Wall Street thrives as Main Street founders
The disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street in America has never been greater.
The stock market is up. We are told the recession ended last year. Wall Street is coming back, and the rich are getting richer.
The average compensation for an S&P 500 index company CEO was $9.25 million in 2009.
But where is Main Street? In 2009, one day's pay for the Wall Street CEO equaled the annual salary of the average American fortunate enough to have a job.
The concentration of wealth in the hands of an elite few is greater than at any time since 1929. Our country is virtually owned by the wealthiest 10 percent who control 80 percent to 90 percent of the nation's stocks, bonds, trust funds and business equity.
American corporations have become world corporations, moving to places where labor, brains and business are cheap, leaving millions of Americans behind without jobs, homes or health care.
Our latest economic crisis forced us to recognize the growing dichotomy between corporate interests of the wealthy and the interests of the majority of Americans.
What can we do to reconcile these divergent interests? Emasculating the federal government as the Republicans/Tea Partiers propose would only ensure the continued downward slide for most Americans.
Let's take America back from corporate lobbyists and their political lackies, and begin using our government of, by and for the people as a tool that serves not only the interests of Wall Street, but also the interests of Main Street.
Is the ACLU biased? It seems to attack everything that has the support of the American people, and support everything the majority of Americans don't really have a problem with. It would sue a city council for saying the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of a meeting, However, it does not speak out on the shutting down of Madison Avenue in New York for Muslims to pray.
Now, frankly, I don't care what happens on Madison Avenue; however, if you are going to allow massive religious acts in the streets, don't attack a Nativity scene or a Veterans Memorial Cross.
In life, we run across all kinds of things we do not agree with. If we don't like it, don't look at it or go there. Don't make it illegal for all, just because some may not agree. This country was founded on Christianity, like it or not.
To make laws against people expressing their beliefs is ridiculous. We have been this way from the beginning. If you don't agree and cannot deal with it, pick a country to go to where everything is just suitable for you, and go.
Quit accommodating all the people who have recently come to this country; they are already welcomed here by our citizens. If they cannot adapt to our ways, they are welcome to go. We should not have to adapt to their ways and ideas.
Worth voting for
I wish I could vote in your Urban County Council race, but I live next door to Lexington. If I could, I would vote for Don Pratt. I'd do that because many years after we graduated from Bryan Station High School together I stumbled across him in common political activities and found that he'd done me proud.
He will be a conscience for your council that every deliberative body needs. He is a man who has proven his integrity over and over and he is able to converse with people who disagree with him. That alone is reason to support him; it is a rare skill. Good luck, Don, and good luck Lexington.
Now President Barack Obama is going to fix America's education problem with a longer school year. It's too bad this liberal president doesn't clearly understand the difference between quality and quantity.
Spending more time in a low-quality environment will do absolutely nothing to help anyone, except maybe to help the failing teachers justify a raise.
Why is it that America's industries are well-staffed with quality engineers with degrees, while America's school systems employ none at all?
If Obama really wants to fix America's education problems, he should start where the failures are by enacting higher educational standards for lawmakers. Unlike true professions, there are virtually no requirements for lawmakers to learn the sciences that apply to the problems they take responsibility for solving.
Apparently, there are a lot of lawmakers who have chosen social engineering as their pseudo-profession because real engineering is far too difficult for them.
Too many of the people claiming to fix social problems aren't fully competent to fix a set of points and plugs on a '57 Chevy.
Islam and Jesus
Christians need to understand Jesus' role in Islam.
The recent upheaval associated with a small Florida church's desire to burn the Quran has opened a dangerous door into the depths of personal theology.
These so-called Christians believe Islam is of Satan. This is America and they have the right to believe as they wish. But they also chose to overlook the role Jesus plays in Islam.
Aside from Christians, only the Islamic faith teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin. Muslims also believe Jesus is the Messiah, maybe not in the Christian sense of the word, but they believe Jesus will come back to Earth during the last days and will defeat the false Messiah. Muslims also believe Jesus ascended into heaven but do not believe in the Crucifixion.
Muslims stop short of calling Jesus the son of God, but Christians should be educated to the fact that Muslims revere Jesus Christ as a true agent of God. In reality, Islam, as regards Jesus, is actually a closer cousin to Christianity than Judaism.
Although I am a Christian by faith I feel we should respect all religions and treat them accordingly. But ignorance and preconceived prejudices in regards to Islam are more dangerous than the few radical Muslims who choose to hurt and kill the innocent. We should not be surprised because America has been traditionally mired in ignorance and preconceived prejudices. The cycle continues.
As a former public school teacher and administrator with 35 years of experience, I am following the national conversation regarding education in this country.
As is generally the case in the United States, we find a scapegoat for any problem. In this it appears the culprits are tenure and the teachers unions.
Tenure was introduced to protect academic freedom in the classrooms and to protect teachers from being dismissed for disagreeing with an administrator or school board member.
Tenure does not protect poor teachers. What protects poor teachers are administrators and supervisors who do not properly evaluate teachers on a regular basis. The tools are there to be used. If they are not used, do not blame the teacher. Talk to your administrative staff.
Though I received awards for excellence in teaching, I would not have stayed in the profession had it not been for the teachers association's help in securing a decent living wage and benefits that enhanced my life.
No doubt there are some less than stellar teachers. There are some less than effective supervisors running schools. There are also board members who have self-serving political agendas. There are parents who shirk the heavy, demanding duties and responsibilities of parenting. There are elected officeholders who look at education as a political football to be tossed around at election time.
When the public supports the three R's, the arts and the development of critical thinking skills as it does sports teams and cheerleading, we will see progress.