Letters to the Editor: June 5

June 5, 2014 

Expect Obama to lead? What about parties and TV?

Right-wingers who rail against President Barack Obama for not knowing about the administration's problems until the media reports a series of scandals — Fast and Furious, Benghazi, Obamacare website, IRS targeting, VA patient treatment, Associated Press spying, Solyndra company, New Black Panthers voter intimidation, Secret Service and the Wall Street bonuses — expect too much of him.

It is unreasonable to expect too much of the ruler of a powerful country, who is responsible for the operation of the government and has an exhausting schedule.

This includes news conferences, golfing, vacations, playing basketball, perpetual campaigning and fund-raising, foreign policy humiliations, partying with the glitterati and talking on pop-culture shows.

Don't expect him to have time to attend cabinet meetings, national security briefings, consult individually with cabinet members, or remain abreast of the workings of the executive branch of government.

Neither for him to actually be at the State Department when the diplomatic mission in Benghazi and his ambassador along with foreign service personnel are under terrorist attack.

These are the ministerial functions that become the prestigious high-paying jobs used to reward his favorite minions.

We cannot allow efforts of right-wingers to besmirch and defile the reputation of the president and his party, or to tar his historical legacy as the first black president. We must distinguish that which is meaningful and profound from that which is superficial and temporal.

Stephen H. Pulliam


Veteran care failure

What is the straw that breaks the camel's back? Is it a country that turns its back on its aging population? Or on those who have worn the cloth of the military?

Where is the on-site inspection to ensure the operation is being run properly? What has been uncovered and brought to light is a most despicable issue.

We have thousands of veterans who have paid the ultimate price, not even in hostile action.

But, to survive and come home to end up being treated as many have been now is absolutely despicable. The lack of accountability and responsibility is beyond belief.

What is going on in these government agencies? The expenditure of money for office furniture and bonuses is deplorable at the expense of some innocent veteran men and women.

It doesn't matter if they never spent time on foreign soil or served in a theater of conflict. They have served our nation and deserve the best care available.

It's a sad time for veterans.

Brian Schlifke


Alltech vs McConnell

On May 19, the Herald-Leader's article on Alltech's plan to build a distillery and brewery in Pikeville showed a poignant contrast to Mitch McConnell's campaign ads.

Alltech's plan demonstrates leadership and imagination. McConnell's campaign states he is here for you, without describing what he has done for you.

Albert Einstein said, "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." Voters, you be the judge: Alltech or McConnell?

McConnell has failed to bring jobs into the region. It is ironic since his wife, Elaine Chao, is a former secretary of Labor.

Residents of Eastern Kentucky need more than just coal jobs. Voters should send a message to McConnell that they will no longer be used as campaign props to secure his re-election.

Otherwise, they confirm Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

James F. Wisniewski


Wings to the mind

The Lexington Philharmonic's season finale, Beethoven 9, presented a program of philosophical and poetic beauty.

Plato proclaimed that "Music is a moral life. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety, and life to everything."

Andre Caplet's orchestral arrangement of Claude Debussy's Clair de Lune, made my mind fly to Matthew Arnold's mid-19th century poem, Dover Beach.

"The sea is calm tonight. The tide is full, the moon lies fair. Upon the straits." A few moments of tranquility in a world full of contradiction and chaos.

Then, Osvaldo Golijov's Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra, with the poetic texts of Sally Potter, Rosalia de Castro and Emily Dickinson: Night of Flying Horses, Lua Descolorida and How Slow the Wind, respectively.

These songs, each sung in a different language, echoed the universal paradoxes of life to which Plato and Arnold refer. But in the midst of disappointment, despair and death, there can be joy. Nothing drives that point home any clearer than Beethoven 9.

Ludwig van Beethoven wrestled for years with Ode to Joy before he composed the music. Yet, his symphony is much more than the sum of its parts. It's a triumph of the human spirit.

In collaboration with three of Lexington's foremost choral groups and four outstanding soloists, Scott Terrell and the LPO bestowed upon a sold-out audience wings to the mind and an ode to community.

Jim Fields


No penalty for repeat

According to the May 19 article by The Sentinel Echo, the East Bernstadt Independent school board recently decided against penalizing students for repeating a grade level for athletic purposes.

As far as I know, it occurs all over Kentucky. It did when I taught in the late '60s.

Doesn't this elevate athletics over academics? What does a child held back for athletic purposes do during the school day while repeating subjects? Do you design a special program for him and is he more disruptive because he is bored?

Does the parent who is allowed to hold a child back for athletic purposes pay the school for the extra year? Or do the taxpayers pay, if so what does it cost per year?

If more administrative and brain-storming time was spent on academic issues and less on athletics, might our schools perform better?

James W. Wood


Poor Pett

It must suck to be Joel Pett right about now. Pett's routine cartoonist hook on the Kentucky coal industry is a crowned skull in a royal robe.

Kentucky Democrats have just nominated a Senate candidate who points the gun she has used to challenge Mitch McConnell to a National Rifle Association-sponsored shooting match. Not with Pett's anti-coal ideological camp.

Even with Alison Lundergan Grimes siding with the blood-stained NRA and King Coal, Pett will pick himself up from his fainting couch and carry on. Very much like the corrupt medieval priests who used to grant penance dispensations for a price.

Not to worry, Pett is so up to the task, that he will even surrender the First Amendment as long as the right party is running things.

Don't believe it? Just imagine how many tankers of ink Pett would have used by now if just the IRS, Associated Press and Fox News scandals had occurred on a Republican watch.

Steve Newberry


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