Letters to the Editor: March 14

March 14, 2014 

Ultrasound bill unfairly blocked by lawmaker

Is this the shining example of government function in Frankfort?

Although an "informed consent" bill intended to prevent a doctor from blocking information from an expectant mother regarding her baby's development in utero overwhelmingly carried Kentucky's State Senate again this year, House leadership deliberately assigned it to a committee where it would die.

A similar bill, House Bill 184, with 59 sponsors (needing only 51 votes to pass) has been assigned to the same graveyard committee.

Rep. Tom Burch, a Democrat from Louisville has boasted over his power — that he has killed all similar bills in his committee — not allowing the full House to vote on the measures. For nine years, similar legislation to protect and inform women has been hindered and died in a House committee.

One man retains power, not only over his equal peers in the capital and across Kentucky, but also over women by effectively withholding information from them.

What is wrong with turning a baby's ultrasound image into the full view of his or her expectant mother? Information is power. Burch and those who own him are keeping from women power which is rightly theirs alone.

The power of information must not be abused. Key Democrats in the Kentucky House must relinquish their power over women's health decisions and bring this bill up for a full House vote.

Insist on it, fellow Kentuckians.

Rebekah Jayna Strunk


Speak up for felons

I'm an Eastern Kentuckian with a son who is a former felon. He works hard supporting his family and paying state and federal taxes. But like 180,000 other Kentuckians who have served their time, he still is not entitled to vote.

Kentucky's outdated constitution permanently takes away a person's right to vote when convicted of a felony, unless he or she receives a pardon from the governor.

My senator, Brandon Smith, deserves appreciation for being on the right side of this issue. However, his Senate colleagues have taken a wrecking ball to the legislation, adding a waiting period and other harmful restrictions that weaken our democracy.

Kentuckians believe in second chances, redemption and fairness. We want a healthy democracy where everyone has the right to participate.

I urge readers to contact Smith at 1-800-372-7181. Ask him to strengthen our democracy by supporting the House version of the bill.

Carl Shoupe


Eblen right about garden

Thanks to Tom Eblen for his column highlighting the value and plight of the Mathews Garden on the University of Kentucky campus.

James Krupa, quoted in the column, is correct when he states that this tiny half-acre contains the highest plant species diversity of any piece of comparably sized ground in our state.

This is, of course, the result of great effort in planting and tending by Krupa and dedicated plant lovers before him who have seen value in a living collection in the heart of campus.

My botany students and I have benefited from that vision, experiencing the garden as a living laboratory, learning firsthand about our native flora. Any visitor can also look and learn, thanks to Krupa's excellent labeling.

It is very disappointing to hear the dismissive attitude of university administrators. Equating the 300-plus species collection with any random piece of campus greenspace is a very poor comparison.

It is like equating the University Art Museum's print collection with any random campus kiosk. And throw out a few books from the rare-book collection too, because Krupa has successfully established several very rare species.

Sadly, the offhand suggestion to move the garden, as if it were rose bushes in someone's yard, shows no understanding of the complexity beneath the ground.

I invite administrators to spend a lunch hour there. Note the people enjoying the shade, quiet and aesthetics of this small oasis in the desert of our rapidly urbanizing campus.

Robert Paratley


Kentucky identity

For years, the Kentucky GOP has harped on the wedge issues and bet heavily on their hunch that our commonwealth wants to join the deep South.

That hunch misses a lot of history, though. Consider that Kentucky never elected a member of Congress as venal as Mississippi's Theodore Bilbo, a racist U.S. senator famous mostly for using the N-word on the floor of the Senate. He was joined by his colleagues from neighboring states on a few occasions, too. The difference between Bilbo and Kentucky's Alben W. Barkley was profound.

Further back in history, Kentucky's Henry Clay negotiated agreements that preserved the union while South Carolina's John C. Calhoun threatened secession ad nauseam.

Today, Kentucky resists the one-party rule of our neighbors to the south. Democrats still hold many state offices and labor unions still represent thousands of workers. By contrast, Texas Gov. Rick Perry warms up audiences with 19th-century secessionist rhetoric.

So, it's no surprise a recent Bluegrass Poll found that our youngest voters are less conservative. That seems consistent with our history. We never were very enthusiastic about the so-called "Southern exceptionalism." Maybe the Kentucky GOP does not know us as well as they think.

Tom Louderback


Foreign policy disasters

This current administration's foreign policy is one of the worst our nation has ever had. The international community, especially Russia, essentially mocks us on the political stage and who can blame them?

We have become a nation of double talk, lies and deceit.

Edward Snowden and his leaks have without a doubt shown the world and our military allies that this administration cannot be trusted and can never firmly stand on a specific topic internationally.

John Kerry is telling the international community to "respect Ukraine's" sovereignty while the Russian military today has established a strong presence in Crimea. Just six months ago the president was ready to put our military in harm's way to attack the Syrian government but was immediately shut down by the international community.

We have armed the rebels in Syria, and extensions of the al nusra front and al queda in Syria yet we still fight them in Afghanistan.

We have weakened our ties with our middle eastern allies by the way we are so passively dealing with Iran while at the same time virtually ignoring the tensions between Japan, China and North Korea.

Lets not forget the military coup d'etat in Egypt, which by international law is forbidden and should have some type of United Nations intervention. Egypt still receives well over a billion dollars in aid and we just let it go. No big deal right?

Zach Atkins


Disappointed fan

This University of Kentucky men's basketball team is nothing more than a bunch of ball-hogging egomaniacs who can't hit free throws if their lives depended on it. We don't even deserve to go to the NIT this year.

Pete Horine


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