New Zealand struggles months after earthquake
I write in appreciation of the Herald-Leader's inclusion of Jonathan Hutchison's story: "Continuing jolts frustrate residents: Aftershocks slow quake recovery in New Zealand" (July 17).
When the 7.1 earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand, several months ago, Canada, Japan and the United States were first responders, and my nation had high hopes of making an excellent recovery.
However, the devastating quake of Feb. 22 was much closer to the earth's surface and has left that "most English city outside of England" a disaster of mammoth proportions.
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The 7,300 and counting aftershocks brought not only more physical damage to the city and its infrastructure, but the continuing emotional distress that is greatly wearing on the population.
Since February, there have been a number of world-shattering catastrophes, in Japan, Alabama, Missouri, as well as violence in the Middle East and North Africa, all of which tug at your hearts and purse strings.
But I am deeply appreciative that you gave space to remember the great suffering of my people in Christchurch.
Their road to recovery will be long and difficult, with much of the city deemed a wasteland due to the horrendous liquefaction.
It was my privilege to minister to the people of Christchurch in their happier times, before coming to Lexington to further study and minister here. I carry a great burden for the recovery of my city.
The Rev. Bill Curwood
The 26th Amendment, granting the right to vote to 18-year-olds, took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified. Why? Simple. The people demanded it. That was in 1971 — before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones.
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven took a year or less to become the law of the land, all because of public pressure.
These are ideas for dealing with Congress that should be supported:
1. Set term limits.
2. No tenure and no pension. Members collect a salary only.
3. Congress participates in Social Security, instead of the congressional retirement fund.
4. Congress members can purchase their own retirement plans, just as most Americans do.
5. Congress members will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Pay will rise by the lower of the Consumer Price Index or 3 percent.
6. Congress loses its current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The founding fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve, then go home and back to work.
Let's put aside the fact that Lexington traffic lights are four minutes long, that drivers run red lights constantly, and let's not mention that they are rude and drive vehicles so darkly tinted that you can't see who the driver is. Let's just concentrate on why Kentucky drivers cannot seem to use the turn signals that automotive manufacturers have installed in their vehicles.
A little common courtesy by using turn signals would benefit us all.
Save the cranes
My wife and I want to express our strongest objections to any hunting season on these magnificent birds. The reasons have been well-covered and enumerated in letters to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and in letters to the editor in newspapers all across the commonwealth.
The point is this: There can be little doubt that the majority of the citizens in Kentucky are against this proposal. In spite of this, KDFWR insists on carrying through with the proposed killing of these beautiful birds.
Don't make Kentucky the object of derision for good people all over this country. Back off this disastrous proposal. Listen to what the people are saying. This is our state. It does not belong to the KDFWR and they are losing public support every day this craziness continues.
Blind to own actions
Sen. Mitch McConnell does not want the two suspects in Bowling Green, accused of intending to ship weapons to Iraq, tried in Kentucky. He says that will pose a threat to our citizens.
Does McConnell give no thought to the 10 years of war in Afghanistan and the thousands of innocent Afghan lives lost? Does he give no thought to the innocent Pakistani lives lost in drone attacks, or the Senate resolution supporting Israel's brutal killing of hundreds of children among the 1,400 civilians who died in Gaza? Does the senator forget the tens of thousands of Iraqis killed due to our illegal invasion and the millions of refugees our government policies caused?
Of course, the architects of our illegal invasion and bombing of Iraq and Libya, countries that were no threat to us, should by Nuremberg standards stand trial, including the members of Congress who authorized the funds.
It seems lost on McConnell that the last two administrations and Congress have made the world dangerous for Americans. The unprovoked bombing, the sheer terror we have caused in the Middle East, would make any fair-minded person want justice for relatives humiliated, injured or killed.
This sudden worry about his home state trying two suspects at this late date after years of unprovoked war and illegal occupation seems remarkably hypocritical and shortsighted. It is rather the likes of McConnell who endanger all of us.
Many thanks to Rabbi Marc Kline, Temple Adath Israel, for his remarks on patriotism and religion so well explained ("Patriotism from the pulpit," July 9).
I thank Jehovah God through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the blessing and privilege of being born in the United States. It is not because I deserve it.
My forefathers fought for independence, and I have the privileges handed down to me through their sacrifices.
Herald-Leader writer Lu-Ann Farrar states, "Separation of church and state is fundamental to America's version of democracy." "Of" does not mean "from."
The forefathers had mainly come from England where a state religion was imposed on them. In this new country they wanted to be sure that no government would impose one religion on its citizens, but each citizen would have the right to worship as he or she pleased.
The last time I was in England there was still a state church and all citizens paid a church tax to support it. I want to see both the Christian flag and the American flag in the sanctuary where I worship as a silent symbol of who we are. It is an expression of the freedoms we enjoy.
At church the Sunday of the week of Independence Day I want to hear "God and country" music. I want to hear thanks being given for our freedoms. If we are not thankful for our freedoms, they could be taken from us.
Could there be a freedom more precious than that "of" religion?