Learning about our past crucial to shaping our future
The article "National Archives' director in dream job," published on Jan. 17, includes this quote: "Almost any event that one reads about in the news today has precursors in our recent past."
The archives director, David Ferriero, is now in charge of the National Declassification Center. Documents that have been classified for the last 50 years may begin to become common knowledge.
To have most Americans agree on events of the past 50 years would, indeed, be a salve. Friends, family and the body politic have been divided too long because of opinions formed from fractured news, public relations campaigns and disinformation.
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We have all experienced the discomfort of learning that the United States backed despots, supplied arms to al-Qaida and even assassinated the elected leaders of other countries. Some of us chose not to believe it.
But it is true. For example, in 1953 Iran's Mohammad Mosaddeq, who was democratically elected and who wanted to re-establish democracy there, was removed by our Central Intelligence Agency with England's cooperation. Over the years our roles in Indonesia, Guatemala, Colombia, Nigeria, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Iraq (where we supported Saddam Hussein) have been poorly reported on or not reported at all.
When knowledge of our past becomes common knowledge, we will realize that capitalism and money-making are not the same as democracy. We'll understand how these events led to the downturn we now face.
Then, we may begin to make democracy work in this country.
Sara M. Porter
Arts center key to area
We were very pleased to see the beautiful Martin Luther King neighborhood featured in your recent Homeseller section, but were surprised by a significant omission.
The first item highlighted in the article was the historic Kinkead House, but the story failed to mention that this building has been home to the Living Arts and Science Center (LASC) for more than 40 years or note that LASC's art gallery was the location of a photograph.
The center is a non-profit organization that provides many free programs and services in our own neighborhood as well as to the community. Each year, we provide free in-school and after-school programs at neighborhood elementary schools.
We recently provided a guest artist through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts at Lexington Traditional Magnet School.
We provide numerous scholarships for free classes to neighborhood students, and we present free monthly Discovery Night programs, family programs and Gallery Hop receptions for new exhibits. Further, we provide free, hands-on art activities at our neighborhood back-to-school rallies and at area churches.
Each year we serve more than 30,000 children and adults through classes, workshops, art and science field trips and outreach programs for numerous social service agencies.
The center is an integral part of this neighborhood and has long been considered a leader in initiating community involvement. We invite you to participate in our creative and educational programs and to enjoy the beautiful building and grounds.
Executive directorLiving Arts and Science Center
Keep dropout age
Regarding the proposal to raise the dropout age to 18: Do our lawmakers have any common sense?
Gov. Steve Beshear seems to think that if kids are forced to stay in school longer they'll magically be hard-working and motivated, and that it will have no negative effect on the other students and teachers.
Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, says "everyone should be equipped with a high school education."
What Yonts apparently doesn't know is that an education is not just a piece of paper, and staying in longer doesn't mean kids will actually get an education when they are not interested in one.
We should be working on making sure these kids want to stay in school, and on providing alternate education for those who would do better in a vocational setting.
Sounds like we should listen to Jesse Williams — who dropped out, learned a valuable life lesson and came back to get a GED. He says raising the dropout age won't work for kids like him. He may not have a high school education yet, but he has more common sense than Yonts or Beshear.
Who's cutting trees?
Why are the trees along Newtown Pike being cut?
Power lines? No, some are on the opposite side. Road expansion? I hope not. Dead ones? No, they are big and healthy. The workers don't know; they just cut the ones that are marked. Kentucky Utilities says it didn't do it. The state road department says it has nothing to do with it. The mayor's office could not find anyone who knows about it.
Who knows, or does everyone assume it's OK to cut them?
Name all the fools
How does columnist Kathleen Parker rip commentator Rush Limbaugh and Rev. Pat Robertson for their clearly foolish comments about the earthquake in Haiti, yet not mention that actor Danny Glover claimed the earthquake was caused by global warming? Let's call out all the fools, shall we?
H-L tunnel vision
Once more editorial staff members demonstrate how narrow-minded and intolerant they are. Who are these people anyway?
Since the Massachusetts election has taken away absolute power from the progressive Democrats, their leaders have stated they will press on with health care, but now they will be "forced" to compromise with those with different ideas than theirs. Isn't this a blatant admission as to who is the "party of no"?
Now the progressives can no longer say "no" to the voice of the people, "no" to Republican proposals, "no" to proposals from conservative Democrats, "no" to an open debate and a transparent legislative process.
Progressives must now actually participate in a democratic process, open to public scrutiny, instead of working in secret to pass a bill with bribery.
Does a newspaper belong to its editorial board, or does a newspaper in fact belong to the community with a responsibility to print both sides of an issue?
If it is the former, it becomes nothing less than a vehicle for propaganda, and ceases to be a "news" paper.
I am not a proponent of war. I have seen its pain and aftermath. I write out of a deep concern for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Soldiers are facing two, three and even four deployments to combat. The fatalities and gruesome injuries continue to mount.
Rep. Susan Davis, a California Democrat, said during a Dec. 8 House Armed Services Committee: "I continue to think that we're a military at war and not a nation at war."
Look around at our community and one senses that it is "business as usual."
We are asking our soldiers to bear the whole burden of the conflict.
Rep. David Obey, a Wisconsin Democrat, has proposed a bill entitled "Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010" (HR 4130). This bill would put a temporary surtax on net income tax liability that would pay for the war in Afghanistan.
Running the numbers, a person earning $50,000 a year would pay an additional $50.
The additional tax for those earning $150,000 would be $226. We owe it to our troops and our nation to make this everybody's war effort.
I would think that all of us could support this bill. Recent history shows that President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" program was lost because the Congress failed to provide revenue to finance the Vietnam conflict.
I would hope that every former veteran would concur in the fairness of this proposed bill. Now is the time to write or phone your congressman.