I’m a white male blessed with a wonderful rainbow family. I have a lovely African-American granddaughter, and three delightful African-American great-granddaughters. I also have a beautiful Hispanic granddaughter. It truly is a joy to share the multicolored world God created for us.
The more than 50,000 children from Central America who have come seeking safety in the United States are in no small part a result of our policies toward these same countries over the past 60 years. We supported dictators and leaders who rivaled the worst one can think of elsewhere in the world, and would not support the inevitable revolutions that took place in places like Nicaragua and El Salvador.
There is a lot of contrived outrage lately among the GOP about the use of executive orders by President Obama. Presidents have often used this executive power to get things done, but only now has it become an issue to those who will waste time and taxpayer money senselessly filing lawsuits and suggesting impeachment for “abusing” executive powers.
The Palestinian people in Gaza are facing yet another round of brutal bombardment by the Israeli military. The actions of the Israeli government transformed the ethos of the Jewish religion from “thou shalt not kill” to “thou shalt kill with great precision.” Today Israel is known for the power of its military and not for the power of its biblical ethics. Although Hamas is guilty as charged when it comes to launching rockets at Israelis, Israel passes with flying colors when it comes to the brutality and gruesome murder of Palestinians in Gaza.
I would like to congratulate reporter Roy Wenzl for his article on David Koch (July 13 Eagle). With all the negative comments about Charles and David Koch, this was a refreshing and thorough piece focusing on David Koch’s philanthropy involving medicine and the arts, among other efforts.
As I read about the closing of the two Dillons stores in Wichita (July 8 Business Today), I was reminded of one of the reasons my family made the choice to move to Wichita – big enough town for its amenities and jobs, but small enough so that we could shop at stores with customer service and kindness.
There are thousands of good people at Department of Veterans Affairs centers working hard to “serve America’s heroes,” as their motto says.
Is bigger always better? I was disappointed and saddened to hear that the Dillons store at 13th and Woodlawn is closing (July 8 Business Today). It was suggested that the store was low-performing.
Some people don’t understand what the Fourth of July really stands for. It’s the day of our independence.
I noticed in the article “A look at Brownback’s economic claims” (July 5 Eagle) that a great bulk of the claims were listed as “incomplete” or “misleading.” Those undesirable traits are probably why I drove to the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Minneapolis on July 1 to see former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole on one of his “thank you” tours.
Despite claims of disaster, Kansas is showing encouraging signs of economic growth. Kansas lagged most of the rest of the country on private-sector job creation since 2000, but we’re running neck and neck with other income-taxing states so far in 2014, even if we’re still behind the states with no income tax. Kansas also had better private-sector gross domestic product growth in 2013 than its peer group.
Even with all the problems, both past and present, our country is the greatest on Earth. We should all be patriotic and proud to be in this great country. But as I drove around a little bit on July 4, it seemed apparent that our values and morals have taken a wrong turn over the past few decades.
It is outrageous that the Wichita City Council kicked our locally owned Sarah’s Ice Cream and Bakery out of the new airport (“Council OKs airport deal with national food vendor,” July 2 Eagle). For 23 years I have enjoyed the excellent coffee and baked goods served by our local family.
As of July 1, citizens can carry firearms openly in most places in Kansas. It is the responsibility of property owners to choose to prohibit or allow such open carry.
More than 150,000 Kansas schoolchildren live in families that struggle to afford enough nutritious food. The Community Eligibility Provision aims to help (“Wichita still deciding on free meals application,” June 16 Eagle).
Several fanatic militant groups, initially local, take over their individual countries with ambitions of changing the way the world works. There are some philosophical differences among them, but they enter into a functional alliance with certain common goals.
Our forefathers created a system of government unlike any that the world had seen at the time. It was based not on oppressive monarchs. It was and continues to be based on freedom and responsibility of each and every citizen. This freedom and responsibility are being threatened by a form of government today that has changed from the time of our forefathers.
Kansas tax revenues continue their decline below projections – another $28 million in June (July 1 Eagle). Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan is still trying to use the impact of federal tax law on capital gains to justify the $338 million Kansas revenue shortfall at the end of the 2014 fiscal year. There is a slight shred of truth there, but it is not the whole truth.
There is a lot of irony in Independence Day. Americans will buy millions of dollars’ worth of fireworks from a country that opposes us at every turn in our fight against tyrants and terrorists by vetoing our U.N. resolutions. China actively hacks American business computers, forges intellectual property, pollutes the environment, tramples the rights of workers, and is building a military for one purpose – and that is to oppose us. Meanwhile, the British are one of our only allies that will often send troops to fight the same battles we are fighting.
“Mixed results on recovery” (June 27 Eagle Editorial) reminded me of the blind man who, feeling the tail of the elephant, reports that the elephant is like a rope. Any discussion critical of the Kansas economy without looking at the national economy is shortsighted.
The following are excerpts of letters to the editor written by students in Michele Guiol’s freshman language arts class at Derby High School:
There is more to the story of the dramatic and disproportionate jump in property taxes across rural Kansas (“Tax shift harms rural Kansas,” June 22 Opinion).
Critics have labeled Kansas as boring, and therefore everyone who dwells here must be the same (June 24 Eagle). I’ve got it: Why don’t the people build a Wheat Needle, like that thing in Seattle? Nah. Maybe a Combine Ranch would be better, like the Cadillac Ranch on Route 66? Nah.
A British-Australian film, “The Railway Man,” has moved me deeply. There is a lot of rhetoric about war and peace. This film is based on a book by Eric Lomax, an English prisoner of war in Thailand during World War II, and his experience with his Japanese captors, particularly a translator who was quite involved in Lomax’s torture.
Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, chose to take another swipe at Kansas teachers, specifically those who wore red shirts in the Capitol in April (June 21 Local & State). In response to a reporter’s question about whether concealed handguns in the Statehouse might make some people uneasy, Merrick said: “A lot of red shirts in here that I’m uncomfortable with.”
After the disaster Gov. Sam Brownback has visited upon Kansas, I am looking forward to reading policy statements from the potential replacement candidates. A few questions I have are:
“Council OKs four projects for 1-cent sales tax” (May 28 Eagle) reported that even with the proposed sales tax increase, water rates would increase 1.3 percent. Without the sales tax increase, rates would go up 6.2 percent, for a net difference of 4.9 percent. This means my $50-per-month average home water bill would increase $2.45 per month to pay for what Wichita City Council members have said is the most attractive option for a new water source. I’ll take this type of increase anytime over a 1-cent sales tax on everything I purchase each month including groceries.
Someone broke into our motor home at a storage facility. The manager called 911, but the officer did not come until after I left. I understand and agree that life comes before property.
The current lynch mob mentality by the media and politicians regarding any shortcomings in treatment of military veterans by Veteran Affairs clinics has been disgusting, especially related to the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center in Wichita.
With mind-boggling financial challenges in the years ahead and ongoing national security threats from terrorists, we have a huge need for well-grounded, intelligent, courageous leadership. The most gifted among us are rarely willing to pay the price of running for office and serving. When we have a truly exceptional public servant such as Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita, we should express gratitude and show support.