Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents Day Reminds Us of the Powerful Legacy of Leadership

Politics will always stir vigorous debate and, thankfully, in America we are free to disagree. Fair or not, when all is said and done at the end of every four years, the person in the White House will be remembered favorably or not in the history of public opinion. Scrutiny comes with the territory, but so does respect for the office of the president.

As we celebrate Presidents Day today, we are reminded of two of our nation’s most revered heads of state: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Besides sharing the same birth month of February, both men are instantly – and rightfully – mentioned when talk turns to our nation’s greatest presidents.

Washington, of course, was a brilliant military mind who won our independence from Great Britain and later presided over the writing of the Constitution, which still represents the very core of America’s societal ideals. Lincoln guided us through the darkness of the Civil War with his prevailing voice of human liberty, which culminated with the freeing of the slaves – a feat that still stands as one of our country’s proudest and most defining moments.

The law of averages coupled with infinite other political and economic influences dictates that some presidents will overcome insurmountable odds while others will maintain the status quo or worse. They can’t all be Washington or Lincoln, but the office they hold deserves our respect.

On Presidents Day, let’s keep in mind the proud history of the White House. Its occupant may not always be to our liking, but the office's respect got us where we are. And where we are is a blessing that is still the envy of the rest of the world.

Friday, February 17, 2012

School Lunch Food Fight Tramples Parents Rights in North Carolina

A food fight in a North Carolina elementary school is leaving egg on the face of government and, quite frankly, it should.

In a gross case of government overstepping its bounds, a North Carolina preschooler was recently told her home-packed lunch was lacking in nutritional value and therefore was offered school-served chicken nuggets to compensate for the deficiency.

According to this story, the offending lunch was a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips. The story claims a school worker deemed the lunch not to be equivalent with USDA nutritional meal patterns and therefore felt obligated to make up the perceived deficiency.

As far as I’m concerned, parents have every right under the sun to pack their child’s lunch as they see fit. Furthermore, I can think of far worse lunches than a turkey and cheese sandwich. When government overreach extends into little Johnny’s lunchbox, something is egregiously wrong , and is symptomatic of a wrongheaded philosophy.

In Texas, school-served meals exceed federal nutrition standards. If parents choose to have their children eat food from the school cafeteria, they can do so knowing their kids are getting a good meal. If they chose instead to feed their child a home-packed lunch, they darn sure can do it without worrying about state government playing food police.

You know something serious is wrong when the federal government’s reach has extended so far that local governments are taking knee-jerk reactions like this simply to avoid a federal violation notice. This is yet another consequence of a federal government that is growing daily at an out-of-control pace that threatens the liberties upon which the United States of America was founded.  Not in my backyard!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Texan Elected Vice President of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

As the No.1 cattle-producing state in the nation, it’s only fitting that Texas would be home to the new vice president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

Bob McCan, a lifelong cattleman and past president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA), was recently elected to his new post at the annual NCBA meeting in Nashville, Tenn. A graduate of Texas A&M University, McCan is a former TSCRA director and a longtime ranch manager who oversees cattle operations in Victoria, Refugio and Bee counties.

McCan’s cattle industry expertise will be a tremendous asset to Texas and U.S. beef producers as they continue to feed our domestic population while also expanding to global markets. He also is uniquely qualified to lead the NCBA’s 230,000 total members as they continue their mission of advancing the economic, political and social interests of the U.S. cattle business.

Congratulations, Bob. Your well-deserved achievement and record of leadership success will have a profound impact on the Texas economy, food-safety standards and the beef industry here and abroad.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hunting for the Truth

Extreme animal activists can shout all they want, but misguided good intentions are still, well, off-target.

In the latest round of emotional bluster going toe-to-toe with the truth, a controversial ruling by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service aims to outlaw the hunting of endangered African antelopes that likely would face extinction if not for the Texas ranchers, breeders and, yes, hunters who preserve their populations and help them thrive.

Under the influence of animal activists, the USFWS would overturn a ruling that currently allows for the hunting of these animals on Texas wildlife game preserves. Fortunately, Rep. John R. Carter is speaking out against such action.

The simple fact is these animals are being saved from extinction by the people who perpetuate and respect their existence. Without the demand brought forth by ranchers and hunters, these antelopes would one day live only in museums alongside the long-doomed dinosaurs.

An animal population often does not exist if it is not nurtured and managed. Despite this reality, it seems extreme activists would rather have these majestic animals simply disappear. 

As an animal-caregiver for most of my life, I too would like to believe that a love for animals alone is enough to drive the goodwill of individuals to facilitate the sustainment of a species. But lesson after lesson has taught us that the expense of personal resources on a large scale is best driven by and requires the incentive of financial gain to support that expense.

I know some animal rights activists cringe at the thought of animal care giving resulting in individual financial gain, but realities are realities. And if someone gains financially from improving the welfare of the animal species, haven’t both interests been satisfied?

Somewhere in this shouting match is a lesson in moderation. Let’s hope Rep. Carter’s voice of reason can restore order. 

If you missed the ’60 Minutes’ story on this topic, here is a link to the story;housing.