Letters to the editor: June 18

June 18, 2014 

Grimes: I have a plan to invest in Ky.'s coalfields

I was surprised and puzzled to read this lament in the June 11 editorial: "What voters should demand from McConnell and Grimes is a vision and a plan for the future — and an end to the intelligence-insulting pandering over coal."

The facts are that I released a detailed jobs and economic plan five months ago.

Far from "pandering" on coal, I pledged support of an energy policy that assigns a prominent role to America's abundant coal resources, supports development of clean-coal technology and restores coal as a prime U.S. export.

But contrary to your implication, I went far beyond energy issues in outlining a plan for economic uplift in the coalfields.

I endorsed steps to retrain unemployed workers for the jobs of the future. I called for investing in infrastructure and tourism, while making investment capital available. I advocated for federal assistance to build greater broadband capacity, and assured I would fight to protect and expand early-childhood education. My plan is centered on supporting our work force through a higher minimum wage, gender pay equity and available child care.

Clearly, you must have me confused with Mitch McConnell, who says it's not his responsibility to bring jobs to Kentucky and has never in 30 years in the Senate produced a jobs plan.

A vision and determination to strengthen Kentucky's middle class are at the heart of my campaign. When I'm in the Senate, all Kentuckians will have a champion who looks out for them, not Wall Street and Washington special interests.

Alison Ludergan Grimes

Candidate, U.S. Senate

Lexington


Raise minimum wage

There is much talk today about minimum wage, but how about a maximum wage?

If we think it's difficult to pass a minimum wage increase, how much more difficult might it be to lower the maximum wage?

Which political strategies best suit the lower and middle-classes to affect fairness and equity in the distribution of wealth?

One winning strategy is claiming their basic rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Right to life means minimum standards in the provision of health, food, housing and educational services. A minimum wage should provide life.

Claiming these basic rights through public discourse, political action, voting, community organization and nonviolent protest have been successful tactics in achieving civil rights, voting rights and other social concerns.

Can the poor and middle class bring the same vitality to the fight for economic justice — just like gun lobbyists bring to their cause or the military-industrial lobbyists bring to their establishment?

Economist Thomas Piketty's book, Capital, opines that the rate of return on capital always exceeds the rate of growth of the economy, hence the rich get richer and poor get poorer.

Raising the minimum wage might be an ambiguous economic tactic, but it is morally persuasive that a minimum wage should at least cover the minimum cost of living requirements of families.

And how about capping the maximum wage? Oh, we can't discuss that, can we congressmen?

Jesse P. Mark

Lexington


Sky is not a sewer

It's time to stop using the sky as a sewer. Coal plant stacks are straight pipes and failing retention dams of the air.

It's easier to see pipes dumping sewage and spilling chemicals in our streams and rivers. If you could see carbon pollution or smell it, there would be no question.

A benefit of regulating carbon emissions is reducing coal soot. These particles hang in the air, choking our air passageways. When waterways are polluted, those who can afford it, drink bottled water.

Ironically, bottled air is the choice faced by young children who struggle with asthma, from which children in Kentucky suffer at alarming rates. They end up in hospitals with oxygen masks, struggling for air with panicked parents hovering. This scenario I lived with my son, feeling helpless even though his father and I were health-care professionals.

We were lucky that our son recovered, but it was back to bottled air and inhalers after he served in Iraq, where contractors used air as an open sewer burning war-garbage in massive pits.

Asthma affects low-income communities and people of color who often live near coal-fired power plants. The chronic disease results in missed school days, emergency-room visits, missed workdays and stressed-out parents.

So, hurray for the Environmental Protection Agency ruling for a nationwide 30 percent reduction of carbon emissions.

Kentucky senators and candidates should be ashamed for not supporting this minimal first step in saving the air we breathe.

Zaida Belendez, R.N.

Lexington


Liberals mark history

While we may be registered as a Democrat, Republican or Independent, Americans are liberals when issues are measured in our heart of hearts. We have been known as progressives or liberals — titles of many who have sought to better our nation throughout its history.

The radicals who signed the Declaration of Independence were liberals in today's parlance. Likewise, when conservatives received the Articles of Confederation, liberals pushed aside this failed form of government in favor of our Constitution.

The Bill of Rights was championed by liberals to protect the rights of an individual against the power of the federal government.

Abolitionists purported the progressive notion that all men really are created equal. Teddy Roosevelt's farsighted creation of national parks incorporated the idea that America's heritage belongs to all its people, quite a progressive thought.

Child labor laws, women's suffrage, national banks, Social Security, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act were all championed by progressive action and hard-fought battles of words by liberals against obstinate naysayers.

There is a proud history that liberals have supported causes for the betterment of man. Clean air, clean water and sustaining of the world have been liberal causes.

Throughout our nation's history, liberalism has reigned supreme, Temporary setbacks will continue to be led by those professing love for America, yet they don't give a hoot about Americans. Liberalism has always won.

Gene Nettles

Hickman


Fantasy need labels

I thought science was supposed to be observable and should line up with historical facts. But, is the article "Now You See Them, Soon You Won't," out of the window?

Stuart Pimm, a biologist of Duke University, claims that species are becoming extinct way faster than in pre-human times. Really? I'd like to see how he has observed this.

The fossil record is spotty and often circular in reasoning. And while science has admitted to mass extinction after many years of firm denial, they want to blame it on comets. Did they see them? There was an observer and initiator of mass extinction, God, who had Moses write down what happened — the Great Flood.

Most evolutionists live in a fantasy world, trying desperately to justify their belief system against good science and logic. Even coming up with multi-parallel universes because there is no evidence in this one.

Let's have factual articles, not fantasy unless labeled as such.

Brad Bigam

Wilmore

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