Letters to the editor: Jan. 2

January 2, 2013 

King Coal once again shows its rule over state

Once again state agencies and elected officials have proven to be a mere tool of the coal industry. A state agency is prosecuting Mackie Bailey for his whistle-blowing activity regarding an underground mine accident in which a miner was killed. The industry hates it when anyone interferes in its business activity, including any of its surrogates such as the state government.

Coal companies can dominate the legislature through campaign contributions. They can discourage investigations and control over themselves by regulatory departments and commissions by having their own insiders appointed to the appropriate positions. Instead of the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing rewarding Bailey for his historic efforts, it wants to inflict some pain on him and any others who might come forward in the future. The golden rule is very clear; those with the gold make the rules.

In a parody of an old Mother Goose rhyme: "Old King Coal was a scarey ol' soul; he called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl, he called for his fiddlers three (Kentucky legislature, department heads and commissioners).

"They answered his call because they know he owns them all; he pulls the strings and they answer when he rings; because they know the tunes and will perform like buffoons."

The underground miners and the public are the losers; big coal wins through the influence of its designated abusers, and in the end the same old golden rule still applies: Those with the gold win the day and their comments to the contrary are just lies.

John Johnson

Carlisle


Hemp trumps pot

You know how to eradicate marijuana growing in the fields of Mexico without using deadly chemicals like paraquat that caused sickness and sadness in the 1970s?

Take pollen from industrial hemp and spread it over the marijuana south of the border. This completely neutralizes any growth of the THC in their plants and makes the crop worthless.

There are marijuana growers in Kentucky who hope industrial hemp is not legalized here. It cross pollinates their plants and makes their product unmarketable.

Hemp is an organic eradicator of marijuana. So if the chief of Kentucky State Police can't tell if it's hemp (which looks totally different) or marijuana, they can simply crop dust some hemp pollen on it and save them the hassle of cutting and burning it. If in fact it is marijuana.

Outside of getting busted, cross pollination of the two is the dealers' biggest nightmare.

Legalized hemp farming in Kentucky would literally drive outdoor marijuana growers out of the state and reduce production to limited indoor facilities.

Duke Martin

Lexington


Clay shunned

In light of the current talks in our nation's capital, I find it unsettling that the article about Transylvania University's Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship was on the next to last page of the news. Would that Clay could offer his services as the Great Compromiser today. Perhaps Sen. Mitch McConnell could join the first high school students from Kentucky who are chosen to participate in this program of enlightened compromise and civil discourse.

Kudos to Transylvania for hosting and to the University of Kentucky for partnering with its university neighbors. They are setting the example for the tenets of the program.

Sandy Godecker

Lexington


Politics as usual

Much has been said about Sen. Mitch McConnell's self-filibuster and Ashley Judd's potential as a candidate, but both are continuations of age-old commonwealth politics.

McConnell's repeated failure to hold his constituents' needs above those of the Koch brothers has been evident for years. As the leader of Senate Republicans, his solo objective should be to help unify the chamber in a manner that strengthens the country. He has failed wholeheartedly in this endeavor and actively opposed attempts at bipartisanship. His highly touted goal of a one-term Obama presidency was a stunt designed to bog the country down with petty fights. The withdrawal of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, a perfectly qualified candidate, from consideration for secretary of state is a reflection of how far McConnell has shifted from active "leader" to perpetual pouter influenced by wealthy self-serving elite moguls.

Still, the Democratic Party has not taken a convincing step to correct this fatal flaw in our congressional leadership. Instead, candidate after candidate without adequate platforms or emotional appeal were thrust upon the public. The possibility of a run by Judd is a slap in the face to the entire commonwealth in hopes of unifying an entire state of disenfranchised voters. Another marginal candidate lacking both credentials and ideological stance, Judd is a fledgling attempt to unseat McConnell by garnering support through name recognition.

We deserve better and must start demanding our representatives address our needs and issues. Not the elite's.

Benjamin Vaughan

Louisville


Many ways to kill

The recent unnecessary deaths in Newtown, Conn., were indeed a tragedy. But let's not overreact to this horrific event.

Remember, Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people, of which 19 were under the age of 6, with ammonium nitrate and fuel oil in 1995.

In 2009, there were 13,756 homicides in the United States. Of those, 4,553 (over 33 percent) were committed with something other than a gun. Also in 2009, between 784,286 and 1,212,400 abortions were performed. That equates to 2,148 to 3,321 abortions per day.

In 2010, 10,228 deaths were caused by drivers under the influence, nearly 31 percent of highway deaths.

Maybe it's time for our Congress to worry about more than the maximum number of bullets a gun magazine can hold. After all, God created all these people as his children only to have their lives ended by someone who didn't care.

John Amshoff

Versailles


Schools need guards

The murdering of 20 small children in a Connecticut elementary school is a sad and horrific reminder that we have crazy, psychotic, psychopathic murderers in our society. The history of other school murders and the theater killings in Colorado are evidence of that terrible fact.

There has been much talk in the media and by politicians about what causes people to do such horrific acts, and what to do about this obvious danger in our schools.

It's obvious that if there had been an armed police officer in uniform at the door of the Connecticut school when the shooter broke the glass to get into the school this terrible tragedy would probably have been prevented. And those precious little children would have lived to go to school another day. It's that simple.

We pay taxes that pay for police protection in this country. Police officers are plentiful on our expressways. Surely, armed, mature, properly trained police officers can be placed at the doors of our schools to keep our children safe from murderers.

I'm asking our state government to require armed police officers who are mature and properly trained to be in every school in Kentucky. If we can't protect our children in school, then there is something terribly wrong with our society.

Lannie Ray

Varney

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