Trayvon Martin case begs religious activism question
Two pieces only pages from each other in the March 26 Herald-Leader caught my eye and made an immediate impression.
On page A6, an article about the Trayvon Martin tragedy closed with this paragraph: "It's that sense of activism that resonated with Michael Ambrosini, who left the service wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. He said he attends the church in part because 'such violence dictates strong political action, and this church takes action.'"
Then, on page A11, I came to these two sentences in Lawrence Durr's commentary: "A secular democracy does not mean that you can't practice your faith outside the church. It means that you can't use your faith to influence or determine government policy."
Much has been said and written over the last 200-plus years about the First Amendment and how it rightly should be applied in the public arena, but here is what I believe to be absolutely true: People are selective in how they view it and apply it depending almost exclusively on their political leanings, and that is unfortunate. But, in these times, it seems true of most every major issue.
For example, I would submit that the editorial board of your fine newspaper would be shouting "Hallelujah!" in support of the good folks in churches asking for justice in the Florida shooting, while also proclaiming a hearty "Amen" to Durr's position. They seem almost diametrically opposed to me and blatantly inconsistent.
Am I wrong?
David A Smith
Health care question
How is it okay in Massachusetts to have a law that requires its citizens to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, but not for the rest of the states?
Why is this not part of the discussion by the radical conservative Supreme Court justices? Why has the attorney/solicitor general for the United States not brought this up?
And how is it that it seems to be okay to be an activist judge if you are conservative, but not liberal? And how can the Supreme Court even consider overturning this affordable health care act? To me, that is outrageous and unconstitutional.
I am thoroughly and completely disgusted by this court; the five conservative justices should be removed before they totally destroy this country. Have they not even considered what total chaos their activism will create when they overturn this act, as half of it is already in effect?
I hope conservative types like going without affordable health coverage in the future and having Medicare not work and having our economy get way worse. Maybe in a few years — after more people really suffer and file bankruptcy due to no health care and all our insurance premiums go way up — I hope you will remember how great we almost had it, no thanks to Republicans.
UK deserves control
Since the state of Kentucky contributes only 10 percent of the operating/capital budget to the University of Kentucky, then the state should have only a 10 percent vote on how the university spends funding that is from university-generated resources.
Did you know out of the $2.7 billion operating and capital budget for UK the state contributes only $284 million? According to the U.S. Census that breaks down to approximately $60 a year for each man, woman and child in the state.
Our state lawmakers need to take a good, long, hard look at their spending and focus on what is truly important. Shame on them. UK should be able to spend funds it generates on improving or building new facilities, period. I am embarrassed by the legislature's refusal to grant UK the agency bonding authority it needs to make improvements for our future generations.
The Federal Reserve is keeping its interest rate near zero, probably until the end of 2014. This is the rate that big banks pay for short-term loans. The Fed is keeping it near zero to help our economy grow.
Meanwhile, here in Kentucky, people are paying payday lenders 400 percent interest for short-term loans to help them get by until their next paycheck. The payday lenders call these charges "fees," not interest. They say they are providing an important service. The truth is many people who use payday loans get caught in a vicious downward economic spiral, having to borrow more and more money to pay the earlier loans.
The federal government passed a law limiting payday loan interest rates to 36 percent for military personnel. Kentucky Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, introduced House Bill 332 to limit payday loan rates to 36 percent, but it could not move out of the House Banking and Insurance Committee as Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg, who heads this committee, refused to let it be heard.
So what is wrong here? Big banks get short-term loans for near zero percent interest while hard-working Kentuckians have to pay 400 percent. And our legislative branch is not being allowed to fix this, even though a poll in February showed that 73 percent of Kentuckians are in favor of the 36 percent interest rate limit. Greer and his committee have to know that what they are doing is wrong. It is time for them to start supporting the people of Kentucky.
Reining in EPA
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., introduced legislation designed to rein in out-of-control federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. Senate Bill 2122, if enacted, will be a vital blow to the enforcement of radical environmental/Agenda 21-inspired regulations. The bill is called the Defense of Environment and Property Act.
Paul's legislation will do the following:
■ Redefine "navigable waters" to explicitly clarify that waters must actually be navigable, or "permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water that form geographical features commonly known as streams, oceans, rivers and lakes that are connected to waters that are navigable-in-fact." It excludes from federal jurisdiction streams that sometimes form when rain falls.
■ Restrain the EPA and Army Corps from regulating or "interpreting" the definition of a navigable water without congressional authorization.
■ Protect the rights of states to have primary authority over the land and water within their borders. ·
■ Prohibit federal agents from entering private property without the expressed consent of the landowner
■ Require the government to pay double the value of the land to any landowner whose property value is diminished by a wetlands designation.
Americans have a fundamental right to private property. I urge you to ask your congressional members to support S 2122.