Not fooling us
The people of Missouri followed the rules and worked hard to get initiatives on our ballot — one of which was for fair and honest elections. The Clean Missouri constitutional amendment passed by a 2-1 margin last November.
And yet, the day after the election, the Republican speaker of the Missouri House, Elijah Haahr, told St. Louis Public Radio that he wanted to start conversations with African American lawmakers who wondered if Clean Missouri might reduce their numbers.
That’s profoundly insulting to the residents of this state, not to mention our black lawmakers themselves. And it’s a classic strategy for gerrymandering: effectively guarantee African American-held seats in exchange for reducing the overall number of Democratic seats.
We know it. They know it. And we’re watching.
Charge ’em up
George F. Will really could do better than his Saturday column, “The electric vehicle tax credit should be taken off the road.” (7A )
In comparing the pollution caused by generating energy for electric vehicles with that directly from internal combustion vehicles, Will ignores the environmental impact of gasoline production. And rather than focus on the percentage of coal-fired power plants to charge the batteries of electric vehicles, he should include the impact of natural gas power plants that do so as well. Power plants continue to switch from coal to natural gas — a cheaper and cleaner source of fuel for generating electricity.
Finally, Will completely ignores hybrid cars. They extend the range of the gasoline tank and charge their own batteries.
If it made economic sense, I would definitely buy an electric vehicle. I would use my solar panels to charge the car and have a much closer to zero-emissions vehicle than any gas-burning vehicle could be.
Renewable energy and battery research are where government incentives should be focused.
Melinda Henneberger’s April 19 column about the recent assault on a conservative speaker at UMKC states categorically that “conservatives’ view of themselves as under physical attack is inflated beyond recognition.” (9A, “Lawmakers overreact to protest on UMKC campus”)
That really strikes to the heart of the matter, does it not? If Henneberger believes her own words, then let her put her money where her mouth is. Let her wear one of those red MAGA hats all day every day for one week.
Of course, if she believes that wearing a MAGA hat is so offensive as to be worthy of what we all know would happen, then she is part of the problem and has no business writing about it.
It was disturbing to read the Star’s recent editorial praising Missouri Republicans for trying to prevent the use of eminent domain for the Grain Belt Express power line. (April 19, 8A, “Missouri Republicans are right to protect property owners from eminent domain abuse”)
The editorial made little distinction between using eminent domain to obtain private property for private use (economic development of a blighted area) and to obtain private property for a quasi-public use (electrical utility power line towers). Landowners would be paid for the area occupied by the towers, and the rest could still be farmed.
The 780-mile line would carry up to 4,000 megawatts of wind power from western Kansas across Missouri and Illinois to Indiana. It would span 200 miles through eight Missouri counties, involving more than 500 landowners. The line received a certificate of convenience and necessity from Missouri’s Public Service Commission.
Without eminent domain, the utility would have to pay exorbitant sums of money to obstructionist land owners. This is tantamount to condoning extortion. One holdout could thwart the entire project.
Even when eminent domain is used as a last resort, owners must receive just compensation set by appraisers and approved by a court of law. Eminent domain is an essential tool for purposes that are public, such as highways, and quasi-public, such as power lines.
Only in America
Perhaps there is no greater tribute to our American dream and our capitalist system than the knowledge that an angry, disgruntled career politician can become wealthy by denouncing capitalism while simultaneously pushing that most bizarre of oxymorons: democratic socialism.
Thank you, comrade Bernie Sanders.
Kansas City, Kansas