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My Take on the News
Thank goodness common sense prevailed
Lonnie Barham

PILGRIM MURAL: It's no wonder public school education in Rhode Island is suffering so. When Warwick’s Pilgrim High School administrators felt it necessary to actually paint over a student-artist's work because it depicted a man-woman marriage and might "offend" people with alternative lifestyles, our educational system is doomed. What happened to promoting intellectual exploration? What happened to supporting artistic discretion and creativity? What happened to school administrators' courage and their willingness to stand up for what's right for their students' education? Certainly, alternative lifestyles such as gay marriage should not be frowned upon. However, when we become so fearful of offending those with such lifestyles that we become ashamed of the majority lifestyle, then our entire society suffers – including those with alternative lifestyles. Thank goodness Superintendent Horoschak and central administrators exercised common sense and overruled Pilgrim administrators. Too bad it was after the young artist had gone through the agony of improper censorship.

CICILLINE'S NON-APOLOGY: With the opportunity thrust upon him by a reporter, Congressman David Cicilline still refused to apologize for telling voters in 2010 that Providence was in "excellent" financial condition. His lame response was, "I should not have used that word." He then said, "I did not at any time attempt to mislead or deceive anyone." Certainly this does not constitute an apology; but it does tell voters something very useful – Cicilline is either an inveterate liar or he is a financial idiot. If he knew of the huge deficit facing Providence in 2010 (highly likely since he refused to allow his own auditor access to financial records), then he is an outright liar. If he didn't know, when evidence was so abundant, then he is a financial idiot. In either case, he should never again enjoy the public's trust in an elected office.

TIME TO “GO DUTCH": The Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) has rejected the town of South Kingstown's proposal to build a 200-foot retaining wall to protect Matunuck Beach Road, the only access to most of Matunuck. CRMC agreed with Save the Bay and other environmental groups that objected to "armoring" the shoreline. It's a good thing the CRMC and green activist groups didn't exist in the Netherlands during the past few centuries as the Dutch not only erected structures to stop the sea from encroaching on their land; they actively recovered land already taken by the sea. Without these measures, the Netherlands would now be half its size. No one seems to think the Dutch "destroyed" their ocean shoreline. Perhaps environmental protectionism has gone too far in this country – especially in times of such economic weakness. Maybe it's time to "go Dutch" for awhile.

DEMOCRATS' IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION: When people can't resist immediate gratification and just have to make delayable purchases or repairs using credit, they worsen their financial condition. If they are making lots of money and getting frequent raises, such immediate gratification might be justified. But if they are broke and have no increased income on the horizon, it's foolhardy. That's exactly what our congressional delegation, all Democrats, wants Congress to do by passing a national transportation bill without House Republican amendments. They want approval of immediate "credit card" expenditures for delayable projects that will push our deficit and our economy further into a hole. Sure, it's politically expedient in an election year for Democrats to "give" the states borrowed money to fix roads and bridges whose repair can wait a couple of years. But the Republicans are right that the bill is just too expensive and should be downsized until our country is in more stable financial condition, unless Democrats can find a way to pay for it without using the nation's credit card.

PINK SLIME AND VEGETARIANS: If anyone was considering becoming a vegetarian, the "pink slime" controversy surely pushed them over to the bright side. Though the vast benefits of a vegetarian diet should alone justify switching, the revelation that many beef products are supplemented with the additive called pink slime – salvaged beef scraps that are simmered at low heat, spun to remove fat, and sprayed with ammonia to kill bacteria – provides additional justification to push health-conscious folks and food aesthetes into the fold of the millions of Americans who enjoy great food and healthy lives without eating animal flesh. For vegetarians, every little bit of "dead animals as food" controversy helps, and the pink slime issue is a bonanza!

NORTH KOREA’S EXTORTION: What’s wrong with this picture? The U.S. provides close to $2 billion in food aid to North Korea over the past dozen years while the country full of starving people devotes $1 billion to building a rocket in violation of U.N. resolutions, a rocket that failed spectacularly last week. President Obama, acknowledging his diplomatic failure, has again suspended food shipments – but we all know this won’t last long. We’ve suspended such shipments in the past only to resume them upon an empty promise by the despotic North Korean leadership. We will surely once again relent to this extortion and our taxpayers will again foot the bill. And, most likely, several North Korean rocket scientists and engineers will be executed for the rocket’s embarrassing failure.


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