The Metcalf Trail is a great example of the government’s unending ability to waste money (7-17, 913 Editorial, “New trail along Metcalf will benefit many”). Just because federal funds were available does not mean that they should be spent.
There is no need for a hiking path down Metcalf Avenue. What a great idea to take your family for a pleasant walk across 95th Street and Metcalf Avenue aside whizzing traffic.
It’s ridiculous also to build bus stops for buses that are generally empty and don’t run most of the day. The elected and career government workers need to remember that the dollars they advocate throwing around come from, and belong to, the people.
Calming oil prices
It makes so much sense for there to be one global oil price. Problems in one place drive up prices everywhere.
For example, Egypt has been facing distress, which has dropped its oil consumption and thus expanded supplies for the rest of the world. As every economist will tell you, the more there is of something, the more it will cost.
Or, is that the other way around? Anyway, because of these tensions all prices should go up everywhere.
Not convinced? Egypt is by the Suez Canal. So, if there is unrest, shipments to U.S. refineries are in jeopardy. After all, they all have to go through the Suez Canal. So raise prices.
Now that I look at the map, because Europe is worried about the Suez Canal, it will now buy oil from North Dakota and drive up the price.
Except that there is no easy way for that North Dakota oil to get to a port where it can then be shipped to Europe. I know. Let’s build a pipeline to make it easy. Meanwhile, let’s just pretend that the pipeline is there and raise all prices because of Egypt.
In a few weeks, I’ll replace Egypt with Syria or some other place that has no fracking thing to do with our new-found energy independence. But hey, it’s a global market.
If you say market, the price must be right.
For one moment, put yourself in the shoes of Trayvon Martin’s parents. Their son went out for candy and tea.
He was killed, and the gunman was acquitted 17 months later. How would you feel? The tragic death of Trayvon Martin illustrates the injustice for minorities in our justice system.
Racism, racial profiling, stand your ground laws, gun violence, conceal carry laws and civil rights were all factors in his shooting. This travesty of racial justice is a report card on our nation’s view of race.
Since the days of slavery, racial relations have improved, but this case shows there is obvious need for more work to be done.
The best way to honor and remember Trayvon is for Congress to pass stricter gun control measures and name them Trayvon’s Law. Also, the 24 states with stand your ground laws must repeal these self-defense statutes.
Isn’t it past time for our nation to celebrate liberty and justice for all?
Farm bill flop
Republicans in Congress couldn’t pass the farm bill as a complete package because of Democrats feeling the cuts to the food stamp program being too large and some Republicans feeling the cuts weren’t large enough. To pass the bill, they separated the two and just passed the amount for subsidies.
Republicans have been screaming about spending cuts, yet this is one of the biggest giveaways yet. Half of the subsidies go to just 4 percent of farms.
Seventeen GOP representatives have received a combined total of more than $5.3 million, and six Democrats with a combined total of $490,000. The single top amount of $3.4 million going to Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee and the second largest amount of $470,000 going to Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri.
Both Fincher and Hartzler want cuts to the food stamp program, which the average monthly payment is a mere $133. Yes, the food stamp program has grown but largely because of high unemployment and low paying jobs.
It seems protecting large corporate farms is more important than assistance to those who struggle to put food on the table. I wonder how those needing assistance in Hartzler’s district feel about this.
Deeper tax bite
This month the Roeland Park City Council and mayor “approved for publication” a 2014 budget that raises the tax rate (“mill levy”) 34 percent, raising taxes on an average Roeland Park home $240 per year. The increase hits those on fixed incomes and lowers property values.
The future loss of Wal-Mart sales tax revenue is the excuse they are using, but the budget is chock full of individual council members wish lists — salary increases for staff, expenditures to consultants for frou-frou items such as “visioning” ($40,000) and planning for “beautification” of Roe Boulevard. It also increases reserves by $300,000 for no good reason.
But it’s not all increases in expenditures. It gets rid of a police officer, degrading residents’ favorite city service.
The council meets several more times to consider revisions to the budget. However, after citizens had endured four hours of mind-numbing discussion of minutiae, the mayor abruptly cut the speaking time of citizens from five minutes to three minutes.
It’s apparent that the council and mayor do not really want our opinions — just our money. Citizens should go to the meetings anyway.
Once again life imitates art. Ironically on the day after Gov. Sam Brownback reaffirmed his position on secret court appointments, the Oscar winning picture from 1949, “All the King’s Men” was shown on TV.
It portraits the rise of a power- hungry charlatan using the support of his duped constituents, the wealth of secret backers and the thuggish tactics of backroom politics.
Now that the governor has hoodwinked the tea party and social conservatives and using the money of the Koch brothers he is taking notes from the movie’s antagonist.
I am sending him a CD of the film as a back-up should his copy wear out.