Letter writers sound off on nostalgia, mental health

07/10/2014 5:25 PM

07/14/2014 3:37 PM

Horses, nostalgia

If Kansas City wants some old-time nostalgia by reintroducing the streetcar, I suggest we go back a step further and reintroduce the horse-drawn buggy.

Not only would this create a lot of jobs, but many of them would be “shovel-ready” jobs, if you get the drift (stand upwind), while filling the need for a nostalgia fix for the others.

Horse-powered buggies require no expensive tracks and no high-voltage overhead wires, which are a hazard for firefighters.

Robert Patterson

Lee’s Summit

Mental health in KC

“Silence and shame make the problem grow” was a theme from hundreds of people at Creating Community Solutions-Kansas City.

President Barack Obama launched the national dialogue on mental health a year ago. Kansas City, a lead site, was co-sponsored by mayors Sly James and Mark Holland.

“Come forward and take action” was the message.

Our team strongly supports such community discussion and all efforts to raise awareness that emotional health is possible for everyone.

As one participant said, “We don’t always hear the success stories.”

Many had direct personal experience with mental-health challenges. They were eager to share stories of both difficulty and hope and their ideas for improving Kansas Citians’ mental health.

Now Creating Community Solutions is building an agenda for action. One goal is to change the climate in the whole community through information and awareness.

Others include youth promoting mental health, services for people 18 to 24 and sustainable mental-health programs.

We are encouraged that others are also working to build a community where stories of hope and healing are commonplace.

Kansas City can be proud of being a national leader of these efforts.

Janine Hron

CCS-KC team

Leawood

Kansas budget woes

Stephen Moore, chief economist at the Heritage Foundation, accuses Paul Krugman in a July 1 column, “Charlatans, cranks and Kansas: A sad tale,” of cherry-picking facts and drawing incorrect generalizations about the Kansas economy (7-8, Commentary, “What’s the matter with Paul Krugman?”).

But Moore’s rebuttal takes the prize, reaching from his carefully selected bowl of cherries — the uber generality: “Liberalism left unchecked creates economic mayhem, high unemployment, poverty and dead zones like Detroit and Newark and Rochester.”

What’s the matter with Kansas? Krugman nailed it. Moore is stuck holding a hammer with no claw.

Paul Schenk

Gladstone

Brownback’s record

On June 30, 2014, The Kansas City Star posted an editorial, “Kansas job numbers go in a bad direction." In that piece, The Star relies on recently released employment data as proof the Kansas economy is not growing.

The short-term data, however, do not provide the essential information about economic growth Kansans are concerned with because it includes government jobs.

The size and scope of government are not true indicators of a state’s prosperity or its economic strength.

Subtracting the total number of government workers from the total number of non-farm jobs in Kansas yields the total number of private sector jobs — and a much clearer picture of the state of our economy.

Once government figures are taken out of the non-farm jobs data, the May 2014 figure is 1,127,600, compared with November 2013’s 1,126,400.

During the same period in which The Star claims Kansas lost 1,600 jobs, there was actually an increase in private sector employment of more than 1,200 jobs.

Four years ago, Gov. Sam Brownback made a commitment to grow the economy, not to grow government.

The result is when voters look at Gov. Brownback’s record, they see steady growth of more than 53,000 private sector jobs since he took office.

Lana Gordon

Secretary of Labor

Topeka

Chronic-pain relief

As a member of the Institute of Medicine’s committee that published “Relieving Pain In America,” I was not surprised by Rick Montgomery’s July 6 article, “Suicide rate is the highest for baby boomers” or that two people he featured struggled with chronic pain.

Suicide rates for chronic-pain patients are 2.5 to four times higher than that of the general population.

Although, as Montgomery’s article states, tracking suicide is problematic, it is widely believed that the younger the chronic-pain patient is, the more likely he or she is to commit suicide.

At least 100 million Americans live with pain, although severity varies. For those with unrelenting pain, this condition can be life-threatening.

Yet, those with chronic pain struggle to access care they need and are often treated as though their problem is all in their heads or they’re drug seekers or malingerers who wish to avoid work.

A new initiative, Relieving Pain in Kansas City, attempts to remedy that.

With leadership from a project of the Center for Practical Bioethics called Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy, doctors, patients, hospital administrators, payers and policymakers are working together to shift the standard of care from a biomedical model — pills and nerve blocks — to a more comprehensive patient-centered bio-psychosocial approach.

We can do better. We must.

Myra J. Christopher

Kansas City

Struggling Kansas

Kansas’ disastrous economic news, and blaming President Barack Obama for it, hardly surprises anyone and certainly not cronies hired by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.

Liberal states, by comparison, are recovering better from the unregulated economic catastrophe. So are Kansas’ immediate neighbors.

Kansas is now a failed state because of its faith-based, trickle-down economics punishing the poor, the arts, teachers, the uninsured, the gay, those without political clout — now all of us.

The only question for voters is whether Brownback is deceitful or delusional.

I lean toward delusional, having heard him years ago envision Indians on Oklahoma reservations moving back here, impressed by our think-tank-written economic miracle.

But I rather hope he’s just violating the commandment against false witness and therefore is still capable of facing reality if it slaps him in the face.

Then again, the stealth plan of the far right to starve government so it has no credit to pay for common needs or even its bills might account for his idiotic raid on our treasury.

Don Hedrick

Manhattan, Kan.

No free birth control

Why are American women so hooked on someone else paying for their birth control (7-1, A1, “Birth control rule rejected”)?

For the uninsured, the average cost of birth-control pills is $20 to $50 monthly.

For those with insurance it’s slightly less.

If you can afford a data plan on your iPhone, you can afford your own birth control.

So in light of the recent Hobby Lobby decision, let me throw an analogy your way:

I want to eat lunch. My employer doesn’t provide me with a lunch. However, the employer does pay me a salary, with which I can buy my own lunch.

Your birth control, like my lunch, is not a constitutional right.

Get it?

Ed O’Toole

Kansas City

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