Letters to the editor: Dec. 2

December 2, 2012 

Which side are you on? Leaders should stand up for nation's workers

Columnist George Will arrogantly blames the problems of Twinkies-maker Hostess singly on the union. Unions are what made the United States strong in our industrial age. I am proud of my heritage and that of my father, working in the coal mines and supporting the United Mine Workers of America Local 7425.

I remember the picket lines and those who lost their lives fighting not only for their pay, but for a future for their children and their country. The politicians in control have taken God out of our country and it looks like they're on to unions now. What's next, more taxes? Companies bypass the U.S. tax system because other countries only charge them eight to 10 percent.

When the Ivy Leaguers who run our country enter wars, it takes people like Alvin C. York from the Kentucky-Tennessee line and Wilburn K. Ross from McCreary County who earned the Medal of Honor.

We need leaders who have the morals, integrity and grit to protect the rights of working class Americans.

Will should listen to a song written in 1931 by Florence Reece, wife of Sam Reece, a union organizer for the United Mine Workers in Harlan County. She set the words "Which side are you on?" to the melody of a traditional Baptist hymn, "Lay the Lily Low." I was blessed to hear her sing it at the funeral of a young miner who was shot down on the picket line. You can hear it by renting Harlan County, USA. I lived it.

Stuart T. Shepherd

Pine Knot

What's wrong with moderation?

Martin Cothran's column urging the GOP to throw out its moderates is troubling in its implicit extremism. I'm sure the writer would prefer to define himself as simply conservative; but then, so does his nemesis, Mitt Romney. Perhaps we can just call the writer's position "non-moderate."

His assertion that moderation loses elections is arguable. Democrats, after their drubbing in the 1988 presidential race, soul-searched, re-formed and emerged with Bill Clinton's "third way" — a moderation of their previous stands. What followed in 1992 and 1996 is history.

And Romney, after all, made a respectable showing. Analysts on the right and left say that any of his non-moderate primary opponents would have faced an Obama landslide. Also, if non-moderates hadn't forced Romney to keep up such a frantic tap dance trying to get far enough to the right to be nominated, he might have had more credibility with the average American voter — who is, in fact, something of a moderate. Non-moderates, though they still have a strong voice, are said to have cost the Republicans at least two Senate seats and a half-dozen House seats.

One danger of immoderate views is that they lead to immoderate divisiveness. Hyperpartisanship has already rendered our government nearly impotent.

I'm not saying all extremism is on the right. We've seen it on the left as well. But I believe the thoughtful, balanced, responsible element of each party is in its center.

Lela Stromenger


Harlan Hubbard archive at UK

Tom Eblen wrote an excellent article for the Nov. 18 Herald-Leader about Harlan and Anna Hubbard. Students, faculty and others who come to the Lucille Little Fine Arts Library on the University of Kentucky campus know that we have a wall covered with Harlan's watercolors and portraits of the Hubbards. This Lexington connection to the Hubbards includes a digital image database of Harlan's paintings that is available to users on request.

Meg Shaw

Head, Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library

University of Kentucky Libraries

What about the other Rice?

Before and after the election, senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham have expressed outrage over the information released by President Barack Obama and United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice concerning the murders of our ambassador to Libya and his security guards.

The senators are so incensed they have indicated they would filibuster Rice's nomination as secretary of state. As the bipartisan investigations proceed it seems likely the extent and timing of information available to the president and ambassador will be made available and conclusions on their decision-making and veracity will be available to lawmakers and the public.

Interestingly, a similar incident occurred during the Bush administration. During the hearings for the confirmation of Condoleeza Rice as secretary of state, McCain and Graham exhibited no misgivings in relation to her advocacy of the invasion of Iraq. The rationale given was weapons of mass destruction, denied by Hans Blix and the U.N. inspectors at the time, and later completely proven false

Considering the Iraq invasion resulted in 4,400 American deaths, tens of thousands of injured, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, millions of displaced Iraqis and hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars misplaced, not to mention the trillions spent, why have the Iraq fiasco and the multiple false excuses for it never been investigated?

Where is the outrage of McCain and Graham over an incident 1,000 times worse numerically? Is not their and our silence on this invasion the height of hypocrisy? When will we grow up and face the truth?

Melinda Veirs

Stamping Ground

God bless us, every one

I am sure that you are familiar with the story of beloved Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Here is an update on the family situation.

Tiny Tim continues to experience health problems and recently spent the entire day in the emergency room. Members of the Tea Party could be heard outside chanting "let him die" because the family lacks health insurance and relies heavily on government assistance. A spokesperson for the group explained their position by blaming Tim's dad, Bob Cratchit, for taking a job that offers no benefits.

Mom is still quite upset about her recent trip to the market. Hoping to create a memorable holiday dinner, she splurged and purchased a Christmas goose. Other customers became verbally abusive when they noticed her EBT card and some even took out their cell phones to call local talk radio to commiserate on her purchases.

Bob Cratchit was just informed that because of Obamacare, his hours are going to be cut though he will be expected to complete the same duties.

Ebenezer Scrooge has done well in the recent political environment in which he was championed as a job creator but feels resentful about the prospect of a tax increase. He is hoping that his new BFF, Mitt, will share with him the secrets of tax havens in the Cayman Islands.

