After reading the opinion pages of The Kansas City Star, I felt like I was reading the Democrat Gazette. I know the Star editors want to promote the Democrat cause, but because The Star is the only major newspaper in the area, it would be nice to have a balance on the political issues.
In case you don’t know, there are Republicans who must read your paper, and it would be nice to not see “red” when reading The Kansas City Star.
Obama fails to unite
Candidate Barack Obama ran with the promise of being a “uniter.” Listening to his positions and those who have different opinions, I don’t see how anyone could believe President Obama could unite the citizens of this country.
In my view, the entire legislative panels of both the House and Senate and the president of the United States have failed miserably in leading and doing what is right for the country.
KC streetcar debate
Midwest Voices contributor Robert Westfall, in his Jan. 12 column, “A streetcar named delusional in KC,” makes all the usual, logical arguments against a streetcar line. But as with many things human, emotions rule.
Streetcars are simply more fun than buses.
People ride streetcars because they like to. People ride buses because they have to.
It is somehow more of a buzz to ride steel wheels on rails than rubber tires on concrete.
Of course, some won’t find it so because when it comes to our species, one size does not fit all.
There was a time when 98 percent of Americans had ridden a train. Today, 2 percent of Americans have ridden a train.
Whether it is taking the Amtrak or riding the streetcar line in old Dallas, the experience is special.
On a bus it would just be a trip. Those who say streetcars are wrong are those who have never ridden one.
The point is the trip, not the destination. Because so few Americans have ever ridden on the rails, it’s for them an exciting experience that defies logic but is all about doing something new and different. For seniors, it’s a time machine.
The Midwest Voices are off to a great start for 2013 with Robert Westfall’s thoroughly sensible and well-reasoned column on the folly of the streetcars. I hope Mayor Sly James is reading and has the humility to change course toward something truly innovative and forward-thinking.
I share E. Thomas McClanahan’s concerns about deficits and rising debt (1-13, Commentary, “Inside the White House parallel universe”). Even though he conveniently leaves out unfunded wars and the huge military budget, the rising costs of our social support system are alarming.
What he doesn’t analyze is that they are necessary because our entire economic system is no longer functioning properly when it comes to spreading wealth among members of this nation. The hope, of liberals and conservatives alike, that economic growth will lead us out of this situation, is illusory.
With the concentrating mechanism built into our economic system’s growth, which would have to come from the masses, it is hard to achieve. Nature sets limits for growth.
Unlimited growth is cancerous and kills eventually, even human economic systems. Our technological mania, which constantly destroys jobs in the primary and also secondary sector of the economy is complicating the problem.
James Madison, writing in the Federalist No. 47 in 1788, stated, “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or body of magistrates or if the power of judging be not separated from legislative and executive powers.”
Perhaps the voters of Kansas should become familiar with this article because we may be about to experience Madison’s concerns.
Court right on schools
Gov. Sam Brownback’s statement that “the courts are drastically increasing the property tax burden on every Kansan” is a real stretch of the truth (1-12, A1, “Kansas is ordered to boost school aid”). Local communities may increase property taxes.
The education of our youth is the highest priority, and that is their taxing authority. Increased property taxes will be a secondary effect resulting from the failure of the Legislature to do its constitutionally mandated job.
It is clearly another effort by the governor and the Republican Legislature to shift taxes from the wealthy to regressive taxes on lower- and middle-income Kansans.
As to Rep. Lance Kinzer’s statement citing judicial misappropriation of legislative powers, everyone who has taken a middle-school civics class knows that one of the jobs of the judiciary is to ensure that the Legislature upholds the constitution.
And this would be the constitution as currently written, not as Rep. Kinzer might like it. On this note, beware of administration efforts to change the way judges are selected since it is easier to change the judges than to change the constitution.
Ease up on Armstrong
I would be the first to admit that my knowledge of the Tour de France is limited to the Eiffel Tower (1-17, A1, “America’s confessor is back in spotlight”). I have heard of Lance Armstrong and read about all of his wins in this sport.
I have also read about the tremendous good he has done on behalf of cancer research. And now because of his doping they are canceling his good works, stripping him of his medals and chastising him for committing this heinous crime.
There seems to be some inequity in the sporting community. Michael Vick was arrested and charged with cruelty to animals and promoting illegal dogfighting. He went to prison, served his time and then came back to professional football.
I don’t know how long it took for a team to pick him up and put him back into action.
Let’s see, dogfighting to the death is not as bad as doping in the eyes of the sports gods. Armstrong beat cancer.
Yes, he cheated, but treating him like he has the plague seems out of proportion.
Blunt sides with NRA
Before President Barack Obama was even through with his news conference Wednesday presenting the changes he would like to see in our gun-control challenge, Missouri’s Republican Sen. Roy Blunt was on the air telling us how it wasn’t the thing to do and it wouldn’t pass Congress (1-17, A1, “Ready for an uphill fight”).
Now we learn that Sen. Blunt’s son, Matt, is on the board of the National Rifle Association. I wonder who Sen. Blunt is representing, the citizens of Missouri or the NRA.
Kansas hate group
Members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka contend that they have the right to protest funerals and spew their vile messages and that the church is not a “hate group.” However, consider the following definition:
A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility or violence toward members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other designated sector of society. According to the FBI, a hate group’s “primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility and malice against persons belonging to a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity/national origin, which differs from that of the members of the organization.”
Hate crimes generally refer to criminal acts that are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the types above, or of their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters.
The Westboro gang fits the truest definition of a hate group. All decent people condemn such organizations.
Cursive writing skills
Letters and news articles on cursive writing remind me of my days as a third-grade teacher in the Kansas City Public Schools. When I began in 1951, we taught penmanship using the Palmer Method and had booklets for each student.
The children began the school year perfecting their manuscript handwriting in order to follow the district’s curriculum and be ready in January to begin cursive writing. Doing cursive writing made you a “big kid” and was a great help for one who said to me, “I can read ‘reading,’ but I can’t read ‘writing.’ ”
My grandfather did the beautiful Spencerian writing, and I was hopeful that one or two of those children who had begun to easily switch to cursive just might be interested. Being able to sign their names was important to them.
Hopefully, that’s still true today.
Mamie Currie Hughes