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Obamacare’s gift to the GOP
Written by Kathleen Parker   
Friday, November 15, 2013 9:51 PM

WASHINGTON — In spite of everything — the GOP’s internal scrimmages, the government shutdown, the party’s transparent attempts to derail Obamacare — Republicans keep getting second chances.
The question is, can they handle prosperity? Do they even know what to do with it?
With the myriad problems besieging Obamacare, from the non-rollout to the minuscule number of enrollees in the health insurance exchanges, this is no time for gloating. Rather, it is time for Republicans to get very, very busy with their own ideas for across-the-board reforms.
The party of “no” must become the party of “we can, too!” This doesn’t mean sacrificing core principles, though some could use a little shelf time. It does mean picking battles Republicans can win and avoiding skirmishes that further alienate centrists and minorities.
Forget building a larger tent, which increasingly looks like a pup for two white guys and a flashlight. Ditch the tent and build a coliseum. Install Doric columns, if you like, and grab an obelisk on your way to redemption. At no extra cost, here’s an inscription for the keystone: Waste not, want less. Waste not this moment; want less than perfection and aim for the possible.
This was always House Speaker John Boehner’s battle plan, but he finally concluded that leading his conference where it wanted to go was preferable to inciting a civil war. In a recent interview, Boehner told me he thinks at least some of the better-death-than-compromise caucus had come around to understanding that attaching Obamacare to the continuing resolution, resulting in the government shutdown, was the wrong tactic.
Even so, “at least some” may not be enough. And who knows what Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has up his sleeve as new deadlines loom for budget and debt-ceiling negotiations early next year?
In the meantime, House and Senate Republicans have a small window, while Obamacare is hugging the shoals, to show why their ideas are best. Americans frustrated with Congress and disappointed by the president are primed for someone to pick up the bullhorn and say, “We hear you.”
It’s too bad “compassionate conservatism” has become tarnished because compassion is what is needed in today’s GOP playbook: Compassion for the hungry whose food stamps House Republicans excised from the farm bill; compassion for 11 million immigrants who are prisoners in illegal limbo; compassion for gays, lesbians and others seeking protection against workplace discrimination.
These are not such difficult choices in the scheme of things. How to guarantee that Iran can’t weaponize its nuclear capability? That’s tough. Not so tough: Helping the poor feed their families, finding a path for citizenship along with other immigration reforms, extending equal protections to individuals whose sexual orientation should not be a firing offense.
The Senate also has passed a comprehensive immigration bill with the help of 14 Republicans that contains a relatively strenuous path to citizenship that includes paying back taxes and fines, and getting in line behind others seeking citizenship. Hardly a giveaway. Even so, some Republicans aren’t on board with the path to citizenship. Although Boehner told me he hopes to get an immigration bill to the House floor next year, others say 2014’s midterm elections make this unlikely.
Phooey.
What’s really not likely to happen is a Republican White House — ever — without Latino voters. There’s only so much Republicans can accomplish when they control only half of one-third of government. Consider that the biggest states with the largest concentrations of Hispanics — Florida, California, Texas and New York — also convey 151 of the 270 electoral votes needed to be elected president.
Appealing to Latinos doesn’t mean Republicans have to pander or bow to President Obama’s wishes. It means doing the right thing. Even though a slim majority of Americans (53 percent) think most immigrants here illegally should be deported, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online survey last February, a more recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 65 percent favor a path to citizenship if it requires essentially what the Senate bill proposes.
The draconian option of deportation would be an unlovely sight. Not only would families be torn asunder, but America’s crops would wither on the vine, as they did in Alabama after that state’s crackdown prompted a sudden, mass exodus. Yet again, unyielding principle prevailed over common sense and survival.
Time is of the essence if Republicans hope to refresh their image in the public square. Picking battles wisely, acting compassionately, creating rather than negating is the only way forward. Jar the hardwoods, campers, there’s daylight in the swamp.
Kathleen Parker’s email address is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 
On the Other Hand - Count your blessings every day
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Saturday, November 09, 2013 9:00 PM | Updated ( Friday, November 08, 2013 9:41 PM )

If you’ve been on Facebook the last couple of days, you’ve seen the posts of what people are thankful for. During the month of November, you are supposed to say something you are thankful for each day, not just on Thanksgiving. I’m three days behind so I better get busy and catch up.

