We now see that the fossil-fuel industry, promoted by the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, is planning to spend hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars to target legislative candidates who would consider a carbon tax as part of the solution for reducing greenhouse gases.
Thanks to a Supreme Court that has essentially legalized bribery, future-oriented candidates can now be intimidated and elections can now be swayed by secretive organizations that run vicious, unchallenged, fallacious TV ads that influence our highly uninformed electorate.
How unfortunate that the future health of the planet will be guided by a few billionaire individuals with fossilized world views and who continue to reap huge profits from the current climate of corruption.
Overland Park Background checks
I am a member of the National Rifle Association and have owned firearms for more than 40 years. We are not all in fear of our government taking our guns, and we do not all hoard ammunition and bury it in our backyards.
The gun loophole is real and needs to be closed.
Although federal firearms-licensed dealers at such shows do background checks, the loophole allows non-federal firearms-licensed vendors to sell firearms without doing background checks.
You do not need a straw buyer, just cash and carry. No checks, no charges, no questions, no paper trail.
Such sellers should be concerned because if the weapon is ever used in a crime, they are most likely the last owner of record.
Overland Park World Stroke Day
This year, 795,000 people in the United States will have strokes. That’s someone every 40 seconds.
Would you know what to do if you or someone you love had a stroke? Today is World Stroke Day, and as a stroke survivor, I’m proud to stand with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to raise awareness for this largely preventable, treatable and beatable disease.
Please join me in teaching our family, friends and neighbors the FAST way to learn the warning signs and fight stroke:
F — face drooping;
A — arm weakness;
S — speech difficulty;
T — time to call 9-1-1.
When you recognize a sign of stroke and call 9-1-1 immediately, people have a greater chance of getting to an appropriate hospital quickly and being assessed for a clot-busting drug or medical devices.
Let’s come together on World Stroke Day to beat stroke.
Kansas City Kansas universities
A dialogue on how best to ensure that a college education remains both affordable and valuable is not aided by painting all colleges with a broad brush.
A more useful approach is to carefully consider the types of debt and who is most likely to be struggling with it.
First, not all college debt is equally at risk of default.
Students who drop out without a degree are more likely to default on their student loans than those who graduate, according to the Institute for Higher Education Policy.
Second, the choice of college makes a tremendous difference.
A salient fact is that public colleges report a 13 percent default rate compared with nonprofit private schools’ rate of 8.2 percent.
For-profit colleges did even worse at almost 22 percent.
At the 18 nonprofit colleges in Kansas, more than 70 percent of graduates finish in four years and nearly all our colleges show default rates below 10 percent.
We can always do better, but Kansas’ colleges are already ahead of the curve.
Lawrence Vote no on sales tax
Some young woman called me to ask how I will vote on Nov. 5 on the only issue on the ballot, a sales tax that would take $800 million from the pockets of Jackson County residents over a 20-year period. I said I would vote no.
Then I asked her to tell me who was behind this $800 million money grab. She told me some long committee title.
I said, “No. I want the names of the people who proposed this, who are funding the pro-tax ads that clog my mailbox.”
She hung up.
Later I learned that a lead group behind the tax is the Civic Council, composed of chief executive officers of the region’s largest companies. These people are not our friends.
They surely know a sales tax is the most regressive tax, falling heaviest on those who can least afford it. They know that Jackson County has many poor neighborhoods and many people with limited incomes.
If this passes, each time I spend $10 on groceries, clothes or medicine, the Civic Council will slip its fingers into my wallet and take out a nickel.
I plan to vote no.
Kansas City Rethink tax cuts
There has been a lot of discussion about reducing taxes at the national and state levels. The facts are not well-presented.
During the 1950s and 1960s, we had rapid growth, low unemployment and minimal college costs at state schools.
People could afford to build houses, and the interstate highway system was started.
What is not being said is that in those years the maximum tax rate was about 70 percent. The differences in income were not as extreme as now.
One idea is if taxes are reduced then there will be more money spent and the economy will grow.
Another is if business owners have lower taxes they will hire more people.
Businesses do not hire more people because they have money. They hire because there is a demand for their products and they need labor.
There is little discussion about workers being paid better. So I encourage people to think about what has worked and not about some emotional clips about how the government is evil.
Maybe the more you have the better a tax cut is.
Lee’s Summit Kansas conundrum
I just went to the Kansas secretary of state’s website (www.kssos.org) to find out a bit more about voter registration.
I was checking it for my mother, who has no valid identification because her driver’s license expired but who worked at her local voting site for 40 years.
It looked difficult, maybe impossible.
Her expired license would have worked, but she had not kept it.
I entered my own information, just out of curiosity, and got this response: “We’re sorry, no records were found with the criteria entered.”
With driver’s license +number+ (not required), same response. With middle initial and without, same response.
Now, I have not even missed a primary in the last 20 years and had just mailed in my vote on the local tax issue.
It seems that I have been made a non-person by the new voting law, even though I was born in Kansas and have lived here for 60 years.
It is time to start checking your voter registration for 2014, Kansans.
Dianne K. Evans
Overland Park Middle-class squeeze
So how affordable is the Affordable Care Act for those of us who can’t afford the coverage our employers offer now?
I and so many like me are very worried about having to spend money in a budget that has no stretch room.
The middle class is dwindling, and the rich are getting richer, so how is this helping anyone?
We can’t even afford to take a family vacation because stations raise gas prices during the holidays, which stops the poor and middle classes from basically having any fun.
The crime rates are off the charts, and so much is going on to show how bad the people are hurting and how the current trend of Washington, D.C., is destroying our country.
I have lost all faith in this country and am scared to death for my granddaughter’s future.
So will someone please explain how the government plans to squeeze blood out of a turnip?
Overland Park Optimism missing
Whatever happened to the optimism that was part of the American culture?
James E. Cox