Letters to the editor on Native American budget cuts, Keystone, insurance rates, drones, kid movie reviewers

07/30/2013 12:00 AM

07/29/2013 5:07 PM

Help our nation’s neediest people

I was shocked to read “U.S. budget cuts fall heavily on American Indians” (July 13 Eagle). The federal sequestration cuts, which Congress approved, reduced funding to the most impoverished people. On the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, home to about 40,000 tribe members, unemployment is estimated to be as much as 85 percent. Meanwhile, our government continues to send millions of dollars to other nations.

Our nation has a shameful history of sending Indians to isolated and arid “reservations.” Native Americans are the poorest population in this powerful country. Many must move to get work, leaving their children to be raised by poor grandparents – some in houses in which the roofs or floors are falling in and there is no indoor plumbing. But local housing improvement programs are being shut down to save money.

There are high rates of diabetes and suicide.

We need to help our neediest people, who have been wronged for more than 180 years.



Climate disaster

Instead of kicking back at the pool this summer, I’m worrying about a climate disaster. That’s what the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would cause.

The pipeline, under review by the president and the U.S. State Department, would pump thousands of barrels of toxic crude oil from Canada through six states to Gulf of Mexico ports. The State Department’s own flawed review finds that just the electrical generation for operation of the pipeline pumps would create 3.19 million metric tons of carbon pollution each year, equivalent to emissions from 626,000 cars. Other groups estimate that tar sands from the pipeline will spew far more carbon pollution, worsening climate disruption.

The pipeline is projected to run through Kansas. If the pipeline spills, we could have toxic tar sands contaminating our air and water supplies.

The pipeline is the linchpin in the oil industry’s plan for expansion of tar sands. Tar sands are up to 22 percent more carbon-polluting than conventional crude oil. We need more innovation, more efficiency and more transportation choices to break our addiction to oil and build a sustainable, prosperous green-energy economy.

The State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, climate scientists, and even Wall Street and industry analysts agree that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will create massive amounts of carbon pollution. Rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline is one of the most significant decisions President Obama can make to avoid a climate disaster.



Age-based cost

There is some concern that Obamacare’s individual mandate would force young people to buy expensive insurance that would, in effect, be subsidizing the elderly. If this is correct, it seems unfair, but it is a problem that is easily resolved.

Let anyone younger than 30 purchase insurance that is age-based, with the understanding that his premiums will be aged-based for his lifetime. This will provide the young with extremely inexpensive insurance, and they certainly will not be subsidizing the elderly.

Of course, when they reach 60, they will not be able to afford their age-based premiums unless they start saving money now to help them subsidize their own later age-based premiums.



Drone gold rush

The city of Wichita and the state of Kansas are missing out on a huge opportunity. This represents a chance to keep Wichita the Air Capital of the World.

How would you like to erase aviation job loses and return employment to 2007 levels in Kansas? The answer is drones.

The July issue of Popular Science magazine is all about the coming revolution in drone technology. In the not-too-distant future, drones could be delivering your mail, your pizza, and your UPS and FedEx packages right to your doorstep. Imagine never visiting a grocery store again – drone delivery day or night.

Only two things stand in the way of this possible future: the need for visionary pioneers and entrepreneurs to develop the technology, and open-minded legislators to facilitate the gold rush that follows by writing and passing drone-friendly flight rules and legislation.

The good times are just beginning in Kansas. Pioneers of aviation may yet save the day.

This is a message to every out-of-work aerospace worker: Band together, build drones and get rich.



Kid reviewers

I am 12 years old and will be a seventh-grader at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School.

Whenever I want to know more about a movie I want to see, I check out the reviews in The Eagle’s Go! section. Such movies have included “Brave,” “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Despicable Me 2.” I have always trusted these reviews, but lately I have noticed that I usually end up either enjoying or disliking the movie more than the reviewers said they did.

I blame this on the fact that adults are reviewing children’s movies. So I want to suggest that The Eagle form a group of child movie reviewers. If it does, young readers like me may get more accurate information. I do not mean that these children would review adult movies, as some can be inappropriate for children, but films that are aimed more at families and children.



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