Letters to the editor: Jan. 27

January 27, 2013 

Sen. McConnell protecting his job, not Kentuckians

As the White House was pulling information to curb the mounting acts of gun violence, there's no question that they studied President Ronald Reagan's support of the assault weapons ban and President George H.W. Bush's support of the ban extension and background checks.

I'm sure they read the Supreme Court's decision on Heller and noted that Justice Antonin Scalia, the most conservative jurist, stated in his opinion:

"Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

"We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those 'in common use at the time.'... We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of 'dangerous and unusual weapons.'"

Michael Mukasey, former U.S. attorney general, stated that none of President Barack Obama's executive orders were unconstitutional.

Yet Sen. Mitch McConnell sent out a phone call on Gun Appreciation Day telling gun owners he was protecting their Second Amendment rights, which aren't even under attack. Instead of protecting Kentuckians, McConnell calls for donations so he can protect his job.

Rene Thompson

Covington


Be fair to Vietnam vets

I have the utmost respect for a fellow attorney who wrote a letter on gun control. But her disjointed and irrelevant attack on this nation's Vietnam veterans — in the face of mass shootings committed by people who were not even born until after the end of the Vietnam conflict — is unfounded, irresponsible and disrespectful.

To create any connection between Vietnam veterans and massacres in this country is irresponsible and inappropriate. Vietnam veterans have nothing to do with any example she cited of the violence this country has seen.

It is axiomatic that efforts must be taken to stop senseless gun violence, but the reference to these veterans is irrelevant. Isn't it time we stop blaming the Vietnam conflict and its veterans for all the problems in this country?

Haley Prevatt

Lexington


Clean before filling Soon the waters of Lake Cumberland will be raised back up to normal levels and this is all good.

But what isn't good is that after almost four years of it being down, all the garbage that been dumped in areas that will be covered in water is not going to be cleaned, neither will the shore lines.

All the junk is going to end up congesting the lake in a major way and could cause havoc with the dam as well. This is something that needs to happen before they raise the water back up, otherwise all it's going to end up being is a huge deposit of water full of trash floating around everywhere.

Charles Queen

Somerset


Cut costs, raise taxes

Sen. Mitch McConnell began his Jan. 6 op-ed piece with the proposition that, "people are asking if the agreement I helped negotiate last week was a perfect solution." Someone actually asked if the debt-ceiling solution was perfect? Thus, he begins with smoke and mirrors.

Nothing will change until Congress changes, with representatives interested in doing the right thing, rather than in enriching themselves and assuring their re-elections.

You don't have to be an economist to realize our fiscal situation can only be improved by increasing income or decreasing expenses. Both need to happen. An improving economy will increase income; raising taxes will also. Some of us do not wish to see taxes raised, just so reckless spending can continue. Furthermore, as tempting as it is to raise taxes on those who make more than I do, I fail to see how that plan is morally justifiable. Government must live within its means.

A simple tax code in which all Americans pay a percentage is fair; do away with deductions. From that income, honest representatives should pass a budget that fits, and begin to pay down the deficit. We should take care of the needy, but make every effort to reasonably remove them from that status. Government workers, federal and state, should live under the same rules and benefits as the private sector. I am sorry if politicians promised them something too good to be true. Under these circumstances, I don't have a problem with my taxes increasing.

Cy Farmer

Nancy


Obama not voted dictator

Everyone knows President Barack Obama was re-elected to enforce the laws of the United States. But everyone should realize that under our form of government the president does not make the laws. Making the laws is the job of the legislature. The majority of the citizens of the United States of America reelected Obama to the presidency. They did not make him a dictator.

This man (not a god) apparently refuses to remember his own past, and I am not speaking of where he was born. He complains that the legislature needs to lift the debt ceiling without spending cuts. I think he has forgotten that when he was a part of the legislature, he voted against raising the debt limit. He stated as a senator that for President George W. Bush to raise the debt ceiling was "a sign of leadership failure." Obviously, he thinks that when he wants to do the exact same thing it is completely different. It is not.

Obama is obviously an intelligent and learned man, but he needs to quit acting like a spoiled child who thinks that because he and his cronies want something he should be allowed to have it. He wants everyone to think that the only things in government that can be cut is Social Security and veteran benefits. These are programs where if you didn't contribute you do not receive benefits. Maybe he needs to cut some of the handout programs that he and the Democrats love so much.

J. D. Miniard

Nicholasville


Racial slurs offensive

An adult once referred to my friend of Japanese ancestry as a "chink." As a fifth grader, I instinctively knew it was wrong and did the only thing I could, which was to never return to the home of the bigot.

Now, 50 years later, I heard the term used on local talk radio to describe news person Connie Chung.

This should have been addressed by the host in the strongest of terms but was not. Several days later, a caller to another show was "ticked off" enough to condemn what had occurred only to be told by the host that the comment was merely politically incorrect rather than racist.

It is time for white folks to express their displeasure when incidents like this occur. Otherwise, the perpetrator is given the impression that the listener is in total agreement. Racial slurs are offensive and demeaning, and it is the responsibility of talk-radio hosts to make that crystal clear to their audiences.

Loren Drzal

Lexington


Inauguration memories

In my mind's memory bank of touching moments is a picture of Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy's inauguration. The 86-year-old poet is attempting to read his inaugural poem, Dedication, as a preface to The Gift Outright, the poem Kennedy requested. The poet's hand shakes as he tries to steady the paper. But the wind continues its assault, and when the bright sunlight distorts his vision, Frost abandons Dedication and recites The Gift Outright from memory.

Inaugurations produce poignant memories, such as Aretha Franklin wearing that marvelous hat and singing My Country 'Tis of Thee. The hat took on an outrageous life of its own and will always be part of the momentous occasion she thought she would never live to see: our first African-American president.

In this year's inauguration Richard Blanco, a Cuban-born, openly gay poet, reads his extraordinary poem, One Today, a kaleidoscopic overview of America's sights, sounds, people and times: a time to embrace, to forgive, to rejoice, to mourn. Barack Obama gives his address, acknowledging gay rights and recognizing immigrants' need for new policies.

James Taylor knows that playing his guitar with cold fingers will be challenging. His performance might be less than perfect, but he is willing to take the risk. He is not auditioning for American Idol; he was there to honor his country. He sings Katherine Lee Bates' words and Samuel A. Walsh's melody just as written over 100 years ago. Taylor's America the Beautiful is a moving inaugural tribute I will remember.

Shirley Baechtold

Richmond


Thanks, firefighters

On Jan. 15, just as the freezing rain began to fall, I called 911 to report a fire in my neighbor's apartment. Officials responded within minutes and worked diligently to save the dog in the apartment and to make sure that both that unit and mine were clear of danger.

We were unable to locate my neighbor while firefighters were on the scene, but they often checked on me to see if I was OK while the work was being done.

When my neighbor returned home, she went to the local fire station, where they called the Humane Society. She was reunited with her dog before the night was out.

I am thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and care shown by Lexington's fire department, especially at Fire Station No. 5, and I feel much safer knowing who will respond on the next call for help.

Heather Davis

Lexington

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