Pot rush no gold
The legalization of marijuana has some benefits, but not enough to justify enthusiasts steamrolling it without regard to probable detrimental effects upon users and nonusers.
One question I’ve not seen answered is the effect on the lungs of marijuana smoke, either firsthand or secondhand.
Although it doesn’t contain nicotine, it’s still smoke, and enough smoke from any source can’t be good. After all, people die from smoke inhalation.
We’ve been spoiled in Kansas City since smoking was banned in public places.
Do we really want to open the door to this scourge again?
There are a lot of unknowns about a coming pot rush, and unfortunately, not all of them will have answers before the weed has become inextricably entwined in our culture.
Only then will we realize the awful aptness of the appellation “weed.”
Frances L. Gatlin
On New Year’s Day, Missouri became one of 21 states to implement minimum-wage increases, boosting the incomes of 4.4 million low-paid workers nationwide.
Missouri’s increase to $7.65 per hour benefits about 136,000 workers and is projected to boost the state’s economy by $38 million.
This increase is the result of a ballot initiative approved by Missouri’s voters in 2006 when indexing was a novel idea. Back then, inaction at the federal level left the minimum wage at $5.15 for nearly a decade.
Times are different now.
New Year’s marks the first time a majority of states have minimum wages surpassing the federal $7.25. Among them is Arkansas, whose voters approved an increase in November to $7.50 in 2015, $8 in 2016 and $8.50 in 2017.
While indexing gave Missouri’s minimum wage a commanding lead over neighboring Arkansas’ for nearly a decade, we will fall behind once Arkansas’ new wage is phased in. It could take five years or more to catch up if Missouri relies just on indexing to increase the wage of our lowest-paid residents.
Plans are underway to increase minimum wages to $15 an hour in some cities, $10 or $11 an hour in several states.
Will Missouri join them?
Of course we grieve with those who have lost loved ones; that is a work of mercy (12-29, A1, “Through old chalice a tradition is reborn”).
But using or justifying homicidal violence is problematic for Christians, especially for those in positions of authority.
The Catholic Mass is receiving Jesus and becoming “alter Christus,” another Christ. We receive so to embody Jesus’ way in this world right now as Jesus lived and acted in his violent world.
Jesus’ way is the way that works. He is God after all.
The Sermon on the Mount, the Magna Carta of the Christian, contains the rejection of all homicidal violence (Matthew 5-7). St. Therese came to understand this.
The recent mass at St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church communicates serious confusion regarding Christlike behavior. Police officers, though perhaps Christian, are trained to shoot to kill.
Therein lies the problem.
History is replete with Christian justification of violence, even though the longer history, which goes back to Jesus, is a history of the rejection of violence.
There is much needed prayer, study and discussion on this topic.
Asking the intercession of St. Therese, Dorothy Day and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. makes a fine beginning.
Thanks to The Star for the Dec. 26 article, “How dangerous at 75 mph?” concerning speed limits in Kansas.
Are we concerned that nearly 35,000 people are killed in automobile accidents in the U.S. each year?
If there is one police shooting it’s shown in the news over and over again. In the U.S., nearly 100 people are killed per day in automobile accidents.
Can you imagine how people would respond if they saw this slaughter on a daily basis on TV?
We know the effect of speed in automobile accidents. Yet the 55 mph speed limit was not tolerated.
We use technology to avoid speed traps, blink lights to warn oncoming motorists of traffic cops and instinctively slow down when we see a police car.
Hopefully, with the help of the media and law enforcement, we can reduce the speed limit significantly and save many lives.
What good is our justice system if it doesn’t work for honest citizens? When our lawmakers are more concerned with the welfare of themselves than the country, what good are they?
How many times have we had to turn our heads on the corruption they have created to fleece the honest working citizens? They are worse than any gangs out there.
When they aren’t defending those they are helping on Wall Street, they are assisting the big oil groups and utility companies.
The honest citizens have very little chance with the gas-price gouging, job sellouts, foreclosures and starve-outs of the last few years.
Why are we seeing all of this evil around the world? Could it be because we vote for dishonest lawmakers?
No wonder all we see is violence. How can we ever hope for an honest, decent world with so many crooks in charge?
Is there any way to cleanse so many?
Our government is disgraceful. The people in charge have betrayed the world.
William Leroy Elwood
We applaud the Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City Public Schools and city of Kansas City for their collaborative effort to bring a City Year program here (12-19, A1, “KC eyes helpers for schools”).
Benjamin Banneker Charter Academy of Technology and St. Peter’s Catholic School have seen the positive outcomes from this type of tutoring program.
We’ve formed a friendship and collaborative partnership over the past two years to provide our students, parents, faculty members and communities the opportunity to share knowledge and resources and build relationships.
This past summer, some of Banneker’s second-graders were paired with high school students from St. Peter’s in a program we called Study Buddy. They worked one on one to improve the younger students’ reading, spelling and math skills.
The positive outcomes of this program weren’t limited to academic results. This near-peer program also created social connections, increased the self-confidence of the mentees and mentors, and increased the leadership skills of the older students.
We’ve seen firsthand the positive effect near-peer mentoring programs have on building trusting relationships, benefiting our children now and our city in the future.
Dr. Marian Brown
Father Steve Cook
St. Peter’s Parish
Thankful in 2015
For the New Year, these are some of the things for which I am thankful:
▪ Being a Christian, because I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior some years ago, and it has been the most important decision I have ever made.
▪ Having the privilege of being a mom.
▪ Enjoying our four daughters, four sons-in-law and nine neat grandchildren.
▪ Living in America with all of its great benefits.
▪ Receiving my health back after two bouts of cancer. The last one included a stem-cell transplant in 2008, without which I would have had only two to three months to live.
▪ Getting to be married more than 50 years. My husband passed away from cancer. His birthday was on Thanksgiving Day last year.
▪ Knowing faithful friends who encourage me along life’s way.
▪ Access to the Bible and many good Christian resources.
▪ Freedom to go to church and worship God.