Letters to the Editor

April 1, 2014

Letters to the editor on drones, dog racing, Statehouse circus, global warming, ‘bling bishop’

As a very old former military and lifelong commercial pilot, I read with alarm the article on drones (“Technology not waiting for FAA rulings on drones,” March 27 Business Today).

Bring drone use under control

As a very old former military and lifelong commercial pilot, I read with alarm the article on drones (“Technology not waiting for FAA rulings on drones,” March 27 Business Today).

From the earliest lessons in flight training, student pilots are taught to obey a very strict set of rules and regulations, designed to help keep those in the air and on the ground as safe as humanly possible. Now we find that there is to be a plethora of small aircraft delivering beer, photographing fields and who knows what else flying without regulation – completely out of control in the same airspace as business jets, airliners and pleasure aircraft.

It seems to be a disaster just waiting to happen. Surely there is someone in the Federal Aviation Administration with enough authority to stop this madness and bring it under control.



Don’t revive racing

Attempts to artificially revive greyhound racing should be rejected. Instead, lawmakers should support a bill that lets dog racing rise or fall on its own.

House Bill 2125 suspends votes on proposals to add slot machines to the now-defunct Wichita Greyhound Park until 2032. This is a big step in the right direction.

The policy of using slot machines to subsidize dog racing has failed in multiple states. Currently, the Iowa Legislature is supporting a bill to end the millions of dollars in slot-machine profits that have been set aside for greyhound breeders since 1994. Earlier this month, lawmakers in West Virginia passed legislation that permanently cuts the subsidies to the greyhound industry by 10 percent.

Greyhound racing is cruel and inhumane, with every major animal protection group opposing it. When dog racing existed in Kansas, 275 greyhound injuries were reported at three tracks in the state in just one racing season. Twenty-four of those greyhounds died.


President and general counsel


Arlington, Mass.

Statehouse circus

Nearly each time I open the pages of the newspaper, there is another example of how our Legislature is presenting a circus sideshow.

Last week I read that the Senate had disallowed a vote on a casino and dog-track slot machines in Sedgwick County until 2032. I then read how Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law a bill limiting party switching from June 1 until after the August primary.

Then I read how the Legislature was deciding on which fossils that are millions of years old shall be the state fossils. But I thought the Earth was only 6,000 years old and there was no such thing as evolution.

Any way you slice it, our Legislature is made up of moralizers and hypocrites. This Republican voter has no use for such people.



Sky not falling

Davis Merritt suggested that the sky is falling (“Bet your life on climate change? Deniers are,” March 25 Opinion). Well, when our sun flames out (2.8 billion years), the sky will indeed fall and life on Earth will end. Between now and then I suggest we continue to increase conservation efforts, enhance mass transit and research better ways, etc. Technology has increased exponentially and should help. Yes, we need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. But not overnight.

In the 1970s, increasing carbon dioxide was supposed to result in an ice age. Now it will result in global warming (aka climate change). Which is it?

And remember that we are but one country. China and other developing countries are much worse than the United States. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work toward reducing carbon dioxide, but the central-planning “we know what is best for you” crowd always makes me nervous, and it never seems to do what it tells us to do.

If you google climate changes in history, I think you can find a graph that will support a pro or con opinion about climate change. Of course we need to take care of the planet (duh!).

I think Merritt should lead the way by giving up his automobiles, setting the thermostat at 60 degrees in winter and 80 in the summer, and taking public transportation. But don’t take a cab.



‘Bling bishop’

I am glad that Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst from the diocese of Limburg, Germany, in the wake of that foolish bishop’s lavish spending spree – which included a new 31 million euro luxury residence. That bishop was obviously out of tune with the plight of the poor and out of synch with Jesus Christ’s message of self-sacrifice and denial.

This period of Lent is appropriate for the bishop’s expulsion. The diocese of Limburg can be glad it will be giving up that particular bishop for Lent and beyond. He was a disgraceful example of arrogance, greed and haughtiness, of which the Catholic Church needs to cleanse itself.

I am Roman Catholic, and I applaud Pope Francis for sacking this bishop. A Vatican statement said it will find that bishop “a new job at the opportune time.” Well, I hope the former “bling bishop” will be scrubbing toilets by day and ministering at night in the most impoverished areas of Rome for five years or more. Perhaps that is an appropriate penance for him.



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