Well, looks like Yosemite Sam Brownback got another checkmark on his bucket list to send Kansas back to another century.
State and U.S. National Rifle Association reps were on hand to applaud the no-permit, no-training concealed-gun bill that Gov. Brownback recently signed into law.
Law-enforcement officials appeared to be absent, as were common-sense realists who understand that bullying, road-rage incidents and other public encounters of the aggressive/angry/not friendly variety now have an additional concern to consider.
If you’re farming, ranching or on a wilderness trek, then you might want to be armed, but not if you’re walking from your car to Oak Park Mall or through the parking lot at Shawnee Mission Northwest High School.
The same common sense applies to the tax cuts. The cure is much more painful on us all, especially those on the unempowered lower end of the socioeconomic scale.
State government is a business, and what we’ve gotten out of Topeka is not how businesses stay solvent.
What we’ve gotten is a steady dose of a highly conservative agenda with little or no regard for the masses.
The gun deal is just another example.
How about a debate to legalize weed?
As a Kansas City Barbecue Society member and competitor for the last 25 years in the American Royal barbecue competition, I would like to express my displeasure with the American Royal Executive Committee’s decision to move the historic event to Arrowhead Stadium (5-6, A1, “World Series of Barbecue gets bigger”).
Arrowhead Stadium is a fine venue for football fans to cook burgers and brats on their little Webers, but it is hardly an ideal spot for serious barbecue teams. The asphalt is uneven, and the distance for many teams to turn in their entries for judging will probably be much farther than at the West Bottoms site.
The Royal and the Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioning organizers already have difficulty getting qualified judges for the current 500 teams, let alone for an additional 100 or more.
A great disservice has been done to the rich history of the West Bottoms, the site of the stockyards on which Kansas City was founded.
I would recommend to the American Royal Committee not dishonor its roots and change the name of the competition to the Arrowhead Weenie Roast and Tailgater Party.
Harsh welfare law
In my home country of Guatemala, poor people live on less than a dollar a day and often don’t even have shoes. In the United States, “poor” people have cars and cellphones.
I struggled to accept what it meant to be poor in the United States and had lost empathy for this population. A bill the governor vetoed and the legislature voted to override will decrease the lifetime welfare, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, eligibility (5-6, A1, “Nixon veto effort blocked”).
The argument is that this reduction would motivate TANF recipients to look for work.
It’s tempting to agree.
A lack of empathy makes it easy to forget that poverty is multifaceted and that the only moral requirement to get help is to ask for it. Because of the gap between poverty and self-sustainability, most TANF recipients are stuck in a system in which they benefit more from staying poor than from improving their circumstances.
Although we might think there are many resources to help the impoverished, empathy requires us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes because we don’t know their circumstance and story. I learned that just because someone has shoes does not mean he isn’t poor.
We must remember that just because someone is poor does not mean he is undeserving of our help.
Julio Quezada, M.D.
Both sides erred
The entire incident that unfolded in Garland, Texas, was the unfortunate collision of two radical ideologies (5-4, A3, “Bloody scene at cartoon contest”).
The despicable actions of both the criminal shooters and the organizers and attendees who baited them represent the worst of their collective communities.
In the aftermath of this tragedy, what these groups did and why they did it are not of the utmost importance. What is important is how we the people of this country choose to respond.
The organizers of the event hoped to show us that Islam is a religion of violence, while the attackers hoped to show us that Christians are bent on the mockery and persecution of other faiths.
Whether they were successful or not depends on us.
Will we Americans, Muslim and Christian alike, allow ourselves to be used as pawns by the ignorant and vengeful among us? I for one am hopeful that we are better than that.
Mother’s Day gift
We all look forward to Sunday, when we will celebrate Mother’s Day and the cherished bond between mother and child.
It is ironic that dairy cows — worldwide symbols of motherhood — never get to see their babies.
The newborn calves are torn from their mothers at birth and turned into veal cutlets, so we can drink the milk that nature designed for them. The distraught mothers bellow for days, hoping for their calves’ return.
Most milk cows spend their lives chained on concrete floors, with no access to the outdoors. Each year, they are impregnated artificially to keep the milk flowing. When their production drops, at about 4 years of age, they are turned into hamburgers.
This Sunday, let’s honor motherhood and our natural compassion by replacing cow’s milk and other dairy products, all laden with fat and cholesterol, with delicious, healthful, cruelty-free nut- or soy-based milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. These are available in every supermarket.
Mother cows, and our own bodies, would be most grateful.
Kansas wind power
The bills supported by the Kansas Republican Party that would increase taxes on renewable energy are anti-business, anti-farmers and anti-ranchers, and are a clear violation of the campaign promises made by the Republicans on tax policy.
Efforts to kill the wind industry by taxing it to death are a clear attack on farmers and ranchers in Kansas. Building a robust wind industry would bring huge new streams of revenue to farmers and ranchers. Rural communities would be revitalized by revenue from wind projects.
The governor’s tax policies have failed miserably. We need to put back in place the taxes that produced a balanced budget and adequate school funding.
It is insane to kill the wind industry and attack Kansas farmers and ranchers just because the governor can’t admit his policies failed.
Hope for future
I am a student at Liberty High School, and throughout advanced government I’ve learned that one’s family, particularly in young adults like me, has a huge influence on a person’s political beliefs.
At my age, there are two and only two directions a person can fall on the political spectrum.
One can be a mirror image of one’s parents’ ideology, not functional enough to form independent thoughts but only following the parents’ immaculate lead. Or the young person could be a typical recalcitrant teenager whose opinions are formed only by the inexperienced, naive life he leads.
I want to pose an idea to those who find that my acceptance of gay marriage and disgust toward the death penalty are humorous. What if the world isn’t just black and white but rather is a mix of grays?
My generation is a melting pot of political beliefs, and that’s OK. It shouldn’t matter what ideology a person adheres to, just as the color of a person’s skin shouldn’t matter.
I am proud of the things that make me who I am, such as being a daughter of Christ.
The world shouldn’t attach labels to who we are.
I see hope in the future of our generation.