I recently took the opportunity to write my congressman and both senators. Only Sen. Pat Roberts has responded.
My request of Rep. Kevin Yoder to provide simple information on the Republican tax-and-spending plan has been ignored. Does Congressman Yoder think that because he had no Democratic challenger in the November election that his constituents requests are unimportant?
Does Sen. Jerry Moran think that because voting patterns in the western two-thirds of Kansas create a senator for life once a Republican is elected, that a Johnson County resident is not worthy of acknowledgement?
This lack of simple communication will be remembered by this voter (registered Republican) come 2014 and 2016.
Government, gun bans
There has been a lot of talk of late about assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, and how they are unnecessary for sportsmen.
The Second Amendment is to protect all of us from tyrannical government control. We all hold different rights dear, so we should protect each of our rights equally and not let them be eroded.
Every one of us is outraged by senseless violence, but gun bans are not going to stop the criminal element.
None of the current laws has effectively stopped criminals. So why would they suddenly obey a new law?
We had an assault weapons ban, and it expired. Did it really stop any crime?
If it was such a good law, why did it have a sunset clause?
When citizens are disarmed and cant protect themselves, they become easy prey for predators of all kinds.
Is that what Americans want? Or is that what the government wants?
When I go out to my car these days, it is very cold. I get in, start the engine and put on the seat heater.
Gradually and predictably, the car gets steadily warmer. Call this automotive warming.
Not so with the Earth. It gets warmer in the day, cooler at night, warmer in the spring and summer, cooler in the fall and winter. It also gets warmer and cooler in different years.
However, over the last few decades, the Earth has warmed considerably. You dont need much in the way of fancy data to see this.
Just look at any satellite photo of various areas of heavy ice/snow accumulation. The polar ice cap, Greenland, glaciers all over the world, the snow/ice on Kilimanjaro all shrinking dramatically.
This is what global warming looks like. The reason scientists have taken to referring to it as climate change is that hide-bound, fact-deficient ideologues like E. Thomas McClanahan (1-20, Commentary, Whatever happens, its all climate change) cannot see the obvious truth in front of them.
I sit here in my home dismayed. My heart goes out to everyone affected by the tragedy at the Connecticut elementary school. As we mourn, we need to move forward with examining the primary contributing factor in this horrendous attack.
This lies at the feet of the National Rifle Association, its leaders, employees, political and corporate allies, and various minions, aiders and abettors, and fellow travelers.
They and our esteemed right-wing Supreme Court justices will continue to hide behind their mythological interpretation of the Second Amendment. Their public relations machinery will immediately launch attacks on anyone who criticizes them and their disturbing position on guns.
We need to respond with strength and determination and reclaim our Constitution, safety and security from their destructive thinking. We cant just shrug off this mass shooting death of children as part of life today.
We must regain governments powers to regulate guns, ammunition and ownership.
Piled-high U.S. debt
Apparently, Congress is going to be considering an increase in the national debt limit over the coming weeks. Our national debt is now more than $16.4 trillion.
To maybe get a better understanding of how much money this represents, I asked myself how high the pile would be if 16.4 trillion one-dollar bills were stacked? It turns out the stack would be over four times the distance from the Earth to the moon.
Incidentally, you and I are each responsible for 17 feet of this stack or $52,000. Dont worry about saving this amount of money though.
It will be automatically removed from your wealth by higher taxes, higher prices, reduced interest rates and reduced income.
Am I the only one in town who is getting a bit tired of all of these weekend runs that block traffic everywhere? I know they are for good causes, but the plethora seems to be overwhelming at times.
It seems every weekend is taken up by one run or another and traffic is blocked for well over half a day, leaving those of us who are trying to get to our churches, shopping and work out of luck. Do they pay for all of the police protection or do we, the taxpayers, have to pay for the privilege of not being able to use the roads?
Why cant they run in Swope Park or Shawnee Mission Park or other parks where they would be out of everyones way and in the great outdoors?
I dont mind a few runs, but enough is enough.
Hospitals in jeopardy
As a medical student hoping to one day return to work as a family doctor in rural Kansas, I am normally encouraged by the amount of support our state offers to students like me who recognize the enormous need for primary care.
However, I am gravely concerned about Gov. Sam Brownbacks unwillingness to accept Medicaid expansion money offered through the Affordable Care Act.
Not only would this decision put our states rural hospitals at risk of going bankrupt, it would also discourage medical students from becoming rural family doctors.
Because each state has the opportunity to insure more of its citizens through Medicaid expansion, federal reimbursements normally given to hospitals for treating uninsured patients are scheduled to disappear.
A majority of these funds go to rural hospitals. Thus they stand to be hardest hit. Without access to new Medicaid dollars, rural hospitals will be unable to make up for their losses and may be forced to close their doors.
I am up for many challenges in my career as a rural family doctor, but working in a community where the nearest hospital is more than three hours away is not one of them.
There is a popular belief that taxing the wealthy would fix the economy.
To most people, who do not consider themselves rich, this sounds like a good idea, but its not.
There are three things that people do when they have more money: spend it, invest it, or give it away.
All of which helps stimulate the economy, which in turn adds jobs that increase the overall number of people who can pay taxes to support social programs.
Or you can tax the wealthy and leave it up to our political leaders to determine how to use the money to create jobs, which they have failed to do for the past four years while continuing to spend money they dont have.
Think about it. Is giving more money to our politicians the answer?
Third political party
After listening to President Barack Obamas inauguration speech, I wondered, Can our two political parties unite and work together better in 2013?
I agreed with Pastor Adam Hamilton at the National Prayer Service when he said that to many Americans, we feel like a house divided (1-23, A1, Pastor from Leawood has advice for D.C. audience: Be one nation ).
Pastor Hamilton went on to say:
Were in need of a new common national vision. Not one that is solely Democratic or solely Republican. We need one or two goals or dreams that Americans on both sides of the aisle can come together and say, Yes, thats what it means to be American. Thats where we need to go.
Most Americans probably agree with Pastor Hamilton and President Obama, but how can we assure unity? The best way is to create a third national political party to represent the 35 percent to 40 percent middle people.
With three parties we would have three views, the Republican right, the Democratic left and the new-party middle. This would represent all and unite.
If we have a vision for a third national party, we can make it happen.
Yes, it would take a national figure such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg or someone like him to lead and organize, but it can be done.