How ironic. An avowed and violent anti-Semite went gunning for Jews at two Kansas City area Jewish facilities. He managed to murder three people — none of whom was Jewish. All were affiliated Christians.
And although this fact is ironic, the tragedy is no less dreadful, the people are no less innocent victims and their deaths are no less truly vicious hate crimes.
At Passover, we Jews commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. At that time, the ancestors of present-day Christians and Muslims were still among those fleeing persecution.
They are us and we are them.
If any good can come from the evil acts of an evil perpetrator, let it be a renewed commitment to brotherhood among all honorable members of society.
Rowena Unger Turk
Overland Park Pope’s strong voice
Some of my Catholic friends are trying to sell the idea that Pope Francis is not saying anything different from what past popes have said. If this is so, why has he generated such colossal excitement in the press and in public opinion?
Unless you are blind in one eye and can’t see with the other, then it should be obvious that something new is happening here.
Some of my secular friends are trying to sell the idea that this is some kind of manufactured public relations campaign or charm offensive by the Catholic Church. This, likewise, is untrue.
Pope Francis is a true revolutionary in the sense that he clearly sees the truth of our current world circumstances and unapologetically addresses the causes of our difficulties.
For me, a cradle Catholic, I’ve been waiting my whole life for the church to take its proper role. I think that’s beginning to happen.
Overland Park Praising Sebelius
I’m writing about the April 11 story, “Sebelius stepping down.” The story said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ended a “turbulent” tenure and “became the public face of the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act.”
Well, we want to thank Secretary Sebelius for all she has done.
Although we had a difficult time enrolling at first, my family is now signed up for dental and health care insurance. We are more than pleased with our insurance, which costs a fraction of what we paid for our previous insurance.
Our daughters are enrolled at no extra cost. I have an excellent doctor who urged me, on my first visit, to get a free mammogram, which I don’t regret.
Weeks later, after suffering flu-like symptoms, I visited her again at an affordable price. She prescribed antibiotics, which knocked out my symptoms.
Republicans can criticize and say what they want. Obamacare is a lifesaver for many Americans who otherwise would have to pay thousands of dollars to get decent health care.
We’re grateful to the president and Secretary Sebelius.
Kansas City Old issue, new victims
In 1959, the American College of Surgeons’ committee on trauma concluded that speeding ambulances kill more people than they save. Implications for police pursuit and speeding fire trucks became clear (4-11, A1, “Fatal crash leads to review”).
As manager of the Greater Kansas City Area Safety Council starting in June 1962, I asked area emergency agencies to review policies and practices in light of the American College of Surgeons’ findings. Several cooperated.
We shouldn’t be killing children 52 years later from absent-mindedness.
Stanley Slippery job security
As I retire from teaching, I fear the repercussions of our new education bill in Kansas.
Contrary to popular opinion, administrators already have the ability to fire incompetent teachers. They just need to have a good reason and present it in a hearing. The firing can’t be entirely arbitrary or personal — until now.
Hereafter, teachers will live in fear of principals who vindictively lash out at those who speak honestly about school policies and in fear of influential parents demanding higher grades and special treatment for their children. Teachers who resist may be fired, and citizens will never know what is really going on in schools because other teachers will be afraid to speak out.
Our legislators are dangerously naive.
Young teachers are enthusiastic and wonderful, but I’m a much better teacher than when I started. This bill will encourage districts to fire veteran teachers just to save money, an easy fix to budget problems.
Finally, teachers are a different breed — dedicated despite their low pay. But no matter how idealistic a well-qualified college student might be, why would he or she possibly want to teach if there is zero job security?
Anne B. Wilson
Language Arts Instructor
Emporia High School
Elmdale, Kan. Teachers’ due process
I read about the school financing in Kansas as put together by the “Alice in Wonderland” folks in Topeka (our governor and his state legislators). I’m still trying to figure out where they found $126 million when the governor’s economic advisers tell him and anyone who will listen that essentially the state is broke.
The part that really got me is what — even in the minds of the wackos — a teacher’s due process has to do with school financing.
I did some surfing (amazing what you can find on the Internet nowadays) concerning due process. What I found is that the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have ruled as far back as James Madison that under the Fifth Amendment and later under the 14th Amendment that we have the constitutional right to due process.
The English even recognized the right to due process as far back as the Magna Carta in 1215.
But the Kansas legislators in their infinite wisdom decided they’ll just ignore the Constitution and common law and give teachers fewer rights than those given to a bank robber or mass murderer.
I did some more surfing and found that several studies have concluded that Kansas teachers’ average pay ranks in the bottom third in the nation.
The two items lead me to wonder why anyone would want to be a teacher in Kansas.
Olathe Money in politics
Are federal campaign finance rules intentionally made complicated to confuse citizens? The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that corporations are people in some ways but not in others with respect to electioneering.
Corporations can “spend” unlimited money to influence federal elections but corporations cannot “donate” to campaigns. (Huh?)
Actual people can “donate” to federal campaigns, but there are limits on how much money a person can donate to one candidate and on the aggregate amount donated to a combination of candidates and party committees. (That’s darn complicated.)
The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided McCutcheon vs. the Federal Election Commission — a case in which a rich man challenged the aggregate limits on donations by an individual. The decision will increase complication as the court gave the wealthy an even greater voice in federal elections.
The one good thing about Missouri’s campaign finance rules is that they are not complicated. Any person, corporation or group (e.g., super PAC) can donate unlimited money directly to any candidate and can spend unlimited money to influence elections.
That’s appalling but not complicated.
Kansas City Nordstrom family
My sincere thanks to the Nordstroms at Oak Park Mall. What a wonderful, loving family and company they are.
After the tragic loss of my granddaughter, they were so supportive. They wore ribbons in her honor and had a beautiful balloon release the morning of her funeral.
Special thanks to the two young women who took the time to help me look good for her. There are no words to express how much this meant to me.
No wonder she loved working there. Thank you, Nordstrom family.
You have a friend for life.