Signs and Wonders
The Caterpillar logo is seen on earth moving equipment in Springfield, Ill.
Associated Press/Photo by Seth Perlman, File
The Caterpillar logo is seen on earth moving equipment in Springfield, Ill.

Signs and Wonders: Caterpillar withdraws Boy Scouts support

Newsworthy

Road kill. The Texas-based Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have been attempting to navigate the middle-of-the-road regarding homosexuality, but it looks increasingly like all they’ve done is turn themselves into a target for traffic going in both directions. The BSA recently changed its policy regarding homosexuality to accommodate pressure from pro-homosexual groups and from corporate donors. But the change alienated the organization’s base, and it’s proving not to be enough for pro-homosexuals. This week, for example, Caterpillar Inc. says it will no longer give money to the Boy Scouts of America because, while the BSA now allows homosexual boys, the organization doesn't allow homosexuals to serve as adult leaders. Caterpillar spokeswoman Rachel Potts said that policy doesn’t square with the Peoria-based heavy equipment maker’s pro-homosexual policies. I wonder how long it will take the Boy Scouts to learn from an old Texas expression: “The only things you find in the middle of the road are yellow stripes and dead armadillos.” 

The forgotten war. It’s worth noting that 60 years ago this summer the Korean War, sometimes called “The Forgotten War,” came to an end. WORLD will have more on this war and its consequences in an upcoming issue, but today I remember the battle for Outpost Harry, which took place this week—June 10 through June 18, 1953. Outpost Harry was a bare, remote hilltop near what is today’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Korea. About 15,000 Chinese troops attacked less than 700 U.S. and Greek soldiers who had been instructed to hold Outpost Harry “at all costs.” If the Chinese had overrun Outpost Harry, there was little to keep them from marching south into Seoul, and that would have changed the outcome of the war. The acts of heroism of that week are too many to recount here. One statistic tells it all: Of the fewer than 700 defenders of Outpost Harry, more than 114 died, and 419 were wounded. I mention one particularly intrepid soldier: Ola Mize, the son of an Alabama sharecropper, who quit school after the 9th grade to help support his family. He eventually enlisted in the Army, volunteered for front-line duty, and earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions at Outpost Harry. Mize eventually earned an officer’s commission, served three tours of duty in Vietnam, and retired as a colonel in 1981. The 81-year-old Mize lives today with his wife Betty in Gadsden, Ala.

Most visited city. A recent survey notes that Bangkok is the world’s most visited city. At first glance, this is a fluffy, Chamber-of-Commerce story—the results of another faux poll.  What’s interesting to me about this story is that “sex tourism” is a major part of the reason Bangkok is at the top of this poll, and that fact is not even mentioned in any of the stories I saw.  Some experts say as many as 2 million people are “sex workers” in Thailand. World Health Organization estimates are much lower, around 200,000. Still, that’s a whole lot of human misery, and we shouldn’t be promoting and celebrating it, we should be trying to end it.

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Fairer and flatter? Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday signed into law a measure that makes additional income tax cuts over the next five years while generating new revenue through higher sales taxes and other adjustments. Brownback said the new taxes would be “fairer, flatter and simpler for families and small businesses.” This is not Brownback’s first swing at the Kansas tax code. He pushed through large income tax cuts in 2012, and he’s repeatedly said he wants to eliminate the state income tax entirely. Brownback may be leading a nationwide trend. For example, North Carolina, which has a Republican governor and legislature for the first time in more than 100 years, is making similar changes to its tax code.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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