The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on September 16, 2002 · Page 4
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 4

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A4 • THE HAYS DAILY NEWS OPINION MONDAY • SEPTEMBER 16,2002 Guest editorial Graves' reservations P oor Tim Shallenburger. All he wants is Gov. Bill Graves' endorsement. After all, Sen. Pat Roberts endorsed Shallenburger for governor. So did Rep. Jerry Moran. But not Graves. His silence speaks volumes. Kansans elected Graves, a Republican moderate, as governor in 1994. His tax cuts and regulatory reforms helped Kansas cash in on the Clinton economic boom, and when he ran for re-election in 1998, he won by a landslide. State law prohibits him from seeking another term. But drought, low crop prices and an airline industry crippled by Sept. 11 plunged Kansas into a recession. Graves signed a $252 million tax increase package to overcome revenue shortfalls in the state 2003 budget, but it wasn't enough. Graves ordered $41 million in cuts Aug. 15 to keep the state budget out of the red. Shallenburger won the GOP gubernatorial primary by promising that he would not raise taxes. He said that the state's budget crisis could be addressed by eliminating wasteful spending. He ran on the platform that Graves was wrong. No wonder Graves didn't show up for a GOP "unity breakfast" Aug. 7, the morning after the primary. At first, Shallenburger tried to convince voters that he didn't care if Graves endorsed him or not. But other moderates endorsed Shal- lenburger, including Senate President Dave Kerr, who finished second in the primary. After Roberts and Moran made their endorsements, Graves' silence became even more obvious. Graves eventually might decide to back Shallenburger, but he's made his point; he has serious reservations about the GOP nominee for governor. editorial by The Hutchinson News The editorials represent the opinion and institutional voice of The Hays Daily News but are signed by the author for the reader's information. Guest editorials are from other newspapers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Hays Daily News. Other content on this page represents the views of the signed columnist or letter-writer. The Opinion Page is intended to be a community forum. Guest editorials and syndicated columnists are selected to present a variety of opinion. On death and a pop-culture mindset Rick James couldn't stand Prince. We're talking a little over 20 years ago, back when Prince was an acclaimed new performer and Rick was one of the biggest names in pop. His sizable ego wounded by the attention accorded this fey wunderkind, James used to vent about how worthless and overrated the younger singer was. He hated him. And yet, somehow, he never shot him. For all the nasty things James said about Prince and other artists, the idea that the antipathy might become lethal was unthinkable. All you have to do to understand how profoundly the world has changed is to read the recent two-part Lps Angeles.... Time^series on the'murder of rap icon Tupac Shakur. The Times reports that the killing, which took place in Las Vegas six years ago this month, was carried out by Los Angeles street gang members and commissioned by a rival rap star, Christopher Wallace, known professionally as the Notorious B.I.G. Wallace himself was gunned down six months later in Los Angeles. Members of Wallace's family have vigorously denied the newspaper report and have produced evidence to buttress their contention that he was not even in Vegas that night. The Times piece has produced fierce debate in hip-hop and black journalism circles, much of it critical of the reporting and offering wild speculation about the newspaper's supposed motivation. In one online editorial, black journalist Kevin Powell hints broadly that the Times had a racial agenda in running the story, warning readers that "we should never allow folks who do not have our best interests at heart to control our thinking." He calls the L.A. Times' account "sensationalized." And yet, neither he, nor to my knowledge anyone else, has been able to call it unthinkable. To say that the very idea of pop stars settling disputes with guns is too outlandish to be believed. I'm not here to defend — or condemn — the Times report and have no way of knowing whether Christopher Wallace actually did what he's accused of doing. No, what has me shaking my head is that we're even forced to take the allega- Leonard Pitts Jr. COMMENTARY President is being upfront with us George Bush has drawn the line in the sands of the Middle East. Since June of this year, it is the public policy of the United States actively to seek a change of leaders in both Iraq and Palestine. Such candor is not new for this administration. After Sept. 11, several spokesmen for the Bush administration were telling us to listen very closely to what they were telling us, and they were telling us that the United States would go to war with the Taliban. And we did. We now have another clear statement from this administration that the current regimes of Iraq and, Palestine are not acceptable and that we will work to change those regimes in some way, shape or form. Such clarity has not been a part of the chief