Get classy streetcars
Now that Kansas City is joining the modern cities of the world by going back to streetcars, the least the town can do is to get classy-looking, futuristic streetcars that people want to ride. Check out the excitingly beautiful streetcars now in use in Milan, Italy.
The Kansas City Big Box-looking streetcars shown in many pictures in the news media are very boring looking — just like a bus. The sleek-looking Milanese streetcars are very inviting to prospective riders. They also make the city appear progressive and forward looking.
Now that we are going to do this streetcar thing, let’s do it up right.
Chastain left on tracks
To all you Kansas City taxpayers who are bemoaning the passage of the streetcar project by a handful of voters, there is a silver lining to that cloud. The bells on those trolleys will be ringing the death knell of Clay Chastain’s efforts to install light rail in the city.
I recently watched the president’s speech, and, as usual, the term “middle class” was thrown around like candy. It seems as if “middle class” is a moving target, depending on the topic.
Exactly what are middle-class earnings?
When I was in my peak earnings in the 1990s, as a college-educated professional earning in the $60,000 range, I think I was considered middle of the middle class.
And, what earnings class do the third, fourth and fifth generations of professional welfare recipients fall into?
On several occasions, I have been told: “If you want to go to work every day to earn a paycheck and vacation, that’s up to you. But I’ll live every bit as well as well as you and never work a day because my family knows how to work the system.”
Bates City, Mo.
Why do we need guns that shoot so many rounds? Even if there were a guard in each school with a gun, as the National Rifle Association suggests, he might fire in the school and miss.
A gunman could kill the guard and then continue to shoot others. At least if a perpetrator had to reload, there might be time for someone to stop him from killing others. Possibly someone, even without a gun, could stop a gunman if he had to take time to reload.
Why do we have guns with such enormous firepower? And why is there ammunition like that? As one bullet hit each child, it exploded and destroyed most of the inside of that child. And yet the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School had more rounds to fire. What pain the children must have felt.
Why do we make ammunition like that?
Yoder is out of step
Congressman Kevin Yoder of Kansas voted against the fiscal cliff bill. I am a middle-income taxpayer in the district Yoder represents. I suggest that all of the people in his district keep a close eye on how Congressman Yoder votes and ask yourself whether he truly represents you and your interests.
According to a statement made by Yoder, he voted no because it didn’t include cuts to programs and address the long-term deficit. His no vote may not have mattered because there were enough votes to pass the bill, but it says to me that he is not concerned about the effect on the lives of the people he represents.
By this vote I can say with confidence that Yoder will vote against raising the debt ceiling. He won’t be concerned that our country could see another downgrade in its credit rating or the markets be sent into a tailspin.
In my opinion, Yoder puts politics ahead of the good of his district and the country. It’s time for all elected officials to do what’s best for the country and the livelihoods of the people they represent — work together to solve the problems of the whole country.
Mortgaging our future
Branden W. Comfort in his Jan. 2 “As I See It” column, “Politics hurts the uninsured,” bewails the fact that “Tom” had to mortgage his family’s future to pay for cancer treatment. Then he proposes more of the very thing that caused Tom’s medical care to be so expensive.
When a sector of the market is flooded with money (Medicare/Medicaid/Obamacare) and the supply is relatively fixed, the result is higher prices for treatment. Consequently, for years, the medical-care inflation rate has been much higher than the general rate of inflation.
Before government started paying for medical care, there was a time when it was likely Tom could’ve financed his own care or relied on charity. I can remember when certain hospitals were named “Charity Hospital” and doctors donated services.
Government has largely displaced this good work. There are other factors beyond the scope of this letter, such as decisions made by Tom.
But at least Tom did not mortgage anyone else’s future, whereas our politicians have mortgaged ours with unnamable debt.
I was really disgusted with the Dec. 29 article, “Gulp! Competitive eater expands his reach overseas,” on Randy Santel being a champion eater, especially after The Star had run stories on Harvesters Community Food Network and all the families who don’t have enough food to eat.
It seems that these contests are an insult to people who can’t put food on their tables. It would be nice if the sponsors of these contests would donate that food to Harvesters or some other worthy food bank instead of promoting the disgusting display of people stuffing themselves.
Machine gun rights
The murder rate by guns in the United States is much higher than in other industrialized nations.
Most of this disparity between our country and other industrialized countries is because of our strict adherence to our Constitution’s outdated Second Amendment, the variability of state gun-control laws and the tremendous political clout of the National Rifle Association, which seems to have a hypnotic influence over most state and federal legislators.
In addition, much of the blame has to fall on all of us citizens for not creating outrage over this glaring public health problem. In some states, it is more difficult to get a voter identification card than it is to purchase a gun. How crazy is that?
I am not against hunting. I am not against women and families being able to defend themselves.
However, there is no need for clips containing more than eight bullets. Assault-type weapons should be banned, period.
Unfortunately, individual freedom and gun ownership have become synonymous. Glorification of this freedom is coming in machine-gun cadence (pun intended) from the far right, where humanitarian principles seem to take a back seat to profiteering.
Robert Stuber, M.D.
Creationism and science
We live in an age of understanding and development. Never before have we had as deep an understanding of the natural world.
Many say that as science progresses, the need for religion decreases. I say that as the knowledge of the world blossoms, so does our knowledge of the creator.
For example, as we begin to study the Big Bang theory, we begin to see its compatibility with Genesis’ story of creation. As we elaborate and expand on the theory of evolution, we realize it correlates with the order the animals were created.
Finally, we see patterns and numbers arise in nature that begin to reveal the mark of a creator.
Some religious people deny modern science because the Bible creation happened in seven days.
However, Genesis is structured like a poem, clearly not meant to be taken literally. Plus, the Earth itself hasn’t been created by the first “day,” so how do we judge the length of a day?
The world is full of wonder and mystery, and when we realize that science and religion complement each other, we begin to experience the world around us like never before.
What a marvelous New Year’s Day letter Doug Sutherland had in The Kansas City Star. He expressed his love for and the beauty of his wife, Twila.
As he said, she has Alzheimer’s, a cruel disease that causes a person to be taken away from you one day at a time. My wife also was a victim of that disease, and even though she eventually could hardly recognize me or communicate, that did not stop me each day from telling her how much I loved her.
I wish I would have had at least one more day to tell her. Pauline, that gorgeous person, died on Sept. 7, 2009.
Maynard J. Mitchell