Letters to the Editor

Funding humanities, KC water, Rep. Ike Skelton

Updated: 2013-11-06T00:29:21Z

Funding humanities

The budget resolution currently under consideration in Congress includes devastating cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities, which is already funded at a level scandalously low for the most powerful nation on Earth. Are we to believe that understanding history is now an “extra” that we cannot afford?

Are we to believe that we already know all we need about language, culture, art and philosophy? Are we to believe that everyone is finished learning about ethics and has resolved all debates about social priorities?

Congress is shameless to paint these as luxuries after 10 years of spending the equivalent of the National Endowment for the Humanities annual budget in an average week in Iraq. The $150 million requested by National Endowment for the Humanities wouldn’t even last a day in Afghanistan.

According to Standard & Poor’s, the pointless government shutdown recently cost our economy enough money in 16 days to fund the National Endowment for the Humanities for over a century. So no, Congress does not get to defund inquiry and education in the humanities.

That investment is essential to democracy.

Ben Chappell


KC pipe dream

According to the Kansas City Water Services Department, there are more than 318 square miles of pipe within the city limits, and the department is repairing water line breaks every week. However, their plan is to replace all lines at a rate of 1 percent per year.

The water department also pats itself on the back for using new pipes that will last 50 to 75 years and are environmentally friendly because they are being made from recycled cars.

Yet just last year the department had to pull and replace pipe down in the River Market area that was laid in 1874. That means the pipes there lasted for 138 years.

So, by replacing all the old pipe at a rate of 1 percent per year, the water department will be replacing their new pipes before they ever finish laying their new pipes.

The new pipes might be environmentally friendly, but the length of service from these new pipes is economically insane.

Lance Twyman

Kansas City

Fleeting health

How ironic that The Star ran a front-page article pondering the 18-to-35 demographic’s reluctance to purchase insurance provided them by the Affordable Health Care act alongside a touching story of a high school soccer player with testicular cancer (11-3, A1, “Soccer lifts teen in fight to kick cancer”).

Realizing how difficult it is to affect decisions with logic, consider this: Neither Nick Hibbeler nor his parents expected a healthy teenage athlete to contract cancer.

Of course, most young, healthy people won’t suffer such an illness, but as a health-care professional, I see hospitals filled with such cases.

Please consider when making such an important decision as this the possible consequences. Individuals have accepted they must carry auto insurance. Please apply the same logic to caring for you own health.

Dennis McDonough

Lee’s Summit

Tribute to Skelton

Former Congressman Ike Skelton died recently. A well-respected legislator, he was a gentleman who worked across the aisle and kept Whiteman and Fort Leonard Wood in our state. He worked for Missouri.

Voters in the 4th District tossed Skelton aside for Vicky Hartzler. What’s she done for Missouri?

She questioned President Barack Obama’s birth certificate to pander to the tea party, voted to shut down the government and voted against raising the debt ceiling, which would have created a worldwide financial panic.

She voted more than 40 times to defund the Affordable Care Act and thereby deny health insurance to millions of Americans. She’ll vote to increase her own farm subsidies while cutting food stamps for the poor and elderly.

What were the voters in the 4th District thinking? Happily, I live in the 5th District.

Joyce Reichman

Lake Lotawana

Obamacare quiz

Want to silence Republicans? Ask them the benefit of a one-year delay of the individual mandate.

Want to silence Democrats? Ask them the negative of a one year delay of the individual mandate.

Want the answers? Ask an independent.

Scott Hamblin

Overland Park

Teetering democracy

What is happening to our world? I use the word “our” with full knowledge that not all Americans agree that there is a dangerous conceit spreading across the country.

Whether or not reasonable firearm restrictions can be enacted, certain environmental concerns can be acted upon and a woman’s right to exercise control over her body can survive the head-long rush toward a self-serving social agenda, are among the critical issues facing America today. At risk is nothing less than freedom of thought and the exercise thereof.

The varied interests of all of us deserve to be considered, and have been, for as long as the United States has existed. Reasonable debate, fair elections and equal justice were accepted as the norm.

Our democratic processes, however, have recently been highjacked by an excessively financed collection of ideologues who seek to remake the country into their selfish vision. A single-minded and radical minority, which has achieved some of its goals, is the result of appeal to narrow self-interest and a subversion of “the will of the people.”

As long as unlimited funds and pliant politicians hold sway, the “silent majority” will continue to witness the loss of civil rights and majority rule.

Steve Sherry

Kansas City

Conservatives, liberals

I have been told by conservative friends that I am a liberal. That must be true.

I was even un-friended by one of them. It seems today that the divide between the two groups has increased. That’s too bad.

Two issues today are really driving us apart. One issue is health care.

I have done some checking on my own and discovered that the countries that have socialized medicine have better health, in general, than we do and pay far less. Yet none of those countries, even with conservative governments, have made any effort to change.

In addition, the state of Massachusetts has had such health care for some time (thanks to then-Gov. Mitt Romney), and it seems to be working there. This makes me wonder shouldn’t we give it a try?

The second issue is education, and liberal Massachusetts surfaces again. If the state of Massachusetts were a country, its scores would be in the top 10, of the world, in math and science scores.

There is no push for charter schools. There are no anti-Common Core fights there.

Yet most conservative states have little success to show in their schools. Go figure.

Stephen Amthauer

Overland Park

Guns, predators, prey

In the natural world, we have predators and prey from the smallest microbe to the largest beast that walks the planet. For now, though, lets use a gazelle as the prey and a cheetah as a predator.

Now, nobody would deny the gazelle’s right to use its horns to defend itself from the cheetah. The gazelle with the largest horns is less likely to become prey because the cheetah has learned to attack the less well-defended gazelle.

Have we as a society gotten to a point where we believe that by removing the horns from the gazelle or limiting the size of it horns will somehow make the gazelle population safer? To prove this won’t work is the fact that cheetahs have even learned that domesticated livestock of the native people are completely defenseless and are easier prey than the gazelle.

Now, do we actually think that disarming law-abiding citizens will make them safer from the criminals out there? Really?

Rick Bullock

Clearview City, Kan.

Charmed Chiefs

My old Indian grandfather always said that “it is better to be lucky than good.”

It is a good thing that the Chiefs are lucky (11-4, B1, “Both lucky and good, team takes spotless record into bye week”), because they really aren’t very good.

Richard W. Dahms

Country Club

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