Giant in journalism
The death of Robert “Bob” Sigman is a reminder of journalism at its best. As an editorial writer for The Kansas City Star for more than 40 years, Bob sparked improvements in the justice system beyond all measure.
With thoughtful reasoning and enlightened wrath, Bob’s defense of Missouri’s famous non-partisan court plan put to shame the politicians who favored the election of judges.
Indeed, Bob Sigman’s years of prodigious fact-gathering for his editorials in subtle ways shaped the way we think. So much so that his opinion became our opinion, and we didn’t even know it.
Never miss a local story.
Bob Sigman was a gem in our midst.
Sidney L. Willens
The suggested dress code for male politicians in Jefferson City should include metal suspenders and no zippers (8-19, A1, “Intern dress code idea is panned”).
Megan McArdle’s Aug. 19 column, “Trump is peddling ‘bag o’ crazy’ on immigration,” about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump failed to address the problem. No matter how many immigrants we allow in, there will always be a flood of people right behind them who also want in.
The problem will always be how we control who enters this country, who works in this country and who becomes a citizen. A physical barrier would not be as effective as we would like.
The only solution I can see is instituting a national identification card and enforcing immigrant status. And, Ms. McArdle, why not have this system paid for by the immigrants?
They want to be here. Tax them for the costs.
Enforcement of labor laws would eliminate 50 percent, if not 90 percent, of the illegal immigration problem.
Look at the immigration demonstrations. They are just a whole bunch of people and their relatives demanding that their illegal presence here be legitimized.
As we saw with President Ronald Reagan’s amnesty, as soon as they are legitimized, another group of illegal border crossers will take their place.
Ms. McArdle, see whether you can answer how we are to deal with that “underlying reality.”
In the midst of a very wet year in the Kansas City area and enjoying the bounty produced in large measure by American farmers, I hesitate to make what seems an obvious point.
According to the best figures I can find, as much as 4,000 gallons of water is needed to produce a bushel of corn. Turning to the use of that corn, millions of bushels of corn and sorghum are used in the production of ethanol.
True, the dry distilled grain is used to feed cattle, another “crop” that needs large quantities of water.
We can operate our vehicles (perhaps even more efficiently) without ethanol. We cannot live by drinking oil or its derivatives.
Ethanol is a waste of a natural resource that is quickly being exhausted.
Running from Iraq
President Barack Obama failed to get a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq and removed our troops.
In his book, “Worthy Fights,” Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director and defense secretary for Obama, said he believed a small U.S. troop presence could have effectively advised Iraq’s military on how to deal with al-Qaida’s resurgence and the sectarian violence that engulfed the country. But the White House never stepped up.
The White House was so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it wouldn’t negotiate to preserve our influence and interests, which, Panetta said, opened the door for the region to become an Islamic State haven.
The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins interviewed U.S. officials regarding a Status of Forces Agreement. They said they got no guidance from the White House. Ambassador James Jeffrey said they didn’t know where Obama was.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said, “I don’t know what I have to sell.” Maliki suggested an executive agreement. Obama declined.
Obama flaunts bypassing our Congress.
Filkins reported that Sami al-Askari, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly, said the American attitude was, Let’s get out of here as quickly as possible.
Regrettably, Iran and the Islamic State filled the void.
As a frequent traveler from Kansas City International Airport (200,000 miles last year), I think it is beyond time for a new airport.
I’ve certainly come to appreciate the convenience of our airport, although what some don’t seem to realize is that it is possible to replicate the convenience with a new facility.
Raleigh-Durham International Airport is one example. Its new terminal means I can get to my gate in under five minutes. I don’t quite understand why everybody assumes that a new airport will suddenly mean long lines. Have people seen the security and check-in lines for Southwest Airlines at Terminal B at KCI on a busy day?
A new terminal would be good for passengers and would offer benefits such as restaurants that everybody can enjoy. People would have more Transportation Security Administration pre-check, more power outlets, more seating and other benefits.
An increase in gates also would benefit the airport. Some airlines wanting to start service at KCI may discover that gates are not readily available in the current configuration.
There is no possibility for growth with such a small KCI.
Increase gas tax
Americans face many divisive issues, but as a culture obsessed with cars, can’t we agree to maintain our auto infrastructure?
We don’t seem to want mass transit like the rest of the world. We want our cars and wide-open spaces, and as a car nut, I’m OK with that. But our inaction is letting our once-proud highway system deteriorate at an alarming rate.
The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents a gallon, last increased in 1993 when gas was barely $1 a gallon. To keep up with inflation, it should now be higher.
Nobody likes paying more taxes, and politicians won’t touch this issue. They prefer to kick the can down the proverbial road. But now is the time to act while fuel prices are relatively low.
Ask your members of Congress to do their jobs and protect this national asset.
Rigging vote system
Frequently, The Kansas City Star publishes opinion pieces and/or letters that profess to support voter-identification laws supposedly because many illegal votes in numerous states have been proved.
However, not once has anyone who wants voting rights to be restricted ever provided verifiable numbers to support their efforts to keep some Americans from their constitutional right to vote.
I suspect such numbers are minuscule and would prove embarrassing to the proponents.
The claim is that it is all about protecting the integrity of the process. Now if anyone truly believes that, I have some beachfront property in Arizona I would gladly sell that person.
Clearly it has nothing to do with the integrity of the process. It is all about keeping voter turnout low to enhance the chances of certain candidates (almost exclusively Republican) of getting elected. In other words, if they can’t be elected on the basis of their policies, let’s just rig the process.
That’s fair, right?
Postal Service cheers
After reading several complaints about the U.S. Postal Service, I would like to praise the work at the Brookside branch, particularly postal worker Sharon Johnson.
I have used this facility for many years and have always found Ms. Johnson to take her job seriously but with a large dose of humor.
She is consistently courteous, professional, helpful and cheerful. Like a mother hen, she skillfully guides us through any number of processes. I’m thankful to have someone like her working in my neighborhood.