Beshear acted with respect at Hindu ceremony
What part of the word "respect" does Senate President and gubernatorial candidate David Williams not understand?
His attack on the participation by the governor and Elizabethtown mayor in the dedication of a manufacturing plant by an Indian company was mean-spirited, disrespectful of the faith of a company and people creating jobs for Kentuckians. And it is a blatant disregard for a fundamental principle our nation's founders adopted when creating a secular government.
The United States was founded on a belief that we are each entitled to practice the faith of our choice and an assurance that our government will respect and protect that choice. In attacking the governor for attending the dedication of the new plant consistent with the Hindu faith of its owners, and then going on to further say that he does not "participate in Jewish prayers," Williams is so outrageous, clearly he should not be entrusted with any public office.
A pluralistic, democratic society can only survive if it honors and respects all people, regardless of their faith. When you are in someone's home and they say grace before eating, you participate respectfully, regardless of your personal beliefs. That is what our governor, who grew up Baptist, did in Elizabethtown and he deserves our appreciation for respecting others with beliefs different from his.
Have we become so isolated and narrow-minded that we can't respectfully attend and participate in a worship service other than in our own places of worship? I'm very proud that we have a governor who can interact with people of all faiths. Our state is blessed to have people from all religions, cultures and beliefs, and I'm glad Gov. Steve Beshear is intelligent enough to be a governor to everyone who lives here.
It appears to me that at the Hindu Service of Blessing, Gov. Steve Beshear was acting as a Christian, not a Hindu. The governor, I believe, was expressing the virtues of hospitality and respect. They are Christian virtues, well-recognized by most and encouraged in all religious traditions.
In a time of growing religious diversity, Beshear has set a fine example for all Kentucky Christians. It is a Christian virtue to express our gratitude for the gifts that others, in this case Hindus, bring to our life together in the commonwealth. Thank you, Governor.
The Rev. Albert M. Pennybacker
An article in the Oct. 29 paper noted approval for a state law declaring "Dependence on Almighty God."
The law requires "the Office of Homeland Security to publicize God's benevolent protective powers in its official reports and on a plaque posted outside the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center."
Why would a Baptist pastor, as noted, of all people promote such a law? Historically, Baptists partnered with James Madison who championed the Constitution's Bill of Rights.
The bill begins with the clause, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
The judges approving the appeal for the law noted it was all right because it really had no meaning. "A generic 'God' acknowledges religion in a general way" wrote Judge Laurence VanMeter in the majority opinion.
Yet, now Kentucky will surely pay legal expenses to defend a likely indefensible law. It's a law about a generic god, who's cause and position must be supported in stated practices.
. Otherwise one might be subject to up to a 12-month jail term, according to dissenting Special Judge Ann O'Malley Shake.
Madison and Baptists knew that religion requiring government support would always be weak. State laws can never force true belief. Law enforced faith-based practices result in faithless practice.
D. Leslie Hill
Whew. Thank goodness the Court of Appeals upheld The Kentucky Office of Homeland Security's use of "dependence on Almighty God" on its official reports and plaques.
Otherwise, we would have been in large trouble.
Here's hoping other states will see what we've done and get on board before something big goes down without having God signed on. I think offices of disaster preparedness and the like might take note of this wise idea and put up similar statements on their own official Web sites and plaques before it's too late.
I can only imagine the power of God's protective measures in the face of some of her own destructive forces, which are easier to document and certainly spectacular. Insurance companies always call these events "acts of God" in an effort to not pay for the resulting devastation. Couldn't someone put up a plaque to protect citizens from these acts of hers?
I recently saw firsthand, what God did to Joplin, Mo., and it was something. As I stood in the middle of that town back in late May, from horizon to horizon I did not see a human-made stick or brick left untouched. The destruction reminded me of pictures I've seen of Harry Truman's punishment of Hiroshima or W.T. Sherman's education of Richmond, Va.
