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Who decides who's hungry
Written by Information submitted   
Thursday, September 26, 2013 12:00 AM

By Abby J. Leibman

 

The Oct. 1 deadline is approaching for Congress to finish work on what is commonly called the “Farm Bill.” However, for millions of Americans, it’s actually the “Food Bill” — the difference between being able to put groceries on the table and going hungry.

And lawmakers seem content to let those folks go without enough food. The Senate has tentatively approved a $4-billion reduction in funding for food stamps — formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This month, the House passed a bill that slashes 10 times as much. Both courses of action are unconscionable.

Rather than shredding the food stamp program, Congress must bolster its funding. That’s the only way to ensure that all Americans, including the 50 million who struggle to get enough to eat, can enjoy what should be a right in this country - freedom from hunger.

For 40 years, food stamps have been an integral part of the federal Farm Bill. SNAP’s inclusion represents a frank acknowledgment that too many Americans go hungry in spite of the huge bounty our farms produce.

But in July, for the first time, the House of Representatives turned its back on those in need and stripped food stamps entirely from the bill.

The chamber’s leaders promised to deal with SNAP separately. But they don’t mean to do any favors for the nearly 47 million Americans who receive critical assistance from SNAP.

The House’s recent approval of $40 billion in cuts to food stamps is double the $20 billion reduction it sought back in June.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed both proposals: $20 billion worth of cuts would kick nearly two million Americans out of SNAP; the newly approved cut of $40 billion will turn away as many as six million.

Defenders of the cuts claim that they are trying to preserve the program for “families who truly need help.”

But there are many more folks who “truly need help” than SNAP presently reaches. Indeed, we should be doing more to eliminate hunger in America — not less.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, nearly 50 million Americans live in “food-insecure households, “unable to afford sufficient food for themselves and their families. These households include more than 16 million children.

Worse, the food insecurity crisis is growing. From 2007 through 2011, the number of people unable to afford adequate food increased by more than 10 million. Those living in food insecurity now represent the highest share of the population since the agency began tracking in 1995.

In the wealthiest country in the world, such widespread hunger is unacceptable.

It was also unacceptable more than 70 years ago, when President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his historic “Four Freedoms” address to Congress, asserting that Americans had a right to “freedom from want.” He understood that a lack of access to basic nutrition undermines a person’s ability to enjoy other fundamental rights.

It’s a scandal that our lawmakers have done so little since then to make good on that promise of “freedom from want.”

The right to food was included in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was ratified in 1948. More than 140 countries have approved an international agreement directing states to enshrine this right into law. Many have amended their constitutions to acknowledge their citizens’ right to food, including India, the world’s largest democracy, and South Africa.

Yet U.S. leaders have gone the other way - stubbornly refusing to address growing hunger in the United States.

No country is better equipped to guarantee its citizens a right to food than the United States. What’s needed now is not the means but the political will to ensure that all Americans have enough to eat.

Unfortunately, the uncertain fate of food stamps on Capitol Hill casts grave doubt on whether our leaders possess that will.

Lawmakers must understand how much is at stake. More than one in seven Americans deals with hunger every day. Congress must spare SNAP from any cuts and protect the millions of low income Americans - children, seniors, military families, working poor, and unemployed - who are in desperate need of a just “Food Bill.”

 

Abby J. Leibman is the president and chief executive officer of Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger (www.mazon.org).

 
Working toward American energy independence
Written by U.S. Senator Rob Portman   
Saturday, September 21, 2013 12:23 AM

BY U.S. SENATOR

ROB PORTMAN

 

This week, the United States Senate began to debate a bill I introduced called the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. This bill—the first major piece of energy legislation to come to the Senate floor in six years—is the next step in the all-of-the-above energy strategy we need to achieve energy independence.

We were reminded again over the past few weeks why that energy independence is so important. The Middle East, where much of our energy comes from, is often a volatile and unstable region. Since our economy depends on cheap, reliable sources of energy, disruptions in places like Syria have consequences far beyond their borders, often leading directly to an increase in the price of oil, with effects throughout markets of every kind.

