Honor Eisenhower by redoing memorial
Indeed, Kansans can be proud of Dwight D. Eisenhower. The supreme Allied commander and two-term president remains a popular, unifying leader whom we all want to see memorialized in Washington, D.C. But former Abilene Mayor Judy Burgess failed to acknowledge that his memorial as currently designed is too controversial and too expensive to represent Eisenhower’s legacy (“Proud of Ike memorial,” Aug. 26 Opinion).
The controversy comes from the Eisenhower Memorial Commission using a selection process that did not seek consensus through public participation but instead sought a famous designer. The designer it chose produced the kind of contentious, expensive design he is famous for, which has divided public opinion and will cost twice its original budget.
As such, the current design makes a poor tribute to President Eisenhower, who fought and governed through consensus-building, and who, as a vigilant steward of the public purse, balanced the federal budget three times. Building something so divisive can undermine the legacy we are trying to commemorate. Rather, we should redesign the Eisenhower Memorial through a competition that is open to everyone and considers anonymously submitted design ideas, not designer reputations.
Right by Ike
No creation required
For “true believers” like the writer of “Not a debate” (Aug. 23 Letters to the Editor), no amount of scientific evidence will ever break through the bias, uncritical, faith-based, religious dogma.
The writer’s red-herring “origin of universe” attack on evolution is just the old worn-out teleological argument of “irreducible complexity,” arguing that the complexity of a watch, or a human eye, is intrinsic proof of an “intelligent design creator.” Richard Dawkins’ entire book “The Blind Watchmaker” was dedicated to refuting this very argument.
Please note: Accepting evolution doesn’t mean accepting the Big Bang theory as true also. I, like many of today’s more progressive physicists, reject Big Bang theory, having resolved the “first cause” mystery by accepting the only “origin” premise that tracks Occam’s razor – namely that the universe has simply always existed, no creation required by “God” or a big bang.
Otherwise, one is left with endless circular arguments of infinite regress, because the “causal argument” (that everything must have a “first cause”) becomes self-contradictory as soon as you exempt God or Big Bang’s pre-universe compact core.
What there should be no debate about is that the Bible is no more reality than Greek mythology.
Because Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, is so upset about the Environmental Protection Agency’s accidental pollution of a river in Colorado, I’m sure he will oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. It also has the potential to pollute the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies drinking water to the citizens of eight states, including Kansas, as well as irrigation water for our farmers.
Here is a humble suggestion to our federal government: To recognize the valuable contribution that volunteers make in promoting the public good, establish a $10-an-hour tax deduction against the volunteer’s gross income for income tax purposes.
All volunteer service, be it as a board member, officer or worker, with a 501(c)(3) corporation would qualify, beginning in the tax year 2016. The corporation should maintain a record of the hours served and attest to its accuracy. All paid staff of the 501(c)(3) corporation would not qualify for this deduction. A line should be added labeled as “volunteer expense” on the 1040 tax form in the “adjusted gross income” section.
It is long overdue that we start rewarding good behavior in this country. This would be a start in tackling one of our many problems.
Fix for economy
We now know that Gov. Sam Brownback’s economics doesn’t work, can’t work, and will never work. Say you own a company. If taxes go up, that’s higher costs, and you may have to lay off some workers. You’d think the opposite is true, but it’s not. Cut taxes, and you likely will not hire more employees. Why? Because there may be nothing for the employees to do.
Here’s the fix for the Kansas economy that will bring a big boost and many jobs: Give all the public school teachers a $10,000-a-year raise. With about 34,000 teachers, that would be $340 million.
Where does this come from? Easy. Tax the rich. The Koch brothers alone could afford it, easily. Hey – they and their network reportedly plan to spend about $1 billion on the 2016 election alone; $340 million is a drop in the bucket for them.
So, with the new $10,000, spending will come in washers and dryers, cars, help on a new house or home improvements, clothing. This new buying will cause demand, which will in turn cause new hiring. And it will be spread over the whole state.
BRIAN D. STUCKY
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