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Know for a fact

Dear Editor,

I want to clarify one thing (on Bruce Rodgers’ Publisher’s Note, Dec. 14, 2007)

I do not just believe MARC wants to run the regional transit system, I know it for a fact.

When I was first appointed to the JOCO transit advisory council, Marcy Smalley from MARC was a member of that board. At one of our meetings she stated flatly, "MARC wants to run the regional transit system."

I was across the table from her and she spoke in a voice loud enough to be heard and clear enough to be understood.

As an aside, I complained to the powers that be that she had no business on the council and should be removed. My reason was, as a paid employee of MARC her loyalties lay with them and not Johnson County.

Others felt as I did and she left the council soon afterwards.

—Wayne Flaherty
Johnson County, KS

Crimes and criminals

Dear Editor:

We attended the (U.S. Rep. Dennis) Moore and (U.S. Sen. Pat) Roberts lame comedy act and schmooze hosted by JCCC (Aug. 13). We were hoping to hear a plan for a new direction in Iraq or, at least, how we got ourselves into this quagmire.

Thanks to a patriotic protestor, the only mention of Iraq that night was provided with a banner.

The banner should not embarrass the college for it exemplified what is good about America — speaking truth to power. JCCC should be embarrassed because they hosted two enablers of an unprovoked war who abdicated their responsibility to protect our troops from a madman who should be held accountable for authorizing torture in our names. This comedy duo, rather than providing leadership for the preservation of our democracy, is complicit in the criminal conduct of this administration. Moore and Roberts should be named on the same indictments with Bush and Cheney for crimes against humanity.

—David Quinly, Terry Bunker & Carol Huhs
Johnson County, KS

Not right for the 4th of July

Dear Editor:

I read the editorial "Put Away The Flags." (op ed, 7/3, by Howard Zinn) It is sad that eKC has gone beyond anti-Bush to anti-American.

I can understand the politics of blaming Republicans or the Right Wing for everything, but this seems a step too far on America's birthday.

I am America. I am not ashamed of my self.
I work hard...for myself and my family.
I am not a bad person. We are not bad people.
We are not historically worse than other countries.

How odd that you have inflicted this on your readers on the 4th of July.

What day should we fly the flag of freedom?
What day should we be proud that we were the first country to declare independence from colonial rule?

Can we suspend our self hatred until July 5th or 6th?

It is healthy to question our values, but put it in context. History is full of countries that have done worse.

The 4th of July is a time to renew our mission statement.

Let us be strong. That is not a bad thing. Let us use our power to protect the things we value.

I just can't hate America today, but thanks for asking me to try.

—Mark Valentine
Kansas City Musician


I like what Bruce Rodgers said (Publisher’s Note, 5/25/07) about Funkhouser. It needed saying, no doubt. I remember what he said awhile back about eKC onlineThe Pitch and KKFI as being the only opposing voices and that the KC Star ruled everybody else. It's always, we're the Star, take it or leave it.

I'm glad I get eKC online’s email, read The Pitch and sometimes listen to KKFI. At least I have the feeling that if there were alternative opinions, I might have a chance of hearing them.

–Lenore Carroll
Kansas City, MO

Not a happy ride

(Editor’s Note: According to Mr. Hampton, The Kansas City Star refused to print the following letter – May 21, 2007.)

On Friday morning (April 27), I had to go downtown. Not owning a car, I took public transportation as usual, and ended up on the 25 Troost bus. To describe the trip as "hell on wheels" would not be an exaggeration.

My ears were assaulted by the filthiest language you'd ever want to hear. It was the F-word in various permutations and all manner of racial and sexual slurs. Two men sitting on the back seat were talking loudly about fellatio in graphic detail. Elderly people and children were within earshot, but they couldn't have cared less. I also saw several young women get on the bus and be immediately set upon by thuggish men. One thug got right up in the face of a pretty young Latina and demanded her name and telephone number. She rebuffed him and handled herself well, but had it been me in her place, I'm sure I would've been terrified.

