Letters to the editor: Jan. 13

January 13, 2013 

Even after doing good, McConnell lies, insults constituents' intelligence

Sen. Mitch McConnell must hold the intelligence of his constituents in extraordinarily low esteem.

In his recent commentary explaining his role in avoiding the nation's fiscal cliff, he paints himself as the heroic savior of the nation, while twisting facts so far that they're virtually unrecognizable.

Apparently he believes Kentuckians are so dumb we'll believe whatever he says, in spite of clear evidence to the contrary.

For example, he says he had to act to prevent the president and the Democrats from getting "everything they wanted" which was tax increases for everyone so they could have trillions more to spend.

I understand politicians spin things to get the interpretation they want. But this isn't a spin — it's a lie. In fact, the president made it abundantly clear for many months that he wanted to retain tax cuts for all but the wealthiest.

McConnell, of course, wanted to protect the wealthy (including himself) even if that would hurt everyone else.

Ultimately, he knew Republicans would take the blame if the country went over the fiscal cliff, so he took action to protect himself and his party.

It's really a shame that on the rare occasion McConnell plays a significant role in getting anything done in Washington, he can't be satisfied to accept credit for some leadership. Rather, he has to use the occasion to blatantly lie in an attempt to demonize the opposing party.

I hope that we don't prove that his opinion of Kentucky intellect is correct by re-electing him next year.

Tom Little

Lexington


Playing games with U.S. future

Sen, Mitch McConnell deserves some credit for helping rescue the U.S. economy from the fiscal cliff. Though, as a caller to Talk of The Nation from Williamsburg noted, creating a peril and then dashing to rescue us from it is an old Kentucky political trick.

I was disappointed, however, to hear the senator threatening the president with a debt-ceiling roof fall during the introduction of the 113th Congress. Is holding our international credit score hostage a legitimate negotiating tactic?

By now, it should be evident that cuts to both defense and entitlements will be needed to put the U.S. on sound economic footing. It should be evident that we need more revenue.

Let's have political leaders put their cards on the table. How much do you propose to cut from column A? How much revenue from column B? Who pays?

Let's have a negotiation. In a negotiation, each party starts from its core position and makes an offer.

"No new taxes" is a core position.

"No cuts to entitlements" is not an offer.

Constructing artificial barriers to force political action is a childish game and the American people are on to it.

Rhodes Johnston

Winchester


McConnell's immature rhetoric

If Sen. Mitch McConnell really wants to end the bickering in Washington, as he says he does, he should try to rise above and avoid using the public forum of the Herald-Leader to insult and denigrate President Barack Obama.

Whether he approves of the people's choice or not, Obama is our president for the next four years.

The lack of maturity McConnell showed in his commentary may spark many to believe that we need a change of representation in the Senate.

Jennifer Schnurr

Lexington


Obstruction hurts working folks

In his column, "Perfect? No, but it had to be done," Sen. Mitch McConnell, as always, tried to make himself look like an angel

When are he and Sen. Rand Paul going to stop running for office and work as senators for us 47 percent here in Kentucky?

I watched McConnell recently on Meet the Press. Every time host David Gregory would ask him a question, the senator beat around the bush, trying to throw the whole crate of oranges into President Barack Obama's lap, just as Paul did in 2010 over Obamacare.

I want no one to forget that it was George Bush and Dick Cheney's military-industrial complex spending and the drug companies making a killing during their time in office that put us into the bottomless pit. And it will take some compromising from both parties to get us out.

Looks like the Tea Party-conservative-libertarian Republicans are always going to be about obstruction, and this is not going to be a good thing for us poor hardworking folks here in Kentucky.

Victor Privett

Nicholasville


Let sun shine on state pensions

More Kentuckians would be outraged if they knew that the state's public pension system was legislated into secrecy in the early 1970s.

Included in KRS 61.661 is language that ensures public pension disbursements are not subject to open records laws. The law states "each current, former, or retired member's account shall be administered in a confidential manner..."

Why is this a problem? Kentucky is currently saddled with — and broken by — a $34 billion unfunded public pension liability. Taxpayers don't have a chance of holding their government accountable without transparency.

Taxpayers have access to public employee salary information, state contracts and school districts and executive branch check registers.

All of those items are available via the Kentucky Open Record Act so that taxpayers can understand how their hard earned money is being spent.

But if a taxpayer wants to know how much money is being spent to fund the gold-plated pension of a part-time legislator, well, they are out of luck.

Kentucky doesn't allow transparency in its public pension system.

It is time for our legislators to have the courage to force transparency in the Kentucky Retirement Systems.

Logan Morford

Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions

Lexington


Barr's Sandy vote disgraces Ky.

The first action of our newly elected representative Andy Barr was to vote against providing relief to the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

When I heard of this vote, I called Barr's office in Washington, D.C. to confirm and was told that Barr did in fact vote against helping victims of this terrible disaster.

This vote is certainly not representative of my wishes or of anyone I know in Kentucky.

What is even worse is that Barr's vote against helping another state experiencing a disaster puts Kentucky in jeopardy of not receiving help when Kentucky has something catastrophic occur itself.

There is no good reason to not help another state deal with destruction. Who is Barr representing? Barr's first action representing the good state of Kentucky has disgraced Kentucky's good, caring and neighborly reputation. Citizens of Kentucky pride themselves in helping others in times of need.

When Kentucky has a disaster — and we will — how will Barr and other states vote when we need help for our people?

Andy Barr is a disgrace.

Walter Frazier

Lexington


Anything's possible

Some time ago I complained (constructive criticism, perhaps?) about a column from contributing columnist Larry Webster as it appeared to be written in a foreign language chock full of odd inside jokes and gibberish.

OK. So I haven't read every Webster column, but his recent "Need 'I' in team in Congress's Cliff Bowl" was pretty entertaining and nicely articulated in the literary sense.

If I can come to, cough, appreciate some of Webster's literary works, maybe even the General Assembly can actually be productive and not need a special session, at the expense of us taxpayers. We can always dream (unless they try and place a tax on those).

Joel Martin

Lexington


Politics of self-cannibalism

The Republicans are so completely wrapped up in their negativity and anti-Obama attacks, they are eating their own: Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Mitch (did you really vote for him?) McConnell vs. the nomination of Republican Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense.

John C. Wolff, Jr.

Lexington


Rupp Locker Room Renovation

A poor use of $3.1 million

I am a Wildcat fan, but cannot fathom spending $3.1 million on the renovations to the locker room complex at Rupp Arena and to use it less than 30 times a year. Coach John Calipari described it as "very NBA-ish."

To spend this kind of money, even if donated, is ridiculous at a time when the university cannot give the employees a raise and the tuition for the students increases each year. If the two main donors wanted to do something for the University of Kentucky, why not provide scholarships for students who are academically eligible to attend UK but cannot due to finances or lack of athletic talent. Finally, will this locker room complex create better ball players?

Patty Gordon

Stanton


Opportunities for Wildcat worship

The Jan. 9 article read, "The new complex includes a new K-Fund booster room, which allows top boosters to see the players through glass as they walk into the arena." Holy-mackeral, Andy! Hans Christian Andersen couldn't dream up stuff like this. Next, might we erect secured-access bleachers outside campus buildings so idolators can watch players as they go to class? Or an elevated walkway from which boosters can toss garlands and rose petals on Coach John Calipari as he strolls toward the parking lot?

Ernie Henninger

Harrodsburg

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