Letters to the Editor

Readers share views on Gov. Sam Brownback, war and health care

Seeking true leaders

Political leadership in many cases has been hijacked by individuals with “mercurial leader syndrome.”

Worldwide and within the United States, political leaders go beyond their constitutional responsibilities of providing for the common good.

Internationally, many times we identify a country only by the name of its mercurial leader. In Libya, it was Moammar Gadhafi. Vladimir Putin is the leader of Russia and appears to be attempting to re-establish the former Soviet Union.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the recently re-elected prime minister of Israel, has been over the top at times. To many, it appears Netanyahu has usurped this support to advance himself politically.

We see Gov. Sam Brownback assume that his re-election was a mandate to lead Kansas into his vision of a utopian fantasy, attempting to making all Kansans “Stepford citizens.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul seem to see themselves as mercurial leaders. They are delusional.

Leaders who through circumstances achieved mercurial status include Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Paul Comerford

Blue Springs

‘War’ overused

President Lyndon Johnson did a great disservice to the country in coining the phrase “war on poverty.” Since then the word “war” has been used in any number of agendas — war on drugs, on women, on whites, on blacks, on Christians and even on Christmas.

Carl von Clausewitz, in his seminal book “On War” (which is still studied at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth), defines war as “an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will.” The force he refers to is “physical.”

This word describes events and circumstances resulting from the most dire of decisions and shouldn’t be used flippantly toward our own citizens, who in many cases are struggling for equality and understanding.

Will the political parties eventually see each other as true enemies to be physically forced into submission?

It is no small wonder that we easily dismiss the realities of war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan or the possibility of a war in the Middle East because we have diluted the word into an ad campaign.

John Nelles


Lab professionals

If you or your loved one has ever had a blood test, you owe its accuracy and timeliness to a medical laboratory professional. About 300,000 of them help diagnose diseases and manage treatments.

The public often doesn’t notice the work of laboratory professionals and their hospitals. National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (April 19-25) helps promote public understanding and appreciation of laboratory personnel.

These individuals work in hospitals, physicians’ offices and reference labs, safely collecting blood or other samples and performing laboratory tests. These range from routine blood tests to complex ones that uncover diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes and cancer.

They also confirm the accuracy of results (quality control) and report findings to health-care providers in a timely manner. The information that a medical laboratory professional gives to the doctor influences more than 70 percent of treatment decisions.

I am fortunate to work with some of the best lab professionals in Kansas City, Liberty, St. Joseph and Maryville. Their untiring dedication to quality and safety is inspiring.

I salute them as we all celebrate the Medical Laboratory Professionals Week in their honor.

Chakshu Gupta, M.D.


Medical Director


Pathology Group

St. Joseph

Kansas gift to banks

The $25-per-day withdrawal limit for welfare recipients in Kansas under the new law benefits the ATM owners and banks (4-17, A1, “Kansas tightens welfare laws; Missouri may be next”). But it’s a net cost to the recipients in fees and less benefit for users.

This is absurd and outrageous. What is the point?

Robert Reece

Kansas City, Kan.

Iran’s nuclear push

Neither the United States nor Israel is a threat to Iran, but Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his followers shout “death to America and Israel.”

It seems that Iran’s only threat is from opposing Islamic groups. So why does Khamenei threaten America and Israel?

Under such circumstances, common sense says, if within our power, it would be unthinkable for America to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

History would never forgive our leaders if Iran did so. If Iran refuses to allow full and open inspection of its nuclear sites, sanctions should be fully implemented.

I pray that military action will not be necessary, but if Iran continues on its path to weapons production, I’d ask our leaders: Which is worse, military action before or after Iran has nuclear weapons?

Paul Warner


Criticism of Royals

The Kansas City Royals have turned into a bunch of bush leaguers (4-20, A1, “These Royals will not back down.”) They got really cocky after they got super lucky last year and wound up in the World Series.

Now they think they are hot stuff. In going around the league this year, I am afraid they will get what they deserve. And from what they have shown so far this season, they will deserve what they get.

Getting beaten by the Twins, the worst team in baseball, should have cooled them down a bit and opened their eyes, but it did not. Looks like they will set records for hit batters and hard slides.

Richard Dahms

Country Club, Mo.

Royal border war

So the American Royal Barbecue contest might be tempted to move, eh? Time to pull out all stops, Kansas, and make the American Royal an offer it can’t refuse:

▪ Let organizers hold it in the middle of the Kansas Speedway rent-free. Increased sales-tax revenue at Cabela’s alone would put the event in the black. Better yet, waive all taxes to increase volume, which would lead to more sales jobs. Maybe.

▪ Throw in free meat for the contestants courtesy of the Koch brothers, who, after all, are quite experienced when it comes to getting pork.

▪ Declare the racetrack’s infield a rural enterprise zone and forgive contestants’ outstanding student loans.

▪ Emphasize that the only requirement to carry a gun is to have a gun. That would keep those contest judges honest. Who appoints them anyway?

▪ Post signs declaring the area a “Sex Education, Core Curriculum Free Zone.” Of course, there is nothing wrong with a little home schooling between friends.

In short, win this battle in the border war and show the nation that our Legislature knows about blowing smoke.

Tom Stroud

Overland Park

Healing for church

From the beginning of Robert Finn’s tenure as bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, many Catholic friends were anguished over his totalitarian style and his ill-advised and often mean decisions. Beyond the diocese, the wreckage to ecumenical and interfaith relationships was staggering.

Healing and repair will be slow but now may be possible. A strong and vibrant Catholic presence in Kansas City benefits all faiths.

Vern Barnet

The Center for Religious

Experience and Study

Kansas City

Closing hospitals

A victim of the Affordable Care Act that is not talked about is the closing of rural hospitals related to conditions of this law.

Congress does not have the guts to close redundant or infrequently used post offices to save taxpayer money, but it has no problem helping hospitals in small towns to close up shop for lack of funds.

What is more important, letters or lives?

Michael Sweeney, M.D.


Backward Kansas

Poor, poor Kansas. Between Gov. Sam-I-Am Brownback’s genius and Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s ignorant fanaticism, the only place Kansas is going is back, way back, like back into time back.

Lewis A. Stevenson

Kansas City