Put politics aside, and actually try to solve problems
Put before a monstrous problem, we humans ignore the problem and hope it goes away.
However, when a response is demanded, the true measure of human worth begins to show and political dividing lines get drawn.
Some try to solve the problem, or at least manage it. At worst, they try. At best, they succeed, and the rest of us reap the benefits.
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Then there are the others. Perhaps embarrassed at having no answer, they look to the following list of responses:
■ Continue to ignore and deny.
■ Oppose the positive actions of the first group.
■ Invent a more trivial problem and shout that this, not the other one, is the genuine problem.
■ Blame someone, preferably the first group, and call it the actual source of trouble.
■ Take credit for anything that pleases anybody at all and make up stuff that suits their purpose.
The political lines follow readily and obviously from the above. Over time, the names change. But the patterns of problem-solving remain fairly constant: One group tries, the rest does ... something else.
The United States, and most of the world, face a scary list of real, really tough problems. The sooner we face them squarely and devise real solutions, the better for all. Some problems will never go away entirely. But some can be resolved.
Inaction — or worse, phony programs in the mere name of action — can only make the situation worse.
Charles S. Merrill
Stop the calls
I have a major concern about the no-call list meant to limit telephone solicitations, and I am sure others have concerns as well.
I am a proud voter. I vote in every election. But two weeks or so before the elections, my phone rings off the table and my answering machine is full every day. Even when I'm home, I constantly get politicians' phone calls.
My mind is already made up about whom I'm voting for, and all the calls are recorded messages. I start to fix or eat dinner, and I get the phone calls. I go to the restroom or get ready to take a shower, and I get calls.
This is ridiculous and has got to stop. These calls from politicians should be put on the no-call list.
For the people?
It doesn't take any one person too long to figure out that our government has failed the general public at large.
Our elected officials' only concern from the day they are sworn in is how to stay in office. When was the last time anyone actually heard about and, more importantly, saw justice carried out when it concerned big oil or big banks, Wall Street, the pharmaceutical and medical industries or dishonest and immoral politicians?
The Declaration of Independence, which so many have sacrificed their lives for, has been amended by our government to: "by the people, for our corporations."
The policy seems to be "don't upset the corporations because they might move elsewhere." Well, as a born-and-raised American, maybe we should just kick them out. Wake up, America.
Act now on spill
I am frustrated, dismayed and horrified by the inability of BP to shut down the oil geyser in the Gulf of Mexico.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said: "If we find they're (BP) not doing what they're supposed to be doing, we'll push them out of the way."
An article last month in the Herald-Leader reported the government has neither the tools nor the expertise to handle the disaster. Apparently, neither does BP. How then can Salazar even know "if," much less "when" BP is not doing what it is supposed to do?
We must shut down this disaster. I believe BP's priorities are wrongly ordered and that the company is not doing what it should be doing.
I am ignorant of the complexities of oil drilling, but I wonder what alternative measures are available and why they are not being taken.
Wouldn't a well-placed explosion close off the well's hole in the sea floor? Would that make this oil forever unobtainable by today's methods? Whose bank account are we saving?
Our government must be able to gather the resources to shut down this disaster. Our response to Hurricane Katrina was tragic and disastrous. This situation is even worse.
Plants and animals will be dying for years and perhaps decades because of the oil that has been released. People will suffer and die either directly or indirectly.
We cannot afford to wait. We're already dying.
Zoo saved penguin
I am an 8th-grader at Woodford County Middle School writing to you to express my opinion on how a Colorado zoo moved a penguin chick to another zoo's penguins for its care.
Moving the chick was a very smart thing to do. Because this baby penguin was not being taken care of by its parents and its breed has been close to extinction, relocating it possibly saved its life.
I believe all zoos should take notice of what the Denver Zoo did and should take action like it did if necessary.
Taking in neglected animals, endangered or not, is a great way to save many animals' lives.
Others can help out, too, by staying educated about breeds that are endangered or close to extinction.
Donating money to zoos could also help them keep the animals in the best condition possible.
Prune the legislature
Let's say that Kentucky's legislative body is made up of 45 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 10 independents. Now, let's say that they all voted along party lines, as they normally do.
What we really have is one Republican, one Democrat and one independent.
We can now eliminate the other 97 percent of the legislature and save Kentucky millions of dollars in wasteful spending.
James F. Rodgers
Obama leads way
I have been extremely disturbed by the view that all of government is inherently bad.
One hears this despicable denigration of government every day. Indeed, the Herald-Leader sometimes seems on the verge of being caught up in this emotional and irrational philosophy in its criticism of one or two U.S. senators.
Thank God that President Barack Obama has the courage to stand up against this vixxrus that is spreading like wildfire in our body politic.
His brilliant refutation of this nonsense in a May graduation speech at the University of Michigan stands out as an example of one of the most rationally compelling arguments I have ever heard.
The next time someone tries to tell you that "all of government is inherently bad," please refer them to Obama's speech.
James R. Ross