Worst of all, two thugs sitting near me were casually discussing "capping a n*gger" (if you understand street lingo, you know what a bad thing that is). I hear a lot of discussion about light rail revitalizing transportation in Kansas City. I support light rail, but if inner-city transit retains its current character, suburbanites aren't going to want to ride trains any more than they want to ride buses now. Who wants to put up with this kind of ugliness?

–DC Hampton
Kansas City, MO

April 12, 2007

Statement by the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials on the
Don Imus Remarks

From the President of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO), Terry Riley, councilman, Kansas City, Mo., on behalf of all NBC-LEO officers

“It is unconscionable that in this day Don Imus would be comfortable saying such hateful and hurtful phrases about the women’s basketball players at Rutgers University. The Rutgers players are talented young women who have carried themselves in a manner that brings pride to their university, their coaches and fellow students as well as the African-American community. Their reaction to this situation has been nothing short of dignified, a fact Mr. Imus would fail to prove otherwise.

“It is essential that African-American political leaders stand united and send a resounding message to Mr. Imus that his comments were highly disrespectful and will not be tolerated anywhere in this nation. We, the members of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials who are charged with being the voice of our electorate, will not stand quietly complacent and allow our daughters to be demoralized.

“We call on the media to review the actions and words, not only of Mr. Imus, but of all broadcasters in the coming months to ensure they are fair and objective chroniclers of today’s society, reflecting the broad diversity that is America.”

NBC-LEO was created in 1970 to represent the interests of African-American elected officials. NBC-LEO’s objectives include increasing African-American participation on the NLC’s steering and policy committees to ensure that policy and program recommendations reflect African-American concerns and benefit their communities.

The organization also works independently with its members to inform them on issues affecting the African-American community and helps to devise ways to achieve their community objectives through legislation and direct action. In 2005, NBC-LEO worked with eBay to end the use of racially derogatory words on listings on eBay’s Web site. For more information, call 202-626-3041.

Brooks gives me hope

Thanks for the Publisher’s Note (“A crowd at the gate,” Jan. 26, 2007) Not a very rosy future...but, I do hold hope most highly with (mayoral candidate) Alvin Brooks — I trust him, and he has experience. Peace.

—Peter Stauffacher
KC Organics and Natural Market
Kansas City, MO

Breed-specific legislation in Canada

(Somewhat belated...I thought I'd sent this but it went into "Send Later" by accident.)

Thank you so very much for publishing Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell's intelligent, informed article, "Is breed specific legislation really a good idea?" (Aug. 11, 2006). The writer has hit every point of why breed specific legislation does not and will not work. There is also the fact that breed specific legislation makes responsible dog owners into second-class citizens; they have done nothing wrong, but they are penalized.

I live in the province of Ontario, Canada where the current majority government pushed through province-wide breed specific legislation, without foundation in fact and against all expert advice and experience.

The evidence presented in 2005 to Ontario’s Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly proved that breed specific legislation is ineffective, unworkable and fiscally irresponsible. All of the canine experts and 80% of the presenters opposed breed specific legislation. This evidence presented at the Ontario public hearings may be read at Please scroll down to “Committee” and read the presentations on January 24th and 27th, and February 2nd and 3rd. The evidence presented by proponents of the ban should be tempered by the knowledge that these people were specifically invited to attend, and at the least their expenses were paid.

Ontario’s unfounded, unjust and shoddy breed specific legislation affects not only residents of Ontario but also tourists and travelers such as truckers, who may have their dogs seized and killed if an authority determines the dog is a “pit bull”.

The Ontario Liberal government has not been forthright with the citizens of Ontario about this law. It provides for warrantless search and seizure of any dog, regardless of breed, if there is a suspicion that the dog is dangerous. There is also provision for the government to invest authority in officials other than police, animal control and by-law enforcement officers, leading me to believe that the Ontario Liberal government plans to form dog death squads just like the UK, Germany and Denver.

Considering the facts, expert advice and the experience of other jurisdictions where breed specific legislation has failed, I do not understand how anyone can come to the conclusion that breed specific legislation is necessary, effective or workable.

