Letters to the Editor

Gas prices, Kansas politics, KMBC-TV weather

Holiday advantage

Does anyone else wonder how conveniently gas prices have risen recently, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend?

The excuse is that there were lower-than-normal gas stockpiles supposedly in conjunction with refinery outages and a glitch in a pipeline serving the region. What kind of excuse is this?

It appears that there is a list from which choices are made each time the decision is made that it’s again time to gouge the American public.

Who verifies these excuses? Who checks this out?

How does anyone really know the validity of the excuses used to justify these ripoffs? Where are the contingency plans to avoid these occurrences?

Where is their preventive maintenance? Whatever happened to quality control?

Oil companies continue to have record profits year after year. Somebody’s pockets are bulging while the American public becomes the lambs being led to slaughter.

I don’t believe their excuses, and neither should you. We are all being “glitched” in the process.

Tom Koocek
Kansas City Lord of Kansas

I have come to the sad conclusion that the state government of Kansas — starting with the governor and including both houses of the Legislature — is attempting to re-enact “Lord of the Flies.”

Gov. Sam Brownback is playing in the role of “Jack.” State Sen. Ray Merrick is “Roger.”

Sen. Terry Bruce is “Simon,” and Sen. Susan Wagle is “Ralph.” The Democratic Party collectively plays the role of “Piggy.”

While Gov. Brownback gallivants to Chicago to crow about his revolutionary tax scheme, the real revolution is occurring within his own party in Topeka.

I should have thought a pack of Kansas boys would have been able to put up a better show than that.

Duane Daugherty Roeland Park KMBC-TV weather

We are most grateful to the weather team from KMBC, Channel 9, for its excellent weather coverage on May 19 and 20 — when no other news channels were doing continuous coverage. I well remember Katie Horner, who did much the same thing and was highly criticized.

Thanks KMBC for being there.

Carolyn Wheat Knob Noster, Mo. Kauffman scholars

I appreciated the May 20 article on the Kauffman scholars, “Scholars near finish line.” Congratulations to all those who will soon graduate from college and to all those who have decided to pursue other trajectories.

I appreciated hearing about the support to the scholars by encouraging college preparedness, providing training in schedule planning and time management and facilitating strong on- and off-campus support, and, in the case of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, providing opportunities for peer mentoring.

Education is a dialogue in which scholars can do better, as can the institutions seeking to provide quality and relevant education. So I was also wondering what the participating institutions of higher learning might have learned through participation in the program.

In which directions is teaching being adjusted? What kinds of insights are there about changes to the curriculum?

In what modest ways are the scholars showing how the educational system might evolve and thus not just learning but also shaping the future?

Kathryn Toure Lenexa Shameful abuse

Once again, we have been exposed to the heartbreaking story of a young child’s suffering and death at the hands of his parents (5-21, A1, “Pleas for help preceded death”). Details of that story will haunt me for a long time.

And we are all outraged, right? We’re always appropriately outraged.

My question is this: When will we move from outrage to action? When will we begin holding child welfare agencies criminally accountable for the “cracks” that these babies are slipping through over and over again?

These children who can’t fight for themselves are crying out for help, and our system is letting them down with a major thud. It is shameful beyond words.

Margaret Stout Overland Park Moderates need party

I believe that it's time that the 50 percent American voters who occupy the space between the zealots at both political extremes be given the opportunity to form a new party — a Moderate American Party, or MAP. This new party would chart a course toward dialogue and seek to find solutions that a majority of Americans could accept.

MAP as a party wouldn’t be influenced by outside interests whose agendas are self-serving and play on peoples' fears. What?

Oh, sorry I brought it up. You all would rather fight each other and let the left and right zealots have their way.

Never mind.

Doug Shaffer Bonner Springs Winds of politics

Today, our thoughts and prayers go out to those in Moore, Okla., and other areas hit by devastating tornadoes. Picking up and rebuilding will begin soon.

So will a call for federal dollars to go to those affected areas. Initially, federal dollars will be sent.

However, earlier this year, Oklahoma’s and Kansas’ Republican representatives in Washington made some bad choices. They got caught up in the Koch brothers’ right-wing, no-taxation, less-government vortex.

These U.S. senators and representatives withheld financial aid from Hurricane Sandy victims on the East Coast based on the premise that the federal government did not have the money to “hand out.” Hindsight is 20/20.

Now those same Republicans will have to beg for the next couple of months hoping that the memory of their votes against federal aid for Hurricane Sandy victims will be forgotten. That will not happen.

People in politics have long memories. The joke in Washington will soon be, “Who is a liberal? A liberal is a conservative Republican whose constituency was leveled by a tornado the night before.”

The lesson should be that there should not be anything political about hurricane or tornado recovery.

Joe Hodnik Olathe Guns, child safety

With the support of the National Rifle Association, anti-gun-control advocates seem to be critical of any research that points to the need for better U.S. gun laws.

I offer the following statistic from David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, in his 2011 meta-review of all scientific literature on health risks and benefits of gun ownership:

“Children (from the U.S.) aged 5 to 14 are 11 times more likely to die from an accidental gunshot wound than children from other developed countries ... often during fairly routine gun handling — cleaning a gun, loading and unloading, target shooting and so on.”

I wonder what we’d do as a country if we discovered that U.S. children were 11 times more likely to die in an auto accident than children from other developed countries? I hope we’d research the cause(s) of the high number of fatalities and then ameliorate the problem.

Or, would we allow a NARA (National Automobile Rights Association), under the banner of the Declaration of Independence’s pursuit of happiness right, to use its money and political clout to block the passage of any reasonable auto-safety legislation?

Jim Babcock Robinson, Kan. Wal-Mart drawback

The Raytown Wal-Mart can never make up for the revenue lost by businesses it will put out of business (5-22, A4, “Hotly opposed Raytown plan draws a crowd”). It’s that simple and easy to document.

This household quit shopping at Wal-Mart 10 years ago. Wal-Marts are not a necessary part of life, contrary to popular belief.

The more people shop Wal-Mart, the more U.S. jobs are lost to China and other countries.

The Chinese government must wonder why U.S. citizens care so little about keeping our hard-working people on the job. And the Chinese government laughs all the way to the Chinese banks.

Always low prices, not necessarily; always low wages, absolutely.

Richard Heckler Lawrence