There is a consensus that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney had a good performance in the Wednesday night debate with President Barack Obama. I would point out that President Obama selected Sen. John Kerry to help him in preparing for the debate.
Sen. Kerry (“I was for it before I was against it”) is not the first person who would come to mind as someone capable of preparing the president for such an important debate.
Gov. Mitt Romney selected Sen. Rob Portman to help prepare him, and the debate results suggest that was an adroit selection.
Let us all pray that President Obama asks Vice President Joe Biden to help prepare him for the next debate.
Michael Lee Kobe
Kansas City, Kan.
Trees hide beauty in KC
We recently had an out-of-town guest, a professional musician, come to stay with us from California. It was his first visit to Kansas City, and he had only two specific things he wanted to see.
He’d read about them both in California. One, of course, was our new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
The other was the facade of the parking garage for the Central Library downtown, with its famous huge book spines.
We drove him downtown, and he really loved the Kauffman Center.
But he couldn’t believe his eyes when he tried to see the library facade. I hadn’t seen it myself.
Unbelievably, most of it was covered by trees. Who in their right mind decided to cover up one of Kansas City’s most recognizable sights with those huge trees?
Our visitor was utterly dismayed, as were we. Thank goodness I found a good picture on Google when the facade was new so we could see what it looked like when it was visible.
As President Ronald Reagan would have said, “Mayor Sly James, tear down those trees.”
Increase tobacco tax
It is necessary to raise the Missouri tobacco tax, but I disagree about the need to spend the money on secondary schooling. This is because we are now giving public high schools more than $10,000 per student, which should be more than enough.
And our education system is still failing. Also, if people want more money spent on education, then the millions of dollars spent on sports programs should be used for the classroom.
I agree that taxing tobacco at a higher rate will benefit the health of those who use it and those who are secondarily affected by it because it will discourage tobacco use. Using the money raised by increased taxes would work as a great fund to help tobacco users quit their bad habits.
Raising taxes on tobacco also will help discourage others from using it in the future.
Taxes paid by everyone
Everyone pays taxes. Yes, everyone.
There are people who don’t pay income taxes, such as the working poor and the very wealthy. Remember Leona Helmsley saying, “Only the little people pay taxes.”
But everyone pays sales taxes, property taxes, license fees and other taxes. Children pay sales tax with their allowance money when they buy candy bars or school supplies.
Retirees pay these same types of taxes. Illegal immigrants pay taxes every time they buy gasoline or groceries.
They pay into a Social Security system they will never collect from. This is what everyone should have learned in civics classes.
These are called regressive taxes because they take a larger percentage of poor people’s income while income taxes are supposed to be progressive, affecting those who have gained the most in society.
The reason we have both is to share the burden. We are all American taxpayers.
Improving health care
Individuals are forever citing that medical care in the United States is poor compared with other industrialized nations. I think they are counting oranges while looking at apples.
First, I would like to know why so many foreigners come to the U.S. for treatment when they can get free and better care in their own countries? Most of those countries do not have the percentage of overweight people that the U.S. has, and the people in those countries are way more active, so they have fewer health issues.
I don’t know, but I suspect that all of those people run to their doctors with every ache and pain or sniffle. My recommendation is that people get off their fannies and exercise.
Quit eating all that fast food and cook healthy foods at home. People might find they have less need to run to the doctor and don’t need all those expensive medications.
Charles P. King
Becoming a U.S. citizen
I became a U.S. citizen in September. I couldn’t help but reflect on my journey of slowly changing identities from my country of birth, which I love and respect, to the country that has taken me lovingly with open arms and filled me with immense gratitude.
Walking out from my oath ceremony ...
Where were the fireworks
Red-blue confetti falling from above
What about the drum roll and ringing bells?
What happened to the birds
Their fluttering wings and joyous chirps
The sweet green grass — pure happiness one could touch?
I looked around for songs in the air …
Lots of flags, cookies, chatter and humming sounds
Yet a solitude did surround…
Had I changed much?
Quite certainly in last decade or so
Last few hours … really?
The change not sudden I reflect
The loyalty switch not just material I hope
Perhaps a prized end of an enchanting dream?
What started as a childlike wish, an infatuation perhaps …
To touch the land of wondrous more
Where UFOs land and spaceships abound ...
A land to which I finally belong
A land of the free I firmly believe
My land … where I can be me!
Radhika Grover Gupta
Put America first
I’m confused about today’s politically correct environment. I don’t know how I should identify myself.
Some identify themselves as hyphenated Americans, such as African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Muslim-Americans and Asian-Americans. They state their nationality or faith first and American last.
By taking this tact, it appears they’re placing the American flag at half-mast, raising a foreign flag above it, suggesting a form of hypocrisy. It’s my belief you cannot straddle the barbed wire fence on this one or serve two masters or split hairs and have it both ways.
You have to stand tall, declare yourself an American in words and deeds, or it becomes obvious your perceived allegiance is to another flag, ideology or religion, which raises other issues.
Although my ancestors immigrated from Scotland, Ireland, England and Germany to America, I do not call myself a Scot-Irish, English and German-American (with a bit of Pennsylvania Dutch mixed in). I just remember where I was actually born and raised — in America — and call myself what I truly am today, an American. “I am what I am.”
By the way, we do have the American Indian, American Royal, American soldier, American West and American cowboy.
Walk to fight suicides
Every 14 minutes, someone dies by suicide. Friends and loved ones struggle to understand why.
They often feel the death of their loved one is shameful or that they or their family are to blame. All too often, the world allows them to believe this.
Research has shown that more than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying psychiatric illness, most often depression. Please learn the warning signs of depression and suicide.
Hopelessness, desperation, anxiety, withdrawal and sleep problems are common signs of depression. Warning signs for suicide include increased alcohol/drug use, risky behavior, threatening suicide or expressing a strong wish to die, giving away possessions, unexpected rage and obtaining means of killing oneself, such as guns, poisons or medications. If you or someone you know has these signs, get help or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosts the Out of the Darkness Walk to prevent suicide today at Berkley Riverfront Park and International Survivors of Suicide Day on Nov. 17 at VFW Overland Park. For more information, visit www.afsp.org.
Chiefs for next year
This is for the sportswriters. The Kansas City Chiefs’ record is 1-3 (a quarter of the season gone).
If you project that for the rest of the season, then the team’s record would be 4-12. That might be a blessing in disguise.
Surely that would get us one of the top five quarterbacks coming out of college into the National Football League draft.