Paying to play
Kansas state Rep. John Barker recently made a stunningly transparent statement, and he probably doesn’t even realize just how much of a peek behind the curtain he gave.
While speaking about legalizing sports betting in Kansas, he told The Star’s Sam Mellinger: “Well this is politics. I’m working for the people of the state of Kansas. But the casinos can go out and hire 10, 15 lobbyists.” (June 30, 1B, “The challenges and potential of legalized sports betting in Kansas and Missouri”)
My question is, who cares how many lobbyists they hire? Barker, like all state legislators, works for us, the residents of Kansas. The casinos could hire 500 lobbyists, and it shouldn’t matter. Our representatives are supposed to work for the public good, not for the lobbyists’ whims.
The problem is we all know he’s right and the golden rule applies: He who has the gold makes the rule.
Who we are?
We have, by far, the strongest military in the world. But I’ve never thought — until now — that we’re militaristic.
No credit given
The news media continue to quite properly highlight the inhumane conditions that would-be immigrants are enduring on the southern border, and it’s gratifying that a bipartisan bill was just passed that should improve the situation.
However, with all the condemnations railing against President Donald Trump for permitting this to happen, I still haven’t seen either Democrats or the news media admit or mention that Trump was already identifying a border crisis last January.
Does it ever occur to any of you to wonder why so many people seem to have decided the media are guilty of overwhelming bias?
This one worked
I read Nesha Abiraj’s commentary, “Married children are really bound in chains,” (July 7, 13A) and I resent being lumped into the notion that all girls married before 18 are “bound” and “chained” into forced unions.
In 1961, I was married at the age of 17. My husband was 20. My parents were against it. However, after I pleaded with them, they agreed to allow us to marry, with two stipulations: that I finish high school and that we be married in the Catholic Church.
I went to my senior year and graduated. We were wed by a priest who said he gave the marriage six months, predicting it would end in a divorce court. Immediately after the wedding, I left the Catholic Church.
When my husband passed away in 2013, our marriage had lasted three months shy of 52 years. He and I raised three daughters, who produced six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Was it always easy? No. Do I regret it? Never. Would I want it for my 17-year-old granddaughter? No.
But this is a different era. However, not all of us who married young were forced into these marriages.
Reverse the trends
The populations of several states are declining. Maybe, just maybe, the answer to that problem could be found to our south.
What if, as a condition for acceptance into this great U.S. of A., migrants were required to make their residences in Illinois, which lost an estimated 45,166 residents from 2017 to 2018, according to the United States Census Bureau? Or New York, which lost 48,510.
And then we have West Virginia, which lost 11,216. Mississippi, Louisiana and Wyoming face similar demographics challenges.
Perhaps entry and acceptance into this great country of ours could come with settlement conditions, and coincidentally complement our needs.
Don’t waste chance
When the economy crashed in 2008, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to almost zero to stimulate the economy — a wise move I agreed with, though it cost me income on my savings.
But today, the stock market is at its highest level ever. There is full employment. There is no justification to punish savers to provide cheap money to borrowers, including President Donald Trump’s business loans and government deficit spending.
I am outraged at the pressure Trump is putting on the Fed to cut rates without a valid rationale. Should the economy suffer a downturn, that valuable tool would be lost, having already been used for no good reason.
No wonder the United States has one of the world’s lowest saving rates.
Kansas City, Kansas