also points out that Obama is blessed with the perfect opponent in Hillary Clinton: “He is soothing; she is not.”
Posted by Dave Knadler

Happy Bill of Rights Day — and many more

Today marks the 215th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, the document that delineates and safeguards the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. It was no small decision to amend the Constitution, which many judged to be complete. But because our leaders eventually heeded the pleas of Virginia lawyer-planter George Mason, we have a written guarantee of freedom of speech, religion, media and public assembly, and we can own guns, expect fair treatment by the courts, and be spared unreasonable searches and seizures and cruel and unusual punishment. We don’t celebrate Bill of Rights Day with parades and fireworks, but rather by enjoying its benefits day to day. It makes inspiring reading, too. Which amendment do you value most? (I’m partial to the First.)
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Snow is no know-it-all

In seven months of televised briefings and interviews, White House press secretary Tony Snow already has used the phrase “I don’t know” more than 400 times. Snow told the Washington Post he says that a lot “because I don’t know all.”
Posted by Rhonda Holman

An effective voice for the Kansas environment

Charles Benjamin, an attorney for the Kansas Sierra Club who served ably as the voice of environmental stewardship in Kansas, is leaving the state for a similar post in Nevada.
In the past decade, Benjamin, a former Harvey County commissioner, was at the center of several high-profile environmental issues facing Kansas, most notably leading the successful fight against corporate hog farm pollution (as a result, plans for a large hog processing plant near Great Bend were abandoned) and filing lawsuits to force the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce the Clean Water Act in Kansas, which led to reclassification of state streams and several broad-based efforts to fight nonpoint-source pollution such as farm and urban runoff. In recent years, Benjamin and the Sierra Club have focused on promoting renewable energy and efficiency in Kansas.
Being an environmental lawyer isn’t the surest way to popularity in Kansas, but Benjamin won respect even from many foes for his breadth of knowledge and reasoned, articulate defense of the state’s natural resources. His voice will be missed.
Posted by Randy Scholfield