Breed specific legislation perpetuates prejudice, discrimination, violent behaviour towards and false accusations against responsible dog owners. Responsible dog owners have been assaulted and injured, their dogs assaulted and injured. They are subjected to physical and verbal harassment, had bottles thrown at them from cars, they are denied housing and insurance, just because of the way their dogs look. The witch-hunts are well underway in Ontario. Should legislators make responsible, voting dog owners live under the threat of legislated vigilantism?

These responsible dog owners are parents, doctors, nurses, lawyers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, office workers, social workers, entrepreneurs, artists, musicians and many, many others. These are responsible, law-abiding citizens who have been slandered by the media and legislated into second-class citizenship, just because of the way their dogs look.

There are common sense recommendations for improved public safety with regard to dogs presented over and over again – and ignored. These recommendations include promotion of spay/neuter of "pet" animals, strict enforcement of leash and licensing laws, bite prevention education for children and adults, strict enforcement to reduce backyard breeding, stricter laws governing breeders and trainers, funding to municipalities for dangerous dog control, and a centralized dog bite registry.

Every dog has teeth. Any dog can bite. No one wants to be bitten by any dog. A bite or attack by a dog of any breed is serious. The responsibility for preventing a dog bite by a dog of any breed rests solely on the dog's owner.

Criminals, who by definition do not obey laws, only continue to hide their banned dogs or turn to other breeds for their purposes. Irresponsible owners will dispose of their banned dogs through pounds, shelters or rescues, unwilling to do what is required to maintain a banned dog. These same criminal and irresponsible owners will only acquire and mistreat or neglect dogs of other breeds, continuing to create vicious and dangerous dogs. This has already started in Ontario, Canada; German Shepherd dogs appear to be the breed of choice now.

Meanwhile, responsible "pit bull" owners will labour under unfounded and unjust restrictions, attempting to keep their beloved dogs safe. Please note that breed specific legislation has caused people to move from their place of residence to keep their beloved dogs safe.

Thirty years ago, German Shepherd dogs were the demon breed. Then Dobermans. Then Rottweilers. Now pit bulls. Which breed will be next to be demonized and targeted for legislated extermination? Will it be yours?

Any dog that is untrained, unsocialized, tethered, allowed to roam, neglected or abused has the potential to go one of two ways – either to bite, or not. Breed is irrelevant.

It is the owner’s deed that should be the issue and the subject of any law. Not the shape of the dog.

Legislators must reject unfounded, unjust, ineffective, unworkable and fiscally irresponsible breed specific legislation, and promulgate clearly defined and easily enforced all-breed dangerous dog legislation that will be effective, workable and best serve public safety. That would be responsible and just government.

—Dianne Singer
Toronto, ON

Remembering Hammond Robinson

Out of a strange sense of curiosity, I have been searching the Star's obit for anything on Hammond Robinson and, apparently, he's not listed. As far as when and what he died of, nobody really knows for sure. I do know that we heard of it about a week before Christmas and that he was found in his home…he had been dead about a week.

Whether there was any money to bury him with or the state had to bury him in an unmarked grave, it doesn't matter. Prince or pauper, it is the mark one makes on other's lives that counts. The countless people who sorely miss him, the empty space that is left at that rather unleveled round table at the Crave on West 39th Street where countless discussions ranging from space culture, to religion, to Aristotle, up to the existence of God took place.

His passion for his community, for his fellow humans to reach beyond to what he knew we are all capable of, that is his epitaph, his memorial, his marker. I know some kind of memorial is being planned on his birthday, Jan. 15th. Well and good. But for me that memorial will always be seeing that completely open and inviting face upstairs at The Crave.

—Phil Deibler
Kansas City, MO

Progressive state auditor

(Forwarded to eKC online, originally printed in the Rolla Daily News on Oct. 26, 2006 under the title "Bunker owes no allegiance to corporations.")

