Letters to the editor: Jan. 29

January 29, 2014 

  • New election-year rules

    Letters about candidates in 2014 political races are limited to 150 words. No commentary from candidates will be published. Candidates may respond, every 30 days, in 250-word letters to editorials, news articles and columns in which they are the primary focus.

New businesses, not government, will boost E. Ky.

Here we go again. SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region) has been created to solve the economic problems of our area.

The group suggests that we might resolve economic issues by creating governmental funds and establishing programs and developing special projects.

Time and past efforts have taught us that governments can't eliminate poverty. Efforts of this type have only strengthened the political posture of local leaders, and very few provide the long-term strength required for a sound foundation.

Our area provides opportunity for growth for the individual business person. The opportunity comes from pent-up consumer hunger for products and services. For consumers to support the individual business person, working families must have disposable income from stable employment.

The question becomes how to provide these employment opportunities and the tax base to support our communities.

The sound solution is to import jobs. Industry will bring money into the area through wages and the purchase of supplies and services. Such an inflow of funds will circulate throughout the area approximately 10 times.

Successful firms that move in will provide the needed jobs on an ongoing basis with employees who gain experience that will support growth. The governmental role should be to provide the support for efforts to attract industry to areas in need of development.

The approach requires leadership and an aggressive effort by those leaders.

Roger Hampton

London


Embrace change

The "war on coal" is a misnomer used by opponents of Environmental Protection Agency regulations during President Barack Obama's administration. Though Obama's foes blame the loss of coal industry jobs and retirement solely on EPA regulations, simple market and geologic forces caused coal's decline.

While our country's largest remaining coal deposits are those that are the costliest to extract, new technologies and sources such as fracking and shale led to more abundant, cheaper, cleaner-burning natural gas. These factors have made coal the fossil fuel of the 20th century as natural gas is distinctly the fossil fuel of the future.

Rather than denying these realities and resisting change, politicians should acknowledge them. In coal-dependent regions, politicians may feel they are protecting a livelihood and culture, but they should bring new job opportunities to their constituents.

I respect coal-mining culture, but demand regulations to protect Kentucky's environment. After West Virginia's disaster where a chemical used in preparing coal for combustion leaked into the Elk River and caused 300,000 people to go without potable water, I don't understand how Kentucky's Republican senators and representatives could oppose regulations.

Surely it's a conservative principle to be a good steward of the environment. Kentuckians should support politicians who protect our commonwealth's environment through responsible regulation and who acknowledge the inevitable reality of coal's future while simultaneously looking out for Kentucky's coal workers by bringing new job opportunities to the area.

Emery W. Caywood IV

Paris


The real agenda

Kentuckians cannot afford Tea-evangelical/libertarian/radical GOP congressmen or equivalent ideological playbook puppets in the state legislature.

They won't govern, legislate or just plain work for constituents while blocking moderate Republicans, Democrats and Independents in much-needed legislation. Thus, we have a historic do-nothing Congress and states that won't or can't function on behalf of their citizens.

The extremist right wing has been feverishly busy over four decades using a power-grabbing corporate and religious playbook to weaken government and public trust as tax monies are diverted to the wealthiest private interests. Austerity, offsets and individual responsibility are code words for this transfer.

If congressional extremists want an offset, garnishee their salaries to pay back the $24 billion-plus the nation lost during the government shutdown and use the money to extend unemployment benefits.

Want austerity? Remove bloated defense contractors with little oversight, using the savings to increase the $7.25 minimum wage.

The extremists' bottom line is to replace authentic citizens with corporate persons in a takeover of anything public — property, programs, employees — using the common wealth we share for public services we can't afford individually.

Affordable health care, public education, jobs and housing, safety/security nets — all strengthen lives and the economy. Naysaying radicals twist these basic human needs via campaign fodder into "individual responsibility" to subsidize corporate welfare takers.

We won't get campaign reform by rearranging seats on a battleship that's sinking us. It's time to remove obstructionist GOP good ol' boys, certainly Tea Partiers, filling their seats with progressive women candidates.

Ramona Rush

Lexington


Holding on to privacy

A letter writer recently said that she doesn't mind if the government spies on her and taps her phone and email. After all, she said, she had nothing to hide, so why not?

We all have something to hide; that is why we wear clothes.

I would like to ask her to please write another letter and be sure to include her Social Security number, date of birth and her mother's maiden name. Why not throw in a medical history as well, since she has nothing to hide?

Please let us know if you have ever taken antidepressants, been divorced, bankrupt, had a venereal disease or abortion, or if you have ever been to a psychiatrist. We are all awaiting your reply.

I am not willing to hand away what is left of my constitutional right to privacy to a government quickly turning into a police state.

Tina Hoffman

Winchester


Time for truth is now

Anyone who has served in a theater of conflict finds the response to the call for help reprehensible.

After one year and five months the U.S. public wants the truth. They have wanted the truth since day one, Sept. 11, 2012.

What is the truth? Benghazi, a front for operations or gun running to Syria? Who knows? The public knows getting to the truth of Benghazi has been a failure. More importantly, the U.S. public knows Benghazi to be a debacle. But what is the underlying truth of "why?" Who was responsible? Who is accountable? This is the issue.

The House has five investigations in progress. After 17 months, it is time to combine all these separate investigations into one special investigation. You are inside the five-yard line; go with the "heavy" package, extra tight ends and blocking backs.

The time for truthful resolution is now. Provide it.

Brian Schlifke

Lexington

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