Letters to the editor: March 20

March 20, 2013 

Stumbo shows short-sightedness on coal, hemp

I'm very concerned that House Speaker Greg Stumbo and the Democrats have become increasingly anti-coal and anti-jobs.

First, they appear to be so star-struck and giddy like schoolboys at the notion of Ashley Judd running for Senate that they can't contain themselves. They run around exchanging phone messages like passing love notes in class. I expect more from the Kentucky House.

Don't they realize Judd's very open position as anti-Kentucky coal? Judd has gone out of her way to criticize what is the livelihood for thousands of good folks in Kentucky, many of whom I'm sure voted for Stumbo last time, thinking he was looking out for their best interests.

Secondly, Stumbo and the Democrats have made hemp legislation as difficult as possible. It passed the Senate with little interference, but when it came over to the House, the politics began.

House leadership blocked and finally relented only after overwhelming public sentiment in the crop's favor.

We've heard all the arguments regarding hemp, but the biggest possible benefit for this crop is for biofuel. Hemp can grow on marginal lands, where other crops can't, and wouldn't that be a nice fix for the reclaimed land of strip mining?

Further, there would need to be a biofuel processing plant nearby, and how would that be for creating jobs for the good folks in Eastern Kentucky?

It's too bad that Stumbo and Judd don't care more about Kentucky coal and Kentucky jobs.

Bill Marshall


Eastern Ky. abused

Ashley Judd, as well as any or all of us, can have more than one career or contribute in many other ways.

And we must separate Big Coal owners plus CEOs who excessively profiteer off mine labor and the wealth from our Kentucky mountains.

Many stood against the scars of strip mining, broad form deeds and mountaintop removal. All these have damaged — like over-development and poor or unplanned development — the land and environment for years.

Add the failure to properly tax coal in Kentucky, Abuse of Eastern Kentucky by greed, bought politicians and judges, is a sin if not a crime.

I look forward to Judd bringing attention to what would be the most interesting race in America. A bright, attractive woman against a seriously evil man in Mitch McConnell. An uncorrupted candidate against probably the most corrupt man in Kentucky history.

I admire her courage. I know she would bring real leadership to Kentucky.

Note: Ashley Judd should show up at a University of Louisville basketball game to prove her support of those Kentucky players, too.

Don Pratt


Mitch on the run

It's good to see Sen. Mitch McConnell flushed out of his covert this early in the chase.

Nineteen months until the election and he's already had to bring in Karl Rove to tarnish Ashley Judd, kiss up to the Tea Party and spread himself across the Herald-Leader (March 3).

McConnell's career as a senator began with a famous political ad featuring a pair of bloodhounds looking for Sen. Walter "Dee" Huddleston — an ad ranked seventh on the Ad Age list of "the top game-changing political ads of all time."

He won that race by 5,200 votes.

Twenty-nine years later, whether McConnell outruns the current pack or not, the approaching end of his long senate career makes me think of Olive Hill native Tom T. Hall's hit Fox On The Run.

"The game is nearly over and the hounds are at the door.

"Like a fox. Like a fox. Like a fox on the run."

Rhodes Johnston


Lessons by the cupful

On March 10, my 8-year-old daughter, Jasmine, and her neighbor friends set up a pink lemonade stand at our home in Chevy Chase.

What started off as a stand with a pitcher of goodness and four paper cups turned into three ecstatic girls, an amazed mom and two stunned grandparents, not to mention the endless line of people buying drinks from the girls.

In a world where I continually see selfish, rushed people, my parents visiting from Oregon and I stood by and watched the most generous people practically giving money to the girls.

They charged $1 a cup and made $93. We enjoyed all the passersby who stopped, honked, bought — or just gave money to the girls. One tow-truck driver even stopped and spent $3 then gave them a $20 bill and told them to keep the change.

I was in awe and these three girls were absolutely thrilled.

So to anybody who saw them or bought from them, we say thank you. You all gave more than money to these girls and I am endlessly grateful.

Melinda Kinney


Drug abuse no disease

I read with great interest in the Feb. 23 Herald-Leader about two topics I know a little about: drug addiction and Bible history.

First, my condolences to the family of a mother of three found dead from a likely overdose.

Drug usage might have played a part in her death. I will, though, take exception to the statement at the end of the article that drug addiction is "a horrible disease."

Drug addiction is in no way a disease. From my years of counseling I can tell you the usual pattern:

1. Non-addict begins to run with the wrong crowd.

2. Non-addict begins to experiment with low level drug before moving to addiction.

3. New addict begins to find ways to finance habit.

4. Erratic behavior ensures tearing apart family.

5. Family begins calling it a disease to cope and legitimize addiction.

This is a problem of associations, education, peer affiliation and personal responsibility. As hard as it sounds, it requires addicts to own up to their weakness. Calling it a disease enables the addict to shed responsibility.

To the letter writer mocking Christians and the Bible, there is nothing allegorical about Scripture. It has been proven time and time again to have geological, historical and cultural significance.

A certain group of believers handling serpents in a certain section of Scripture is relevant to that period and does not mean believers are required to put their hands on snakes today.

Explore the Bible for yourself instead of taking Joel Pett-type potshots at those who have something you don't understand: faith.

Jay Jackson III


No 'ex' to a felon

The Herald-Leader persists in wrongly using the term "ex-felon" when advocating for restoration of their voting rights.

There is simply no such thing as an ex-felon. If one is convicted of a felony, and the conviction is final and no longer subject to judicial review, that person is a felon forever.

Being released from prison doesn't make one an ex-felon. That's like saying a convicted rapist or murderer becomes an "ex-rapist" or "ex-murderer" once their sentence is served. Even if pardoned a felon remains a felon as a pardon forgives the felon but does not overturn the conviction.

I don't know if the Herald-Leader's mischaracterization is deliberate or merely the result of ignorance. Regardless, neither is flattering.

John Hoffmann


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