Letters on Ferguson, speculative reporting, drug program, creationism, Demofest

08/22/2014 7:03 PM

08/23/2014 12:03 AM

Wichita police should be paying attention

I wonder if the Wichita Police Department is keeping a close eye on what is going on in Ferguson, Mo., and breathing a sigh of relief and counting its blessings. The same protesting could have happened here after Wichita police shot and killed a young African-American man in July. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “a riot is the language of the unheard.” I hope the WPD is listening.



Action, reaction

Have you ever heard of the saying, “For every action, there is a reaction”? What would have happened if Michael Brown had not pushed back, as the police allege? Or if he had not walked down the middle of the street? Or if he had not allegedly assaulted a clerk and shoplifted cigars? Would there have been a reaction?



Report the facts

Reporters should provide information but refrain from speculation. When asked by The Eagle if an e-mail I sent to legislators referred to the renewable portfolio standard, I said, “No, not at all.” The reporter mentioned RPS in the article anyway (Aug. 15 Eagle).

Much reporting depends on mining for drama, relying on speculation and hunting for quotes to backfill a preconceived narrative. In the same article, the reporter speculated that comments I made referred to a particular lawmaker, whom he then contacted for a quote. His assumption was incorrect. Her response didn’t fit with my e-mail, yet her quote was stitched into the story anyway.

The reporter concluded with his take on my resignation as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, adding intrigue and implication to speculation.

I’m nothing if not up front. Information on that is available at Facebook/RepMarcRhoades, in a July 24 post concerning education funding.


72nd District


Reform program

In “Don’t roll back drug program” (Aug. 19 Opinion), Via Christi Health president and CEO Jeff Korsmo spotlighted the critically important 340B drug program for vulnerable, uninsured patients in Kansas and throughout the country. The program was established to provide access to Food and Drug Administration-approved prescription medicines – not investigational ones, as Korsmo mentioned in an example – for at-risk patients.

While some hospitals such as Via Christi may be using the program as intended, it is evident that many are not. A recent report compiled from publicly available data and analyzed by Avalere Health found that two-thirds of 340B hospitals provide less charity care than the average U.S. hospital. And it found that charity care represents 1 percent or less of total costs for about one-quarter of 340B hospitals. Given these numbers, a disconnect exists between eligibility requirements and patients served.

Patients deserve better from this program. A thoughtful reform is needed to ensure all safety-net hospitals are using the 340B program to help patients who need it the most.


Alliance for Integrity and

Reform of 340B

Washington, D.C.

Learn, don’t preach

With the start of school, some people need to be reminded of the difference between a public school and a church. Regardless of which religion or deity you choose to follow, your beliefs do not belong in the science classroom.

Pastors and Sunday-school teachers often spout about the evils of evolution and that young-Earth creationism is a legitimate origin story. By teaching our young children these things as facts that should not be questioned, we are grooming a generation devoid of imagination and critical thinking. We need the next generation to think critically of our world and universe in order to advance technology, medicine and society.

Creationism holds back scientific progress and hinders our growth. Allowing it into our science classrooms and preaching it as fact creates all sorts of problems. As famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson put it: “I don’t have an issue with what you do in the church, but I’m going to be up in your face if you’re going to knock on my science classroom and tell me they’ve got to teach what you’re teaching in your Sunday school.”

Students need to keep their religious ideas to themselves when they are in the science classroom. They are in school to learn, not to preach.



Hear Democrats

This weekend the Kansas Democratic Party is sponsoring Demofest in Wichita. The theme is supporting and improving our educational system. A rally is planned for 4 p.m. Saturday at the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview. The Democratic candidates who will be there include gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis, lieutenant governor nominee Jill Docking and 4th Congressional District nominee Perry Schuckman. This is an opportunity to see and hear these folks who propose taking Kansas in a new, open, progressive direction.



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