We should not be held hostage to events happening a world away. Instead, we should find ways to produce more energy here at home, while practicing good stewardship of the resources we have. For instance, I have been a vocal proponent of domestic production. Technology has opened new areas to exploration, including the Marcellus and Utica Shale in Northeast and Eastern Ohio, which we should support. And I have advocated for common-sense, environmentally sound projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline. But I also believe there is room to improve in the area of energy efficiency.

That’s where the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (ESIC) comes in. By encouraging smart, common-sense techniques that will not increase federal spending, we can help manufacturers to cut costs and conserve energy while also forcing the largest energy user in the world—the United States federal government—to tighten its belt and save taxpayer dollars.

The proposals contained in this bill are common-sense reforms that we’ve needed for a long time. ESIC doesn’t contain any mandates on the private sector. In fact, many of its proposals come as a direct result of conversations with people in the private sector about how we can help them become more energy efficient while also saving money that they can then reinvest in their businesses and communities.

This legislation helps manufacturers. It reforms the Advanced Manufacturing Office by providing clear guidance on its responsibilities, one of which is to help manufactures develop energy saving technology for their businesses. It instructs the Department of Energy to assist with onsite efficiency assessments for manufacturers. It facilitates the already existing efforts of companies around the country to implement cost-saving energy efficiency policies by streamlining the way government agencies in this arena work together. And it increases partnerships with national laboratories and energy service and technology providers to leverage private sector expertise towards energy efficiency goals.

This legislation also establishes university-based Building Training and Assessment Centers, modeled after existing Industrial Assessment Centers located around the country, including one in Dayton, Ohio. These centers will train the next generation of workers in energy-efficient commercial building design and operation. Not only will these programs save resources, but they will help provide our students and unemployed workers with the skills they need to compete in the growing energy field.

This legislation will save taxpayers money. It makes the largest energy user in the world—the United States federal government—practice what it preaches by requiring it to adopt energy saving techniques that make its operations more efficient and less wasteful. This bill directs DOE to issue recommendations that employ energy efficiency on everything from computer hardware to operation and maintenance processes, energy efficiency software, and power management tools. It also takes the common-sense step of allowing the General Services Administration to update building designs to meet efficiency standards that have been developed since those designs were finalized. The government has been looking for places to tighten its belt; energy efficiency is a good place to start.

Energy legislation can sometimes be controversial, as it can include provisions that hurt employers and restrict economic growth. This energy bill is different. This is a bill that helps to create jobs, not destroy them. It is a bill that is supported by more than 260 businesses, associations and advocacy groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the Sierra Club, the Alliance to Save Energy, and the United States Chamber of Commerce. According to a recent study of our legislation, by 2030, ESIC will save consumers $13.7 billion a year in reduced energy costs by 2030.

All this adds up to a piece of legislation that Americans across the spectrum can support. This bill makes good environmental sense. It makes good energy sense. And it makes good economic sense, too.

I look forward to seeing it become law.

 
On the Other Hand - There's still time
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Saturday, September 21, 2013 12:22 AM

A little rain can’t keep Delphos down. It rained before and during the Toast on Thursday and still, the Social Tent was packed, the illusionist was great and fun was had by all.

The sun rose on Friday and the day was beautiful until about 3 p.m. when the clouds and rain came. Boo, I say.

Even though the Friday’s main event, the Battle of Businesses, was postponed to 6 p.m. today, the Social Tent was hoppin’ in the evening and the band was great.

Today’s schedule is packed with activities for all ages, including a pancake and sausage breakfast, bingo, the sidewalk art contest, Basket Bingo, the bake sale and art show at the bank, the ArtFest exhibit, the pet parade (one of my personal favorites), kiddie tractor pull, water ball, disc golf, tractor show, cruise-in and more. Whew! That’s a lot.

I usually take a breather Saturday while I gear up for Sunday’s events: the 5-K walk/run, parade and the Big Ticket Drawing.

