When will Washington wise up?
As a senior citizen, having had the privilege to serve in our armed forces, this is the first time I have been ashamed of the degradation and loss of respect permeating our country and world opinion.
What has happened to the ethics of hard work and entrepreneurship as a means to financial reward and well-being? How can we continue to trust those of our country's elected leaders who flagrantly disregard the campaign promises they make?
Why do our leaders in Washington vote for legislation they have not even read and that includes billions of dollars in pork-barrel spending to special interest groups that contribute handsomely to self-serving politicians?
Why does the current administration insist the health care law will reduce medical and insurance costs when all rational budget analysis clearly indicates costs will escalate? What has happened to the promised transparency in government, which continues to be governed by backroom deals?
Why was the issue of the renewal of the "Bush-era tax cuts" not addressed months ago to stimulate business expansion, create needed jobs and renew consumer spending?
Simply put, the continued recession is clearly based on a distrust of those in government who continue to print and spend money that will lead to a bankrupt nation.
Lastly, the American people need to have the intelligence to comprehend what trillions of dollars of debt will mean to the future of their children and our country.
Help legal citizens
I have become aware that so many of our own legal citizens are losing their unemployment benefits, not to mention other benefits such as food stamps. Those who have worked for years and paid their taxes.
This bothers me greatly.
What bothers me more is that I see others, including a great number who are here illegally, getting free care at the health department. They go to the food stamp office and are never being denied. They are allowed free care at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital to have their babies.
No, I'm not being racist; I am an elderly Kentucky resident who has become puzzled at how we can continue to treat our own people as we do — people who have worked hard and paid their taxes and Social Security all of their life. I saw in the Herald-Leader that so many are losing their unemployment benefits. It's obvious we need to open our eyes and help our own citizens first.
An important day
Although Dec. 15 is not a national holiday, it should have special significance for every American who cherishes the precious freedoms we enjoy.
James Madison, known as "the Father of the Constitution," prepared a tersely worded document that outlined a series of amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
On Sept. 15, 1789, Madison presented that document to the first Congress for consideration. After due deliberation the document, with some changes, was approved by Congress. '
When ratified by three-fourths of the states, that short document, consisting of a mere 463 words, became known as the Bill of Rights, and on Dec. 15, 1791, it went into effect as the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.
That short document, based upon John Locke's 1689 Two Treatises Of Government, George Mason's Virginia Declaration Of Rights, the 1689 English Bill Of Rights, and the 1215 British Magna Carta, had and continues to have far-reaching effects for every U.S. citizen.
The Bill of Rights is a series of rigid limitations on the power of the U.S. government. For 219 years, the Bill of Rights has protected the rights of liberty and property of every American citizen, and it is a guarantee of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to petition, freedom to bear arms, freedom from search and seizure, the right to trial by jury and other freedoms dear to the hearts of most citizens of this land.
President Barack Obama, on a recent trip to Afghanistan, told the troops it was "a staging ground for the 9/11 attacks."
Why in seven years can't we root out the remaining 100 al-Qaida reported by our military to be in the country, especially after a surge of 30,000 troops?
The president might well be asked why our own skies were unprotected for an hour after the first attack on the World Trade Center, or why a 47-story steel building known as WTC 7 mysteriously collapsed without even a mention in the 9/11 commission's report.
Certainly, if those events are the reason for us funding such costly wars, they too are "staging grounds" worthy of our notice.
Clean up the streets
For nearly seven years, I have complained and written letters to the editor regarding the traffic island on Tates Creek Road directly beneath New Circle Road.
I was told last year by the city that the cleaning and maintenance of this eyesore was not its responsibility. It belonged to the state.
After living and working in Southern California for 25 years and being away from my Kentucky home, I returned in 2002.
I've seen trash like this in South Los Angeles. With all the traffic passing this point daily, you would have thought someone was as concerned about this as I and would have blown a whistle.
Broken glass, paper, cigarette butts, and yes, even at one time, a discarded muffler.
It's shameful and irresponsible to let this condition exist for so long. I even proposed to the local Boy Scout Council the idea of "Adopting an Island" to work on this particular location as well as others around the city. No response.
I hope someone will take the initiative and do something to correct it.
John O. Witt
Friend for life
My father, W.M. Ellis, was a remarkable man. He helped a number of people start their lives.
We were watching the news recently and he said, "In my entire banking career I never had to foreclose on anybody. If someone got in trouble with their mortgage I went to them and said, 'You can't afford this house anymore. I've found this smaller house; you need to buy it, and I'll help you sell this house. I do not want to throw you out of your home.' And I never had to."
Those people remained his friends for the rest of his life.
When I was 16, we moved to Walnut Hill and one Saturday afternoon Dad said, "John, I need your help."
I reluctantly went with him to a lot strewn with garbage, an abandoned car, tree stumps, rusted wire fencing, a couple of neglected graves and some rubble that I thought might have been a house.
As we were picking up garbage, he said, "This is the oldest church in the area. We're going to rebuild it and it will be the most beautiful church in Lexington, and there'll be a school ..." At that point I tuned him out. "Yeah, sure, Dad," I thought.
Well, Walnut Hill Church stands here now. He brought together some very fine talent, but it was Dad's vision and dream.
Shakespeare wrote, "The evil that men do lives on, the good is oft interred with their bones."
My father's life refuted that statement.