A liberal’s viewpoint by a liberal: We believe in a government of the people, by the people and for the people — that’s all people, not just the superwealthy and corporations.
We believe in liberty and justice for all, not just y’all. We also believe in putting people ahead of making profits and in taking care of all people and our planet.
If anyone wants to know why the words liberal and media always seem to be connected, here’s one reason. Anytime an article, editorial or any mention of political pandering comes up in most news media, the Koch brothers’ name seems to be the only one mentioned.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the top 2014 individual federal doners were Thomas and Kathryn Steyer at $74 million, all to Democrats.
Nobody ever mentions that. Michael Bloomberg was second at more than $23 million, 95 percent to Democrats.
In fact, of the top six individual federal donors, four of them contributed 95 percent or more to Democrats.
George Soros was No. 11 at $3.8 million. You guessed it, all Democrat.
Charles and Elizabeth Koch were 10th at $5.3 million. David and Julia Koch were 24th at $2.5 million.
You would think occasionally the major news media might actually engage in balanced editorials, perhaps from an involuntary attack of journalistic ethics.
I’ve got a better chance of winning the lottery.
I read a story recently about the opening of the new Screenland Crossroads theater. It sounds as if the owners built an arcade and decided as an afterthought to show movies at the back.
What a sad commentary on the current state of movie exhibition.
It has not been that long ago that movie theaters were elaborate palaces at which the wares of Hollywood’s dream factory were lovingly displayed.
The red velvet curtains covering the screen marked the dividing line between reality and the flickering images that transported us to a different time and place. Instead of being bombarded with an endless stream of National Guard and cellphone commercials, we were invited to enter into a world that provided a temporary sanctuary from the harsh realities of everyday life.
To the owners of the new Screenland Crossroads and its sister theater in North Kansas City, please think about the actual product you are selling and the environment you are providing for your patrons who must run a gauntlet of glowing, beeping, belching electronic games in order to even make it to the auditorium.
If I want an arcade, I’ll go to Chuck E. Cheese.
So Tom Dempsey, president pro tem of the Missouri Senate, and his fellow Republicans generated welfare-reform legislation that will make life more difficult for their neediest fellow citizens, and then according to reports “gathered to celebrate” their work before leaving on spring break.
When people with the power to help people who are down choose to kick those people instead, which is what our Republican politicians have done, all of us are implicated and diminished on the basis of our shared humanity.
When they congratulate themselves for their behavior, however, they show themselves and only themselves to be aligned with people whom Jonathan Swift described as a “pernicious race of little odious vermin.”
If anyone who voted for these people is not equally beyond shame, he might want to reread what Jesus said about how we treat the least of our brothers and sisters and seek a true statesman to support next time, if he can find one.
Or if reading is out, at least ask whether meanness really is its own reward.
Rev. Steve Hatfield
Workers left out
The free ride Kansas gives to businesses that move across the state line to avoid paying taxes misses one crucial point. The employees of those businesses continue to pay their state taxes.
But the company keeps 95 percent of the money. So a worker for AMC or any of the other non-taxpaying companies continues to pay his taxes.
But instead of that money going for state services, most of it goes back to the company. That’s yet another example of how Gov. Sam Brownback’s Kansas robs from the working class to finance corporate welfare.
This insanity benefits neither Kansas nor Missouri. Both states lose revenue, while companies keep the employees’ tax money.
Kansas gun laws
With the almost certain passage of Kansas SB 45 in the Kansas Legislature and likely endorsement of Gov. Sam Brownback, I’m reminded of the oft-quoted National Rifle Association slogan, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
SB 45 ensures that anyone who wants to carry a concealed handgun can do so without obtaining a permit — no training, no background checks. I don’t know whether we will see more Sandy Hook massacres as a result, but we know that the unrestricted use of handguns in a community is a public-safety nightmare. Ask those who live under constant threat of random and targeted gunfire in our cities.
Epidemiologic studies show the availability of handguns leads to a statistically significant increase in suicides and accidental shootings. And as we have learned from national media reports of several tragic and preventable incidents in the news, people don’t settle arguments, guns settle arguments.
How many more tragedies will occur before an informed and engaged citizenry joins together to stem the rising tide of irresponsible and deleterious laws such as SB 45 and works to pass common-sense gun-safety legislation?
I received two red-light-camera traffic tickets at $100 each. I read a March 18 story in The Star, “Partial ticket refunds coming later in spring,” saying a claims administrator sent thousands of postcard notices to people who had paid fines for the red-light tickets.
I did not receive mine and I am sure others also did not.
Officials said the deadline to make a claim was Feb. 28. I believe they should allow people to send a written request for refunds.
The refund was supposed to be $20. Forty dollars doesn’t sound like much, but what are they doing with the $160 they collected from me and others? Twenty percent is ridiculous, but I would take it, and I am sure others would, too.
Jo Ann Termini
It’s time to be afraid. Recent headlines in some news media outlets have declared that the most commonly used herbicide on farms can cause cancer.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer gave glyphosate a 2A rating, meaning it’s classified as probably carcinogenic. As president of the Kansas Agribusiness Retailers Association, my members handle and apply that product on Kansas farms and would be most at risk if glyphosate were unsafe.
It is time to be afraid, but not of glyphosate. I’m afraid of how science is ignored by quasi-governmental organizations such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer. When regulatory bodies across the world have reviewed glyphosate, they’ve all reached the same conclusion. It is not carcinogenic.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority are the most recent bodies to come to that conclusion.
Since 1993, more than 89,000 people participated in a 20-year, multimillion-dollar study on cancer and health risks to farmers. The Agricultural Health Study is the gold standard for agricultural health research and was ignored by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
The Agricultural Health Study showed no carcinogenic health impact from using glyphosate.
Tom R. Tunnell