Don't use child's disability to break neighborhood rule
My wife and I have watched the saga of the "Playhouse in Andover" and have seen enough to say out loud that we are troubled that the parents are using a 3-year-old's disability as an excuse to break the neighborhood rules.
We can speak to this because we are the parents of a grown son who has cerebral palsy.
Over the past 24 years we have had to stand up against school employees and administration for mistreatment of our son, fight insurance for every piece of medical equipment he has needed, and insist he could join Cub Scouts or go to a diversity camp as a young adult.
Our son was in weekly physical and occupational therapy from 6 months of age through middle school, and on and off since then. He has had major surgery, and has been treated by many physicians.
In spite of all that, he has never walked or changed his own clothes. No one, in all these years, recommended a playhouse as a therapeutic necessity.
Come on parents, get real. Nothing in that playhouse cannot be achieved in a room inside your home. Don't teach your son that he should have what he wants because of his challenges.
Instead, teach him that hard work, self-advocacy and integrity will be the skills he needs, regardless of his physical abilities.
Last spring, we celebrated as our son received his degree from a college he attended for 4½ years — a school 500 miles away from his family.
No GOP compassion
Being a Christian and a Democrat, I have watched all of the Republican debates with an open mind. I did this because my sister is a Mormon and a Republican.
Today, I'm going to write the bone-ugly truth. The Republicans want President Barack Obama out of the White House because the government gives food stamps to the poor.
In today's economy, everybody has had to cut back in spending. They do well to pay the bills and feed their families.
U.S. citizens bailed out the rich in hopes they would create jobs and help the economy. That didn't happen. They put their money and ours in offshore accounts and huge bonuses.
They created a few minimum-wage jobs with these employees having to pay their own health insurance. These new employees are lucky if they bring home $600 a month. Do the math, and don't forget the taxes.
In my view, the only hope Republicans have at winning is to have Rep. Ron Paul and former Sen. Rick Santorum on the same ticket.
I asked my sister if she watched Obama's State of the Union address. She said she wasn't going to waste her time.
Doesn't this sound like the Republican "party of no" and closed-mindedness that we have become so familiar with?
If they read the Bible and profess to be Christians, shouldn't they want to help feed the poor and at least listen open-mindedly to what other people have to say?
Lesson from Utah
I recently returned from a visit to Salt Lake City, Utah. While there I visited the state Capitol, where I was told "in Utah, our Republicans and Democrats work together."
So, compromise is not a four-letter word.
Right now, the Utah representatives are again working together to resolve their No. 1 problem: How to redistribute a $236 million surplus in their 2012 budget.
This is without legalized gambling.
So the next time our politicians go on one of their junkets, could I propose they visit Utah to see what else is involved in their solvency besides both parties working together.
Ronald F. Balcom
Hard sell for gambling
Before Gov. Steve Beshear was elected to his first term, he was touting the financial advantages of expanding gambling in Kentucky when, in truth, expanded gambling would help Beshear more than it would help citizens of Kentucky.
His campaign was boosted by more than $1 million from a Northern Kentucky gambler.
In cooperation with the racing bloc, a survey was conducted that suggested 87 percent of Kentucky's registered voters wanted a gambling amendment to Kentucky's Constitution.
I am not as much opposed to gambling as I am to using false and misleading statistics to bring casinos and slot machines to Kentucky.
I am also opposed to a state senator acting in the role of an unregistered lobbyist to support the gambling people in their attempt to bring this monster to our state. Doesn't this state have enough addictions?
There are about 2.9 million registered voters in Kentucky, and the pollsters allegedly talked to 612 of them. The same poll said something like 64 percent of residents would frequent the casinos.
One article reported that casinos in the state would bring about $1.7 billion in tax revenues their first year. But how much of that would come from money that otherwise would be spent on the lottery and the racetracks?
That question should be asked by legislators.
Nothing could be good for this state if it is being sold using statistics such as those above to sell a product.
Roll of the dice
The Kentucky legislature has the duty to establish a budget. The state lottery did not solve the problem.
Now, Gov. Steve Beshear's efforts to increase gambling might offer a "tax-free" budget increase by bringing gamblers back from other states to Kentucky.
Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.
Rex J. Phillips
Purpose for government
Many members of the GOP and Tea Party movement subscribe to the idea of no new taxes and smaller government.
To get an idea of what that could mean, just look at the cuts in funding in our commonwealth's budget.
I would assume that most people appreciate clean water and air that is fit to breathe (the Environmental Protection Agency). We like our food to be safe to eat (U.S. Department of Agriculture).
We want our medications tested and found to be safe for us and our families (Food and Drug Administration).
All of these agencies require funding.
Can you imagine an old-fashioned style "barn raising" in which you and your neighbors mix up some asphalt and repave the interstates?
One way or another, there is a purpose for government and taxation. No one likes it, but we all need to shoulder the burden.
If Congress continues its hard line on no new taxes or refuses to raise taxes on the very wealthy, services once provided by Washington will come back to the individual states or cease to exist.
What may seem like a wonderful idea to many will not be a great reality.