Daily Archives: April 25, 2007

No need to lie about Tillman, Lynch

Facts quickly gave way to fictional public relations in the wake of the death of Pat Tillman and the rescue of Jessica Lynch, as members of Congress heardthis week. What’s shocking is how lying about both episodes seemingly came so easily to military officials and went so far — Tillman posthumously received a Silver Star based on a fabricated story of his death in Afghanistan, actually by friendly fire, and Lynch’s rescue in Iraq was turned into a quickie TV movie. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced plenty of real examples of valor and sacrifice. When it inflated and rewrote the facts in a grab at public glory, the military did a disservice to all its warriors.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Even jail food should have standards

Most people understand that the Sedgwick County Jail isn’t a fine dining experience. "Have it your way" isn’t done there.
But it’s not right that two county commissioners found the food almost inedible when they dropped in Monday for a surprise lunch: Gwen Welshimer said the meatball and mashed potato entree was "not something you feed human beings." Kelly Parks got an upset stomach.
Jail food is by definition institutional and doesn’t aspire to culinary artistry, but it should at least be nutritionally complete, healthy and edible — especially considering that most county jail prisoners are awaiting trial and haven’t yet been found guilty of a crime.
This jail food sounds like cruel and unusual punishment.
Posted by Randy Scholfield

Kucinich tilting at Cheney windmill

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, presented articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney Tuesday . "I believe the vice president’s conduct of office has been destructive to the founding purposes of our nation," he said. The articles state that the vice president deceived the American people and subverted the national security interests of the United States.
So why go after Cheney instead of President Bush? Kucinich said that he wouldn’t want to see Cheney become president if Bush were removed from office.
In any case, Kucinich’s quest doesn’t have the backing of his colleagues in Congress.
Meanwhile, Vermont state senators voted last week to call for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.
Posted by Patrice Hein

Open thread

Actually, anti-gaming lawmakers received the most money

Seven Wichita-area lawmakers wrote a commentary published on Sunday’s Opinion pages suggesting that “good, old-fashioned political corruption” might be behind the Legislature’s expansion of gaming. Why would politicians agree to the revenue-sharing terms, they asked, if there “wasn’t something more personally appealing in the process?” Of course, one reason might be that survey after survey has shown that the public wants expanded gaming. But as to the “personally appealing” claim, it’s actually anti-expansion lawmakers who have received the most campaign money. Anti-gaming interests gave $259,500 to the current lawmakers since the start of 2001, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported, while pro-gaming organizations contributed $158,125.
Posted by Phillip Brownlee

Never say never: Sunday liquor sales at last

Good for the Wichita City Council for voting 5-1 Tuesday to allow liquor sales on Sundays. Now the market, rather than City Hall, will decide which days of the week these businesses are open. And the timing makes good fiscal sense: If opponents get the 6,701 signatures from registered voters needed to put the issue on a ballot, it can be on the same Aug. 7 ballot as the Sedgwick County casino question. The process seems to be working as it should — though two years after the Legislature said it could.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Government can’t pick and choose religious symbols

The Wiccan pentacle has been added to a list of approved religious symbols for headstones by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This change was part of a settlement of a lawsuit against the VA by plaintiffs represented by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
It usually takes a few months for a petition by a faith group to win the department’s approval, but the Wiccan symbol took 10 years and a lawsuit to gain acceptance. Discrimination was the main factor of the delay, the group believed, and it is apparent that some Americans do hold a bias toward Wicca. For example, when he was Texas governor, George W. Bush opposed allowing Wiccans to worship at Fort Hood, Texas, telling “Good Morning America” in 1999 that “I don’t think witchcraft is a religion.”
But as the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, stated after winning the settlement Monday, the plaintiffs “wanted precisely the same treatment that dozens of other religions already had received from the department, an acknowledgment that their spiritual beliefs were on par with those of everyone else.”
Posted by Ross Stewart

Accord for county and Episcopal Social Services

No one would say it’s been easy, but the dispute between Sedgwick County and Episcopal Social Services at least has been resolved. The County Commission’s agenda today includes an agreement with the agency about the county’s $1.3 million purchase of its building at 233 S. St. Francis to make way for the downtown arena, setting July 8 as the agency’s deadline to move. The county’s first $500,000 appraisal and offer was far from what the agency needed to find another building. Even now, ESS won’t find a permanent home for several years: It’s buying the building being vacated by the Breakthrough Club, then planning a capital campaign to build and move elsewhere downtown two or three years from now. “It’s important that we’re easy to find,” Sandra Lyon, CEO of Episcopal Social Services, told The Eagle editorial board. It’s also important that, throughout this challenging transition, the county and community help this vital social-services provider in every way possible.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Family literacy program a great benefit to schools, community

Despite all their rhetoric about promoting English, state lawmakers are unlikely to provide additional funding this session for adult English language classes. But to its credit, the world’s No. 1 automaker — now Toyota, not General Motors — has stepped up in Wichita.
The company is unveiling today its Toyota Family Literacy Program at three Wichita elementary schools — Park, Colvin and Stanley. The program — which is a partnership of Toyota, the school district, Wichita State University and the National Center for Family Literacy — teaches English to Hispanic parents of elementary schoolchildren. This training helps the parents improve their job skills and helps them better engage in their children’s education.
Wichita was one of five cities selected this year (out of 155 applications) for the three-year, $600,000 initiative, and about 50 Wichita families are already in the program. Being picked is “quite a tribute to Wichita,” Sharon Darling, president of the National Center for Family Literacy, told The Eagle editorial board. It certainly is.
Posted by Phillip Brownlee