** Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) would like to do something about the backlog of paperwork stalling veterans’ benefits, and has signed onto the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act (S.2091) also sponsored by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), David Vitter (R-LA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Jerry Moran (R-KS). Details of the bill can be found at Senator Casey’s web page. Just a thought — but before we send “boots on the ground” into another armed conflict it might be advisable to consider the requirements necessary to provide services to the veterans of that conflict BEFORE leaping into the fray? Do we really value the service of our members of the Armed Forces?
** Oh, spare me the rhetorical flourishes! “Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the Bureau of Land Management over the agency’s roundup of his cattle will go down in history as a high-profile clash of Old West values with today’s federal regulations on the use of public lands and natural resources.” [LVRJ] Or, might we opine that the squabble will be added to the list of Cranky Old Welfare Queens who want to graze their privately owned cattle on public land — at public expense? And, what, pray tell, is an “Old West value?” Before contributing a Hollywood stereotypical opinion on the matter — please note that the original ‘cowboys’ were vaqueros, Mexican, Spanish speaking cattle hands. As for land use issues — the introduction of barbed wire restricting open range was a particular sore point [LIOW] exacerbating the trouble between farming and ranching interests. Or, is Bundy harkening back to the Good Old Days when his hands could apply wire cutters to fencing around crop lands, decimating the neighbor’s alfalfa crops? Was THAT an old west value?
** The real face of poverty in America? Recommended reading: Clarence Page’s contribution on the subject, reprinted in the Las Vegas Sun. While the Republicans may be using “Urban” as a code word for African American, and “welfare” takes on a darker hue, the numbers are revealing — of those participating in the WIC nutrition program 10.3% are Native American, 2.72% are Asian, 19.3% are African American, and 60.94% are White. [USDA]
Families receiving TANF aid are 31.8% White, 31.9% African American, and 30% Hispanic ethnicity. [HHS]
Do we value the lives of our neighbors — or just a little more or less so depending on the pigmentation?