Tag Archives: Unfettered Letters

Time To End The War Of Attrition Plaguing The Star‘s Letters Section

Dear Kansas City,
Look, we get it. A lot of you are upset. A third of you think that President Hope is running this country into the ground. A third of you think racism is driving any and all criticism of the administration. And a third of you pretty much don’t care, which makes you the worst portion of the pie chart. But for now, let’s focus on the yeas and the nays — those all-too-vocal citizens who are reenacting the Thrilla in Manila in the pages of the Star‘s Letters to the Editor section. Every day for about three months, there has been a letter either warning of a looming apocalypse or warning of the lunatics saying such things. Today’s letter, a rambling, illogical, and shrill missive, from Leawood’s Pam Zubeck is evidence that the debate has finally gone too far. Some samples of its low points:

It doesn’t take a talk show host to make reasonable, rational individuals realize there is something wrong with the way this country is being run today… News flash to the left: You don’t own the First Amendment… It seems to me the 9/12 protesters are the very people who are trying to save this republic… The “progressives” of 1776 gave their lives, fortunes and sacred honor so we can be free. The “progressives” of 2009 in no way resemble the “progressives” of the American Revolution… The 2009 progressives want enslavement to the government… Don’t call yourself a progressive and then say you’re in the same league with Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Franklin, because you’re not even close.

Well. I’m not sure I have the energy to point out exactly why Ms. Zubeck has deep-sixed reality so fervently, but perhaps a message to the respective sides will help us end at least one theater of this war: the Star‘s letters section. Because, you know, we need more room for stuff like this. Anyway, to the lecturing. MORE


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Filed under Economics, Education, In the News, Media, Politics, Race & Ethnicity

Star Gets Weekly Letter From Constitutionally Illiterate Conservative

settingupanorganicconstitutionSheesh. This is getting to be a near-weekly occurrence: some metro area supporter of John Sidney McCain III, fed up with the government takeover orchestrated by that socialist Kenyan, pens a poorly reasoned and logically unsound letter to the editor of the Star, which dutifully prints the letter in the name of open debate. The only problem? The people firing off these missives do little more than reveal just a stunning lack of understanding about — well, about pretty much everything. This week the batter is Joe Neuner of Olathe, who probably needs to study how Con Law actually works.

Practically everything Obama has proposed or done thus far in his term as president could be challenged in a court of law as unconstitutional. This appears quite unseemly for a person who gratuitously describes himself as a constitutional lawyer.

For example, where in the Constitution does it allow a president to require anyone to purchase health insurance? Where does it allow him to take over publicly owned companies such as General Motors or Chrysler? Where is his authority to fire the CEO of GM? Where is his authority to appoint more than 30 “czars” who are accountable to no one but him? It goes on ad nauseam.

The folks marching on Washington were right. We need to rid ourselves of all of the watchdogs in Congress. Not one of them has made a peep. Throw all of the bums out. Getting rid of some of the media is not a bad idea, either.

Bravo, Joe! Your scholarship is obviously important to you. Unfortunately, it’s also almost totally wrong. MORE

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Filed under Education, Law, Media, Politics

KCK Man’s Tenuous Grasp Of Statistics Results In Embarrassing Letter To Star

alrollsdoesntreallyunderstandthisThe last campaign season saw a new obsession with the science of polling, with RealClearPolitics and 538 seeing spikes in popularity they’d never expected (though Nate Silver probably expects everything). A common question, though, is just how these polls work. Can you really evaluate the national mood based on a survey of 1,500 people? How about 600? Turns out, given our advances in statistical technology, that: yeah, you totally can. But you know who doesn’t buy a word of that mumbo-jumbo? Al Rolls of KCK, who reveals little more than a basic misunderstanding of math in his letter to the editor today.

Polls, polls, polls. The media spout poll results as if they are a true reflection of the opinions and thoughts of the majority of Americans.

The reason some pollsters do not tell us how many people are polled is because it is a very small number. Most of us do not get to express our opinion except on Election Day. I have voted every year for more than 45 years, and I have never been polled about anything.

Think about it. How does anyone know what TV show you watched last night? The Star could enlighten the public by doing its own poll asking how many people in the Kansas City area have ever been polled. The low number compared with our population would open eyes and shed light on this ruse.

Dear Al,
Without getting too technical, here’s how it works. To achieve statistical accuracy, you basically need a margin of error under 3 percent. You find that by dividing one by the square root of the number of people in the survey. As luck would have it, polling a relatively small number of people actually does extrapolate accurately to larger populations — and that’s why we’re able to poll 1,600 people and get a startlingly accurate snapshot of the American mood.

