McConnell shows shortsightedness on energy issues
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell recently published an op-ed piece in the Herald-Leader, "Obama using oil spill to impose an energy tax." In it, he commends himself for being "on the right track" in that the paper's editorial board consistently runs counter to public opinion (as the senator sees it). He contends that Kentuckians are opposed to a cap-and-trade energy policy, as it will lead to higher energy prices and reduce employment in the coal and automobile industries.
The point that McConnell seems consistently to miss is that this country needs an energy policy that looks ahead, not one that maintains our dependence on fossil fuels.
True, in the short run, while we're re-investing in renewable energy research and industry (an initiative that has been abandoned since the Reagan administration), the cost of energy will go up, just as it will in the long run if we don't make the investment.
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After we've dug up all the coal, sucked out all the oil, and devastated the environment in the process, will we be better off?
McConnell appears dedicated to remaining stuck in the past, and not at all concerned about the legacy he might leave. That is a clear demonstration that he is out of touch. Perhaps the senior senator should join Sen. Jim Bunning in stepping down?
C. Michael Nelson
Sen. Mitch McConnell's July 19 column is the very definition of shortsighted. In it, he goes to great lengths to point out all the ways in which a sane 21st century energy policy would hurt.
Well, of course it would hurt. That's really the whole point of a carbon tax. The question is where we will be in 50 years. Still held hostage to fossil fuels or well on our way to a renewable energy world?
It's a little like the guy in the old cowboy movie who sticks his knife in the fire and cuts the bullet out of his buddy. It's going to hurt, but there really is no other choice.
Sen. Mitch McConnell takes delight in finding that the Herald-Leader disagrees with him. (Thank you, Herald-Leader, for allowing him space on your pages to inform us of his opinion.) So I point out to him that professional newspaper writers and editors go after the facts first and print their conclusions. That's what they do.
Those folks that McConnell proudly gets his feedback from don't necessarily take the time to examine every side and come up with an unbiased viewpoint — that's not their job. Farmers farm, policeman police, bargemen ship goods, and they all contribute to our wonderful way of life. But saying "I'm doing a wonderful job because the (fill in the blank) industry loves me" doesn't reflect well on the senator's capacity to understand that he should support the greatest good for the greatest number of people and the long-term future of our country, as opposed to his poll numbers and what he hears from the fellow members of his choir.
Ky. backward on race
After reading the comments section on the July 18 Herald-Leader article, "The white world of politics," my desire to say I'm from Cincinnati is only increased.
Wake up, Kentucky, this is not a small-time issue. For those of you who say this article is only being used to stir the pot, you are right. We've sat idly by and allowed the impression of us as Kentuckians to be one of racist, ignorant people who are incapable of growth.
For once, stop complaining about how things are no longer how they used to be, and allow yourselves to catch up with a culture that is constantly evolving.
Representation in Kentucky of the black minority is the right thing to have, and if Kentucky would like to move past the Civil War, then it should stop going backward and start looking forward. Beginning with equal representation.
Paper's myopic view
There is an old saying that the picture tells the story. This wasn't the case with the photo that accompanied the July 18 article, "The white world of politics in Kentucky."
The photo shows Andy Barr and Rand Paul, both white, speaking at the recent Freedom Fest and mentions that the keynote speaker was Kevin Jackson, author of The Big Black Lie.
What it failed to mention was that Jackson himself is a black man — a black man who opposes Barack Obama. I guess Jackson must be racist. The photo slanted the image of the Freedom Fest. Is that what it was meant to do?
Danny & Susan Elam
Great journalist, teacher
The news that David Dick was coming to the University of Kentucky to teach in 1985 was a big deal. One problem: He was literally arriving straight from CBS News, and I remember the dean of the School of Journalism said to get in his first class, you would need to see him in person.
I remember walking through a driving rainstorm to his office the day he was unpacking. He was hanging a hurricane tracking map on his wall. It was September, hurricane season, and the map was a vestige of chasing the killer storms for Walter Cronkite at CBS News. I had never seen one that was so well worn.
The other thing I noticed was his rain gear. It said "network correspondent." It put L.L. Bean to shame. Later as a young reporter I would never get caught without the right gear, thanks to David's advice. In class, he taught us with handheld tape recorders, the beauty of natural sound in stories: bees buzzing, wind blowing or an explosion. Don't talk. Let the viewers hear and see it.
