I went to pick up my partially disabled wife at the Union Station Amtrak station Wednesday. When I got there, the parking spaces were blocked off. Seems they were preparing for a taping of “American Ninja Warrior” this weekend.
I asked a rent-a-cop where I was supposed to park. He said, “Go around back behind the post office parking garage, and there will be parking there right by the trains.”
He was wrong. There was no parking around back, except inside the parking garage. I had no choice but to park there, so I did, grumbling.
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I asked Amtrak agents what provisions had been made for disabled passengers. “No provisions at all,” they said.
However, one Amtrak employee said she could get a wheelchair, and she did. She wheeled my wife across the station to a place where I could easily pick her up. I thank her for her help.
I do not thank the management of the train station, which just didn’t care that there might be disabled passengers who can’t walk long distances.
George C. Sievers
Kansas City, Kan.
Last week, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri held two public town halls within driving distance of my home. I applaud the senator for speaking face to face with the people she represents.
This makes me even more frustrated that my other two members of Congress — Rep. Sam Graves and Sen. Roy Blunt — have not held public town halls in the Kansas City area since their re-elections. This is entirely unacceptable.
In the meantime, I have made more visits and phone calls than I can count to their local offices. More often than not, their office staff says nothing more than, “I’m happy to pass your concern along,” and, “He has not made a statement on that issue.” Of course, I do not fault the staff members, as they are doing their jobs beautifully. It is the responsibility of the member of Congress to answer to his constituents.
We are in the second half of a two-week district work session. Our representatives and senators need to stop hiding from us. It is months past time to schedule a public town hall in the area.
Drop in bucket
Most Americans drastically overestimate the percentage of the total U.S. budget allocated to foreign assistance. When President Donald Trump proposes cutting 37 percent from this allocation, how much of the budget are we actually talking about? Ten percent? Twenty?
Actually, a mere 1 percent covers some of America’s most effective national security programs: supporting and protecting our embassies, responding to emergencies and assisting in development that helps poor countries become self-sufficient. As an advocate for CARE, a humanitarian agency dedicated to fighting poverty, I am concerned by these proposed cuts, and I’m not alone.
More than 120 retired three- and four-star flag and general officers from all branches of the armed services have joined congressional leaders of both parties to advocate for a strengthening of diplomacy and development as a way to keep America safe.
America needs to tell Congress: If you want to demonstrate American greatness, then a robust foreign assistance budget must be a priority. I urge Rep. Kevin Yoder and Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran to defend the foreign assistance budget.
No apes on cards
I just read David Morgan’s thoughtful piece about the plight of great apes used as entertainment. (April 17, 9A, “Chimpanzees shouldn’t be used for funny business”)
I have always cringed at greeting cards featuring chimpanzees and orangutans. The demeaning portrayal of these endangered species is objectionable to say the least. Great apes wouldn’t participate in these productions on their own accord. They know they’ll be punished for not cooperating.
Hallmark Cards could pull its remaining inventory of items featuring these animals immediately and pledge not to support this cruel industry. It’s odd and indefensible to exploit animals as comedic props.
Bill O’Reilly, following Roger Ailes, has been fired. Now it’s news, not just alternative facts, at Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News.
Tea party Republicans are beginning to reflect, taking the good things in Obamacare and trying to claim them as their own. House Speaker Paul Ryan has gone on record as saying this is “the law of the land.” And so it goes.
May our fragile democracy prevail, and, perhaps, may respectful friends Jon Stewart and O’Reilly launch a cable news show.