I guess it's okay to accept money for advertising from the payday loan industry while at the same time being overly critical of that industry ("Quick cash gamble," March 9-15). I guess it's okay as long as you don't mind being considered a scoundrel in the same fashion Patrick Dobson blathers about legal businesses performing legal services in a legal system set up by legislators elected by constituents.
Last I checked, the publishing business was a profit-based gig too. Nobody questions The Star when it charges $100,000 for a page ad. Nobody questions the art gallery when it marks up a piece of art 100 percent to 500 percent.
These are truly unregulated operations. The short-term loan lending industry is heavily regulated by the state, contrary to Dobson's info. They pay licensing fees in state, county, city, etc. They even have to pay taxes. Imagine that the government even gets its share. Now, how wrong would I be if I called the government and PitchWeekly a pair of hypocrites? -- Doug Stein
Save the puppies
Thank you for the wonderful article on puppy mills in your March 2-8 issue ("Disposable pets"). I am so grateful when the news media prints an article that exposes the terrible practice of breeding dogs in huge numbers, without proper care in many instances.
It is so difficult to learn the true facts because of the rural location of these breeding facilities and the reluctance of many breeders to allow people to view the area where these dogs are housed and bred. I have been collecting information on this subject for many years along with many other animal-lovers. I have come to the conclusion that the USDA is not interested in correcting the situation. There is a serious conflict of interest. This was pointed out by a Reader's Digest article that came out in 1999. The author visited 50 puppy mills and described the horrible sights he witnessed. He also talked about the conflict of interest between the breeders and the USDA.
The State of Kansas has also been unresponsive to the needs of these abused animals. The same conflict of interest exists between the breeders and the animal health departments. I do not believe anything will change until the news media exposes this travesty to the point that the general public becomes aware of the situation and begins to speak out for these helpless animals.
A different department needs to be in charge of the inspections at both the state and federal level. These two departments have had far too many years to make things better, and they have not chosen to do that. -- Name withheld by request
I think I am a new fan of Shawn Edwards. When my roommates and I read Jason Whitlock's article on the "trouble in the NFL," we were looking for a way to respond. I often say that when you have a voice to the public, your main goal should be to use that voice responsibly and to break down racial stereotypes. This idiot decides to fuel ignorance instead.
The problem is it's not just falling on black ears. We know where they are coming from, but the other people listening don't get that same impression or understanding. Someone needs to tell Jason Whitlock that there is a whole generation of people who listen to hip-hop and we are not robbing, killing, stealing, etc.
I've listened to rap music -- "gangster rap" -- exclusively since I first started listening to music. I have two bachelor's degrees, and I am halfway through with my master's degree. I've never been arrested for a violent crime, and I know hundreds more people just like me. So go figure. Anyway, I just wanted to let Edwards know that his responsible, well-researched Reverberation ("Fact checkin'," Feb. 17-23) is appreciated from conscious readers.
By the way, I wrote a paper and gave a speech on this same subject at my undergrad college. It was a private school with a 97 percent white audience. You should have seen their faces. -- Rod Mitchell
Overland Park, Kan.
Unfair portrait of dads
The stupendous hate mongering of Shawn Edwards' Feb. 24-March 1 news story about the (Jackson County Fathering) Court ("Bringing 'deadbeat' dads back to life") left me to wonder what kind of alternative PitchWeekly hopes to offer.
Edwards did not ask me before he opined that "Everybody hates deadbeat dads." Just to make sure I was not the only one out of step, I asked a county prosecuting attorney if he hates fathers convicted of not following a court's child support orders. After all, the county attorney is the one who asks the court to put people in jail for not complying with support orders. No, he replied, he does not hate them. Edwards left out at least two sources, and I suspect many more, in his assessment of everybody's hatred.
The child of a nonpaying parent now has a clear alternative to whatever confused feelings they may experience. By reading the Pitch, they will learn that to be like everybody else, they must hate their parent.
Children of divorce would have to read past the "deadbeat" headline and several direct references to deadbeat fathers to learn that the definition of a deadbeat, as used in the article, was supplied by a court employee and meant only those parents who do not comply with court orders. Whew. At first glance, I thought the article might mean a deadbeat is a person like myself who, for whatever reason, surrendered parental rights. Geographic distance or economic, social, and emotional reasons can inform such a decision. Solomon's wisdom, long before the advent of genetic testing, was able to establish paternity by determining which party did not want the child torn asunder.
While court-ordered parenting arrangements are no doubt helpful to children in many cases, in others they are not. I spoke with one mother who was distraught that a Kansas court ordered her children to spend the summer with the man convicted of beating and raping her. In another case, a woman was ordered to pay support to a man convicted of battering her. Though Kansas law instructs courts to consider domestic-violence convictions, the husband in that case got custody of the child.
Not once did Edwards' article address the subject of mothers ordered to pay child support. I can readily cite at least one case of a woman so ordered who does not make the payments. Neither Edwards' prediction of the extinction of the nuclear family nor the quotes he chose to attribute to his source were so open-minded as to consider that men sometimes get custody and otherwise well-qualified moms are required to send a check. Edwards perpetuated ethnocentric gender expectations while advancing his personal opinion of the ultimate demise of traditional family structures.
Recent sociology texts about the convergence of international culture show a consistent disruption of long-standing family models (be they patriarchal, matriarchal, extended, or egalitarian) when traditional values are replaced by the artifacts of internationalism. In country after country, including ours, where the winds of international capitalism have swept away traditional social structures, what has followed has been a decline of local authority and a rise of divorce, family violence, crime, and substance abuse, the texts reveal.
The liberal alternative press does a great job of reminding us of our collective responsibilities. Your staff writer, though, seems to have found in the subject of court-ordered child support a convenient whipping boy to perpetuate a masquerade of advocacy for personal responsibility.
Likewise, much of the alternative press has taken the lead in explaining popular criticism of international movements such as the World Trade Organization. The efforts of the Pitch apparently are not as astute when it comes to understanding the intricate cultural issues related to the spread of internationalism.
Certainly not all divorce is caused by internationalism, and the recent divorce-friendly environment has allowed many individuals a way out of abusive families. The simplistic tone of Edwards' report, though, offers reckless prejudice when studious consideration of current trends would better serve your readers. -- David Collins
Junction City, Kan.