Letters to the editor on Brownback and courts, State of State speech, ATF thugs, gun panic, Laffer magic formula

01/18/2013 12:00 AM

01/17/2013 6:05 PM

What’s Brownback’s next infringement?

I guess I am really confused. As a former teacher of government and a student of the Constitution, I thought there was a separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers. If there is a difference between the U.S. and the Kansas constitutions, I need somebody to inform me.

Gov. Sam Brownback disagrees with a recent decision by the courts noting the state of Kansas has not met its obligation concerning the cost of education for K-12 students. Now Brownback plans to strip the court of its powers on this issue.

Those of Brownback’s conservative background berate President Obama when he attempts to infringe upon constitutional rights. Is this the same infringement? What is next? The answer is the dictatorship of the state of Kansas.

RICHARD CALDWELL

Wichita

Wishy-washy speech

I listened to Gov. Sam Brownback’s State of the State address. I found it to be wishy-washy.

I agree with his proposal that the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Turnpike Authority be merged. The governor is quite correct that we do not need two separate highway departments. If I were governor, I would press one step further to make the turnpike a “free highway.”

Brownback diverted to a “blame game” in blasting the war on poverty. He also promoted eliminating the state income tax by gleefully saying: “Look out, Texas, here comes Kansas.” But Kansas doesn’t have the population, geography, climate, jobs, natural resources and access to the Gulf of Mexico that Texas has. Brownback suffers from admiring Texas Gov. Rick Perry too much with literal blind faith.

Regarding selection of judges for the Kansas Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, Brownback said that Kansans deserve a government “that is not beholden to any special interest group.” Currently, he makes selections from a list provided him by a nominating commission composed of attorneys and political appointees. Brownback wants to make the selections directly himself. That isn’t streamlining; it’s dictatorial.

Micromanaging state policy is Brownback’s greatest failing.

JAMES A. MARPLES

Esbon

ATF thugs

So the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives needs money and is being hamstrung by legislative restrictions that prevent the agency from taking a lead role in setting the national agenda for reducing and thwarting gun crimes (Dec. 26 Eagle). What exactly would the ATF do? All that the article mentioned was a federal gun registry. I don’t see how that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals or the mentally impaired, and I expect it would be just about as effective in preventing gun violence as posting those little signs denoting areas as “gun-free” zones.

As for the distrust that gun groups feel for the ATF: Well, it’s well-earned. Let’s not forget that the illegal shotgun Randy Weaver sold to the undercover agent was at the insistence of that agent (Weaver was set up) and resulted in the shooting of the dog, his son and his wife. Nor should we forget the fiasco in Waco, Texas, where the ATF’s grandstand play went sour.

If the ATF hasn’t had a leader in six years, maybe it’s time for the agency to be abolished. Let the professionals in the FBI handle the crime end of the business. The ATF guys don’t look or act like law enforcement personnel; they look like jackbooted paramilitary thugs, and they would be the last group I’d call to report anything.

JERRY W. DAVIDSON

Valley Center

Gun panic

I was pulled from my favorite TV show recently to answer the phone. It was a robocall with some man in near panic ranting about Vice President Joe Biden coming by the end of the month to take away my gun.

He had several screaming suggestions about what I should do and why I should contact my representative at once. My representative has never paid any attention to my requests before. What would make anyone think he would pay attention to me now?

As I have no intention of killing even one person – let alone dozens of them – I do not own a weapon with a high-capacity magazine. However, if I did, I would doubt seriously that Biden would leave his busy schedule to travel to Arkansas City to take it away from me.

Please, robocall people. I doubt you are going to rouse most sane people to believe Biden is coming to their houses to go through them looking for murder weapons without a legal warrant, which he cannot get unless there is some reason to believe a crime has been committed. Please give us credit for being sensible enough to ignore your panic.

MARSHA HEPHNER

Arkansas City

Magic formula?

“Kobach: New business filings set record” (Jan. 15 Business Today) touted robust new statewide entrepreneurial activity. We’ll see.

More likely it demonstrates that motivated self-employed people, given the opportunity to legally avoid Kansas income tax on ordinary earnings, are positioning themselves to do so. For the cost of creating a limited liability company or S corporation, they can avoid paying income taxes.

The sponsors of that radical change think they’ve found a magic formula. By year end, their experiment may prove to be “Laffer-able.”

G. NELSON VAN FLEET

Wichita

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