MORNING BUZZ: Scouts, Politics and Diplomas

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Good Morning!

Lots to talk about this morning so let’s get to it…


If the Boy Scouts of America were a Major League Pitcher…they’d call a balk on this move.  The Scout’s Leadership Council decided to wait on a decision to open its membership and volunteer leadership positions too Gays and Lesbians.

I thought all of the perspectives in our stories were interesting.  The Iowa Council says the National Organization needs more time to digest feedback.  The Local Troop wrote the National Council to voice support for lifting a ban on Gays and Lesbians.  I also thought Sen Grassley’s answer to the question was interesting.  He supports local control of the question and says whatever the Scouts decide, he will still give the organization money.  It’s hard to disagree with Iowan and Eagle Scout Zach Walls who pointed out that the Scouts risk being irrelevant to an entire generation if it makes the wrong decision here.  I can see a lot of the parents I know passing on Scouting for their kids.

Politics 1

I am having a hard time getting worked up about where Sen Tom Harkin’s papers go.  This seems like inside baseball and I am not sure I am seeing the entire field.  On the one hand I didn’t hear Iowa State putting any restrictions on how the papers were used.  I heard  ISU saying, if you’re going to do research, coordinate with other Campus organizations.  It would seem to make sense.  If the Harkin Institute comes up with a conclusion contrary to research done at another ISU Institute, who do you believe?

If Sen Harkin isn’t comfortable working within the rules other Institutes use…he can take his papers elsewhere.  No big deal.  The Politics behind this deal may be more complicated but I don’t see it.

Politics 2

Congress is going to hear more about the Administrations use of drones to kill terrorist suspects overseas.  It comes after the Administrations legal justification for killing American citizens in those overseas attacks came out.  We also learned about a base just for drones in Saudi Arabia.

Almost immediately, cities started passing ordinances banning drones from flying overhead.  Just a question.  Do you really think the F-16’s couldn’t be (or weren’t already) fitted with cameras? You’re worried about drones overhead but not the F-16’s?  This is where I think some people make a break for it and go to crazytown.

We should all scrutinize any use of drones in the United States.  We should all be concerned anytime the Government considers killing one of its own citizens…terrorist or not.  But let me ask you this: If one of these guys raised an M-16 at a US Marine in front of  an Embassy, would the Marine be justified in killing him?     They’re not on a battlefield.  It’s not clear if this person is a soldier.  The Marine doesn’t know if we’re at war with him. Do the rules of war even apply?  The age of terrorism post-9/11 puts the world into uncharted territory.  Acts of inhumanity so terrible we never even considered them have been committed.  While you can’t lower yourself to the terrorist’s level, the fact that they don’t fly a flag or guard territory makes it more difficult to define them.

Here’s another scenario to consider: If the U-S pulled every one if its soldiers out of foreign bases…totally abandoned our foreign services and retreated to our own borders…how long do you think it would take for these groups to come over and attack the U-S?  They don’t want our land, they don’t want our money.  They want us dead.  How can we live in that new reality without at least considering changing the way we operate, defend ourselves, and in some cases act preemptively?  I am asking honestly.

I am aware of the terrible consequences of these strikes.  The human cost to innocent people has been some 300 lives if the reporting can be trusted.  That doesn’t even get into the debate over whether we should simply be capturing these US Citizens and bringing them back to stand for treason.  If any member of a US Navy Seal team died in that operation, how many of you would complain?

We have a right and a responsibility to question our leaders when our nation is presented with these new and complex moral and strategic questions.  I just hope everyone will consider the realities of the world as it is, not as we’d like it to be.


Our lawmakers at the Statehouse get a PhD in dragging their feet.  The Governor has identified School reform as a priority.  Republicans and Democrats have recognized the need in the past.  Now the Governor has put forward a comprehensive plan.  It seems like at every turn we are hearing contrarian voices.

A lot of people agree teachers are underpaid and that if we paid new teachers more, we might see a broader talent pool enter the profession.  There is broad agreement on the need to update the way we teach kids. They have to deal with the challenges of their century, instead of being saddled by the outdated strategies of ours.

Yet at each hearing there’s someone.  Teacher pay?  Well a $6000 raise wouldn’t really make a difference.  Raise standards so students can earn a specific diploma?  Well that might make the kids who don’t get one feel bad.

These are going to be hard reforms.  Some of them may not work.  Along the way we will find new success we hadn’t even considered.  Just saying “no” isn’t doing students any good.  How about tackling these reforms and then figuring out how much money it’s going to cost.  Fund education to the levels it needs to succeed.  Or put up a comprehensive plan that your party agrees with… highlight the ways the plan (not just your view on individual issues) are different from or better than the Governor’s plan.  Just saying No is not a plan.

I hope you ask and answer some of these questions for yourself.  If you disagree…feel free to comment.  If you agree, or have something to add we always love hearing from you.

I hope you have a good day.