As for your question re: knowing what you watched last night, the short answer is “same thing.” And we’d merely point out, on the subject of you never being polled, that it’s wrong to mistake correlation for causation. Of course, given your Fermatian math skills, you probably already knew that.

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Raymore Felicide Draws Wrath Of Star Readers With Keyboards, Spare Time

nothappywiththeraymorepolicecatkillingUh-oh. If there’s one constituency you want to leave very well alone, it’s people who may potentially write letters to the editor of the local paper of record. Trust us: you never know what these people are going to say. They might announce a run for Congress — which never did go anywhere, Joyce Howard; harumph — or fail miserably in exegesis. Best to just avoid them entirely. Isn’t it a shame, then, that the overlords of the Raymore Police Department have gone and earned the ire of said readers in the wake of that pesky cat-killin’ episode. Tremble in your boots!

The police chief and every last one of his officers should be assigned to community service hours at area shelters, rescue operations and no-kill shelters. Maybe an hour or two on the floor soothing a feral cat that has just been spayed or neutered at one of the city’s low-cost or no-cost spay and neuter clinics would help them to understand the difference.

Candyce Kuebler

Whew! I’m sure glad I don’t have to be afraid of the deaf, declawed old cats when I go to Raymore. I know the police are right on top of things.

The holiday weekend was no excuse to shoot the cat. Someone could have taken it home until they found the owner. I can’t imagine how scared the poor cat must have been.

Shame on the Raymore Police Department.
Sharon Sheets

Oh, man. Fierce, matronly condemnations AND the keen deployment of sarcasm as critical tool? Kind of makes you wonder if the RPD folks regret getting out of bed today. Speaking of Star letters, by the way: does this second one seem vaguely threatening to you? And do you get the feeling that “Sam McDaniel–Independence”‘s tea party threats are pretty much hollow, and that he’s already turned his attention back to Glenn Beck and a can of Old Style?


Filed under Animals, City Government, Crime, Media

Constitutional Debate Erupts In Totally Appropriate Venue Of Star Letters Section

theverydebatetakingplaceinthepagesofthestarWhen the framers sat down to form our founding document in 1787, surely they could not have predicted that someday, somewhere, the best legal minds in the country would gather to debate the finer points of what our guiding compact allowed and barred. And who among us would have  guessed that the debate in question would occur right here in Kansas City, and that the participants would include a high school senior, a self-anointed expert on capitalism, and a flotilla of armchair scholars? About time, too — for too long the nation’s loftiest debates have been confined to the ivory towers of Boston and the hallowed halls of D.C. Time for a struggling, deeply divided post-industrial city to weigh in on matters like these! The subject (of course): health care. The venue: the Star‘s letters section. The stakes: everything! MORE

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Filed under Health, Law, Media, Politics

Heartless Star Reader Boldly Predicts Thing That Happened Six Years Ago

probablyshouldhaveknownaboutthishannahratliffEmpathy rarely finds a home in the Star‘s Unfettered Letters blog, where reason and understanding go to die. Such is the case again today with a letter from Lexington MO’s Hannah Ratliff, who responds to a story about a woman’s lawsuit against tobacco companies with a harsh, overly Randian letter. But in the interest of levity, Ratliff decides to work in a little comedic line about what other crazy things people might sue you for:

I do not want to speak negatively about the deceased, but this whole scenario to me is frightening and disappointing. I have personally smoked cigarettes, but I also knew before lighting my first one what the consequences could be. If I didn’t have common sense or even education of what tobacco can do to my body, there are warning labels on the package.

What’s next? Are we going to have an overweight person sue McDonald’s because it’s McDonald’s fault they are overweight?

Hey-o! Watch out, local comedians: Hannah Ratliff is well on her way to stealing your gigs. The problem, however, is this: as we assumed everyone knew, such a thing has already happened.

NEW YORK (CNN) – A lawsuit alleging food from McDonald’s restaurants is responsible for making people obese got thrown out by a federal judge Wednesday.

The landmark legal action was the first of its kind against a fast-food chain to make its way into a U.S. courtroom.

McDonald’s spokesman Walt Riker said that common sense had prevailed in the suit. “We said from the beginning that this was a frivolous lawsuit. Today’s ruling confirms that fact.”

We appreciate the effort at humor, Miss Ratliff, but five seconds of Googling sometimes makes a huge difference in research. Might want to check it out before your next letter.

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Filed under Food, Law, Media