Get power out of hands of rich few
The illegal tapping of private communications by Rupert Murdoch's News of the World is an outrage. However, far more damage is done by Murdoch and the few extremely wealthy individuals whose greed for more money and power motivates them to influence the decisions made by government officials.
A recent example in our country is the subprime mortgage scam and the horrible, ongoing damage from it. Other examples are what happened in countries under Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak and Moammar Gadhafi, and the small group of individuals each took into his exclusive club.
When I hear our candidates and elected officials say that our single biggest challenge is getting power out of the hands of the small group of wealthy individuals and back into the hands of the people, I will have some hope for America. Extremely wealthy people who are not ruled by greed — individuals such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett — do tremendous charitable good and lobby for governmental decisions that are good for the majority of people, while those who never have enough money and power have done and are doing untold damage to the majority of people in countries all over the world.
ARDEN D. PETERS
Don't hate Fox
You may find it hard to believe that, at the young age of 13, I spend a lot of time watching Fox News. I understand why some people do not like Fox News. Have you noticed that most of these people are Democrats and supporters of President Obama? The problem that people have with Fox News is that it speaks the truth and provides evidence to support its reporting. The government is trying to shut the American people out of the process of governing. Fox News is trying to change that, so the Democrats are trying to destroy Fox News. In my opinion, the coverage of the 2008 presidential election on CNN and MSNBC was totally biased toward trying to get you to vote for Obama instead of just presenting facts, as networks are supposed to do.
In order to change the direction of our government, people must be allowed to hear the truth and make their own decisions. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "The freedom of the individual and his willingness to follow real leadership are at the core of America's strength."
Fund the zoo
I am indignant about the funding cuts proposed for the Sedgwick County Zoo (July 18 Eagle). Considering that the zoo is the county's and region's largest attraction, cutting financial support seems illogical. I am amazed that money can be found to pay businesses to come to Wichita and airlines to land their planes here, yet financially supporting a homegrown, well-established entertainment and educational attraction with an outstanding national reputation is not a priority to our county officials. Shame on them.
The diverse variety of animals, the quality and safety of their habitats, and the enrichment opportunities reflect the dedication and insight of the zookeepers, staff and volunteers. It is obvious to the zoo patron that these professionals, who love their chosen vocation, are well-educated and care a great deal about the animals. The zookeepers are college graduates who have diligently competed and waited for their positions. Many of these professionals hold advanced degrees and, as it is, are enormously underpaid for the expertise, knowledge and stamina their jobs require.
It is my hope that county officials would sincerely rethink their priorities.
I recently read about the Federal Reserve's surplus of $1 presidential coins. I wasn't aware we were making coins to honor all deceased presidents. Now that I am, I have no intention of using them. Apparently, no one else is either.
There are $1.25 billion in coins being held in storage. The coins have been produced since February 2007. The series has made it from George Washington to Ulysses S. Grant so far.
In anticipation of the ever-growing surplus, the U.S. Mint is building a $650,000 storage facility in Texas. An additional $3 million will be needed to haul the coins there and put them into storage.
This is another amazing example of how our tax dollars are put to use. There is much talk about raising taxes, and I have no problem paying my fair share. However, with the current system of wasteful spending, more taxes equate to more wasteful spending. How many programs and jobs that have been cut could have been saved if not for the production of presidential coins that no one seems to want?
Kansas and many other states have passed state constitutional amendments defining marriage and, thus, outlawing same-sex marriage. We all know, though we may not admit it, that these amendments were based on religious beliefs. If my religious beliefs say that God is OK with same-sex marriage, then are not my religious beliefs being violated by these amendments?
To pass laws that reflect the beliefs of any one religion or religious group is strictly forbidden by our Constitution. The First Amendment — which Thomas Jefferson himself clarified to include the concept that the laws are not to be influenced or dominated by any religion or religious beliefs — would prohibit a state from enacting laws based on religious beliefs even if the majority were of that belief. It would stand to reason that each state with such a same-sex marriage ban is in violation of federal law.