Protect public transportation from budget cuts
Could you imagine something which meant cleaner air, less dependence on foreign oil and fewer hours wasted in traffic being derided as wasteful and having its budget slashed? We do not have to imagine. In September, Congress proposed cutting public transportation funding by almost a third.
In light of scientists' warnings about the impact of energy use on climate, it is important to support the most energy-efficient transportation available, such as public transportation. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average transit bus consumed 2,656 Btu per passenger-mile in 2008, while the average car used 3,501 Btu.
One significant factor in loss of productivity is traffic congestion. In places like Lexington, thousands of minutes (and gallons of fuel) are wasted yearly idling in traffic. Something which keeps traffic from getting worse is that many people are riding buses instead of adding more cars to traffic.
I rode LexTran to the Horse Park during the World Equestrian Games and it was so packed with passengers many were standing in the aisles. Imagine how much it would have clogged Interstate 75 if all of those passengers rode cars up to the park.
Finally, transit provides transportation to those not able to drive (the elderly, the low-income and the disabled). Transit ensures they have a reliable means of traveling to work, school or the doctor's office without relying on friends and relatives with automobiles. They thereby have somewhat more independence than they would otherwise.
Propped up for failure
Lexington's public golf courses are truly assets that are an important part of the quality of life in Lexington. It is very disturbing that members of the Urban County Council are working to destroy these assets.
The council ordered price increases at the city courses in both 2010 and 2011. This was done during a tough economic period when privately owned course owners have been either lowering prices or offering incentives to increase play at their courses.
Not surprisingly, the pricing actions by the city and the actions by private courses have resulted in less play at the city courses and, of course, less revenue to the city. This seems like a "going out of business" strategy forced by city council.
Why is council catering to the demands of privately owned course owners, most of whom are not located in Fayette County? Do members of the council have a hidden agenda? If the privately owned courses are not competitive, they should lower prices or get out of the business. The city council should not be taking actions to help these course owners at the expense of the city-owned courses. Council should be supporting actions by the parks department and the course managers to make the city courses successful, not handcuffing them into failure.
A strange swap
I'm old enough to remember when we swapped a Russian spy, one for one, for Francis Gary Powers, our U2 pilot shot down over Russia. Recently, we traded 10 Russian spies for four of ours; the result of inflation, no doubt. But I wasn't prepared to see Israel trade 1,000 Palestinians, some convicted of murder, for one Israeli soldier who had been kidnapped five years ago for the purpose of arranging such a swap.
Only time will tell if this was a good deal for Israel. There are "wheels within wheels," as Ezekiel said. It strengthens Hamas over Fatah and thus impedes the creation of a Palestinian state because Hamas is a terrorist organization that will not recognize Israel as part of any two-state deal.
Despite this deep game, I can hope that Muslims, as well as others, are at least a little bit impressed by how much value Israel puts on every Jewish life. (And not just Jewish lives; when Israel bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, it did it at a time most likely to minimize the loss of life and, indeed, only one person was killed.) Would that we all had the same respect for human life.
Flirting with global laws
Although we're a long way off from seeing an independent international order, the International Criminal Court was created to act as an oversight to crimes against humanity and was a primary factor of the United States being voted off the Human Rights Commission because of opposition to its creation.
In the colonial empire where English socialism is pivotal to their black operational governments acting as the devil's advocate in creating patronized social attacks of religious anarchy through electronic and psychological warfare, we could see a future international intervention. For example, murder, extermination, torture, rape and political, racial or religious persecution and other inhumane acts are all pointed out by the Rome Statute as being crimes against humanity if they are systematic.
The ICC is a very positive direction for all religions in the fact that it factors theological tyranny as an independent political action that shouldn't be equated to any deity and the entire process shouldn't be allocated to much more than that of common witchcraft.
End of war not justice
President Barack Obama fulfilled his campaign promise to end the hostilities in Iraq. Begun eight years ago, this conflict cost the lives of more than 4,400 Americans, 150,000 Iraqis (likely underestimated), and a trillion wasted dollars.
Justifications for this misadventure were, first, weapons of mass destruction for which the United Nations found no evidence prior to the start of hostilities and later were never found; and second, Iraq's support for Osama bin Laden, which also was never proven. These lies were foisted on the American public by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and supported by like-minded and/or spineless politicians.
The only disinfectant for this sort of cynical, callous criminal behavior should be war crimes trials. However, as we have seen from similarly criminal behavior from Wall Streeters who create a worldwide recession and then profit from it, justice is indeed elusive for both the wealthy and the landed gentry.
A godly state
A recent letter, in clarifying God's truth to us, informs us that the mythical being himself says gayness is a sin. Therefore, efforts of ministers, columnists and government officials aimed at fair treatment is, well, misguided.
I have seen as much evidence for an all-seeing, all-knowing, sky-dwelling entity who directs our lives from some off-world observatory as I've seen for souls, heaven, hell or Santa Claus. This so-called God's word, written, obviously by humans, seems to be the guiding force in the writer's life. Since I do not buy into this myth, which some 80 percent of our fellow citizens cling to, I have only my own sense of right and wrong on which to rely.
I am not gay, but my best friend is. Two other good friends are lesbians. I would not deny any of them the right to love whomever they wish, the right to work, or access to opportunities I enjoy by virtue of being heterosexual. My accidentally accumulated molecules would not presume to tell others' accidentally accumulated molecules how to go about their business.
There are countries where male, God-fearing, homosexual-hating, intolerant types make all the rules. Perhaps those who share these ideas could form their own state. Wait a minute, I think there is one. Their governor is running for president.