A4 THE HAYS DAILY NEW! OPINION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 28,2006 Ediumi Line-Item veto Shed no tears for hip-hop's whine Congress needs help to reduce out-of-control, pork-barrel spending habit T hat federal spending is excessive is without question. Some items in the budget, such as interest payments long-term commitments already in place, can't be touched. Paying for wars and individual tax cuts can't be touched without a change in administration. But that massive category of pork- barrel spending, which seems to grow substantially every year, can be controlled. That control comes in the form of the "Legislative Line-Item Veto Act" that the House of Representatives passed last week. The act basically gives the president the authority to nix individual congressperson's pet projects that get tacked onto unrelated legislation. Unlike the line-item veto measure that made it into law before the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in 1998, this act sends any item the president vetoes back to Congress for an up-or-down vote. This provision would appear to satisfy the court's concern that too much power was being shifted from Capitol Hill to the Oval Office. Currently, large omnibus bills get decorated like Christmas trees with district- specific projects and tax breaks for narrow interest groups — projects and breaks that more than likely never would get out of committee, let alone be passed by both the Senate and the House and signed into law. Allowing the president to act as a watchdog on some of this pork should result in decreased spending in Congress. It might not win the senators or representatives as much support if they don't bring home some of that bacon, but with a 98-percent re-election rate, that shouldn't be much of an issue. With a word of caution, we recommend that the Senate pass the line-item veto measure. The caution is that the president, regardless of party, does not use it as a partisan weapon and merely veto the other guys' projects. And that Congress does not use its ability to override vetoes as yet another vehicle to increase gridlock in Washington, B.C. It's long overdue for Congress to reduce its share of federal spending. If having another branch of government helps wean it, so be it. American taxpayers deserve better. Editorial by Patrick Lowry plowryedallynews.net 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, cartoonist 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. Fearing the fateful skies I don't have a fear of heights. I have a fear of falling. As long as I am fully encased in something, I could be thousands of miles from this rock and look at the tiny specks below me with no problem. Sitting atop a Ferris wheel or climbing a high ladder are things I try to avoid as much as possible. However, I also am a person who enjoys challenging myself in order to overcome fears. >-..'>•>• , •...-,.'. ~'l I hate singing in front of large , groups, so I force myself into those situations on a regular basis. The same goes for speeches. I stutter, I stammer and basically make a big arse of myself in the process. The perfect opportunity arose the other day for me to confront my fear of falling. The Red Baron, also known as Baron Tayler, and his crew were recently in Hays for a few days. The Baron and his chase pilot, Michael Harwood, are flying power parachutes 3,600 miles from one end of the country to the other to promote the sport and the use of the machines for search and rescue missions. The second day the group was here, Harwood took me up in his power para-. chute for an hour. With all the preparation time that goes into a flight, I had plenty of time to consider what I was about to do. There I was, standing in front of a large go-kart type vehicle with a single parachute laying on the ground behind it, That's when my inner gerbils started racing. Would one parachute carry that machine, Harwood and myself? How many straps do I get to use? Are there any "Oh, crap!" grabbers to hold on to? What if the wind starts tossing us like the Swedish Chef does salad? Then I made sure I had my medical ID necklace on. If I was Catholic, I would have crossed myself. After I was safely secured in the back seat and I donned my helmet, complete with communication device, I was ready for take-off. The giddy-up down the runway was a little rough until the parachute took full flight. After that, it was smooth sailing. We soared at various different elevations. Harwood kept us between 200 and Stacie Sandall COMMENTARY 830 feet so I could enjoy the view. At the highest point, houses looked as small as my thumbnail. • > ; > I'm glad he didn't go any higher be- 1 " cause I saw the most amazing things from the back seat of that skeleton of a mechanism. I hadn't seen jackrabbits since I was a little girl but spotted two below us frolicking around. We gave them a good scare and climbed back up into the sky. They've never seen a hawk that big before, I'm sure. After a while, something moving below us caught my eye, and I told Harwood to look down. Seven or eight mule deer, both bucks and does, were right below us, and they weren't very happy about our presence. Ornery as we were, we had to round them up, too. The cows were