Time to fix Congress
Congress is the most privileged class in the world. Members of Congress write their own rules, and they like it that way.
They would never vote to give up anything, not even their subsidized cafeteria (great bean soup), much less something of substance. If you want to fix Congress, we, the people, must remove all members of Congress and start over.
There’s an old joke about the mechanic who advises the owner of a broken-down heap to “jack up the hood ornament and put a new car under it.” The same thing applies with Congress.
Jack up the Capitol dome and put a new Congress under it.
Woeful GOP blues
The real news isn’t that the Republicans didn’t win Nov. 6, but that they lost where it counted most.
Even the trumpets of Jericho couldn’t stop the tidal wave that stunned conservatives everywhere.
And so, on the day after the election, conservatives were asking how President Barack Obama could have won re-election.
Perhaps they don’t really know how weary people had grown of the birther issue and the constant Obama bashing, the latest being over Benghazi.
Perhaps they don’t understand the frustration of Hispanics from being stereotyped by millions of white voters who oppose immigration reform and because of political hacks such as Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach who did everything possible to suppress their votes.
Perhaps it was the alarms going off when Todd Akin of Missouri, Richard Mourdock of Indiana and Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin opened their mouths.
Perhaps, after years of hearing partisan conservatism moving farther and faster to the right, liberals and moderates went to the polls and created a new base and challenge to the Republican Party.
And just possibly, because of this, the GOP has a bigger problem than it did back in 1974 when Watergate nearly swept Republicans from office.
GOP stymied Obama
If you really want to know what occurred in politics between the Democrats and Republicans during the past 31/2 years, read the book by Pulitzer prize-winning author Bob Woodward, “The Price of Politics.”
Woodward explains blow by blow what went on between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Eric Cantor.
Because 95 percent of the Republicans took Grover Norquist’s no-tax pledge and there were 63 new tea party members in the House, it became impossible for Obama to get any legislation passed. The GOP voted as a single “no” bloc.
In 2010 and 2012, on the matter of increasing the debt limit, the Republicans held Obama hostage. He had to agree or have the government shut down, causing an economic collapse.
In 2010, Obama had to agree to extend the Bush tax cuts for two more years. It added to the deficit.
Again this year, to increase the debt limit, Obama had to agree to large cuts in spending and thus the birth of the “fiscal cliff,” where in 2013 everything in government with the exception of entitlements has to be cut by more than 7 percent, eliminating millions of jobs.
Earlier this month in the barbershop I have gone to for years, I listened for a short time to three men on their views of the election. I walked out in utter disgust.
President Barack Obama, whom they revile for his race, won because of “98 percent” of the black vote of which most are on welfare, “stupid women,” the 47 percent who are “freeloaders” and Christians who will be “sent to hell” for voting Democratic.
There were probably more to blame, had I stayed to listen.
Ignorance is one thing. It can be mitigated through civil discourse.
But the vile hatred of these men can serve no purpose but to rekindle the views of a bygone era that so many in churches, schools and society have worked to see erased.
I was saddened by an African-American woman’s post-election dining experience at a restaurant at the Legends (11-13 Letters).
Apparently, there were several white young men using language that is totally unacceptable for any conversation much less in a public restaurant.
I would like to think that had I been there I would have stood up to these lowlifes and asked them to keep their vile comments to themselves. I’m also sorry that the restaurant management did nothing.
Unfortunately, these young men weren’t brought up in a tolerant and loving way.
I am so sorry that you were subjected to this vicious attack.
Please don’t judge all white men by the actions of these uneducated few.
By the way, the reason I didn’t vote for President Barack Obama has nothing to do with his skin color.
I just don’t believe that he has the leadership qualities it will take to get this great nation back to a reasonable amount of prosperity.
In one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories, the recent action of the Overland Park City Council in permitting open carry is evoking the response of “you’ve got to be kidding” from 21st century citizens on our planet.
Images of frontier days pop up, with six-shooters visible on hips and citizen sheriffs taking on trouble shooters before the police (or sheriff’s) department needs to intervene.
The only thing missing is the horse to round out the imagery. Perhaps horses could replace buses in the city.
Imagine Kansans visiting civilized cities in Europe and finding Londoners packing visible guns with live ammunition. That creates a very relaxing feeling.
Flip the scene and think of the comical and dated stereotypes Overland Park will take on when 21st century tourists visit.
Yup, Overland Park will surely be remembered — but not as you might wish to be remembered.
The new open-carry ruling is not for self-protection, because a concealed-weapon permit is already legal. The only reason for the public display of a weapon is bravado or gunslinging role-playing or the threat to use if the carrier is really unhappy with people who annoy him.
Missouri River traffic
A recent story on draining Kansas lakes to support Missouri River barge traffic missed a significant point.
The release was absolutely necessary to aid navigation on the Mississippi River, which this year continues to suffer from near-record low water.
The Mississippi River is a superhighway upon which corn, grain, soybeans, coal, petroleum and other products move safely and efficiently for domestic use as well as export.
Missouri River flows now account for about 77 percent of the Mississippi River near St. Louis.
Were it not for these critical flows, it is almost certain that middle Mississippi barge traffic, and the movement of 120 million tons of cargo worth $14 billion, would come to a halt.
Congressionally mandated Missouri River navigation in its own right shouldn’t be discounted.
Diverting cargo carried on the river to roads and rails would be more expensive, less efficient and less environmentally sound.
A navigable Missouri River also provides important regional flood-control benefits.
Balancing the needs of lake users and rivers is never easy.
However, we must refrain from labeling winners and losers and discuss what is in the best interest of both the region and the nation.
Legalize marijuana? It would be taxed, giving the country and our state more money in these tough economic times.
Legalizing marijuana would provide jobs, lower the crime rate, incarceration rate and the cost of putting people behind bars.
It would reduce the crime on the Mexican border.
I am not sure why marijuana is illegal in the first place.
It harms fewer people than alcohol does.
I mean if you don’t like it, don’t smoke it.
But that doesn’t mean marijuana should be illegal.
Social Security unfair
For 2012, the maximum taxable earnings amount for Social Security taxes is $110,100.
There is no limitation on taxable earnings for Medicare’s Hospital Insurance taxes. This is from the Social Security Administration website.
My question is, Why is there an income cap?
That doesn’t seem fair to low-wage earners like me who keep paying forever.