Letters to the Editor

Letters on watering in the rain, voting rights, climate change, Planned Parenthood

Water yard only when necessary

When I was driving in Wichita last week after a deluge of rain, I was greatly disturbed by all the sprinkler systems I saw operating. It is apparent that these systems are on automatic timers and water regardless of conditions.

This practice has been going on for years and needs to be discontinued if we are going to preserve our groundwater for future generations. I noticed systems operating at residential houses, businesses, road rights of way, schools, churches, nursing homes and many more areas.

I have a sprinkler system on an acre lot but manually operate it and only water when necessary. There are also moisture sensors that can be installed that regulate when watering is necessary.

If we continue wasting groundwater, we could end up like California and have to decide what is more important – lush green yards or drinking water. We, as individuals, need to be more responsible for protecting our environment for our children and their children.



We the people

We the people elect those who serve in our government. The recent anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a reminder that all the people have long not been allowed to vote.

In the first days of our country, only white men who owned property could vote. In 1920, a constitutional amendment gave women the vote, but that wasn’t everybody. In many states only the people who were white were allowed to vote.

There were many roadblocks keeping nonwhite people from voting. There were poll taxes, violent intimidation and various tests, such as reciting from memory the state constitution. White citizens were not tested. The 1965 Voting Rights Act dismantled those roadblocks. However, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2013 found that some of the Voting Rights Act was no longer needed.

In the 20th century, those in charge of registering voters needed only to determine skin color to know which citizens not to register. Now it’s not so easy; so the governments in some states require official documents from citizens, which the United States does not require, to be allowed to vote. Not every citizen has those documents.

Again, only some of the people are self-governing.



Still breathing

I love air, the atmosphere. I’ve been breathing it for a long time. On Aug. 3, our president tried to scare me. He claimed that there is a growing amount of carbon dioxide in the air that is causing what he now calls climate change. And, because of this, he preaches that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are nigh.

Does anyone know why President Obama chooses to fixate on carbon dioxide? Plants love carbon dioxide, photosynthesis. There are plenty of other choices.

The air I breathe, the atmosphere, is 78.09 percent nitrogen, 20.95 percent oxygen and 0.93 percent argon plus a bunch of other gases, called trace gases. I’m unsure about how many trace gases there are, but know a few: hydrogen, helium, neon, methane, krypton. The gaggle of trace gases also include water vapor, carbon dioxide and some nitrous oxide. The president calls trace gases greenhouse gases.

The mass of the atmosphere, the air I breathe, is huge, incomprehensible. The composition has remained just about constant for millions of years.

The president’s hypothesis is implausible and preposterous. This is about stealing what little money I have and giving it to someone else – redistribution.

I’m still breathing. I’m not scared of atmospheric carbon dioxide.



A better way

The Kansas.com article “Obama orders steeper cuts from power plants” described how the proposed limits on pollution could cost $8.4 billion annually by 2030. The Citizens’ Climate Lobby has a better way. Its proposal would place a fee on carbon at the source, and market forces would then encourage reduced emissions, energy conservation and investments in renewable energy. The money collected from the carbon fee would be paid to every household as a dividend, which would effectively stimulate the economy.

President Bush’s Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 provided a $600 rebate to each household. A 2012 study by Christian Broda found the increase in disposable income was an effective stimulus to the economy. The stimulus, however, was only for one year and the money came from taxes.

The carbon fee would not raise taxes. The money collected will be distributed equally to every household as rebate. A study by Regional Economic Models Inc. found CCL’s proposed carbon fee and dividend would achieve better pollution reduction than regulations while adding 2.8 million jobs to the economy over 20 years. What could be a better way to reduce pollution?



Vote to defund

The recently released videos of Planned Parenthood senior staff members discussing their ability to obtain and sell fetuses is beyond disturbing. Yet even now, the majority of elected Democrats rush to Planned Parenthood’s defense, including Hillary Clinton.

Republicans in Congress should present a bill to defund the group and increase funding for other women’s health centers that do not provide abortion. This would nullify the expected, well-worn liberal argument that defunding would deprive women of health care services. Republicans need to take a stand and dare Democrats to oppose a bill like this.



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Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.