In spite of adversity, Tiny Tim remains optimistic and wishes each and everyone a happy holiday.

Loren Drzal


Secession, yes; Obamacare, no

Things are going from bad to worse for the economy. As soon as businesses saw Barack Obama's win, they started laying off, planning to cut people down to part-time due to the costs of Obamacare, adding an Obamacare tax to their bills (Denny's) and stopping expansion. As the president continues to roll out more regulations, more businesses are going down.

Surveys show large numbers of doctors are considering quitting. Religious-based businesses are under attack with the White House claiming faith is secondary to abortion, gay rights and Obamacare, even though religion is part of the Bill of Rights. But he claims if you go into business you lay down your rights, which is absolutely false.

Is there any wonder why there are petitions from citizens in at least 27 states to request withdrawal from the USA? Go to https://petitions.whitehouse.gov and search for Kentucky. We're over half way to requiring a response from the feds. Seven or more states are way over the top.

Some states have been courageous enough to refuse parts of Obamacare; I hope Kentucky will be. I hope our state will take actions before we become part of the horrible depression that is coming if Obamacare is not repealed or overturned. Take action, Kentuckians.

Brad Bigam


Don't tax smokers to death

I am sick of the tax on cigarettes. The governor and his cronies get together and decide they should raise taxes on cigarettes to ensure teens and pregnant women won't smoke. Get real. They are looking for more money to boost their coffers. This is taxation without representation. Why don't they legalize marijuana and tax it?

I am fed up with our politicians and "health experts" infringing on our way of life. Freedoms are disappearing every day. Look around, America.

I know it's not the healthiest thing to do. I like it, and I'm going to continue. You bullies and liberals can let me have it. What are your addictions? How would you like to have someone move in indiscriminately and take your freedoms away?

Terri Thomas


McConnell's poor reasoning

Sen. Mitch McConnell's opinion piece of Nov. 19 was informative but poorly reasoned. While the majority of Kentuckians voted for Mitt Romney it does not follow logically that Kentuckians want McConnell to continue, as he has done for the past four years, to oppose working with the government to solve the problems of Kentucky and our nation.

Voter's preferences in one area do not easily translate into another. For example, in the 1976 primary season, voters selected Gerald Ford over Ronald Reagan. Ford ultimately lost to Jimmy Carter. But polls conducted at the time showed voters would have preferred Reagan over Carter — a preference they demonstrated four years later when Reagan beat Carter in the 1980 election.

Elections should primarily be viewed as contests between two people and not a referendum on their policies. McConnell has been single-minded in delaying, denying, and de-funding any attempt of the government to improve the economy. He has instead worked on the selfish agenda of returning his party to power, which the country soundly rejected on Nov. 6.

As McConnell returns to Washington, I encourage him to be open minded and concerned about enabling legislation which will benefit Kentuckians rather than his party or himself.

Peter Hardy


Lay off McConnell

To those letter writers criticizing Sen. Mitch McConnell for opposing President Barack Obama, take a long look around.

Despite your own personal preferences, the overwhelming majority of Kentucky citizens do not share them. We voted decisively against the president and his destructive agenda. I hope the senator will continue to do all he can to obstruct it. Nothing less than the survival of the nation's economy is at stake.

Mike Rose


Think about your legacy

Yes, Sen. Mitch McConnell, we know the majority in Kentucky is Republican and will be Friends of Coal until the state's last mountain is leveled and the last lump of coal shipped to India.

We know the people of Kentucky have been raped by Big Coal, bankers and businessmen so often that they have begun to like it.

We know these rapists are the very "persons" that the Roberts court has blessed and who provide you with your campaign war chest.

We know that you run a terrifying fear monger machine.

We also know that you lost the election: Seats in the Senate and the House and the White House to the president you vowed to make one-term.

Why not look at some old-time Republicans like John Sherman Cooper or Thurston B. Morton? They were moderates from Kentucky. How about Howard Baker of Tennessee, he got to be Senate majority leader as the Great Conciliator.

Are you sure you want to be remembered as a petty partisan who refused to answer his country's call for reason?

Rhodes Johnston


McConnell, Paul great team

Despite the final outcomes nationally, Kentucky did not vote for President Barack Obama either time. When Sen. Mitch McConnell said one of his goals was to make Obama a one-term president, he was doing exactly what he was elected to do, reflect the position of the majority of the folks here in Kentucky.

It's important that we stand together as a state. As the market becomes more global every day, we are in an increasingly more competitive situation when it comes to growing our state's economy and providing for our children's future.

We are fortunate in several regards in that our natural resources and location make us a very attractive destination. I know many folks who have come here to visit and like Kentucky so much that they have chosen to move here. We have wonderful folks, and they are our greatest asset.

Looking forward to the next few years, we will determine the direction of Kentucky for the next few decades. We can continue to grow and make the most of our destiny, or fall back like other states have, under crushing debt and population declines.

I'm proud of both McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul. They make a great team up there in Washington, and Kentucky is better because of their service. I look forward to voting for both of them again because we need strong leadership to keep Kentucky moving in the right direction.

Bill Marshall


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