less impressed. One or two would look up, but most just ignored us. With all the excitement I completely forgot I was sitting in a flying machine with nothing but three straps holding me in. I spent a good portion of the flight enjoying the patchwork landscape that is rural Kansas. Farm trucks rolled down dirt roads while tractors worked the ground. The engines roared, the propeller whirred and the wind howled under the ear cups, yet it was peaceful. The Baron said it best, I think, when he told me, "People toil and sweat to buy this little piece of ground. Countries go to war over land. But up there, there are no lines. You're free." I was actually disappointed when we had to land. If I am ever asked to go up again, I will say "yes." I'm not sure I completely conquered my fear of falling, but I think this journey helped. Now, if I can just figure out a way to overcome my hydrophobia. Reporter Stacie R. Sandall can be reached at (785) 628-1081, ext. 136, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Would somebody please tell the hip- hop community to stop whining? Go drink some Cristal, buy some bling, pimp some hos or do whatever it is they do for amusement, but please, cease, desist, shut up already about how Oprah Winfrey has hurt their feelings. For those who came in late: Over the last month, a trio of high-profile rappers has leveled criticism at Winfrey for what they feel is her disrespect of their medium. The first blast came from a gentleman who calls himself Ludacris, but whose birth certificate identifies him as Christopher Brian Bridges. He said that when he appeared on Winfrey's show to promote the movie "Crash," in which he co-starred, she treated him dismissively. The complaint was echoed by 50 Cent (born Curtis James Jackson III) who complained to the Associated Press that Winfrey rarely features hip- hop on her talk show. "Oprah's audience is my audience's parents, so I could care less about Oprah or her show," he said, sounding, of course, like a guy who cares way too much. Then Ice Cube (nee O'Shea Jackson) got into the fray, complaining to FHM magazine that he's never been invited to sit on Winfrey's couch. "She's had damn rapists, child molesters and lying authors on her show. And if I'm not a rags-to-riches story for her, who is?" Not that anyone asked me, but I could answer all of this in words of one syllable: boo hoo. Winfrey, though, evidently feeling Leonard Pins Jr. COMMENTARY these gentlemen deserved more response than that, went on a New York radio station and told DJ Ed Lover that rumors of her distaste for hip-hop are exaggerated. "I've got a little 50 on my iPod," she said. Some of us chose to take that revelation with a box of salt. Some of us were left wondering when, how and why liking hip-hop came to be a litmus test for, well... anything. Winfrey went on to explain that her problem with hip-hop is that some of it offends her "sensibilities." She will not, she said, support music that marginalizes women. You think maybe she could have been referring to that rap video where a credit card is swiped through a woman's backside? Or to any of the hundreds of other videos where women are treated as props and accouterments? Or to the ones where they are addressed in terms normally reserved for prostitutes and canines? Here's what amuses me: These guys actually think they have a point. They actually think they've been wronged. And never mind the thousand and one ways their music has wronged us all. The lords of hip-hop made their fortunes and their fame by flipping the middle-finger salute to middle-American alarm and apprehension over their music, its rawness, its explicitness, its violence and its effects. They were outsiders, loud and profanely proud in their rejection of white picket fence mores and norms. Fine. They have every right. But now they're singing the blues because the ultimate arbiter of white picket fence mores and norms wants nothing to do with them? Now they're seeking sympathy because they are denied a stamp of approval from Middle America's main gatekeeper? Cry me a river. I mean, what do they expect? You can't have it both ways. You cannot curse people and expect them to support you, cannot offend them then ask them to welcome you. I'm reminded of what mama always said about respect: You got to give some to get some. Perhaps this is news to the hip-hop nation, populated as it is by people who routinely embrace values neutrality and moral relativism, who often duck responsibility for what they say and how they say it, who frequently refuse to recognize that words have meaning and consequence. But if it's new to them, it's validation to me. For the better part of 20 years, hip-hop's overriding message has been, "Bleep the mainstream." Apparently, these guys are upset that they're being taken at their word. Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald. leonardpltts @ mlndsprlng.com Birth of a symbiotic relationship? At a press conference in Vienna June 21, a questioner asked President George Bush: "Most Europeans consider the United States the biggest threat to global stability Do you have any regrets about that?" Could that man with a British accent actually have been a DNC plant? Of course, I don't believe DNC Chairman Howard Dean really put him up to the question. I don't think Dean was there. He was back in the United States collaborating with his party leaders to write lyrics for the very same songbook. For years, Democrats have charged that Bush has employed an arrogant approach to foreign policy and alienated our European allies. They denounced him for refusing to endorse the Kyoto climate change treaty and the International Criminal Court. They shuddered with horror when he designated Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil." They said he acted unilaterally on Iraq. They said he hasn't been deferential enough toward the United Nations. They said his cowboy approach to the war on terror was creating more terrorists than it was capturing or killing. Former President Bill Clinton snuggled up to the America-bashers at a global conference in Montreal last December, telling them Bush was "flat wrong" that signing on to the Kyoto treaty would damage the U.S. economy An appreciative attendee, Kenya's Emily Ojoo Mas- sawa, chair of the African group of nations at the conference, said, "It's such a pity the United States is still very much unwilling to join the international community, to have a multilateral effort to deal with climate change." Obviously, the Democrats' talking points memo on Bush's "unilateralism" made its way to Kenya. Howard Dean, during his 15 minutes of presidential contender fame in 2003, slammed Bush for his "go-it-alone ap- 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 tp 60Q words. They will be edited for length and clarity. They must be signed and In- COMMENTARY proach to every problem," his "radical unilateralism" and his "brash boastfulness." Bush, said Dean, has "created a new rallying cry for terrorist recruits." As if auditioning for a role as questioner in the 2006 press conference in Vienna, Dean said, "We find ourselves, too often, isolated and resented." The Bush administration, said Dean, "seem[s] to believe that nothing can be gained fronvworking with nations that have stood by our side as allies for generations." Demonstrating his softness on American sovereignty, Dean added that he "would not have hesitated" to attack Iraq "had the United Nations given us permission and asked us to be a part of a multilateral force." (Not that we're keeping track, of course, but this same Howard Dean had urged Clinton to enter the war in Bosnia in 1995, saying, "the efforts of the United Nations and NATO in Bosnia are a complete failure. We must take unilateral action.") But I digress. Early in 2002, Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Bush's "axis of evil" designation was a "big mistake" and was alienating our allies. Albright said Bush's conduct of foreign policy was causing many in the international community to believe the United States had "lost [its] mind." Sound familiar? Albright criticized the "axis of evil" designation as a simplistic, "cookie-cutter approach. Those three countries, specifically, are quite different from each other." But as events are shaping up, Bush's grouping of the three rogue na- ' tions doesn't look quite so incongruous JniMor Forum policy elude 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 Ihe. edjtorial page poems, consumer complaints, business testimonials or f anymore. I'm sure you've read by now that Saddam Hussein really did have WMD. Moreover, now that we've deposed Sad- dam Hussein, Iran and North Korea are looking more alike every day, especially in their belligerence toward the United States. I wonder if liberals would mind if we redesignated North Korea and Iraq as twin monsters? They each are run by terrorists and sympathetic to other terrorists who might do their bidding against America. They are each hell-bent on developing WMD, including nuclear weapons and delivery systems. They have each demanded talks with the United States alone. But these monsters might be offended if we call them monsters. So let's not agitate them. Let's not make the monsters mad. Let's quit making the whole world mad. We must do something to reverse our falling poll numbers in Europe. And we must negotiate with each of the monsters alone, excluding European countries from the talks. (Sorry, I know that last line sounds off-script from those who have been insisting on multilateralism and the inclusion of Europe. But that is, indeed, what many Democrats have been demanding.) Perhaps the reason these monsters want to negotiate with just America is simply to divide (us from Europe) and conquer (discredit us). By peeling us off from Europe, they can blame any breakdowns in the respective negotiations on the evil United States. That strategy makes perfect sense from the monsters' perspective. But why in the world would Democrats advocate such a self-destructive approach for America? Don't ask me. Try the guy with the British accent. He would probably have better insight on the matter. David Llmbaugh Is an author and political commentator. group letters. Mail them to Reader Forum, The Hays Daily News, 507 Main, Haye K8 67601 .You also can send them by e-mail at readerforumectaUynfWf.n*t. Please include an address and daytime telephone number.
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