Letters to the editor: May 26

May 26, 2013 

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Participants began the Family Fun Ride down North Limestone Street during Bike Lexington on Saturday, May 18.

HERALD-LEADER Buy Photo

Thank Beshear for expanding health insurance in Ky.

Every compassionate Kentuckian owes Gov. Steve Beshear a thank-you for opting to expand health insurance to those who can't afford it. We are a state ranking near the bottom in many things, including the health of our citizens and the numbers of those without health insurance.

It's interesting that some members of our state legislature, who have the security of health insurance, posture themselves like Thomas Dickens' Scrooge when told that without help many people would die: "If they would die, they had better do it and decrease the surplus population ... I can't afford to make idle people merry."

Lord help us, the legislature might have to raise taxes in the future to afford the cost of health coverage that will benefit hundreds of thousands in our state. Raising taxes, to the naysayers, is apparently worse than death.

It's even more interesting that leaders in each legislative house are from two of our poorest counties and have high numbers of constituents who would benefit from this decision. Yet, they say they are opposed to the expansion.

Where is the humanity? More pointedly, whose interests do they represent? It's extremely hard to understand why a state legislator opposes something that will most benefit the people he is supposed to represent.

Jack Blanton

Lexington


Gov, Steve Beshear delivered an early Mother's Day gift this year. With one stroke of his pen, he delivered new hope for more than 300,000 individuals and families who need access to health care.

By agreeing to expand the state's Medicaid program, Kentucky will soon be able to help those living on the edge of the federal poverty line (about $20,800 for a couple) who need health coverage.

It's especially good news for Kentuckians ages 50 to 64 and our veterans. Berea's Kentucky Center for Economic Policy reports that 14,500 veterans and their spouses without health care will be eligible.

AARP estimates expanding Medicaid helps 47,600 Kentuckians age 50 to 64 who've lost their jobs or are in jobs without health benefits but don't qualify for Medicaid.

Expanding Medicaid gives people without insurance access to preventive care that can save lives and reduce the need for expensive emergency room care that threatens all of us. Bottom line: It's a "win-win" for any mother, the baby boomer whose job was outsourced or the veteran who served our nation who has no health insurance.

Beshear is doing the right thing and bringing billions of new federal dollars into Kentucky. It's a good deal and a smart move for all of us.

Ron G. Bridges

State director, AARP Kentucky

Louisville


Stupid voters, president

Every morning when I turn on the news, I hear the details of another screw up by our national government.

The FBI gets information about the phone calls of Associated Press reporters, an intrusion on the First Amendment to our formerly valid Constitution. The military refuses to respond to the calls for help at our Benghazi outpost, a duty of our illustrious leader who could not be found. The Internal Revenue Service harasses the members of The Tea Party as enemies of the state, illegally of course.

Then we get the response out of the Oval Office that they don't monitor day-to-day operations of those agencies under their control. All of these agencies are part of the executive branch of government and this office is controlled by a man who does not know anything, sees nothing and therefore is totally not responsible for any of these illegal activities.

The sad part is that he was put there by stupid voters who graduated from a failed educational system and are who are totally ignorant on the value of our Constitution and our heritage.

Donald R. Fugette

Lexington


Terrorism is not faith

Each time there is a terrorist attack in which a Muslim is involved, the entire religion of Islam is expected to answer for that violence.

Each time the Westboro Baptist Church holds up a sign that says, "God hates fags," Christians are forced to defend the God of love.

We know that actions like these have nothing to do with Islam or Christianity, or any other faith. Yet recently commentator Ann Coulter said of the wife of one of the Boston bombers, "She ought to be in prison for wearing a hijab." America is better than that.

In the Holy Book of Islam, Al-Quran, the creator says, "My mercy encompasses all things."

In the Old Testament, Psalm 145:9 says, "The Lord is good to all: and the Lord's tender mercies are over all his works." In the New Testament, the Gospel of Luke says, "Be you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful."

If the attribute of mercy is the presentation of God in the Abrahamic faiths and we were created in that image; then mercy must become the overriding principle of all of our human interactions: social, economic, political, and even military.

In other words, any actions that do not show mercy are not faithful.

God is love. God is just. God is mercy. We, a Christian minister and a Muslim imam, stand as brothers in defense of those truths.

The Rev, Pete Jones and Imam Shahied Rashid

Pisgah Presbyterian Church Islamic Center of Lexington


Hope for 'Silicon hollows'

Project Lead the Way could well be one key to a new economy in the coalfields as we look to the future. Participants at the recent East Kentucky Leadership Conference in Middlesboro were treated to demonstrations of engineering projects designed by high school students enrolled at Southeast Community College's PLTW course.

