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Letter: Food stamps vital

By the way, just a casual Google search indicates that every dollar spent on NASA is worth 8 dollars to the economy. So really, by this logic, we should cut food stamps and explore space instead, because the country would be better off as a whole.

I tried to find some data for how much a dollar of tax cuts are worth to the economy - but I don't have time to wade through all the partisan articles about tax cuts! But the problem with the $1.70 argument is that there are plenty of things (NASA, for example) that are better for the economy than food stamps and it easily becomes an argument AGAINST food stamps.

After all, what if we cut food stamps and people had more money in their pockets due to tax cuts, so they bought more expensive dog food and it turns out that every dollar spent on expensive dog food brings $2 of economic benefit.

June 11, 2013 at 2:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: Food stamps vital

I just wanted to help explain how $1 becomes more than one dollar.

Jafs manufactures a pen for 10 cents and sells it to Obama for $1. Jafs now has 90 cents after expenses.

Bozo manufactures organic gummy bears at the cost of 10 cents. He sells them to Jafs for 90 cents. Bozo nets 80 cents.

Liberty manufactures bullets for 10 cents a box and sells them to Bozo for 80 cents. Liberty nets 70c.

.90 + .80 + .70 = $2.40

Obviously the real economics of it all involve much more complicated math. And if Obama took that dollar from Liberty in the form of taxes, then it throws a wrench into it.

June 11, 2013 at 10:50 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence Humane Society waiving adoption fee Saturday

Several years ago, we adopted a kitten from the Lawrence Humane Society. We filled out the application and were treated by the employees like we were running a dog-fighting ring and were looking to steal kittens as cheap food. After about two weeks, they finally deigned to approve us.

Unfortunately, our little kitten was plagued with problems that our vet explained was likely due to overcrowding. Indeed, when they pulled her from her cage at the Humane Society, she was covered in feces because there was no room for the animals to move or clean themselves. It's a shame she spent two extra weeks in that filth - she might have had a chance if we'd been able to take her home sooner.

She had a variety of parasites and communicable illnesses - including the one that proved fatal about a month after we brought her home (she had FIP - which commonly spreads in overcrowded shelter environments).

We chose not to adopt from the Humane Society ever again.

I've been in there since the new management took over to drop off donations, and the staff has been friendlier and the place looks and smells much cleaner. It's clear that the new management makes every effort to avoid the horrible conditions of the past and appears to actually want people to come and adopt animals. The shelter has done a total 180 for the better since the previous manager was let go.

June 1, 2013 at 12:19 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence Humane Society waiving adoption fee Saturday

But you actually left your "lawnmower" 4 blocks from your house.

June 1, 2013 at 12:03 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Turnpike toll collectors to see changes in how many hours they work because of ACA, officials say

Look, any time you impose costs on an employer over a certain number of hours, they're going to find a way to skirt that.

Heck, I used to work part-time as part of a food-service union in Canada, and the contract they had with the employer said they had to offer a variety of benefits to employees working 30 hours or more. Guess that they did? They managed to schedule people for 29.5 hours.

And if that person picked up hours from another employee, they were reprimanded and the next week they were scheduled for fewer hours so that they could never work for more than 30 hours long enough to qualify for benefits.

That's the way it goes - if a corporation can do the same work for less with part-time workers, they will.

May 26, 2013 at 12:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Should residents or businesses who use too much water be fined?

I do own a home, actually. I even have an in-ground sprinkler system. I actually haven't imposed anything on anyone, I merely suggested that real water-use plan involves educating the public on how to reduce water usage.

I, in fact, never said that people should let their lawns die. I said that if the city wanted to reduce water usage, they'd have to teach them how to maintain a lawn with minimal water without killing it. Grass can be allowed to naturally go yellow and dormant, but even then it requires moderate watering. That's not the same thing as brown and dead. It's also not the same as keeping cool-season grass green by watering daily. There is no associated cost to replanting if you let your lawn go dormant the right way - because it doesn't die.

