A growing body of science and research indicates that the dangers of smog pollution are real. Doctors compare being outside on bad air days to getting a sunburn on your lungs.
In the short term, it can trigger respiratory symptoms such as asthma attacks, and over time, it can lead to permanent lung damage and even premature death.
What’s particularly concerning is that smog pollution from power plants disproportionately affects communities of color.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, African-American children are nearly twice as likely to be hospitalized with asthma as white children and are four times as likely to die from asthma.
The EPA has taken important steps to strengthen federal smog standards.
These efforts would prevent tens of thousands of Americans from being hospitalized with symptoms related to air pollution. But big polluters are fighting to block these critical safeguards and are attempting to stop these protections.
Fortunately, Sen. Claire McCaskill has the power to speak for Kansas Citians. She can protect our families by coming out in support of the EPA’s new smog standards and voting against any attempt to block these standards. We’re sick and tired of paying while polluters profit.
Jonah Goldberg apparently is ignorant of the history of the Crusades (2-8, Commentary, “President’s criticism of Christianity off-base”).
“A Historical Atlas of the Jewish People” notes: “Historians usually regard the Crusades as a turning point in the persecution of Jews in Europe during the Middle Ages. Indeed, when the bands of crusaders passed through the Rhineland in 1096, they perpetrated massacres of Jews on an unprecedented scale.”
President Barack Obama was historically accurate in observing that religions, including Christianity, have at times been used for purposes of murder and persecution, as the Islamic State is using Islam today.
Rabbi Mark H. Levin
Perhaps researchers who studied the decline in overall birth rates and abortions left out the obvious — social media. I find it an interesting phenomenon that so many teens and young adults are addicted to their cellphones.
Groups and couples on dates are all glued to their small screens. Dark theaters are aglow with blue reflecting on their faces.
The teen libido may not be able to compete with Instagram and Facebook. This carries over to the adult years.
A recent example was a neighborhood playground where all the parents were consumed by their smartphones. All the while, their children were looking bored and ignored. I have also witnessed dog walkers glued to their cellphones.
Who knew that the 1960s song would be so prophetic, but instead of death by nuclear holocaust, the population decreased and the world ended because of boredom and smartphones?
I would write more but my battery is showing 12 percent.
No vaccine debate
I take issue with your running a poll on the value of vaccinations (2-9, Opinion, “Get vaccine shots or not?”).
A serious newspaper has a responsibility to truth, rationality and public enlightenment.
Publishing such a poll itself encourages the idea that vaccination is debatable. Would you publish a poll asking whether readers believe drinking affects driving? Or asking whether people believe smoking causes cancer?
Vaccinations, global climate change, evolution, the reality of the Holocaust — these are not seriously debatable issues, but polls about them in a reputable newspaper suggest they are.
What is the implication, and indeed the purpose, of opinion polls on such scientifically or historically established topics?
My concern is with the anti-intellectual, anti-education, anti-expert effects such journalistic exercises might encourage.
We live in a complex, increasingly challenging world in which we need all the intellect, the educational enlightenment and the sophisticated expertise we can have.
Voter left guessing
I am a voter in my mid-30s, and I had voted from the same address my entire life.
Our family home was sold recently. I went to the Johnson County election office Oct. 14 to change my address. Since then I’ve received two post cards from election officials reflecting the change.
When I went to vote early in the midterm elections last year, I was informed I had to fill out a paper ballot because my current address did not match the one in the system.
I cast the ballot but later looked myself up on jocoelection.org and discovered my address had been changed to another family member’s address, where some of my mail has been forwarded.
Two other family members have the same issue.
The only way the election office could have obtained this address is from the post office. Is this address-checking routine? Is this part of the effort to reduce voter fraud?
My mother voted two days before I did and was not even asked for her identification.
With unauthorized and inconsistent practices like these, the honest voter is inconvenienced and left to wonder whether her vote will count.
Can I have faith in this seemingly faulty system?
Anne Marie Kauffman
Obama’s KU speech
What the blazes is “middle-class economics”? President Barack Obama says it involves more spending and increased taxes. While visiting the University of Kansas, he declared it works.
I suggest the opposite. Government dependency doesn’t make one middle class. The empirical evidence is food stamp recipients have increased as the percentage of those feeling they are middle class has decreased.
Jobs make the middle class. Focusing on good-paying manufacturing jobs results in job creation. Manufacturing has a greater jobs multiple than other industries, including health care.
Barriers of entry, regulation and taxation need review. Manufacturing requires capital and affordable energy. During the KU speech, Obama took credit for increasing manufacturing jobs. However, the percentage of manufacturing to non-farm jobs has actually declined.
Obama must think Kansans are gullible. The Jayhawkers, coached to applaud for free community college, looked silly considering KU is not one. If Obama were a true Kansan he would be cutting spending and taxes.
All taxpayers and consumers, including KU students, participate in every tax increase to a varying degree. These kids are in college because they want a job when they graduate, not free child care.
Middle-class economics means working hard, not hardly working.
Stephen Platt, CMA
Heroes at St. Luke’s
While recently being treated in the intensive-care unit at St. Luke’s East in Lee’s Summit, my brother, Peter, died of the flu.
A young nurse spent several hours in the middle of the night attempting to ease my brother’s pain when he finally lost bodily functions.
Another nurse raced in and slammed the red code button. Within two minutes, 15 nurses and a gentle doctor surrounded my brother.
Coats were strewn about the floor, plastic bottles littered the room. I witnessed the most aggressive attempt to save a life I’ve ever experienced.
These young professionals were relentless in their efforts to alter my brother’s course, working a full hour in an exhausting and traumatic attempt at resuscitation. When they met with failure, they started again.
During the chaos and immediately after, I was comforted by nurses, as were other family members upon their arrival.
As tired and defeated as the nurses must have been, they didn’t cease in their concern for each of us.
In an age when the term heroism is bantered about without meaning, these individuals earned a status at the pinnacle of human achievement.
My family’s gratitude is inadequate, and my love for these heroes will be undying for life.