Dear Editor:

With the proposed TIF at the corner of Highways 63 and 72 back in the news, let's not forget two excellent arguments against TIF:

First, the Rolla TIF will require the use or threat of use of eminent domain to take private property from its rightful owner and give it to private corporate interests. Many view this as an abomination.

Second, TIF requires subsidizing the developer with tax revenue, under the assumption that the TIF will generate enough future tax revenue to more than make up for the loss. Many believe that the proposed Rolla TIF is simply a tax give-away to a wealthy St. Louis developer.

The Missouri state auditor is empowered to audit existing TIFs in order to discover whether they are a good investment of public revenue, or whether they are a waste of the taxpayers' money.

Progressive Party candidate for state auditor, Terry Bunker, vows an "Audit of tax abatements to corporations through the use of TIFs to determine whether TIFs are an efficient or effective use of taxpayers' money in promoting economic development." To my knowledge, no other candidate for State Auditor has even addressed this issue.

Terry Bunker is also passionate about performing an audit to determine whether the cuts in Medicaid have been cost-effective or whether they have actually cost the taxpayers more than they save; and auditing funding for higher education to determine whether or not it is being spent disproportionately on administration.

As a Progressive who accepts no funding from corporations or their PACs, Terry Bunker will be independent and objective. He owes no allegiance to either the Democratic or Republican Party power structures or their supporters.

Please visit Terry Bunker's website: and consider voting for Terry Bunker for State Auditor on Nov. 7.

—Tom Sager
Rolla, MO

Lt. Watada's Mother Asks For Your Support

(Originally emailed to truthout on Aug. 15, 2006, forwarded to eKC online)

Dear Fellow Americans and Citizens of the International Community

I am the mother of Lt. Ehren Watada, an officer stationed at Ft. Lewis. He was part of a Stryker brigade unit that deployed to Iraq on June 22nd. On that fateful day, he quietly defied the movement order and chose not to board the plane with his men. Despite unrelenting pressure to conform from the day he submitted his request for discharge (in January 2006) to the day of deployment, he remained true to his conviction. He believed that he could support his men best by not leading them into an illegal war and occupation that had already claimed countless Iraqi and American lives. He believed that he could serve them by taking a stand against the war rather than a being an accomplice in a policy that uses our troops for immoral, unethical purposes.

Through rigorous scrutiny of the facts, gleaned through research and consultation with experts, inside and outside of the military and the structures of government, he concluded that he could no longer be silent while atrocities were committed in the name of democracy. He could no longer be a tool of an administration that used nothing but deception and lies to make the case for pre-emptive war. He realized that he had not relinquished the freedom to choose what is right and that the freedom to choose what is right transcends the allegiance to man and institutions.

As an officer, his duty is to support and defend the US Constitution, against enemies foreign and domestic, and to obey only lawful orders. In refusing to deploy to Iraq, Lt. Watada fulfilled his duty. In response, the military charged him with missing movement, contemptuous remarks against the president and behavior unbecoming to an officer. Taken together, these charges amount to 7 years in a military prison.

As a mother, I have taken the first step in "a journey of a thousand miles." My son's decision raised to my awareness the disconnect between what I had taught him and what I was really willing to have him do. Initially, the moment of truth stared me down, and I honestly could not find words to justify that self-centered, protective response that whispered, "Not my son. Let someone else's son be a hero." Needless to say, this experience became a life-changing event. I have nothing but admiration and respect for the course my son has chosen. He has my unconditional support.

I invite you to affirm your support of Lt. Ehren Watada now, during his pre-trial hearing on Aug 17th and 18th, and into the future. Whether or not he is permitted to submit evidence supporting his refusal to deploy and his first amendment rights remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the military must know that the world is watching and that justice must be served.

On August 16th, National Day of Education, groups nationally and internationally are asked to conduct teach-ins to address the illegality and immorality of the Iraq war and occupation and the message Lt. Watada conveys. Instruction and dialog can be conducted in schools, homes, churches, community centers, etc. In addition, rallies, bannering, vigils, etc. will be held at Ft. Lewis and throughout the US and abroad. This is an opportunity to raise consciousness, to empower and to inspire the masses to action.