It's what America saw in his pieces for CBS Sunday Morning. He was a true character, who taught by example. We all respected him. We left knowing he gave us skills and knowledge that made us better than other beginners. Today at WHAS, we're still proud he's an alumnus, along with another man who loved Kentucky so much, Cawood Ledford.
WHAS TV News Anchor
Wonderful literary team
It was very sad day, July 16, when David Dick passed on. With his wife Lalie at his side, he finally succumbed to the ravages of prostate cancer.
I first met David and Lalie at the 2002 Kentucky Book Fair, when I acquired an autographed copy of their fine collaboration, Rivers of Kentucky. Then, early in 2005, I received some excellent advice and encouragement from the Dick household which assisted me in publishing my first book, Finding the Fifties.
From that point on, we frequently interacted at book-signing venues, and sometimes I was privileged to share a table with them. It was always enjoyable and informative to observe the twosome presenting their fine collection of books. Over those years, my wife, Pat, and I have proudly added them to our overflowing treasure chest of good friends.
As a volunteer narrator of Kentucky Talking Books for the Blind, it is ironic that my scheduled first day to begin reading A Journal for Lalie — Living Through Prostate Cancer, was on the day of David's funeral. David will be missed. But his and Lalie's teamwork leaves a valuable lasting legacy, one that will help thousands of men — especially those in their 60s and 70s, and their ladies — face the high probability of dealing with prostate cancer.
David's and Lalie's considerable literary legacy will provide many hours of enlightenment and enjoyment. But the greatest legacy of this classy couple is found in the spirit of their unforgettable warmth and gracious friendships with many along their journey together.
Don J. Dampier
Farm subsidy follies
The July 11 editorial about farm subsidies could use a information from a lecture at Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Mich., by Mark Steyn, a Canadian who observed that almost three-quarters of these subsidies go to 20,000 multi-millionaire play farmers and blue chip corporations.
One of the big checks is paid to the owner of Seagrams distillery in Canada.
As a 30- year practicing attorney, I read with great interest your editorial advocating that judges should not be elected. I am in complete agreement that judges should not be elected for two primary reasons.
First, in order for judges to be elected, they have to run; and if they run they have to be political.
While many good individuals are elected to the bench and try to set their politics aside when they are deciding cases, in reality many do not. Cases are decided every day based upon a political relationship, not upon the law.
Second, and maybe more important, the pool of excellent attorneys who would consider being a judge would grow 75 percent. Many good lawyers simply do not want to deal with the political hassles of running and therefore never consider a judgeship.
The quality of judges and the quality of judicial decisions would clearly improve if judges were appointed and not elected. We now need our elected leaders to have the wisdom to move us in that direction.
David C. Stratton
Your coverage of Sam Barnes' untimely passing was most appreciated by all of us who knew him. As was mentioned several times, he will be sorely missed by our community, by all who knew him, worked with him or benefited from his counsel and support.
As someone who was able to take advantage of Sam's counsel as one of my board members for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, I must also note that he was not only extremely effective while not being intrusive but was able to work to demonstate his support in a way that encouraged others to do so as well.
As a possible way to honor his efforts for our city, perhaps we should consider renaming the new Fifth Third Pavilion as the "Sam Barnes Pavilion." He will be missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Sue.
I join with the entire Lexington community in mourning the loss of Sam Barnes, longtime and respected president of Fifth Third Bank in Central Kentucky.
I am neither a banker nor a business person. What I do know is that Barnes was a quiet, thoughtful, generous and compassionate member of our community who, time and time again, showed concern and support for good projects and causes. He was a genuine leader and citizen.
In recent weeks, my wife and I have shopped at and strolled through the Saturday farmers' market in its new pavilion home adjacent to the old courthouse.
Sam was essential to the founding and funding of this great civic asset. I hope the farmers' market will be re-named in his honor. He was too modest to seek publicity for himself. I do think he would appreciate that gesture very much.
John R. Thelin
Keeping it proper
To the recent letter writer who called out Ashley Judd for using the term "hillbilly golfers": If the letter writer finds her words to describe the golfers so derogatory, may I suggest a more appropriate name she may want to use. "Hillwilliam golfers!" Now that would show real sophistication.
Norman E. Goldie Jr.