Letters to the Editor

Readers share thoughts on the U.S. Senate, democracy and low-wage jobs

Rush in Senate

Wow. Nothing like a desire to hurry home for the holidays to get the Senate off its rear end and pass the spending bill.

I am waiting to welcome home my Kansas senator, Pat Roberts.

If anyone sees him arrive, tell him to please let me know.

Karen Booth

Roeland Park

Democracy at risk

The Dec. 12, front-page headline, “House beats deadline,” should have said “Capitalism beats democracy.”

The inclusion of measures to ease regulation of investment banking and allow for a huge increase in amounts that can be donated to political parties are provisions that do not provide for the operation of government, as an appropriation bill is supposed to do, and are, therefore, inappropriate in an appropriations bill.

There is already no contest in who can buy elections. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat. put it very succinctly: “Who does the government work for? Does it work for the millionaires, the billionaires, the giant companies and their armies of lobbyists and lawyers? Or does it work for all of us?”

These measures will secure final control over the output of government by big money.

The concept of government of the people, by the people and for the people will be replaced by government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.

The adage “In the USSR, capitalism destroyed communism; in the USA, capitalism destroyed democracy” has come to fruition.

Government by who has the majority of the money is not the same as government by the majority of the people.

Jerry Pitts

Kansas City

Low-wage jobs

A rousing three cheers for Dale Irwin’s eloquent Dec. 13 column, “Low wages shortchange workers,” supporting unions as essential for the long-term prosperity of this country. Like Mr Irwin, I worked a union job “back in the day” — in my case four full-time years in a building trade before deciding I wanted to head for college.

My union wages enabled me to save enough to afford the tuition and residence costs of a state university. My four years on the job gave me ample time to appreciate the virtues of unions.

The diligent people I worked with were able to support their families in a comfortable style. Examples of the solid blue-collar, American, middle-class are now vanishing before our eyes.

Old union guys would have laughed unbelievingly if told that some full-time employees of American companies now would be eligible for food stamps. True, corruption is a problem in some unions.

I saw some of that — but in the case of our local, the business agent was one of the most upright and idealistic persons I have ever had the privilege of knowing. And surely corruption isn’t unique to unions.

Perhaps somewhere, somehow, there may be traces of immorality and corruption in some American businesses.

Alan F. Perry

Kansas City

Second-string fans

It’s a beautiful afternoon, and the team you love is seeking revenge against the team you’re supposed to hate. You’ve spent at least $100 to be in the stands because it’s important to support the team — you’re the 12th man, and the players depend on your enthusiasm.

Then, maybe around halftime, you start thinking it would be good to beat the rush. By the fourth quarter, you’re comfortably watching from your recliner.

But you notice those near-empty stands don’t portray a loyal fan base. You missed the three touchdowns in the third quarter, and the TV audience wonders what happened to all those fans who claim to have the noisiest stadium (at least, early in the game).

I wonder whether we could devise a way to allow people who really want to enter those hallowed walls and cheer their heroes to serve as seat-fillers at Arrowhead Stadium for the second half.

Carol Rothwell

Lee’s Summit

Yoder, big banks

Rep Kevin Yoder inserted language into a must pass spending bill (12-13, Editorial, “Yoder hurts bank reforms”). Although he took an oath of office to work for the good of the American people, he chose to take money from Wall Street and work for the interest of big banks — an act that put all Americans in financial peril.

We should not lose a third of our wealth because a junior U.S. representative is working for a government pension and a job as a lobbyist.

Peter Anderson

Kansas City

Brownback’s plan

Reportedly to offset deficits, Gov. Sam Brownback's budget proposal will use many one-time resources, drain the highway fund of $100 million and ax tens of millions more from pension contributions, children's programs and state agencies, not to mention even larger cuts in the future.

Apparently we now know what he meant when he said during the campaign that he was about to hit the accelerator.

Jerry Schmidt


Fires kill holiday

The Star had an excellent article about using evergreen remnants for decorating the house, except for cautioning against fires (12-14, C-1, “Spruce up the home”). The package did advise: “Do not use greenery in displays with candles that are not inside glass.”

However, the lead photo showed three of six lighted votive candles directly underneath overhanging greenery.

Skip burning flame candles entirely.

Nothing spoils the festive mood of the holidays like a house fire.

Jim Dingwerth


Capital punishment

This death-penalty execution thing seems to be a real problem. It’s cruel, the cost is exorbitant and there’s the suffering of the convicted murderer.

How inhumane and costly. But wait. If there has to be an execution, maybe something can be done to ease some of the problems causing so much controversy.

Let’s see, there seem to be a lot of people, young — old, rich, poor, either sex, from all walks of life and ethnic groups — who overdose on drugs that supposedly make them feel really good. I think you can see where this is going.

Now, compared with expensive execution drugs that are unreliable, most drug users overdose happily, I guess, and cheaper. So, if some people worry about a convicted murderer not having a nicer, easier exit for causing death and the suffering of victims, their family and friends, this may be an answer to this situation.

I am by no means making light of a serious matter, but let’s keep it as simple, easy and inexpensive as possible.

Richard Tussel

Overland Park

Stenerud’s style

Few National Football League players can be said to have changed the way the game is played. The Chiefs’ former kicker, Jan Stenerud, is one.

Virtually every time he took the field, sportscasters commented on his being one of the early users of soccer-style kicking.

Today, Mr. Stenerud’s style is the standard for place-kickers.

Alan Franklin


BackSnack joy

My husband and I were distributing the Harvester — The Community Food Network’s BackSnacks last week at an elementary school in Independence; our Blue Springs Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church helps deliver them.

We were in the front main hall, busy working, when a class came down the hall to go to lunch. I think the children must have been kindergarteners because later I noticed they still had their baby teeth. We were putting the food packs into the backpacks when suddenly I felt some little arms around my legs.

I looked down to see a beautiful little blue-eyed, blonde girl giving me a hug and saying: “Thank you for bringing my sack of food to take home. It makes me happy.”

Needless to say, that made me happy. Then another little girl came to give me a hug and said, “Thank you for my food.”

It just melted me into tears.

If you ever wonder what children think about their weekend food packs, you could not have a better example than what happened to us that day. We feel so fortunate to be able to help make children happy.

Sharon Stone

Lake Tapawingo