Day 1: I am thankful for my wonderful husband. He drives me mad, makes me laugh, makes me smile and makes it worth coming home every day after work. We are enjoying each other’s company and working on some small improvements around the house. It feels good.

 

 
Helping ensure Ohio's returning troops find work
Written by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown   
Saturday, November 09, 2013 9:00 PM

BY U.S. SENATOR

SHERROD BROWN

 

Ohio’s heroes who fought for our country shouldn’t have to fight for a job when they return home. Unfortunately, many do. And it’s not right.

Recently, at the SuperJobs Center in Cincinnati, I met Marianne Linardos, a Hamilton native and a Navy veteran who struggled to find full-time employment after returning from serving our nation in the military. Following eight years of unsuccessful job searching, Linardos took things into her own hands — quite literally. She made herself a sign that read, “Hire Me” and walked through the streets of her hometown, with the hopes that a potential employer would see the sign and offer her an opportunity to prove that the skills she developed while serving could be translated into a civilian job.

 
A sorry state of affairs
Written by Kathleen Parker   
Saturday, November 09, 2013 9:00 PM

WASHINGTON — President Obama is no lip-biting, tear-streaking, chin-trembling apologist.

When he said he was sorry for the health care mess-up in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, he performed the mea culpa as well as — if not better than — anyone in recent history. With Trumanesque resolve, he may as well have said, “The devalued dollar stops here.”

He’s sorry that some people have been inconvenienced by HealthCare.gov’s computer disaster. He’s sorry that some people have lost the policies he promised they could keep. He’s sorry that the Affordable Care Act wasn’t adequately “crafted.”

 
Letter to the Editor
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Sunday, November 03, 2013 8:00 PM | Updated ( Friday, November 01, 2013 8:21 PM )

DEAR EDITOR:

November is COPD awareness month. COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. It is marked by a chronic cough producing increasing amounts of phlegm, and gradually worsening shortness of breath. Unfortunately, the symptoms of COPD do not appear until significant lung damage has been done, at which point the damage cannot be fixed. Nine out of 10 people who have COPD are currently or have been smokers. The single most effective way to prevent COPD is to quit, or, better yet, never start smoking. Working in pulmonary rehab for 14 years has exposed me to some of the worse cases of COPD in the area. Watching the fun-loving, big-hearted people ever so slowly file into the room for exercise was heart-breaking. If I had a dime for every time one of them told me “I wish that I had never started smoking. I would be a rich woman.” Decades ago when these patients were teenagers, they were much like the teenagers today. They just wanted to “try it” or they would “quit when I get older.” What they don’t realize at the tender age of 16 is just how addictive the tobacco companies make their products. Their best customers are dying off at the rate of 443,000 per year.

Almost everyone in the community can play a part in decreasing the devastating effects of this debilitating disease. Tobacco users can go to www.smokefree.gov or call 1-800-quit-now to get support for quitting. Parents can make their homes and vehicles completely smoke-free and make it explicitly clear to their children that they have a zero-tolerance policy for tobacco use. Retailers can be sure to check photo ID of any customer purchasing tobacco products who looks 26 years old or younger and not sell a tobacco product to anyone under the age of 18. It’s the law and there are ramifications for anyone breaking it. Employers can establish and enforce no-tobacco-use policies during work hours. Health care providers can ask every patient at every visit if they use any tobacco products and strongly encourage them to quit and give them the resources to do it. Community leaders can enact smoke-free outdoor public spaces in parks and outdoor fairs/festivals and increase the tax on any tobacco product. Seventy-three percent of current smokers want to quit, so let’s make it easier for them!

The Pulmonary and Sleep Center at 528 West Market St. in Lima will offer a Free Lung Screening from 1-5 p.m. on Nov. 15. We will do a simple spirometry test and you can also have a finger stick done to test for Alpha 1- antitrypsin deficiency (ATT), an inherited disorder that results in lung damage and shortness of breath. The screenings are free, however, we would like to get a count of how many people may be coming. RSVP to 419-221-5035.

Sincerely,

Nancy Bonifas, RN, BSN

Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist

Allen County Tobacco Free Coalition

 
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