April 17: Letters to the editor

April 17, 2014 

So-called patriots' double standard in praising Putin

It is hard to miss the new hero of the true American patriots. He is strong and decisive and takes no crap, unlike President Barack Obama. Of course, I am referring to Vladimir Putin.

These "patriots" openly declare the desire to have him as president of the United States. These "real Americans" admire that he doesn't have to be accountable to anyone — not the House, Senate or even his own people.

They love the fact that he can make his opponents disappear and his friends powerful and wealthy. He rides horses bareback with his shirt off and shoots caged tigers for sport. What a man's man.

Many even mention they would like to see a physical fight between Obama and Putin. The patriots type with glee how Putin would mop the floor with the little pansy socialist.

As Putin's army stormed Georgia in 2008, no one — not John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin nor Rudy Giuliani — called President George W. Bush naïve, feckless or weak. You did not hear negative comments from Democrats or independents either. It is all politics all of the time today with the hard right. Even national security does not trump bashing the president.

Putin will never be president of the United States. (Birthers, see Constitution), but all is not lost. I am sure that Vlad would be glad to give you "real American patriots" citizenship in a country where you can be proud of your president.

You might even get to live in the same building as that other "patriot," Edward Snowden.

Tony McCoy


No rights, no works

Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous remark on the so-called right-to-work laws almost 50 years ago cut through the political spin we still hear today: "In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans such as 'right-to-work.' It provides no rights and no works."

King had seen it all during his long fight against Jim Crow laws, the poll taxes, literacy tests, vagrancy laws, impoverished schools and slavery-like working conditions. He had also witnessed the racial anxiety that motivated a new kind of Jim Crow law dubiously named right-to-work.

Nine southern states enacted such laws between 1943 and 1947. Black veterans returning home from World War II were widely expected to demand better jobs. So, the established authorities armed themselves with new restrictions on labor organizing.

They came up with a very simple idea. Just repeal the labor unions' right to collect dues. That would require them to represent workers for free in many cases.

For the sake of appearances, the politicians reframed these laws as economic policy. It appealed in particular to those nostalgic for laissez-faire markets, oversimplified theories of supply and demand and instinctive hostility to government policies on behalf of ordinary workers.

As it later turned out, these laws also fit conveniently into the GOP's Southern Strategy and its supply-side economic theories. That's how an old Jim Crow law continues today.

Tom Louderback


Mother knows best

When Kentucky was first designated a severe flu state (with 23 others) the polar vortex clobbered our region with extreme temperatures, snow and wind.

Across the eastern United States, there were too many negative temps to count.

Nor can the number of students who missed school in states walloped by these storms be counted. This closed schools and kept kids inside because it was way too cold during most of this winter, which is exactly what stopped the flu bug from spreading any farther.

Workers also had enough sense or lack of ability to work to call in sick and not get out in zero temps and horrible gusting winds and snow.

Call it karma, but I called it Mother Nature protecting herself, and, in return, us.

Darrell G. Gross


Article pro-McConnell

I have been a Cats fan since the early 1970s when I was living at the end of a 30-mile dead end in Gees Bend, Ala., and could pick up Cawood Ledford on a skip signal from WHAS.

I was hooked. Ledford put you on the court. His clear and concise descriptions of the play were no doubt part of the reason television instituted the tape delay.

You knew Ledford was rooting for the Cats, but he didn't let that interfere with his call of the game. He was not a homer.

The Herald-Leader's political reporter, Sam Youngman, sounds to me like a homer for the Mitch McConnell campaign after quoting his campaign literature in the March 6 story, "McConnell camp pulls web ad after rash of turnovers."

Rhodes Johnston


Plant flowers, find friends

It began with a neighborhood email post: "Let's put the Garden back in Gardenside!" Once the location of Duntreath Farm, Gardenside used to be prime farmland. The neighborhood is known for its Maury loam, an area so fertile weeds grew taller than cars.

The overdue restoration of the bus stop in front of the Gardenside Shopping Center leads the way in revitalizing our older neighborhood. Councilwoman Peggy Henson was instrumental in obtaining city funds in 2013 to initiate the project. Created by a public-private partnership, the bus shelter, once lauded as "chic," continues to showcase the value of public-private partnerships. It is a reminder of when public transportation was a fixture in suburban life.

But our neighborhood needs a spring cleaning.

The Gardenside Neighborhood Association, along with co-sponsors Friends of Wolf Run and Keep Lexington Beautiful, is kicking off with the Gardenside Park/Creek Cleanup April 26. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine. People may contact the following website: GardensideLex@gmail.com. Participants are asked to meet at the Gardenside Park Pavilion on Yorktown Road, ready to get your hands dirty.

Previous two projects have fueled neighborhood goals: monarch butterfly way-stations, informative and colorful signage and strengthening city-neighborhood alliances. It will take a lot of sweat equity to clean up our older neighborhoods but such goals foster flowers and friendships. Please join us.

Tammy Horn


Disgusting priorities

I have recently found that Sen. Mitch McConnell's net worth went from $8.8 million in 2007 to $27.2 in 2010, a tripling in three years.

McConnell has become the 10th wealthiest U.S. senator.

A man with so much money has a shameful voting record. McConnell has voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to close the gap between women's and men's wages, calling it a "special-interest vote."

He also blocked a Democratic bill calling for equal pay in the workplace. He has voted against raising the minimum wage 15 times. McConnell also has a consistent record of voting against anti-domestic violence legislation calling it a "distraction." He also has criticized the food stamps program. In a state that is mostly rural with large pockets of poverty, this hurts.

I find it disgusting that a man with so much wealth and power would vote so consistently against women and the poor.

Tom Frazier


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