Daily Archives: Sept. 12, 2010

End ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

gaysmilitaryA federal judge’s ruling last week that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward gay members of the military is unconstitutional ought to finally put an end to this discriminatory policy. Judge Virginia Phillips said the government couldn’t show that the policy was necessary for military readiness and unit cohesion. On the contrary, the policy has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the armed services, she ruled. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also want to end the policy. So does most of the public. A Gallup poll in June 2009 found that 69 percent of Americans who were surveyed favored allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military, including 58 percent of conservatives and 60 percent of weekly churchgoers.

Open thread 9/12

thread4

State can’t ignore environmental rules

coalplant3As state lawmakers have championed a new coal-fired power plant and tried to strip the Kansas Department of Health and Environment of regulatory powers, they have acted as if Kansas could do whatever it wants and doesn’t need to be concerned with federal environmental policy. But federal officials told a legislative committee last week that Kansas will be expected to cut greenhouse-gas emissions as it considers air-quality permits for power plants, large factories and oil refineries. And if it refuses, the Environmental Protection Agency could step in. “I don’t like it,” complained state Rep. Carl Dean Holmes, R-Liberal. Well, welcome to reality.

To know state fairs is to know America

statefairswineNoting that state fairs are struggling such that Michigan even abandoned its fair tradition for budget reasons, Tony Woodlief prepared for his family’s annual trek to the Kansas State Fair by writing an appreciation of fairgoing for the Wall Street Journal. A taste: “Fairs embody our roots in agriculture, entrepreneurship and rabble-rousing. Where else can you, in a matter of minutes, buy a tractor, ride a camel, sample the latest in waterless car-washing technology, marvel over a 20-pound cucumber and then saunter a few hundred feet to hear Hank Williams Jr. belt out ‘Family Tradition’? Let’s face it: no matter how sophisticated we become, a life-size statue of Elvis sculpted from 800 pounds of butter will always fascinate us. And if you don’t understand this, then I’m afraid you don’t understand America.”

Jail-fee payers won’t be punished

countyjailSedgwick County Manager William Buchanan took sharp exception to a suggestion in “Don’t let jail-fee lawsuit go to trial” (Sept. 10 Eagle Editorial) that the fact that some cities have settled their county jail-fee debts for a fraction of their total bills is just “too bad for the cities that paid up from the start, and in full.” Buchanan told the editorial board Friday that whenever the lawsuit comes to a conclusion, cities such as Derby and Valley Center that have paid the $2.09-an-hour fees faithfully will be handled fairly. He declined to be specific about what accommodations might be made. But “Sedgwick County does not intend to be punitive to those cities that have started to pay from the beginning,” Buchanan said. “As a matter of fact, we want to reward them, and will.”