All government offices should tack these notices up pronto, lest tornadoes, earthquakes or tsunamis come to our Bluegrass state.
Aid the mentally ill
Your editorial, "Ky. mental health care falls short," hit Kentucky's greatest challenge.
If our state does not address the challenges related to mental illness and an array of mental-health disorders, economic decline results.
Our most vulnerable citizens cannot get a job, keep a job, maintain a place to live if one is available, or carry out the basic steps of everyday life — unless mental health needs are met.
Encouraging Sen. Jimmy Higdon and Rep Terry Mills, as you did, to form a working group to set goals and create an action plan is something we fully share.
We help people address mental illness day and night and see the struggles in mental health across our region, often with a lack of public awareness or urgency.
Our board of directors, management and dozens of counselors and staff address mental health as job one, if Kentucky is to thrive.
Chair, Board of Directors
Kentucky River Community Care, Inc.
City not a business
I listened to Mayor Jim Gray on TV, boasting about his business expertise. A government is not a business. And, we all know that the only people to profit in a business, is the upper management.
The employees actually run a business and make it the operation that it is, but they are the ones who suffer in the long run.
What the mayor and council are doing to the peons, with regards to health insurance out-of-pocket increases, is equal to financial suicide for a lot of families.
They will have less money to spend locally, which in turn will cause a ripple effect, hurting local businesses.
And, when something goes wrong at the city's proposed wellness center, who is going to pay for that malpractice lawsuit? The city will, because it will own and operate the facility.
The common workers have gone from living month-to-month, to week-to-week, and are about ready to be forced to live minute-to-minute — if they can somehow keep their heads above water, which I don't see how they can.
Mayor, put a freeze on funding for trees, bike lanes and other projects. Take care of your only important asset: the peons who work hard every day and voted to put you and the council into power.
State of the economy
Promised jobs did not follow tax breaks
With the country in the worst financial shape in modern history and unemployment near 10 percent for the past few years, how can anyone say that the tax breaks to the top 2 percent should stay in effect? They have been enjoying these tax breaks for the past eight or so years, yet unemployment still continues to go up. Where are the jobs we were promised for giving them tax breaks? There have been none. I have nothing but respect for those who work hard and make good money, they deserve it. But for billionaires to pay 15 percent federal tax rate, compared to my 32 percent, is, as President Barack Obama said, bad math.
The best way to solve the tax problem would be a flat tax for everyone, but we know that won't happen when both parties are in the back pockets of the banks, insurance companies, etc. With what is going on in our country, there will only be two classes at this rate: the rich and the poor. Goodbye, middle class.
Rich unpatriotic for not aiding country
Considering the frozen Lexington firefighter pay, I know those who are employed are dealing with less income, uncertainty and increasing costs. High unemployment equals fewer taxes. With wages frozen for most of the middle class for years, the public-sector cuts and the private sector barely holding on, the only painless position is at the top. And those folks are refusing to do anything to turn this thing around.
I'm so tired of hearing about "class warfare." We don't want to make people's taxes higher just for the sake of taking from them. In a recession, the math says we all have to make some tough decisions. Why don't the people at the top want to help more? Why don't they have compassion for the struggling middle class?
They call themselves job creators, yet it is their fear of the market that keeps them from investing; instead, they are moving their money from the markets into safer places. They aren't even willing to take risks to help create jobs. How shortsighted can these people be if they think business can grow if consumers are hurting too badly to spend?
They have no faith in their countrymen. It's unpatriotic and leaves me feeling hopeless, until I consider our local heroes, like firefighters, who always put country before self.
Learn lesson from Hoover's mistakes
President Herbert Hoover presided over the onset of the Great Depression. His approach to addressing the dismantled economy included lowering taxes, while refusing to authorize the large-scale relief efforts pushed by both Democrats and Republicans as the economic crisis worsened.