But see - you proved my point. People need to be told HOW to reduce their water usage. You can't just one day up and decide there's not enough water then slap them with a $1000 fine for keeping their lawn green. They didn't know better. If the city ultimately wants to conserve water, then it needs to implement a plan BEFORE it starts running low on water.

And if the city were to charge this extra money, then that money should be used for conserving water. The city shouldn't impose extra "conservation" charges on citizens and then use it to build a new police station or rec center. It should instead, be helping people like Liberty figure out how to have their garden without excessive water use.

I don't see a problem with graduated fees. If you want to make a choice to water your lawn daily to keep the grass green through August, then go for it. If you want a pool, put one in. These things are luxuries and luxuries cost extra. At least these kinds of measures would probably stop the city from ever getting desperate enough to slap you with a sudden fine.

But no worries - it won't happen. The city of Lawrence is not serious about water conservation. One day we will probably reach the same crisis point that Wichita is facing and they'll just fine you and raise your rates anyway. Until then - enjoy your green grass. I won't be over to sabotage your sprinkler system.

May 26, 2013 at 4:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Should residents or businesses who use too much water be fined?

An outright fine is kind of shameful. It's not really a plan.

A real water-use plan would involve public education on how to reduce water usage; education on how best to conserve water in the garden; education about exactly how much water is needed to keep a lawn alive - not green - in the Summertime.

Then possibly a graduated system where charges per gallon rise with use - with the extra money used to subsidize water barrels for home gardens as well as community awareness about water conservation. It's not right to charge extra for water conservation and then not use the money to increase water conservation.

But to just wait until we're running out of water and then implement a fine on some arbitrary level of water usage is pretty terrible.

May 25, 2013 at 5:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

GOP tax plans would increase taxes on low-wage Kansans, decrease taxes for high-income Kansans, report says

Well, they're getting it back in the form of refundable credits, like the child tax credit, American Opportunity Credit , Earned Income Credit. These federal tax credits easily add up to thousands.

Kansas has a refundable food tax credit (it's pretty minimal) and it's own EITC. But the bulk of the money that low-income tax payers get comes from the federal government.

Of course, you have to have earned income to get the EITC - but you can still get various other refundable tax credits if you have no income. Most of these credits are based on how many kids you have.

A hypothetical single person with no children, no job, and not currently enrolled in university would get something like a $94 refund from the KS government and not much else.

But your hypothetical family with two kids would get $2000 from the child tax credit and closer to $300 from KS. That would increase if you can slip some higher education in there or nominal earned income.

May 24, 2013 at 2:40 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

As city prepares to bid recreation center, officials still waiting to receive cost numbers from Fritzel on infrastructure

Seriously. It's not like there's a big market for rec centers. It's not as if they're going to be able to sell it for $31 million dollars if they decide they don't like it. Who's going to buy it?

It's a bit like telling your kid that you think his art project is worth $31 million dollars when you put it on the fridge.

May 15, 2013 at 11:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Letter: An angry rant

Unless your kid was dreaming of a career in factory labor, cheap clothing and toys from Walmart didn't steal his job.

But I have the sneaking suspicion that factory work was not the kind of job your kid was planning on after graduating from "school" (by which I assume you mean college).

Your kids likely heard you say, "Do what you love and the rest will follow." "You should follow your dreams when you're young, while you have the chance!"

What they didn't hear you say was, "Well, Marine Biology sounds interesting, but my research indicates that only 50% of graduates will work in that field and of those, most have an advanced degree. On the other hand, the accounting program at KU had a 95% placement rate last year."

They didn't hear you say, "Engineering is indeed lucrative... if you're in the top 10-20% of your class, so you're going to need to re-evaluate your dream midstream if you're not making the grade."

China didn't steal your kid's job. It very likely never existed in the first place. Boycotting Walmart won't magically create more jobs in journalism. Or sociology. Or economics. Or hotel management. Or urban planning. Or chemistry. Or biology.

20-somethings aren't dreaming of the good ole days when they could get a blue-collar union job, make a decent hourly wage clocking in to the factory line for 8 hours a day, then clocking out to grab drinks with the boys at the local bar. That isn't what they majored in.

May 13, 2013 at 1:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )