Gordon Parks school, fighting cancer, climate change

05/24/2013 11:13 PM

05/24/2013 11:13 PM

Fix Gordon Parks

I suspect that the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education wants to close Gordon Parks Elementary School in a step toward taking over Kansas City schools. Now a judge has delayed the state.

We should write the press and state and national officials to stop the state permanently.

We have to decide how to get these officials, the real dopes, out of office — and begin by reducing their salaries, paying them less for their politically motivated behavior.

If Gordon Parks Elementary School needs help, fix it and make the school better for those children.

Bill Doty

Overland Park Fighting cancer

The American Cancer Society last week celebrated its 100th birthday. This celebration marked 100 years of progress in the fight against cancer.

Today, more than 400 people in the U.S. are celebrating birthdays that would have been lost to cancer otherwise. Thanks in part to the society’s progress, nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year.

We provide rides to treatment through Road to Recovery, offer free places to stay at our Hope Lodge in Kansas City and provide cancer information 24/7 through cancer.org and 1-800-227-2345. Last year alone, the American Cancer Society assisted nearly a million people who called our toll-free number, visited cancer.org and used our free services nationwide.

We need help to provide more services for those battling cancer in Kansas City.

Today, two out of three persons diagnosed with cancer survive at least five years. We are not satisfied with that statistic and want to do more.

We’re asking our community to join us and finish the fight against cancer during Relay For Life or Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. Visit cancer.org/fight for more information.

Bridgett Myers

Kansas City Lucas Webb’s death

Last fall, Lucas Webb, 4, died a horrific death (5-21, A1, “Pleas for help preceded death”). Now we hear that Missouri Children’s Division workers had failed to remove the boy from his abusive parents, even after many calls to the Child Abuse Hotline.

The initial reaction is to blame state workers. Certainly, someone failed; two workers are gone. There will be calls to crucify others.

But that will be wrong. The outraged public should turn toward the Missouri legislature. Ask lawmakers how they justify spending each year’s session debating abortion, slowly dismantling the state’s safety net for the poor and spending time on frivolous legislation, such as passing a bill allowing drivers to show proof of insurance by smartphone.

Legislators should focus on those who already exist. Thousands live in poverty. Our lawmakers don’t seem to care about those children. The proof: continual cuts to services benefiting kids, such as Head Start and Medicaid, elementary and secondary education, and the Children’s Division.

Please, be angry about Lucas Webb’s death, and take action. Contact your legislators and demand that they address the systemic breakdown that ultimately caused Lucas’ death.

Kate Beem, MSW

Independence Struggling veterans

I was talking to an amputee veteran when I commented that people need to get over the idea that those who died in war “paid the ultimate price.”

The guy grinned, saying, “Yeah, they won, didn’t they?”

In relating this story to another veteran, I got to the “ultimate price” part when he grinned, saying, “They were the lucky ones.”

Two different veterans described guys who died as lucky and having won. After all, they’re at peace.

The guys who are alive are the ones still being awakened 40 years later by “coma dreams.” Or who consume a half-gallon of Old Crow because “I don’t sleep, I pass out.”

It is those who lived who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and the numerous health issues, such as those associated with Agent Orange and Iraqi lung disease. It is those who lived who pay the price each and every day for the rest of their lives.

The idea that there is no such thing as an unwounded veteran is correct.

So instead of decorating a tombstone on Memorial Day, this year do the only thing that will ever honor any vet’s service: Work for peace.

Lawrence Smith

North Kansas City Climate change bull

The editors and columnists who deal with climate change seem to believe that history began with their lives.

I would like to hear just one of them tell me when the Earth stopped having what it has had from the beginning — cooling and warming cycles over long periods.

Also, would they please tell us what the “normal” temperature of the Earth is so we can know how much of a temperature we are running and, if necessary, call the doctor. If we were in a period of global cooling, what would they be advocating then?

I don’t expect to have an answer from them anytime soon. They tell us that the consensus of experts is that there is man-made global warming.

This raises a question they can definitely answer. Were Albert Einstein’s theories confirmed by consensus, or were they proved by scientific observation?

I would consider it progress toward sensibility if they would just answer this one.

Robert Kobler

Bonner Springs Kill U.S. penny

Recently, I contacted my Kansas representative with some ideas for the U.S. penny and for setting up a painless tax to be used to help pay down the national debt.

By stopping use of the penny, we could save a lot of money because it is well known that this coin costs more to make than it is actually worth.

My plan goes a little further. Transactions would continue as they do now for accounting purposes, but the amount charged would be rounded up to the next nickel.

For example, a charge of $6.24 becomes $6.25 and $6.26 becomes $6.30. Using software, the extra one cent or extra four cents is not reported as income but is kept in a separate account. This money is forwarded to the Treasury and earmarked for a debt-reduction special fund.

Yes, this is a tax but almost a painless one.

Who can say how many billions of dollars might be raised this way? If this extra cash is put to the proper use, the debt might be brought under control.

Tom Spath

Lenexa Genius Lee Judge

I get a kick out of the letters criticizing the political cartoons of The Star’s editorial cartoonist, Lee Judge.

Judge’s artwork, ideas and razor-sharp copy are almost always brilliant.

His sarcasm cuts to the bone. His ridicule of the game of politics is biting, and his ability to expose some of the ludicrous goings-on in the public arena is priceless.

Is he unfair? Absolutely.

Is he over the top with many of his criticisms? You bet.

Is he an unabashed flaming liberal? Duh!

And, that’s exactly what political cartoons are supposed to be — outrageous, one-sided and unapologetically partisan.

As a confirmed conservative, I marvel at his work even though I disagree with most of his ideas.

I enjoy equally the efforts from those on the right. I just wish they were as good.

Political cartoons are not supposed to be mundane. Or fair. Or balanced.

Lighten up fellow righties and enjoy the genius of Judge.

Thomas Schmidt

Olathe Pursuing integrity

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.” (Pogo, circa 1970)

We can criticize our federal government all day long, and all we’ll get is hoarse. People have shouted for years, “We have the best Congress money can buy.” (Will Rogers, circa 1930s)

But if we want to stop our country’s slide, we must stop our own slides.

We can vote the rascals out if we want different rascals. But if enough of us change course, we’ll be amazed at how the rascals will imitate us and change.

When we create a wave of morality and integrity, our “leaders” will crest the wave.

David Carlyle

Odessa, Mo.

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