Letters to the Editor: July 19

July 19, 2012 

National parks are big boosts to local economies

As we remain inspired by Independence Day, we are reminded of the places that protect our American heritage.

From Cumberland Gap National Historical Park to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, our national parks inspire visitors from across the world and support local economies nationwide.

Yet, our parks have been challenged by funding cuts over the last two years, and looming threats suggest they could see more cuts.

Not only does this mean that parks such as Cumberland Gap could have fewer rangers to educate us, help plan our visits and respond to emergencies, but also they will not have the needed funding to adequately maintain hiking trails, protect wildlife, preserve historic buildings or keep visitor centers and campgrounds open.

Some national parks may even be forced to close.

Our national parks are an amazing bargain and we can't afford to let them fall through the cracks in the midst of the federal budget debate. As a top tourist attraction, they cost us less than 1 percent of our federal budget, supporting $31 billion of private-sector spending and 258,000 jobs each year.

Congressman Hal Rogers has introduced legislation to incorporate Mill Springs Battlefield into the National Park System — a move that would pay big dividends for Kentucky's economy. Most importantly, however, parks offer opportunities for families to connect with our shared heritage.

National parks have been called "America's best idea." As we approach their centennial in 2016, we must ensure they have the funding needed to inspire generations to come.

Emily Jones

National Parks Conservation Association

Knoxville, Tenn.

Whose ideas extreme?

I read with amusement the July 5 letter, "Self-correcting history." At first I thought it was a joke — the writer's premise is that the reason the two political parties in our country have pulled so far apart is the liberals' introduction of unacceptable social policy.

I consider myself neither liberal or conservative, but somewhere close to the middle.

It seems to me that the liberals have nothing anywhere near as far out as the Tea Party or the religious far right.

I agree with the writer that this is a great country full of smart people and that self-correction will end up making these out-there factions obsolete and irrelevant.

But it is not the liberals who have presented the onslaught of out-there ideas.

Lynn Fish Blacketer


Truths evident

Come on, man. Are we really that naive?

Do you really believe that cyclist Lance Armstrong did not take performance-enhancing drugs? Clearly an athlete would have had to have an edge to consistently give over-the-top performances for so long.

Do football players use steroids? When they have muscles over muscles and anger management problems? Probably so.

Are college star athletes being paid (other than their scholarships) or talking to agents early? When they reportedly come from a poor family but they are sporting two-carat diamond earrings and driving new Range Rovers, I think so.

What else are we ignoring that is so obvious?

Our government leaders getting rich when the rest of us are losing income? Bankers investing our savings? Trusting the media to define who we are?

Get real; pay attention. In most cases the truth is easily recognizable.

Bob Skaggs


Constitutional protection

A Sen. Mitch McConnell letter concerning the student loan interest rate fight was a perfect example of the common GOP tactic of talking to us like we're stupid.

Now, McConnell's July 2 commentary, "My fight to defend First Amendment will not falter," is a perfect example of another favorite GOP tactic — hiding behind the Constitution while pretending to defend it.

Our hapless senator defended his position supporting the right of corporations and individuals to keep their political contributions secret by comparing it to the Supreme Court decision that protected NAACP contributors from disclosure for fear of retribution in 1958 (NAACP v. Alabama).

He went on to cite examples of the Obama administration using lists of GOP super PAC contributors for political purposes.

As always, our GOP friends take a valid logical argument and pervert it for use in their arrogant attack on the middle class. How hopelessly cynical does McConnell have to be to compare his motives to NAACP supporters in 1958?

They were fighting for basic human rights and were quite literally risking homes, livelihoods and their very lives at a time when blacks were being lynched in Alabama while the local government officials picnicked under the same trees.

Sadly, it is not always possible to ensure our sacred documents are used to protect the weak and the vulnerable as they were intended, rather than turned against those same citizens by shameless protectors of the rich and powerful like McConnell.

Dan Berry

Stamping Ground

Trickle-up economics

The rich get richer at the expense of the middle class? They get richer by making the middle class wealthier.

I recently watched CNBC's The Kudlow Report and was abhorred by how the guests said wealth in America is created.

The commentator said wealth is created by the number of yachts one can build. Our forefathers based wealth on the amount of land you owned, the amount of timber available and later the oil that could be recovered — a lie that the senior John Rockefeller created.

So, a 100-foot yacht creates more wealth than a 640-acre tract of land, where my forefathers carved out a life for their families in Steinhauer, Neb.?

If only the wealthy would pay their fair share of taxes (believe me between 2003 and 2006 my income was $1.2 to $1.73 million and I paid only 21 percent in taxes).

Let the middle class enjoy a higher income and then the wealthy benefit from the expenditures the middle class will be able to afford: food and clothing for their families. their children's education and a new or bigger home — adding jobs for carpenters, plumbers, masons, etc.

When the average Joe Six Pack can pay for all of the above, just maybe the trickle-up effect will occur.

Trickle-down economics is equivalent to tsarism, fascism, dictatorial government, monarchy, plutocracy, etc. The country and world economies are at such a divisive point that logic needs to dictate the terms.

Bob Hoeller


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