Mosque issue stirred up by politics
There have been some dark days in our history when we did things out of fear that we later wish we hadn't done.
There was, for instance, the internment of U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
There was also the big fear promoted by the Bush administration that resulted in the Homeland Security Act, the most intrusive law in our nation's history.
Now there is the issue of a proposed mosque to be built in New York City near the former World Trade Center. Politicians are getting on the bandwagon against it because they fear they won't be considered tough enough in defending patriotism or the memory of those killed.
But this is not a political issue. This is a constitutional issue. The First Amendment is clear and unambiguous: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."
So let's be done with the political grandstanding. This isn't an amendment that only applies to what we like or to people we like.
Does that mean that sometimes people will do things we don't like? Absolutely. Does that mean it will be inconvenient sometimes to have the First Amendment? Absolutely.
But you can't have it only when you want it. It's there for every time and for every person. That's what it means to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Lawrence E. Durr
We should express our deep appreciation to Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society that has had its national headquarters in Lexington for more than 30 years.
Under the able leadership of Maurice A. Clay, former professor of education at the University of Kentucky, and his successors, Bill Zerman, former executive director of social fraternity Phi Gamma Delta, and the present executive director, Tom Goodale, former executive director of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, ODK has been a good corporate citizen, a creator of innovative educational programs and a philanthropic non-profit of nationwide renown.
ODK is often cited as an honor on par with Phi Beta Kappa, and has had many notable Lexington men and women initiated into membership. Those who will recognize include Adolph Rupp, Paul "Bear" Bryant, C.M. Newton, Bill Curry, Jerry Claiborne, Orlando "Tubby" Smith, Thomas Clark, Ben Chandler, Jim Newberry, Pam Miller, Teresa Isaac, Otis Singletary, Charles Shearer, Lee T. Todd Jr., Frank McVey, Frank Dickey, Paul Chellgren, Jess L. Gardner, Molly Marsh, John Herbst, William T. Young and William T. Young Jr.
That is only a small number of individuals honored locally for their exceptional leadership. More than 300 chapters called Circles of ODK are now in existence, and they are all coordinated by the national headquarters. I wish the staff and current and future members the best.
John D. Morgan
Executive director emeritus,Omicron Delta Kappa Society
Bring back classical
I am disappointed at the change in daytime programming on WEKU FM 88.9 radio in Richmond. This fine source of classical music, the only one in the area as far as I know, has changed to non-stop talk shows.
They say classical music is still available on the Internet, but I don't know how to plug that into my car, which is where I listen during the day. I miss it as soothing background music in doctors' and other professional offices. A physician I consulted recently said he was thinking of not sending the station any donation this year.
I do appreciate the station's complete news coverage, including the BBC, and its musical selections in the evening. I just hope they might reconsider this radical programming shift for daytime offerings.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul's assessment that drug addiction in Eastern Kentucky is "not a pressing issue" has probably garnered him the support of all the region's drug dealers, and they're a pretty powerful group. Shrewd move.
Paul equals change
I find it quite disconcerting that this newspaper finds some little gem of a quote almost daily from Rand Paul, usually something he said when speaking as a libertarian.
I admit he does have some unusual views about government, but he is not dangerous or irresponsible, as some writers make him out to be.
One fact about Paul will ensure that he gets my vote in November. He is not House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or President Barack Obama.
If you like any of those three, you probably will not like Paul. If you are happy about the way this government has been run the last few years, vote for the Democratic candidate, Jack Conway, in November and keep the status quo. If you are tired of the European-style socialism those three stooges are ramming down our throats, vote for change.
Rand Paul is change I can believe in. Whatever he is will be better than an Obama yes-man.
Clean up road mess
The Leestown Road widening project has been in the works for many years and now that it is a go, we in the Leesway subdivision are very happy.
However, officials are taking the houses that face Leestown Road to do this project. Earlier this summer, contractors came and took the siding off the houses that are being torn down. Now, the houses are left abandoned.
This is the entrance to our small but quaint subdivision, and it makes for uneasy viewing as you drive by or enter.
If officials are going to salvage these houses to recoup some of the state money spent, fine.
But just get moving, because we don't enjoy seeing our subdivision looking like it consists of abandoned structures. We are thankful that the grass is at least kept somewhat cut, but the bushes on these houses are growing out of control.
If homeowners allowed their property to get in this shape for any length of time, the city would impose a fine on them and demand it be cleaned up. The state should not be treated any differently.
Gen. David Petraeus is waging war on two fronts: one in Afghanistan and one in the media. He's trying to persuade us that we're in Afghanistan to protect civilians. The facts say something else entirely.
The Wikileaks documents show that U.S. forces have repeatedly hidden civilian casualties from public attention.
A recent United Nations report found that civilian casualties rose 31 percent for the first six months of this year compared to last year — and last year was a record.
How can we say in good conscience our soldiers protect anyone?
The presence of 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan is neither wise nor necessary. We should begin the troop withdrawal today and negotiate with all major parties in Afghanistan to achieve a lasting peace.
Only then can Afghans begin the long process of reconciliation and repair after so many decades of war.