Join us in laying the groundwork for mass mobilization and civil disobedience during the court-martial.

For updates on news and actions regarding Lt. Watada, for a downloadable tool kit to assist you in conducting a teach-in on August 16th, National Day of Education, for posters, leaflets, T-shirts and instructions for making a donation toward the Lt. Watada's legal defense fund, please refer to the official web site

Peace and Gratitude,

Carolyn Ho (Ehren's Mom)

Food Stamp program vital to all Missouri

Dear Editor,

(July 20, 2006) Within the next year the food stamp program, part of the farm bill, will be going through a reauthorization process by the Federal Government. Hearings have already begun across the country, including a hearing in Cape Girardeau, MO to discuss the aspects of the farm bill. The food stamp program is vital to the state of Missouri. In Missouri, the food stamp program helps 795,963 people/299,351 households from going hungry; it also brings $60,678,047 to Missouri businesses and to Missouri's farmers every month. Food stamps help create a healthier and stronger Missouri.

Sen. Jim Talent and Rep. Joann Emerson have been supportive of this program in the past and we hope as the reauthorization process moves forward that Missouri can count on their continued support to make the process or reauthorization painless and beneficial for all Missourians.

Christine Shine, MSW
Hunger Task Force Coordinator
Missouri Association for Social Welfare

Killing of journalists

Dear Editor,

I read with interest Jaime Baranyai's June 2 editorial (Rolla [MO] Daily News) on courageous journalists covering the invasion and occupation of Iraq. According to Committee to Protect Journalists, 73 journalists have died in the course of duty covering this war. For journalists, Iraq has become by far the most dangerous country in the world.

Two early incidents of note are the US missile attack on Al-Jazeera headquarters in Baghdad that killed journalist Tareq Ayyoub; and the US shelling of the Palestine Hotel, which killed journalists José Couso and Taras Protsyuk. The Palestine Hotel was known to house most of the corps of foreign journalists.

Of the 73 journalists killed covering the war: 53 were Iraqi; 2 were US nationals. 6 were "embedded;" the rest were operating independently of military units.

Among the bravest of the brave is, without a doubt, the US independent journalist Dahr Jamail.

Dahr spent 8 months in Iraq. He was one of the few journalist on the ground in Fallujah covering the November 2004 massacre in which 250,000 civilians were forced by US troops to leave the city, many having nowhere to go. Thousands of those remaining were slaughtered.

Dahr contributed to two of Project Censored top 10 stories ignored by mainstream US media: "Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Death Toll" and "Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood." His dispatches have appeared in major newspapers such as the Guardian (UK) and the Asia Times and have been translated into most of the world's major languages.

We all owe a tremendous debt to independent journalists like Dahr Jamail who risk their lives to bring us news that others would ignore and censor.

—Tom Sager
Rolla, MO

‘Live, Late’ and Fake

Dear Friends,

KCTV 5 News proclaims that they are "Live, Late Breaking and Investigative," however from the looks of their May 23, 10 pm broadcast, and all throughout their May 24 news broadcasts, they have devoted huge amounts of time, repeating the same story about who won the Country Music Association Awards. Is this news?

Email KCTV 5 at Ask for real news not fake news.

Even more troubling than their repeating the same footage of Kenny Chesney and others, they also devoted much of their/our "air time" slamming The Dixie Chicks for their criticism of President George Bush (one of the more unpopular Presidents in US history).

While KCTV 5's "talking heads" continually slam The Dixie Chicks over and over and over, I ask myself, is this what they mean by "Live and Late Breaking?" Is this Investigative? Is this news? Isn't this perhaps Entertainment Tonight or the perfect opiate for a Rush Limbaugh radio show?

Email KCTV 5 at Ask for real news not fake news.