executive of the United States recently, with the notable exception of former President Bush. We were plainly told by the elder Bush that the United States would not allow the invasion of Kuwait to stand, and although I at first believed he simply was blowing smoke, he proved me wrong. We went to war in the Persian Gulf. It is too bad that the plain spokenness of this administration seems so unusual when compared to recent administrations. Whether we agree with what is said is immaterial. This is truly a refreshing departure from the otherwise sad norm of recent years. LOCAL VOICES Our elected leaders always should speak to us clearly, in terms we can understand. And, given the record of the prior president, that clear speech also should be believable. The American people, by and large, will support policy that has been communicated to them, along with answers to the basic questions of why, what is the goal and how much will it cost. The world believes that America doesn't have the stomach or stamina to carry on and carry through to the end. I wonder where they got that idea? Previous administrations that formed the policies of this'nation, based on polls and floated "trial balloons" to see if they flew or got shot down, have caused the rest of the world to believe that we are a bunch of sissies and spoiled brats who have no stomach for full participation in world affairs. I, for one, am tired of policy by poll and am thrilled that finally we have a president who speaks clearly and distinctly. Furthermore, this president can be believed when he speaks. Now, I'm not here to promote Bush or the Republican party. I am not a Repub- lican or a Democrat. I vote for the person I truly believe has a vision and is able to communicate that vision to those he or she will be serving. That is my "test" of a candidate and will be the test I apply to every election in which I participate. If President Bush indeed carries out his promise to change the leadership in Iraq and in Palestine, such action should be compared to President Eisenhower sending in the 101st Airborne to integrate the schools in Little Rock in 1957 or President Kennedy's blockade of Cuba in 1962 during the missile crisis. As JFK said in a speech about the Cuban crisis, "My fellow citizens: Let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out. No one can foresee precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred. Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline lie ahead — months in which both our patience and our will be tested — months in which many threats and denunciations will keep us aware of our dangers. But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing." The greatest danger of all would be to do nothing. Jay Plank, Oakley, is administrator of Logan County Hospital and New Frontiers Health Clinic and a former Hays and Goodland resident. host@kswriter.Su.com w. note tion seriously. What does that tell you about the world we have made? "We" meaning consumers of American pop culture in general, but blacks in particular. We've created — or simply countenanced — a world in which the line between video fantasy and street-corner reality is all but erased, where thugvalues^and gang, ster mores deman'd'bMd fdfthe'faintest ' slights, and we — still talking blacks — walk around acting as if this'were.as unremarkable as fluorescent lights and traffic jams. We do not criticize or hold account" able, particularly in forums where whites might be watching, because some of us regard that as an act of racial betrayal. So nobody says the obvious: "Pop stars don't shoot each other!" There's something seriously wrong when it becomes impossible to distinguish music acts from street gangs. I understand the corrosive effects of drugs and poverty on the black community. I also understand that those effects have been with us for generations. Not to sound dismissive, but that's old news. What's new is these diseased mores and this collective shrug in the face of them. This isn't about liking or not liking rap. It's about surrendering — or not surrendering — to a mindset that allows us to contemplate the murder of young men without crying out, shouting, screaming that this is wrong. I'd never hold up the pop stars of 20 years ago — Rick James in particular — as role models. For all that, though, we children of that era had not yet learned to face dysfunction and misconduct with a shrug. And that's why James and Prince are one thing Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace will never be. Alive. Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald leonardpltts@mlndsprlng.com ' 1 HOW£ THAT fWWISKAN RraSN-AWERTHNG PR. BUTZ TONGY OMK AU3NG?" Let's pray the inevitable is wise Reader Forum policy A community is best served when residents are willing to discuss issues publicly. You can be part of the discussion by participating in the Reader Forum. Please limit your submissions to 600 words. They will be edited for length and clarity. They must be signed and include a name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. We reserve the right not to print a submission. We do not accept for publication on the editorial page poems, consumer complaints, business testimonials or group letters. Mail them to Reader Forum, The Hays Daily News, 507 Main, Hays KS 67601 .You also can send them by e-mail at letters@dailynews.net. Please include an address and daytime telephone number. F^^nSS r #&&&&&$ rfyht # entfr, &IH The Bush administration's message to us is two-fold. One is that a terrorist attack on us with weapons of mass destruction is inevitable. "It is not a question of if, only when." The same message, "not if, only when," is applied to war on Iraq. The questions that remain unanswered are what weapons will terrorists use and what route will Bush take to war. Let's look at the second one. At first, President Bush appeared willing to go to war without conferring with the United Nations. But last week he struck just the right tone in New York by emphasizing that UN. resolutions must be enforced or they are meaningless, today and tomorrow. And he did not mention "regime change" in Iraq. With his logical reasoning, Bush has a real chance that the 15 member Security Council will give Saddam Hussein one more chance to admit inspectors and give them free access. But does he really want it? Many of his advisers feel it only will slow down the beginning of war. The president wisely did not mention regime change to the General Assembly, although he has prejudiced his case with many nations by his constant insistence that we will wage war to rid Iraq of its weapons and its leader. The Security Council will not sponsor a war to replace a sovereign nation's government. Such a war is contrary to the charter of the United Nations, which was founded to stop aggressor nations, not to approve selected wars as "preemptive" and therefore not aggressive. COMMENTARY Bush will consult with Congress. Congress will not declare war — it will not be asked to — but when all the words have been spoken, it will give Bush a blank check to go to war in Iraq, starting with, say, $40 billion. From my service in Congress during the Vietnam War, I know it nearly is impossible for a member not to give a president what he asks for when the issue is national security, every government's first duty. Members hesitate to substitute their judgment for the president's. Only when heroes of World War II opposed continuing the war in Vietnam did Congress have the respect and guts to cut off funds to prosecute further that war. While members, might conclude that Saddam has not been shown to have had a role in the events of Sept. 11 or to be actively supporting al-Qaida, they do have conclusive evidence he is warlike, defiant and seeking greater weapons. While they also might believe that war in Iraq, in fact, will lessen our efforts against terrorism, they will not vote against the president who says it will not. No matter how uneasy members are with the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war — when America always has stood for just the opposite — no member can say with confidence that it might not be wise just this one time. Members do not want to set our immensely powerful nation on the march; presidents could grow to like it. And they vividly recall Bush began his administration, pre-Sept. 11, by including Iran and North Korea with Iraq as an „, "axis of evil." And they might ask, "Who's next?" While some members fear war on Iraq will destabilize further the Middle East and the nuclear-armed Asian subcontinent, further fueling Muslim radicalism and possibly raising oil prices enough to cause prolonged, worldwide depression, they will not act on those fears. No matter what their misgivings, members of Congress have no real choice but to accept Bush's contention that Saddam's rule in Iraq puts our people and nation at risk and support the president. Our Constitution gives only the Congress the power to declare war. But over the last 55 years, we have learned presidents can wage great wars without formal declarations. All they need is money from Congress and tacit approval from the people. So it will be with Iraq. Once more we only can pray that our president is wise and just, that the war will be short and decisive and that, in the final analysis, lives will be spared, not taken. Bill Roy, Topeka, Is a retired physlcan and former member of Congress. State of Kansas www.accesskansas.org/ Links to Legislature, officials, agencies. Kansas Legislature www.accesskansas.org/goveroment /state-representatives.html Thomas: Legislative information on the Internet. thomas.loc.gov Congress this week, bills, Congressional Record, historical documents and links. On the Internet U.S. Government Printing Office www.access.gpo.gov The federal government's online version of its official printing office. Contains copies of federal documents. The White House www.whltehouse.gov A virtual tour of the White House, introductions to President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, along with press releases and a site for children. FedStats www.fedstats.gov A collection of statistics from 70 agencies within the federal government. Federal government agencies directory. www.lib.lsu.edu/gov/fedgov.html Listing of federal government Web sites. Congressional biographical directory bioguide.congress.gov Allows a quick search of biographical information for members of Congress.

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