Readers weigh in on ALEC, Fox News and health care

08/07/2014 7:00 AM

08/07/2014 5:58 PM

ALEC dependence

Someone once said every creative act is a sudden cessation of stupidity. Apparently, stupidity reigns in the Kansas and Missouri legislatures where GOP creative thinking is in a suspended state of unconsciousness.

Both state legislatures are challenged to think of their own bills or even to write what they think. Sadly, they must be spoon-fed canned legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Sometimes ALEC gets it wrong and typos creep into “model legislation.” Undaunted, the pols lazily push “drafting error” bills through the legislatures, giddy with thoughts of steak dinners and corporate suite tickets that ALEC has promised them.

ALEC is the mouthpiece of a number of corporations that promote their own agendas and resulting “model legislation.”

What can be done about it?

When I found out my insurance company was an ALEC backer, I fired it and found a non-ALEC company to insure my home and automobiles. There are plenty of other ALEC backers that no longer get my business.

Facing customer outrage, many companies have dropped their support of ALEC in recent times, which is proof that in this profit-driven era, dollars will often speak louder than words.

Ron Fugate

Overland Park

Fox, GOP network

Polls on health care and other matters are based on information or facts in the minds of those being polled. But where did those being polled get their information or the lack thereof?

It reminds me that in the mid-1950s, when television was still in its infancy, Congress tried to pass a law that if you made a claim on TV, it had to be true. Evidently, the law didn’t pass because Fox’s claim of “fair and balanced” would have to be changed to “Fox: The GOP Propaganda Network.”

Propaganda consists of lies, half-truths and opinions. Now the champions of all these lies are Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.

With them telling their lies and dispensing other misinformation on the GOP Propaganda Network, it is no wonder that the ditto-heads respond the way they do in opinion polls on the released combatants, approval of Obamacare and other matters.

These people have been force-fed what the GOP Propaganda Network wants them to hear.

Remember, people, that when Hannity and the others start a statement with “I think” or “I feel,” you know that you are about to hear is an opinion not based on facts.

James Stapleton

Beloit, Kan.

Health care praise

In the midst of the frequent reports of serious problems within the Department of Veterans Affairs and the perils of Obamacare, I’m happy to report an exception to such grim news.

I recently experienced firsthand an encounter with the public sector and found that I was dealing with a thoroughly professional organization.

Upon my wife’s retirement and the loss of her medical insurance coverage, it came time for me to apply for Medicare coverage through the Social Security office in Lenexa as the first step to arranging broader private health care coverage.

My health care history is somewhat complicated, so two visits were necessary, but for both the seating was comfortable and wait times were only a matter of minutes.

Ellen, the person who processed my application, explained my options clearly and guided me through the process while also providing effective means of clearing away the difficulties, even offering help gathering the necessary data on my behalf.

I came away both grateful and impressed.

Ronald McGee

Overland Park

Junk amendments

Now that the Missouri legislature has worked hard at bringing amendments that have true meaning (right to bear arms and the right to farm) before the people, let’s work on something really difficult, such as the right to walk on the sidewalk.

This is the kind of junk you get. Stupidity reigns.

David Hooper

Kansas City

Nelson-Atkins plan

Enough! One thing is for certain, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art trustees care nothing about the neighborhoods that surround their landlocked museum (8-4, Editorial, “Nelson-Atkins wants to make connections”).

The idea that they consider these beautiful, stately homes as “bleak patch of urban dross,” is both ludicrous and at the very least out of touch.

It’s very obvious that the Nelson’s CEO and president, Julian Zugazagoitia, does not understand Kansas City.

We love our historic buildings and homes and will fight to keep them. He is an outsider whose goal is to expand at any cost.

The Trustees, including Shirley Helzberg, should know better, but it is obvious they are out of touch with midtown. They view all these incredible neighborhoods as one large teardown.

Shame on them. Their behavior can be described in three words, “wealthy knuckle draggers.”

Think outside the box.

Develop a true eyesore, the riverfront. Leave midtown alone.

David Zagalik

Kansas City

Hike state fuel tax

Voters of Missouri have spoken regarding the three-quarters-cent transportation sales-tax issue. It is now up to the gutless wonders in the Missouri legislature to put on their big-boy pants and ask voters to pass an increase in the fuel tax as they should have done in the first place.

None of us particularly likes voting for taxes, but reality and common sense told me that the transportation sales-tax issue was wrongheaded from the start.

It is time to show the lobbyists the door and use some common sense (if there is such a thing down there) and raise the fuel tax because we have one of the lowest fuel taxes in the nation.

That way, those who do the most damage to our roads and bridges would pay their share rather than those who can least afford it.

David L. Ullery

Freeman, Mo.

Leniency overload

If someone were to kill me in Jackson County, I would like to see them hung from the highest yardarm.

But in reality, the perpetrator would probably just be given probation and a medal (8-3, A1, “Getting off easy”).

Richard C. Lumpkin

Prairie Village

Incarceration costs

I write to express my dismay that The Kansas City Star did not attempt to explain the primary motivation for the use of probation in our court system — the cost of incarceration, now $23,350 per year in the Missouri Department of Corrections (8-3, A1, “Getting off easy”).

In fiscal year 2010, the Vera Institute of Justice estimated Missouri’s prison incarceration costs at $680.5 million.

The man who stole two TVs in Platte County worth $700 and got 13 years in prison will cost Missouri taxpayers more than $300,000.

The Star undoubtedly knew these figures yet chose to ignore them, instead playing to the old soft-on-crime argument that generates fear and anger, not reasoned discussion.

Given the newspaper’s proven talent and abilities with fine writers, count me as one very disappointed reader in this effort.

Pat Berrigan

Assistant

Public Defender

Capital Division

Western District

Kansas City

Sen. Roberts’ win

Frequent public polling shows Congress’ approval rating is hovering around 9 to 14 percent.

Sen. Pat Roberts has been ensconced in Washington, D.C., for more than 40 years. He is part of the establishment that has given us wholesale exportation of employment, lopsided trade agreements and corporate banking mega profits at our expense — the whole bit.

The man comes “home” only to campaign or, perhaps, to meet privately with a donor and to get marching orders.

Usually, big donors beat a path to his door or send in a lobbyist. Isn’t this the kind of representation about which so many are disgusted?

Albert Einstein offered an opinion about insanity by saying it is doing the same thing (wrong) over and over and expecting different results.

Perhaps the voting public should consider just who is the actual problem?

At least we in Missouri stood for our constitutional right to protection — as have Kansans.

Might these groups have an intellect and value system that seems apparently lacking elsewhere?

William McDannold II

Lee’s Summit

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