Canal Days is a lot more than what you can do. It’s also about who you see. It’s great to find old friends and reminisce while enjoying a carnival atmosphere. New friends are also a possibility.

However it turns out, supporting Canal Days is supporting your community. Checks to various groups and charities around October are the evidence of all the hard work it takes to bring an event of this size together. A lot of organizations count on the festival’s bottom line for theirs.

So while Mother Nature was a little stinker Thursday and Friday, today and Sunday promise to be perfect weather for a little fun, friends and celebrating Delphos.

Canal Days has been brought back to its former glory and far surpassed it. It seems to be the place to be the third weekend in September. It is, after all, the last premier festival of the year right here in your front yard!

There’s still time.

 

Editor’s note: Many of you many have noticed a new message in the information underneath pictures. The Herald has a photo gallery of many local and area events at www.delphosherald.com.

The newest additions are sports galleries. Miss the game or have a favorite player?

The Toast to the City photos are already up and the rest of this weekend’s offerings will soon follow.

So visit the website, click on the photo gallery and have a look. You might be surprised on who you see; it might even be you!

 
On the Other Hand — Four words
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Sunday, September 15, 2013 12:00 AM

I don’t often click on videos, etc., in Facebook posts because I hate waiting for them to come up and the last couple times I did, there was no video, just sound.

One caught my eye early Friday morning as I was avoiding doing something else.

Everyone’s comment on the video was positive and what caught my eye was “thank you so much for saying what I can’t.”

I felt compelled to check it out.

 
On the Other Hand — The plagues of Michigan
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Sunday, September 08, 2013 12:00 AM | Updated ( Tuesday, September 10, 2013 2:12 PM )

I know you guys are going to think I’m a big whiner. The last two times I have gone to Michigan, bugs were involved.

We spent Labor Day weekend by the lake and no, it wasn’t fishflies — it was sand fleas.

I know, I know; I shouldn’t be such a baby but I was the only one they bit. I’m serious. I had like a hundred (perhaps a light exaggeration) bites from my knees down and no one else had a single nibble.

I even doused myself with insect repellent and they were still biting me. I put socks on. The little buggers just chewed a ring around my ankles above the socks.

The bites just look like little red dots until you get the skin’s reaction to the sand flea slobber. Yes, I said slobber.

Sunday morning the itching started. I’m not sure how many of you have had poison ivy but the sensation is similar. No matter how much you scratch, you still itch. Itch — scratch. Itch — scratch. It becomes maddening ­— all-consuming.

I can remember a summer from long ago when Kristen Macwhinney Ulm and I were at our cottage with our parents. We took the John boat to the beach a lake over and sunned ourselves and swam and had a wonderful afternoon.

We made our way back to the cottage and had supper and when we were settling in for bed, the itching started. You know, the slobber thing.

Kristen, who is a bit taller than I, had, and this is no exaggeration, more than 100 bites on her legs; we counted them and gave up at more than 100. (We had lain in the sand for hours that afternoon and the sand fleas had a feast!)

I had quite a few, too, but she got it much worse.

Guess where this said cottage was. Give up? Michigan!

This past weekend I put up with the itch and went about celebrating.

On Monday, I was pretty much over the whole thing and ready to set my legs on fire. I showed them to Jill and she pretended to be concerned but I saw the humor in her eyes.

She quickly set about leafing through a file she keeps with helpful hints such as what to put on insect bites. She found one that recommended Crest tooth paste. It didn’t just say tooth paste, it was very specific.

Jill dug around and came up with several travel tubes of the stuff and I quickly slathered up. In no time, the itch was gone. It was replaced with a pleasant tingling and minty freshness. Why had I not said something Sunday?

When we got home Monday I quickly went to the drug store and bought some cortisone cream. Ice packs worked nicely, as well. Monday night after work, I iced the tops of my feet and they haven’t itched since. The rest took a little longer.

I guess the moral of the story is: Michigan bugs have it out for me.

 
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