On their May 23, 10 pm broadcast, Karen Fuller, in all her Blonde Glory reported that, "No one was buying the Dixie Chicks new CD." (Just released May 23.) After seeing Fuller's report, I quickly ran to Barnes and Noble and bought my first Dixie Chicks CD ever. The sales clerk there told me they were selling very well. (Not only was KCTV and Karen Fuller wasting the airwaves, they also apparently are not even telling the truth.

Email KCTV 5 at Ask for real news not fake news.

I want KCTV 5 to please explain why they needed to repeat these slams against The Dixie Chicks over and over? Was this a direct order from the parent company Meredith Broadcasting in Des Moines? Who exactly makes these poor choices? Why is KCTV losing all credibility for the sake of delivering viewers to advertisers? And when will real journalists be working in television again?

I want real news not fake news. I don't need to hear Michael Scott and Karen Fuller's opinions. Perhaps KCTV 5 should just lose the fake anchors and let Katie Horner read all the news off the TelePrompTers, at least I can trust and believe in her.

Email KCTV 5 at Ask for real news not fake news.

-Mark Manning
Kansas City, MO

Disappointment in picking Diebold

Dear editor,

(The following was also sent to KC Mayor Kay Barnes, Jackson County Legislature, Kansas City, MO City Council, Kansas City Election Board and MO Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.)

Missourians for Honest Elections-KC wish to express our surprise, disappointment, and concern over the recently announced choice of Diebold as the supplier of a voting system for Kansas City Elections.

The Election Board’s President and Secretary have both publicly expressed discomfort with Diebold and the Diebold system, due to the clouds that seem to swirl constantly around Diebold in the form of plummeting stock prices, questions, allegations, and lawsuits nationwide. We find it disconcerting that the Election Board would then choose Diebold in light of all of this controversy. Why would the Board want to put its faith in a company that is facing fraud charges in California for selling that state voting machines not federally certified, a company that had to withdraw their machines from North Carolina because it chose not to honor North Carolina election law, and a company whose basic software was developed by a man who was convicted of 23 counts of embezzlement via sophisticated alteration of computerized record systems? The Chair of the Election Board herself stated, “There have been an enormous number of controversial articles (about Diebold)…that really, really concerns me.”

It concerns us, too. To quote Joe Serrano of the Election Board, “What will happen if we buy this system and there are problems?” A very good question indeed!

We are told the reason for the selection of Diebold was a matter of cost. It is interesting to note that the Jackson County Election Board, when faced with the same set of numbers, chose to go with Inka Vote at a slightly higher initial cost. They recognized that “ease of training for poll workers, ease of use by the voters (Inka Vote is very similar to the currently used punch card system) were worth quite a lot, in addition to the long term-cost of conducting elections. Inka Vote’s standardized card does not change with each election, thus excess cards from one election may be used for the next election. All other systems incur an upfront cost for each election, as they must print new ballots. Old excess ballots must be destroyed. We fear Mary Lindsey’s prediction to the Kansas City Election Board at the Oct. 20th hearing may have come true: “The best Salesman Wins!” Indeed, the old adage holds true: “You get what you pay for.” It is our fear that the City does run the risk of also paying for lawsuits similar to those in California, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and elsewhere.

Throughout this machine selection process, we have attempted to express our views about the loss of transparency and integrity we see occurring in our electoral process due to electronic mechanization. The frailties of electronic voting were pointed out time and time again at the Oct. 20th public hearing by various computer professionals, accountants, and ordinary folks from various walks of life and political parties. All of these people have taken the time to educate themselves about the voting process and potential problems that can creep into that system. In addition to the information amassed by the public, a recent report by the Government Accountability Office gives supports to these apprehensions; it states: ”some of the concerns about voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes.” At the heart of these concerns is the Diebold Corporation, certainly the most controversial manufacturer of voting systems and the most litigated.

As a unified group, the Missourians for Honest Elections-KC hopes the Kansas City Election Board will reconsider its earlier decision. While we recommended the Sequoia systems, we would welcome a decision to follow the lead of the Jackson County Election Board and consider the long-range cost of elections by choosing the Inka Vote system. This does not mean we will become complacent and assume the election process is safe in the hands of Inka Vote; but please know, we will feel we can trust the board to place election integrity over mere up front cost. We are most concerned about maintaining confidence, integrity and transparency into our voting system. We truly would like to work with you rather than oppose.

