Absentee dads a major cause of social problems

Former Republican Congressman George Radanovich wrote a commentary for The Fresno Bee’s opinion section Friday urging conservatives to take on “fatherlessness, unwed pregnancy and divorce.” He argued that this issue is a “higher and greater cause that conservatives should champion.”

Radanovich is correct, but it’s not just a cause for conservatives. All of us need to be concerned about the impact of absentee fathers. It costs society in many ways, including a reduced quality of life, a greater burden on government programs and higher crimes rates. The growing acceptability of fathers not taking responsibility for their children is a stunning development for our country.

Radanovich said children in father-absent homes are two to three times more likely to:

– Be victims of child and sexual abuses.

– Do drugs.

– Experience educational, health, emotional and behavior problems.

– Become teen parents.

– Engage in criminal behavior.

“But there is a flicker of hope from the private sector. In 1997, a group of civic leaders in Chattanooga, Tenn., came together to form a communitywide initiative to rebuild, renew and revitalize their city by restoring families,” Radanovich wrote. “Called First Things First, they set three strategic goals to reduce fatherlessness, unwed pregnancy and the divorce rate all by 30% in 10 years. After 15 years, they have seen a 27% decrease in the divorce rate, a 63% decrease in teen out-of-wedlock pregnancies and a significant increase in father involvement in the lives of their children.

“By persuasion and encouragement within their communities, they harnessed the power of the private sector, not legislation or government, to achieve this goal. Their unique approach has triggered many to replicate similar initiatives in other cities across the country.

“In addition to achieving the same rate of success as Chattanooga, a California group, Restore Fresno, seeks to reduce or eliminate government social programs that facilitate the destruction of families while the private sector strengthens them.”

 

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Our politicians’ self-inflicted damage

The inability for our elected leaders to reach a compromise on taxes will force something that no one wants:  across-the-board tax increases. But that won’t be the worst part of this political suicide mssion. Going over the fiscal cliff will kill the economic recovery, throwing more people out of work, and pushing many businesses into bankruptcy. It could be 2008 all over again.

The Associated Press reported that if a deal isn’t struck by midnight Monday, tax rates will change and hit nearly all Americans with tax increases totaling $536 billion. In addition, the military and other federal agencies would have to cut $110 billion in spending.

Meanwhile, the two sides act as if there isn’t a deadline — fingerpointing and name-calling, instead of negotiating.

Investors don’t like what they are seeing, with the stock market retreating for the fourth straight day on the news coming out of Washington, D.C.

It’s time to get a deal, and that means compromising. Unfortunately, too many senators and House members refuse to find common ground, somehow believing that compromise is a weakness. And that stubbornness has brought us to this point. Americans deserve better.

 

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Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas Day editorial is on 12 remarkable people in our community who have made this a better place to live. Some have overcome personal circumstances to reach those in need. Others have used their God-given gifts to change lives. The 12 stories were published on Christmas Eve in The Bee, and you can read them by clicking here.

These stories inspire us, and are especially appropriate on this important holiday.

Merry Christmas.

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Kerry nominated for secretary of state

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts will likely be the next secretary of state. President Barack Obama nominated Kerry on Friday,  and he should not have a problem being confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Senators seldom block one of their own during the confirmation process.

Kerry will succeed Hillary Clinton, who is leaving the cabinet post after the first of the year. Kerry, the longtime senator, has chaired the Foreign Relations Committee for the past six years, and has extensive knowledge of foreign affairs.

“He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training,” Obama said Friday. “Few individuals know as many presidents and prime ministers or grasp our foreign policies as firmly as John Kerry.”

The nomination could give the Republicans a chance to win Kerry’s Senate seat. Sen. Scott Brown, who was defeated in November, would be a strong candidate for the GOP in a special election.

Click here to read the AP story on Kerry’s nomination for secretary of state.

 

Gun legislation being proposed in wake of school shooting tragedy

Sen. Diane Feinstein says she will propose an assault weapons ban when Congress goes back in session. Her legislation is in response to Friday’s school shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Feinstein authored the last federal assault weapons ban, which has expired.

“This is really the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” Feinstein said in an interview with McClatchy Newspapers. “I’m beside myself over this.”

Here is more from the McClatchy story:

“She says it will ban the sale of more than 100 specified assault weapons, including the Bushmaster assault rifle used in Friday’s massacre, as well as ammo clips and drums containing more than 10 bullets. Similar to the 1994 law, she says the new proposal will exempt more than 900 specified firearms. Unlike the 1994 bill, though, the new version won’t be limited to 10 years.”