Under the supervision of Southeast faculty, the students design and implement computer-based projects that give them an early start toward a future in math, science, or a variety of engineering careers. Hearing these articulate and enthusiastic high school students describe their projects and what they had learned can give us some optimism that there may yet be "Silicon hollows" in our future.

The curriculum, which is national in scope (www.pltw.org), is designed to start in the middle schools. For a start, how wonderful it would be to have this curriculum available to our students in every community that has access to a community college.

There is a rub. It costs about $100,000 to fully implement the curriculum, funds which were in this case raised in the Middlesboro and Bell County communities. Kudos to them. There could not be a more worthy cause for investing in Eastern Kentucky's future.

John Rosenberg

Prestonsburg


Paul's Constitution

Sen. Rand Paul has fired off an op-ed on CNN.com. Paul, as usual, is frothing at the mouth about his version of the Constitution. It seems that the dastardly IRS has violated First Amendment rights of citizens for political reasons.

What he is not saying, perhaps he doesn't know, is that these organizations receive tax exemption so they can promote "social welfare." By law more than half of their activities must be something other than political activities. So they are not entitled to carte blanche freedom of speech like Paul claims.

Yet these organizations are the ilk of Crossroads GPS, the Karl Rove lobbying group. They were a primary tool used by Jack Abramoff, who spent 43 months in prison for his activities. They have become a laundry for "dark money" contributions by nefarious donors who seek to game the system.

Apparently, Paul's concept of freedom of speech is my concept of conspiracy to insurrect.

Doug Epling

Lexington


Barr's meaningless vote

For the 37th time, the House of Representatives has voted to repeal The Affordable Health Care Act. This vote was taken so new members, including our own Andy Barr, could go on record as voting against Obamacare.

I suggest House Speaker John Boehner bring up the Medicare Act for a vote so Barr could join the lockstep Republicans of the 1960s and vote against that too.

Diana Kowynia

Lexington


Lexington must work harder to show it's bike-friendly

The May 18 Bike Lexington was a huge disappointment.

Why bother paying Lexington police and other city employees to work overtime and then open the road a scant 30 minutes for an event that promotes cycling in our city?

The route was closed off at Limestone by the Tin Roof by 10:15 a.m. by a police officer and orange cones blocked the road. When we figured out what had happened and tried to catch the riders ahead that were still on route, we were told three times to return back to the courthouse to end the ride.

I estimate 200 to 300 riders were forced to quit early. It's intimidating when two motorcycle officers and a cruiser with a loudspeaker demand that a group of bike riders who set out to enjoy a city-sponsored Saturday morning event are told to turn around and go back or ride "unprotected and without police escort." I felt as if I were breaking the law to continue to ride on streets I have every right to ride on — Bike Lexington or not.

Lexington needs to figure what its commitment to cycling is. The event was either just incredibly poorly planned or the city needs to re-evaluate what its actions are telling its cycling citizens. Bike Lexington told me and my fellow riders that Lexington tells the world it is bike friendly ... just as long as you don't ride on the streets. It was a debacle.

Christian Erickson

Lexington


Pett trashes conservatives but liberals off limits

One could define a political cartoonist as one who presents the political scene in a satirical manner, as does the Herald-Leader's Joel Pett. One would expect a responsible cartoonist would present the whole political scene without bias. After 36 years of subscribing to the Herald-Leader, this newspaper's political attack against conservatives is evident. Not just Republicans, but conservatives of any ilk.

Pett's cartoon depicting Sen. Mitch McConnell as a tortoise with bags of money piled on his back was the final straw and has compelled this response. A responsible cartoonist would not only depict McConnell filling his campaign coffers but would also include others' campaign money. Perhaps Pett's excuse for singling out McConnell is because he represents our state but he is also a figure on the national scene.

According to Open Secrets and Taxpayers for Common Sense, of the Top 10 richest members of Congress, seven are Democrats. That includes Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Diane Feinstein and now Secretary of State John Kerry. Of the top 25, only nine are Republicans.

For her 2012 race. Feinstein raised $9,797,542 but spent $12,152,230. Her opponent raised $872,995. Moneywise, that was running unopposed.

If being wealthy is a crime, as the administration contends, what about Kerry's wife, the Heinz food heiress? A responsible political cartoonist would not have missed these opportunities. Of course, they are Democrats and, based on Pett's history, off limits.

John Galloway

Paris

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