Letters to the Editor

April 11, 2014

Mozilla, awkward speech, liberals

Is anybody else upset by Mozilla forcing Brendan Eich out of his CEO position because he donated $1,000 to support California’s Prop 8 back in 2008?
Mozilla’s heavy hand

Is anybody else upset by Mozilla forcing Brendan Eich out of his CEO position because he donated $1,000 to support California’s Prop 8 back in 2008 (4-4, A8, “Mozilla CEO who fought gay marriage resigns”)? I’m sure Mr. Eich won’t be on a Ramen Noodle budget any time soon.

This isn’t about who runs Mozilla. It’s about a company caving to a vocal minority that claims everyone needs to be tolerant when the minority itself is intolerant. A person should be free to support whatever cause he wants without wondering what repercussions he might suffer years down the road.

If you find Mozilla’s behavior deplorable and want to send a message loud and clear to the company and to the rest of corporate America, here’s the easiest form of activism you’ll ever do: Simply quit using Firefox. Every time you visit a website, that web server records what browser you’re using.

That data is aggregated and people in the industry monitor the market use of each browser. A precipitous drop can be noticeable within days.

So use anything other than Firefox — Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, even Opera. Regardless of which side of the gay marriage issue you’re on, you have a right to your opinion and to even promote your opinion without being persecuted for your opinion.

Dale Willer

Shawnee Awkward speech

Such common phrases as “kind of” and “sort of” have slipped into speech in the electronic media, and they are pervasive.

A coach said his team sort of lost a big lead. A person on a panel said he had kind of forgotten a certain fact. A reporter said that a particular place had sort of become violent.

A weather reporter said he kind of thinks we could be in for some bad weather. An author, no less, used the phrases four times in a PBS interview. He said the subject of his book was sort of radical and kind of controversial.

This sloppy use interrupts the flow of speech. It is in the category of “uh” and “you know.” Well, kinda.

Temp Sparkman

Kansas City Liberal tunnel vision

I have noticed that amid the liberals’ outrage over the Supreme Court’s ruling on political donations and the Koch brothers that they have once again forgotten their own versions.

Do George Soros and major labor unions, among many others, ring a bell? That tunnel vision seems to be a condition peculiar to the liberals.

Bob Berry

Oak Grove Steve Paul column

Steve Paul’s April 5 commentary, “GM case may once again undermine confidence,” addressing GM’s recall because of faulty ignition switches associated with fatalities, was correct to criticize GM. On multiple levels, GM failed to correct the problem.

Mr. Paul’s impressive recollection of past automotive debacles in the American car industry goes all the way back to the 1970s. At the same time, Mr. Paul might have been selective about the brands he chose to criticize.

Toyota was fined more than $1 billion and admitted to withholding evidence to settle its sudden acceleration and floor mat problems, which resulted in a recall of millions of vehicles and multiple alleged fatalities (3-20, A10, “Toyota admits it was wrong”).

Toyota’s problems and settlement were reported in The Star. However, no mention of them were included in the commentary.

Seems there may be more than one rotten castle.

Wanda Ruckman

Kansas City Information gap

There has been much information disseminated regarding the low premiums for health insurance under the new Obamacare law. What I have not heard is just how much the co-pays and deductibles will be for these plans.

I have to wonder why we are not hearing anything in this regard. Is it because, even though you can afford the premiums, the co-pays and deductibles will actually make these plans unaffordable?

Undoubtedly, these costs vary considerably from state to state and plan to plan. But there must be such information out there, particularly gathered by the insurance companies themselves. Why isn’t the public given these statistics?

Kathleen Largent

Independence Consumer protections

The payday loan bill in the Missouri legislature should balance consumers’ needs for short-term credit options with protections designed to keep consumers from falling into an all-too-common cycle of debt. The so-called cycle of debt is the biggest concern I have heard in the African-American community through the years from those concerned about Missouri’s short-term lending industry.

Traditional banks are not serving our community, so options for credit are limited. SB 694 would prohibit lenders from renewing loans, requiring that borrowers pay off their loans in full instead of simply paying fees to extend the loan.

But SB 694 goes further to protect Missouri borrowers by requiring lenders to provide free extended-payment plans to borrowers having difficulty paying off their loans. Instead of having to borrow a second loan to pay off their first, borrowers would have 60 days to repay a 14-day loan with smaller, equal installments due on the borrower’s payday.

We know unforeseen circumstances sometimes prevent well-intentioned borrowers from making their loan payments. By providing more time to pay off their loans, these free extended-payment plans would serve as a safety valve for borrowers having financial difficulty.

While not perfect, SB 694 effectively addresses the most important flaw of Missouri’s payday lending law and deserves support.

Lucien B. Smith Sr.

Independence Rooney’s KC ties

According to his autobiography, Mickey Rooney lived part of his boyhood in Kansas City (4-7, A8, “Longtime star Mickey Rooney dies at age 93”). My father, who was his age, recalled seeing him at a football game when Mickey’s friends from his former school were playing against Southwest High School.

Mickey was at the top of his career at that time with his Andy Hardy movies.

Judy Jordan

Lee’s Summit Confusing religions

In the early 1950s, historian Henry Commager said, “The world needs a more mature concept of religion.” This statement gets my vote for the understatement of the 20th century.

Many religions of the world are 4,000 years old. What if we relied on 4,000-year-old science?

I don’t know whether there is any way to construct a religion for our time. The closest I can come is a religion based on the belief that the Earth is as close as we can get to a concept of a god.

To say our religious beliefs are long in the tooth is an understatement. Our current religions can be explained in a few words.

They excuse, control and especially provide a license to be cruel.

Joseph Butler

Shawnee Alzheimer’s research

As co-director of the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center, I appreciated The Star’s April 5 article, “Wouldn’t you want to know?” on new ways to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. We have a major research program funded by the National Institutes of Health that focuses explicitly on these issues.

The article discusses new research into a blood test to predict who will develop Alzheimer’s disease. At KU Medical Center, we already use a more established test — amyloid imaging with PET scans — to identify that risk in healthy older adults. Our site is the first in the country to get approval from Medicare to cover the scans related to this research.

We’re also testing how exercise and new medications might help us prevent the onset of the disease. Our exercise trial is the first Alzheimer’s prevention study of its kind in the world.

Our nationally designated center is one of only 29 in the country. People in the Kansas City region should be happy to know local research is making a national impact on the effort to prevent and cure Alzheimer’s.

Jeffrey Burns, M.D.

Professor of Neurology

Associate Director

KU Alzheimer’s

Disease Center


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