Veterans Day gratitude
This Veterans Day is a good time to think about the sacrifices made by our veterans and to recognize all those who served. We honor all our veterans, and it has become customary recently for people to tell individuals who have served in the military, “Thank you for your service.”
Our Vietnam vets in particular experienced a unique situation when they returned. Most served as replacements assigned to units already in Vietnam. They knew no one in that unit and did not train together, deploy together or have the opportunity to develop the camaraderie beforehand needed to be an effective fighting force.
Yet they were superb. Most returned the way they went over as individuals and transitioned back into society with no fanfare. No victory, no parades and a nation divided and tired of a long war.
To recognize a Vietnam vet, all you need to say is “Welcome home.” That means more to us than anything else you could say.
Larry J. Leonard
Veterans’ health care
Recent articles on the “fiscal cliff” said that veterans benefits wouldn’t be affected but neglected to mention federal proposals to triple veterans’ health care premiums to help pay down the deficit. That proposal comes as a shock to veterans who served this country and were promised specific pension and health care benefits in return.
Every leader wants to claim he’s pro-veteran, but Congress has made no move to stop these health care rate increases. And it’s hard to believe there’s not enough money to keep promises to veterans considering the shockingly high cost of some Pentagon programs.
A single fighter-jet program, the Joint Strike Fighter, will cost taxpayers a trillion dollars after nearly doubling in cost. Yet this program isn’t even getting a haircut while veterans have to pay more to care for their war wounds.
Although it will no doubt be difficult to pay the health care costs of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in the years to come, there’s no good argument for shirking our duty to do so. The president should draw a line in the sand: Don’t raise veterans’ health care premiums.
U.S. Army veteran
Salute to Marines
I would like to take this opportunity to salute our brave and noble Marines as they fulfill their mission on Staten Island. The job of rebuilding after the big storm is every bit as vital, maybe more so, to the defense of our nation as invading foreign countries.
James D. White
Kansas City, Kan.
As we remember the many sacrifices of our military this Veterans Day, we should also consider the upcoming generation and what our nation can do to help ensure our long-term national security.
More than 300 retired generals and admirals like myself are concerned that one in four young adults currently is too overweight to join the military and that weight problems have become the top medical reason young adults cannot enlist.
In Missouri alone, 243,000 18- to 24-year-olds were overweight or obese in 2010. Although no single action will resolve the obesity issue, a comprehensive overhaul of school nutrition and fitness programs is an excellent place to start.
New lunch and breakfast nutrition standards have gone into effect this fall, and soon the U.S. Department of Agriculture will update standards for snack foods — critically important steps in improving the health of our children.
On this Veterans Day, all Americans should first thank a veteran and then resolve to help our children eat healthier meals and get more exercise. It’s not just a health issue. It’s a matter of national security.
Richard B. Myers
General, U.S. Air Force
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Stunning Obama win
Several pundits, mostly Republican, have tried to diminish the effect of President Barack Obama’s victory. Mark Shields, on PBS, stated that an incumbent had never won re-election when the unemployment rate was above 7 percent.
So it was a stunning, unprecedented victory.
A Nov. 5 Steve Breen syndicated political cartoon portrayed a map of Libya labeled as “Fibya.” Too bad most readers of The Star have no idea of the meaning of the cartoon, based on the newspaper’s nearly nonexistent coverage of the Benghazi cover-up.
The Kansas City Star on Nov. 2 published an article, “Toting up All-Star benefits,” detailing the economic benefits that the All-Star Game created.
The game, played in July, might have boosted the city’s morale and did wonders for its psyche, but it is highly dubious that the event pumped $60 million into the city’s economy.
Several academic papers have shown that the economic effect of mega-events such as the All-Star Game have a negligible or even negative impact on a local economy. In a study of six Super Bowls dating to 1979, University of South Florida professor Philip Porter found that, “… there is no measurable impact on spending associated with the event.”
Robert Baade, Robert Baumann and Victor Matheson found that “… on average, mega-events ranging from the World Cup to the World Series have been associated with reductions in taxable sales in host regions.”
There are several reasons the city’s impact studies could be off, including crowding out and price fluctuations, both of which would tend to overestimate net new sales. Has the city taken these into account?
If not, there’s good reason to suspect that the $60 million estimate is considerably overstating the effect.
Put streetcar at KCI
Here’s an idea. Let’s take the proposed two-mile streetcar and put it at Kansas City International Airport.
Elevate the rail and link all three terminals. One terminal would be for security for boarding passengers and all three for baggage and exiting passengers.
It’s the best airport in the country right now for getting on an airplane and getting off.
The two-mile, $100 million streetcar boondoggle planned for downtown is going to stop every two blocks, and I doubt it will ever go faster than 20 mph, and with waiting on the curb and crossing a lane of traffic to get on the streetcar, you might as well walk to where you’re going.
My dad and I both worked downtown and walked to and from where we parked our car and walked to lunch. When I was in high school, I used to do my homework on the streetcar.
We didn’t have parking lots for students in those days. Are we going to spend $200 million to get to the Plaza?
How are we going to pay for this with free fares?
Photo ID extremes
And so when all of the self-proclaimed, self-righteous Christians get to heaven’s gate and are asked for their photo identifications, they should not be surprised when they hear a booming voice say, “I know you not.”
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach spends his time and taxpayer funds flying around the country to enforce the “rule of law.”
Obama gets the blame
A (President Bill Clinton leaves a budget surplus).
B-plus (President George W. Bush cuts taxes, especially for wealthy).
C-plus (Republicans in Congress refuse to consider adjusting taxes).
= D (President Barack Obama’s fault for budget deficit).
Beating Chiefs easily
My husband and I recently traveled to Indiana to watch our grandson’s final junior varsity football game of the season. I must say that the game was more exciting than the Kansas City Chiefs games.
Our grandson’s team won the game and had a winning season, which is more than I can say for the Chiefs.
A cup of hot chocolate was a dollar. The tickets were only $5, and the parking was free. You can’t beat that for an exciting afternoon of football.