Constitution based on social contract
I’m all in favor of studying history to see how people in the past have dealt with real-life problems and adopting what is useful across the time-space continuum. Not all of us are so inclined, as is evident in any high school civics and government class, where eyes roll or close and students nod off.
When people like the writer of “Not education” (Dec. 2 Letters to the Editor) speak about shortfalls in the educational arena to promote cultural understanding and study values, ideas and the underpinnings of liberty, similarly, eyes roll and heads shake.
However, the letter writer provided a “bookend” to Davis Merritt’s commentary “Why government cannot be run like business” (Dec. 2 Opinion), in which he clearly outlined the cooperation necessary between business and government to maintain social order and provide for all citizens. Some old long-dead guy called this the “social compact.”
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Current leaders and students have little concern for the compact and maximum concern for widgets. Such a one-legged stance will not prevail in the long term – history tells us that. Our Constitution is based on the social contract, not the manufacturing of widgets. Live and learn.
A day in court
If you have never experienced a day in Sedgwick County small-claims court, you have not experienced chaos.
Any, and all, afternoon trials are scheduled for 1 p.m. Neither the courtroom nor clerk’s office is open until 1 p.m. The judge may take the bench about 1:30 or 1:45. The mediators and their clients are first to confer with the judge. Then they disappear to mediate.
Our trial was called about 2 or 2:15. Not only were we witnesses for the trial, but we also witnessed how easy it is for an unscrupulous witness to be less than honest.
At the conclusion of testimony, the judge began typing. Between interruptions by the clerk and the mediators and printer problems (which brought even more people into the mix), it was chaotic. At 3 p.m., an audio phone “trial” began. Every word was loud enough for everyone to hear.
At the conclusion of the phone trial, we were called to the bench. The verdict was read. We left the courthouse about 4:15. For a 10- to 15-minute trial to take 3 1/2 hours is not acceptable. Is this court immune to any accountability?
Recently, postal customers in the 2400 and 2500 blocks of South Hydraulic received a letter from the River City postal station manager. This letter said that we must relocate our mailbox curbside or rent a postal box at the station.
The reasoning behind this directive – that a dog is off leash – should be addressed by animal control. If the owners fail to comply with city ordinance, they should be subject to fines and their mail delivery suspended. To penalize an entire two-block area is attacking the problem from the wrong end.
There are a number of senior citizens in the area who are on fixed incomes. This is not only an expense they can ill afford but is impractical for health and safety reasons. Granny should not have to brave the elements just to retrieve her mail, which has been delivered to her door for 40 or 50 years.
Thanks for support
I want to commend the Wichita City Council for its support of the city’s cultural funding committee and of the arts.
Those of us in nonprofit work can get caught up in our own programming when we need to also devote as much or more time and energy to operating more like businesses and less like charities. The cultural funding committee keeps us challenged that way.
High marks from the committee are a good barometer for your success. Low marks usually indicate you have more work to do to get where you need to be.
The panel certainly has helped the Kansas African American Museum aspire to be good stewards of our allotted funds while promoting the importance of the arts in our society.
Kansas African American Museum
Imagine that you ate the same thing in the same restaurant every day for years and that you always paid for your meal. One day the manager came out and told you that they had been undercharging you for your meal for the past six months, and because you had consumed all of the food you were served over that time, your meal today was going to cost you $591.99 to make up for the amount they hadn’t charged you over that period.
It’s pretty ridiculous to think that they would do that or that you would actually pay that much for their error, isn’t it? Well, that is pretty much what happened to me with Westar Energy regarding my electric bill.
Westar had misread my meter since last May, and now it is demanding that I pay for all of the electricity that I used that it hadn’t billed me for previously. The beauty of it is that Westar is a monopoly and can get away with it.
Don’t you wish you owned a business where you could be completely inept, screw your customers and be rewarded for your ineptitude?
Russia, Iran and Venezuela have never been friends of the United States. All three countries often support terrorist organizations. Russia openly armed the North Vietnamese, Cuba and Syria, while Iran is focused on building a nuclear weapon to destroy Israel.
We now have a chance to get back at them without firing a shot. Everything possible should be done to support the companies drilling for oil in the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. The success of these fields, along with conservation efforts, has caused oil prices and gasoline prices to drop considerably.
Saudi Arabia – you know, the country where nearly all of the Sept. 11 attackers came from – has said it will not cut oil production because it wants to drive the Bakken oil companies out of business. Support for startup oil companies in the Bakken should be part of our energy policy, along with doing everything we can to disrupt the economies of the countries mentioned.
Crime doesn’t pay – at least it shouldn’t. That’s one reason the men and women of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas worked hard in fiscal year 2014 to collect more than $11.4 million in criminal and civil actions.
Of that total, about $5 million was collected in criminal cases. Here is an example from among our recent cases: An insurance agent in Marshall County who was convicted of stealing customers’ premiums was ordered to pay $160,000 in restitution.
Civil actions brought in $6.4 million. Here is an example: A hospital in Hutchinson agreed to pay $853,000 to settle allegations it submitted false claims to the Medicare program.
Recovering money on behalf of crime victims and federal agencies is often a difficult task that requires the work of skilled attorneys, investigators and legal staff. Sometimes it takes months or even years to track assets and deal with legal obstacles.
Be assured that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is working hard to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.
United States attorney
District of Kansas
Kansas City, Kan.
Reading of the reunion of four USS Arizona survivors of Pearl Harbor brought back memories of when I was a 7-year-old (Dec. 3 Eagle). The urgent need of citizens to pull together for victory over an obvious enemy motivated everyone to unite.
The four who gathered Tuesday are true heroes. I thank them, as well as all those gone now, for defending freedom.
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