His inadequacy contributed to the long duration of the crisis, as well as large-scale suffering that might have been alleviated by more aggressive public relief efforts. Even as the misery spread, Hoover held fast to his opposition to federal intervention into the economy and the construction of a welfare state.
In the end, his own political principles were more important to him than the well-being of the United States. Some of the lessons from this are: Tax cuts do not create jobs and federal intervention is needed in times of severe economic distress.
Kentuckians should learn from history and insist our lawmakers support President Barack Obama's job plan, regardless of personal political affiliation. The future of our great nation depends on it, as there isn't going to be a World War II to bail us out this time.
Come talk to Occupy protestors
Leland Conway's Oct. 10 column revealed an erroneous idea about who the members of Occupy Lexington are. I have stood with the group for many days, sat in on most of the General Assembly meetings, and have read their Declaration of Occupation, mission statement and list of objectives they wish to accomplish. The desire to do away with capitalism is nowhere to be found in the group's objectives.
The problem isn't capitalism itself. The problem is that most major corporations in America have colluded with federal and state governments to create a corrupt system that leaves the American people suffering in economic despair.
It is this unethical alliance the members of all occupations across our great nation wish to dissolve but is, by no means, all they hope to achieve. The organizers and supporters of Occupy Lexington represent this community —the 99 percent of the population struggling financially, to one extent or another, and feel left out of the political process, while the richest 1 percent grow richer and more powerful.
So I would like to invite Conway and everyone else in our community to come down to discuss the issues and sit in on one of the General Assemblies, held daily at 6:30 p.m. I think you will find that you have more in common with us than not. This is not a Democratic movement or a Republican movement. It is a people's movement. It is an equality movement. It is a movement for social, political and economic justice.
Where's the plan?
I think I've got it now. I watched the last Republican presidential candidates debate and it seems they want to get rid of our Social Security, health care systems and President Barack Obama.
Not one of the candidates mentioned our elected Congress as being responsible for our present laws and quagmire. They would make it appear Obama is responsible for all our present laws and problems.
And I always thought America was "by the people, for the people." Debaters defended the banks, big business and themselves. And surprisingly, they attacked each other repeatedly and brutally. It was a shameful spectacle. It is this kind of bickering and behavior, and on national TV yet, among our so-called leaders that is bringing America down.
Each of the debaters said they were going to fix the economy and create millions of jobs when elected. And not one of them presented even one plan or constructive solution for our bankrupt economy.
If most of us taxpaying citizens were not too pathetic, lazy, disinterested or otherwise too uninformed to know how to vote, we the people, could bring America back from the edge of our cliff. Remember only 30 percent of eligible citizens even register or bother to go to the polls. If you don't vote, do not complain.
Poor representation of party
Watching news coverage of the Republican candidates would cause anyone to ponder the question: What the heck happened to the Republican Party?
Mitt Romney's unbelievably delusional thinking is on display every day as he actually tries to hide from the world the public record of his career in politics as a moderate progressive. That is comparable to wearing a large basket of fruit on your head and when asked about it, denying that it is there.
Herman Cain is no less insane. He was filmed singing a version of John Lennon's song Imagine belting out "Imagine a world without pizza." He maintains that if a person is poor it is their own fault, and is seen everywhere babbling "9-9-9."
Rick Perry has a good head of hair, but has had trouble completing thoughtful, intelligent sentences at the debates, relaxes at a family lodge named a racial slur and thinks Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.
Ronald Reagan would have had a hard time fitting in with these people, given his record is way left of the now radically right party, and the fact that he spoke coherently and substantively about the issues. Heck, Richard Nixon seems almost normal.
Angela M. Arnett
If, as proclaimed by many Republicans — including front-runner Herman Cain and the boisterous crowd at the last Republican debate — that it is an individual's fault if he is not rich or has no job, then shouldn't the individuals at the banks that were bailed out be held accountable, too? Why should they have a job?
Individuals, not institutions, made decisions that led to the bank bailouts. Where is their accountability?
Norman E. Goldie, Jr.