Travel by rail, credit card security, evolution debate

03/07/2014 4:54 PM

03/10/2014 1:43 PM

Travel by rail

When I moved my family to Kansas City from Oklahoma in June 1964, rail passenger service was still running. Many family members used it to visit.

We were very sad to see it end.

Now the Hispanic population in Kansas City is growing rapidly, and I know Hispanics as well as elderly people would use a good rail passenger service to the South and West regions.

To learn just how vital rail service is to the Southwest region from Kansas City, you can search for “Kansas City Southern Railway” on Wikipedia.

Kansas City Southern Railway must be doing some things right to the Southwest because the company’s value has grown in the last five years.

I would love to ride Amtrak to Oklahoma City, Dallas and Houston.

Rudolph E. Haston

Independence Lee Judge cartoon

Lee Judge should be drawing caricatures at the amusement park. The guy keeps recycling the same three ideas over and over.

Republicans bad (we’re not). Obama good (he’s not). And global warming real (It’s not).

Refer to his cartoon making fun of those who don’t agree with him about global warming, which just happened to run March 2, one of the coldest March days ever recorded in Kansas City. I wish there was a little global warming now.

On March 4, Judge made a feeble attempt to blame Russia’s invasion of Crimea on, you guessed it, George W. Bush.

During the presidential debates, Mitt Romney noted that Russia was still our geopolitical adversary. Obama’s counter: “The ’80s called, and they want their foreign policy back.” How naive does Obama sound in retrospect?

Now to Lee Judge I say, the ’60s called, and they want their cartoonist back.

Ross Balano

Kansas City Goldberg column

It was disappointing to read Jonah Goldberg’s March 2 column, “Let ‘hidden laws’ rule again.” It was a tepid endorsement of the proposed anti-gay law in Arizona.

For centuries, many groups have been singled out for discrimination and victimization. Blacks, Jews, gypsies, gays, Christians and non-Christians have been among them.

Much of the discrimination has been justified by the interpretation of religious texts, including the Bible and Qu’ran. Those who use these texts are often on the fringe of their respective religions, but they are fervent in the belief that their religion justifies their actions.

To enshrine the use of religion into law as a way to permit discrimination opens a door to some awful possibilities. For Mr. Goldberg to suggest that Jim Crow and other legalized forms of discrimination couldn’t evolve from this start shows an infinite ignorance of history.

If you legalize the use of religion as a hammer to wield against others, there is every reason to expect that you might one day be considered a nail by someone.

Mr. Goldberg should be acutely aware of this possibility and should be speaking out loudly and clearly about this kind of legal bludgeoning.

Kenneth Newman

Overland Park Credit card security

With the increase in credit-card fraud, the portion committed at stores should be addressed by a prudent increase in watchfulness. If clerks required a form of personal identification in addition to the credit card itself, it seems the use of stolen credit cards could be significantly impeded.

If, as is often the case, the clerk knows or recognizes the shopper, this would obviate the need for the additional security measure and ease the tie-up at the checkout.

The much greater credit-card use in electronic transactions would, of course, not be affected, but any reduction would be beneficial.

In telephone transactions, the operator is already requiring more information than just the card number. Each of us, without too much additional effort, can help make a dent, at least, in a highly costly crime.

It would aid in the efficiency of the checkout process if an important form of personal ID is routinely kept with the credit card. Including a photograph directly on the credit card would substantially facilitate proof of identity.

Steve Sherry

Kansas City Evolution debate

American students fall behind their peers in other nations and our economy pleads for an educated workforce, so Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin, a Harrisonville Republican, wants kids to be able opt out of science classes on evolution.

What’s next? Opting out of sex-education classes, because we wouldn’t want hormone-addled adolescents to know how to prevent unwanted pregnancies or avoid sexually transmitted diseases? Or we could ban critical thinking, as endorsed by the Texas GOP.

Dealing with contradictions between evidence-based science and faith-based beliefs is a uniquely human quandary. By wanting to eliminate that option for at least some Missouri students, Brattin appears to be promoting a “don’t think, just do what I say” approach to learning.

Brattin’s statement that evolution, like religion, is “pulled out of the air” denigrates both. That probably wasn’t his intent, but making the distinction would require critical thinking.

Also, accepting “microevolution” while rejecting “macroevolution” merely parrots a creationist talking point that exploits Brattin’s scientific illiteracy. Like black and white at two ends of a continuum of grays, micro- and macroevolution are merely disparate points on a continuum of change.

This bill should crawl back under the rock from which it emerged — and take Brattin with it.

Robert Powell

Independence

What do quantum physics and Sunday school have in common? Nothing.

What does religion have to do with science? Everything, if you think the Bible is a science book.

Unknown to many people, the Bible is a book of faith, a book about relationships — not a science book, nor a book about mathematics, biology, geology, language arts or astrophysics.

When you mix faith and science, you do a grave disservice to both areas of study.

Religion is supposed to teach us how to live together in this world, how to love our neighbors and how to relate to God.

Science doesn’t waste time with matters of religion or relationships or the after-life.

Science has one concern — seeking knowledge of this world through experiment, empirical observation and the scientific method. Making a scientific prediction and either proving it or disproving it is the essence of science.

There is no secret agenda to science. One’s personal faith is irrelevant to science.

To God, science is never mentioned in the Bible, but to love justice and mercy and to walk humbly with God, the essence of religion, is mentioned in the Bible.

Sadly, this admonition is so ignored by such an obtuse church today.

James L. Wrolstad

Liberty FDA drug holdups

I just watched “Dallas Buyers Club,” and I can identify with the movie because I also have a terminal illness.

I have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. There is a drug available in 26 counties to treat this illness, but the Food and Drug Administration has not approved its use in America.

The FDA has made it illegal for me to go and get the medication and bring it back. The FDA has been reviewing this since 2009.

How many other medical treatments are being held up by the FDA? Someone needs to take a long hard look at the FDA.

Garry Richards

Lawson, Mo.

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