You Call It Cynical, I Call It Pragmatic

by Curt Kovener 

Some recent news items worthy of observation:

The federal sequestration-that’s the penalty we all must pay for our elected obtuse, dysfunctional congress not being able to compromise to pass a budget bill- is being felt but not in all circles.

We all know that the local senior center is open only three days a weeks due to federal cuts for seniors. Now Head Start, a nutritional and educational program for pre-school age youngsters is being curtailed because of federal cuts in funding.

But did you know that the mandatory 10% across the board cuts to federally paid air traffic controllers was quickly and quietly lifted and funded? That’s because our federal elected officials found out that they would be faced with delays in flights and possibly not being able to fly back home from Washington. So since the sequestration impacted them, there was quiet compromise to approve funding to their flights so they could get back home to tell constituents how they were fighting the growing government menace.

By the way, the individual office budgets of those elected to congress pay for those flights back home-and to Washington as well. Those non-sequestered budgets are funded by the federal dollars you and I pay.

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Vouchers for charter schools provide mobility between public schools and private schools. Much of the hurrah about vouchers is that it provides parents options for educating their children. Some parents are opting to withdraw their child from public school and place them in a private or religion based schools paid for by public tax dollars.

If a parent wants soccer for Johnny, or marching band for Susie or a tea totaling Baptist family wants send their youngster to a Lutheran school where off campus fundraisers include beer, that’s parental choice.

But if folks of the Islamic faith in Indiana want to start an Muslim school to teach their religion to their children-a school that accepts state supported vouchers-they too should be free to do so. Though I don’t think that is what the voucher advocates intended. If such a Muslim school and voucher support for it makes you uncomfortable, I suggest you examine your view of religious freedom. Weren’t the advocates of school vouchers pushing their ideal because it provided choice for everyone? Or was it just choice for them and their religion that they meant?

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We were taught that God created us all in His image. But, it seems, it is man, who thinks he can decide who the mistakes are.

Cummins Inc. is partnering in a coalition of Indiana businesses and organizations to oppose a state constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage. The Columbus-based engine maker said that the amendment would harm Cummins employees and the company’s efforts to attract and retain the most talented people. Indiana drug maker Eli Lilly and Co. is also a part of the coalition opposing the amendment.

Two of the state’s largest employers, one right here in Jackson County, are saying the amendment would be a job-killer keeping the best and the brightest from not considering Indiana.

In a news release, Cummins Chief Administrative Officer Marya Rose said, “We feel strongly that this amendment will enshrine inequality into the Indiana Constitution and negatively impact the thousands of Cummins employees who live and work in Indiana as well as harm our efforts to retain and attract the best talent here.”

If state legislators pass the bill for the second time, voters would determine the amendment’s fate in a referendum in the fall 2014 election.

The group, Freedom Indiana, said that the amendment is unnecessary because state law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Columbus native whose brother is an executive at the Seymour Cummins plant, has said he supports the amendment. After a June U.S. Supreme Court decision on marriage, Pence said in a statement, “I believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman and is a unique institution worth defending in our state and nation.”

Sounds like conservative leaders will be between a rock and a very hard spot whether to vote their religious convictions and risk killing jobs in the Hoosier state.