Misguided over art
The American Family Association’s over-the-top reaction to the Overland Park Arboretum’s artwork at a time when any 10-year-old kid in this country can download specific “how-to” pornography via a smartphone or computer to a memory card or hard drive (where it can be stored forever) makes me give my personal Ostrich of the Year Award to the American Family Association for keeping the targets of outrage so small-minded (6-6, A4, “Statue petition launched”).
Keith O. Harmon
Americans’ tax burden
Condemnation of the income tax code because nearly half of American households pay no income tax has become a Republican rallying cry. The explanation takes away nearly all of the negative assumptions.
The income tax code is written with provisions to ensure that households have minimally livable incomes. More than 40 percent of those who fall under this umbrella are the retired elderly.
All but about 10 percent of the remaining non-income-taxed households have low incomes (under $30,000) or no income (the unemployed). Most of the remaining 10 percent have high expenses (e.g., for chronic diseases or large numbers of dependents).
If these households paid income taxes, the government would have a moral responsibility to bring their remaining incomes up to a minimally livable level. Such welfare programs are expensive and foster more abuse than the current income tax system.
Also, households that pay no income taxes pay other taxes at rates that constitute a higher percentage of income than wealthier citizens pay. Low and lower-middle income households pay their fair share.
I consider myself a smart, strong woman who is insulted by Jeneé Osterheldt’s recent comments about the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act (6-4, C1, “Snow White is smarter than many politicians”). She indicates that only pro-abortion women should have their rights taken seriously.
What about the rest of us women who think it is wrong to be forced to provide drugs that would terminate a pregnancy (which is code for “kill an unborn child”)? Ms. Osterheldt seems to be under the mistaken impression that all lawmakers, doctors and pharmacists are men determined to keep us all barefoot and pregnant.
Many, many strong, intelligent, educated women believe that we are most powerful when we protect the weak and innocent.
Pregnancy is serious
Mike Hoey, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference, commented in the June 3 article, “Nixon to decide on birth control,” saying: “Contraceptives, sterilization and abortion — these things are not health care, really. No one is going to die because they have to go somewhere else to buy their birth-control pills. Pregnancy is not a disease.”
Not so fast.
Although pregnancy is not a disease, and thankfully most pregnancies are relatively uneventful, it is a condition that dramatically affects every organ system in the body. The evidence of increased morbidity and mortality for pregnant women from early pregnancy through weeks after delivery compared with non-pregnant women is crystal clear.
Disease states associated with pregnancy range from mild to life-threatening for the mother and/or fetus. In 2009, 11 Missouri women died from pregnancy-related complications.
Medical supervision and sometimes major interventions for preterm labor, hypertension, heart disease or fetal distress are required for the well-being of the mother and baby.
People can hold differing moral viewpoints on contraception, sterilization and abortion, but facts still matter. And pregnancy, planned or not, should not be taken lightly.
Rep. Jeanne Kirkton
Missing Frank White
I wanted to add a comment to the June 4 letter. I agree with the letter writer’s thoughts wholeheartedly about Frank White being left out of the All-Star activities at Kauffman Stadium.
Concerning the Kansas City Royals’ television coverage, I can’t begin to explain how much I miss Frank and Ryan Lefebvre covering games. I truly believe Frank White’s treatment by the Royals organization is the worst blunder they have ever made.
The audio/commercials are so far out of sync (besides missing Frank), here is what I am doing. I watch the Royal games with the sound off and listen to Denny Matthews on the radio coverage.
Welcome to modern times, folks.
Corporate income tax
The economic development agenda in Missouri is broken, and The Star’s June 4 editorial, “Chosen few get aboard the tax-break gravy train,” hits many of the right notes. Allowing the government to pick winners and losers through the tax code is a surefire way to abet cronyism, old and new, and a terrible way of trying to jump-start enduring economic growth.
There are better ways to make Missouri competitive and the region more prosperous. One such way is to eliminate the corporate income tax.
Missouri’s development tax credit system has grown so large — the state issues hundreds of millions of dollars in such credits each year — that it rivals the state’s corporate income tax revenues in its magnitude.
If the state wants to institute a pro-growth policy and keep its reform revenue neutral, why not extinguish those credits and use the savings to extinguish the corporate income tax?
Why favor the few when Missouri could lead the region and shake up the development game with the elimination of one of the most destructive taxes Missouri has for growth? It is a common-sense solution that policymakers (and prospective policymakers) should strongly consider.
Wisconsin’s bought vote
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s win in his fight against a recall is a tribute to the power of money (6-6, A1, “Walker survives ouster effort”).
Money can’t buy everyone’s vote, but it can buy a massive advertising campaign. According to CNN, Walker’s backers spent seven times as much as the recall group, and 70 percent of his money came from outside the state.
This does not sound like the system that the Founding Fathers of this nation had in mind. It is not clear that the people of Wisconsin got what they wanted.
So far, 31 states have amended their constitutions to deny marital rights to lesbians, gays, transgender people and, in many cases, common-law couples.
In nearly every instance these states’ actions to deny the fundamental human right to marry have resulted from religious convictions of a minority of people using legislative means to legalize their views across the whole spectrum of the political arena.
These religious zealots have fought to universalize their particular interpretations of selected Bible verses. Empowered by this and other sectarian strategies, they now (but not forever) impose the power of their churches and other alliances to crush the legal rights of all adult citizens (couples) to marry. The goal for any marriage is to build family life on foundations of mutual love, commitment and caring.
What a cruel irony — one minority subverting constitutional rights of other minorities by creating unconstitutional constitutional amendments and similar laws. These are but the frenzied energies of bigotry, fear and prejudice used to stem the growing tides of justice and equity in our beloved country.
Better coaches needed
It was my displeasure to witness a Heart of America girls volleyball coach display the worst example of sportsmanship I’ve ever seen. Her team had the match well in hand, but she openly and loudly proclaimed that the opposing team “was terrible” and “god-awful” and that her team should be winning by a greater margin.
As a parent of one of the girls on the “awful” team, I took offense. I complained to a Heart of America representative, but she was more interested in selling T-shirts than ensuring the conduct of one of the coaches meet the minimum standard of sportsmanship.
I then took my concerns to Heart of America leadership in the form of a letter but have not been given the courtesy of a response.
I know that had I been the one making those comments or confronting the coach about her remarks I would have been removed from the court and labeled as a parent gone wild.
However, this coach is free to belittle another team with no apparent ramifications. Shame on you, Heart of America Volleyball, for not demanding that your coaches are good role models for the girls they are coaching.