—Ben Kjelshus
Missourians for Honest Elections-KC

More ‘Power’ for paws needed

My name is Lee Brand, and I’m the founder of Power For Paws. This movement was organized in order to address the lack of a felony level provision in the animal cruelty state statute in Kansas. Specifically, our purpose is to inform the public about the lack of legislation regarding its stated concern for the welfare of animals. Further, we hope to motivate the legislators to address this neglected issue.

When Kansas falls behind the majority of states in attending to the concerns of citizens, once again it becomes a treadmill of embarrassment that does not seem to have an end. The residents of Kansas are stepping up to say that this neglect can longer be tolerated, and that we expect for the legislators to take action on this issue during the next legislative session.

I want to personally thank Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell on the behalf of Power For Paws for bringing light to an issue (“Kansas needs to show a little intelligence with our Intelligent Design and pass a felony animal cruelty law,” 12/16/05) that has remained in the dark and forgotten for far too long. Paws up for Kerri!

—Lee Brand
Olathe, KS

About the Quinly story

Dear Rhiannon (Ross),

Thank you for taking up David (Quinly’s) cause (“Signs of peace on the prairie,” 11/30/05). He is a guy with his head in the right place and a heart willing to stand up and be counted. David is one of the quiet heroes of our times…and, I guess, so are you because you chose to tell his story.

—Paul Rola
Grandview, MO

Dear Rhiannon,

Good article on Dave Quinly. I appreciate that you didn’t spin his story and just presented “the facts.”

—Roger Goldbatt
Kansas City, MO

Keep increasing the awareness

Dear Rhiannon (Ross),

I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your recent article on the WIC and Senior Farmers' Market (“Missouri’s budget cuts spoil state’s nutrition program,” 9/02/05) at eKC online. The more these issues are kept in the press, the more likely we are to convince Missouri voters that we need full, informed participation in the democratic process.

I too wrote a letter to the editor for the Jackson County Examiner, and a column for the Columbia Daily Tribune on the cuts and the importance of eating more locally produced foods. (

Let's continue to work together to increase awareness of how our elected officials influence the agricultural fabric of our landscape, as well as the health of our friends and neighbors. Many thanks again.

—Melinda Hemmelgarn, M.S., R.D.
"Food Sleuth" columnist,
Food and Society Policy Fellow
Columbia, MO

House of cards

Dear Editor

A carefully crafted house of cards is being constructed in Iraq. Although President Bush declared (in 2000 debate): “America should not be in the business of nation-building” that is exactly what his administration has done. As we have seen in other house of cards — Korea and Vietnam — it doesn't work. Freedom and liberty are ideas that come from the hearts and minds of a people not from the guns and greed of occupiers, no matter who they are.

—Vicki Walker
Kansas City, MO

Parents of Katrina

Dear eKC online:

In thinking about the destruction wrought by Katrina, some lines from Shakespeare come to mind: "…we see/The seasons alter... the Spring, the Summer/The childing Autumn, angry Winter, change/Their wonted liveries, and the ‘mazed world/By their increase, knows not which is which/And this same progeny of evils comes from our debate, from our dissention/We are their parents and original."

I'm sure I've butchered these lines, but my point is that we now see that our activities are butchering our environment. In just our lifetime, we "see the seasons alter" from global warming, with tropical storms and hurricanes causing more damage than ever before and occurring at unprecedented times. With our dependence on oil and reckless creation of greenhouse gasses, when will the current administration realize that "we are the parents and original" of Katrina, Dennis, and others?

—Christi Clemons Hoffman
Kansas City, MO

One-Term Blunt

Dear Editor:

In February, on his home turf in Springfield, MO Gov. Matt Blunt told a Lincoln Day Celebration that to find Democrats in Missouri,"You have to go to places where nobody wants to live anymore." Then, he got over 80,000 people (27,000 elderly or disabled people, and about 62,000 working parents) kicked off Medicaid.

On Aug. 9, 2005, an AP story "Workers' comp law contains error" said, "There is concern that it may have inadvertently undermined the entire system." Just what we need — going back to the time when employers did not worry about safety because of no fines for people losing their fingers or other injuries.

Last year, Republicans had a bumper OTB sticker on their cars. We have new stickers that have a new meaning, and more info can be found at Gov. Blunt enjoys a 33% approval rating, according to several state and national polls.

—Deborah Yeoman
Aurora, MO

Keeping it un-buried

Dear Ms. (Rhiannon) Ross:

I was at the Downing Street media protest at the Star you reported about (“Media group puts pressure on the Star,” posted 7/22/05). I can’t thank you enough for taking a stand and covering this event. Hopefully, it will shame the Star into reporting on the DSM! This story cannot be buried any longer.

—Christi Clemons Hoffman
Kansas City, MO

Another terrorist attack in America?

Dear Editor:

According to recent polls, the vast majority of Americans now think another terrorist attack in this country is inevitable. This does not have to be the case. An attack upon this nation is imminent only if we continue to blindly follow the ignorant notion that we are dealing with a bunch of crazed religious fanatics.

There is consensus in the Muslim world that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq is unjust and immoral, that America has wrongly supported Israel’s brutal and illegal occupation of the Palestinian people, and that America has no business having a military outpost in the Muslim Holy Land. The Muslim world is intent on ending these American policies through peaceful political and diplomatic means. However, a few see this nation as being so arrogant and intransigent because of our military might that they, tragically, see no way other than kamikaze-type warfare to force changes by our government.

Unless the American people wake up to the fact that the Muslim world
embraces our democratic principles but abhors our foreign policies, then we will find ourselves having to be wary of every single person boarding a
train or bus with a backpack, because the Muslim world consists of people from every race, nationality and ethnicity on the planet, including
Caucasian Americans.

—Eric E. Vickers
St. Louis, MO

Been there

Dear Mr. (Patrick) Dobson:

Excellent piece Mr. Dobson (“In Jack, a crime of which we are all guilty,” posted 7/15/05), having run afoul of the law at the young age of 21 on the heinous crime of possession of a narcotic; to wit, marijuana. I was incarcerated in California in ’62. Eight years later the feds nailed me for a sale of 2, that's TWO hits of PCP. Once again into the system.

In spite of the fact I at least had an AA degree, I have spent the last 30+ years workin' menial, penny ante, jerk-a-round, minimum wage jobs, havin' found out many years ago that a serious, meaningful job was never gonna' happen. No way, Jose! Even twenty years after my last fall, I couldn't even get a permit to be a bartender, a fuckin' bartender fr'chrissake!

When you consider the uphill battle a guy goes thru after getting outta' the joint, after havin' supposedly paid his debt, it's a wonder that anyone ever manages not to go back!

Think of the depths of despair of one like Jack who wondered if he might not be better off back in the joint. Sad, eh!

Even tho I spent thirty years of hand-to mouth existence, I have had some good fortune in my later years, (I'm in my 60s now) as a result of nothing more than sheer Luck. I didn't really deserve it; it just happened that way, but I'm not bitchin', ya' dig!

Sorry, didn't mean to ramble so, but your piece got me to thinking and that's the whole point, isn't it! So kudos to you for your efforts,

—Chuck Luck
Kansas City, MO

Nail on the head

Dear Mr. (Bruce) Rodgers:

Thought I would drop you a quick kudos on your (Publisher’s Note) article “Dysfunctional America,” posted 4/1/05.

You hit the nail on the head. America is clearly in decline from a variety of dysfunctional means: Evangelical Christianity, right-wing extremism, Republicanism, Fundamentalism, and rampant narcissism permeate American culture.

Bush is himself a malignant narcissist and is in severe need of deep therapy.

Anyway, I could go on and was refreshing to see an article that was written from a position of sanity.

—Rob R.
Worcester, MA


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