Kentucky should recognize Ali as the world does
As I sat opposing mountaintop removal on July 26 (and almost weekly for 1½ years and daily on workdays during session), Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson acknowledged my request to place Muhammad Ali in the Capitol Rotunda.
"Muhammad Ali would be opposed by veterans" was Abramson's statement to me.
For Ali's opposition to the Vietnam War and his successful Supreme Court appeal for ministerial status Ali would not be welcome in our state Capitol though he is the best known man from Kentucky in the world?
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And as I sat watching the opening ceremonies at the Olympic Games, Ali was again recognized by the world. It is time for our military leaders and veterans to stand up and demand that we in Kentucky recognize Ali, as well we should.
I hope all readers, including military leaders and veterans, contact executive and legislative officials across the state. And former state senator Georgia Powers and women's rights activist Madeline McDowell Breckinridge should join Ali in the rotunda. Former Gov. Martha Lane Collins should ne next to Happy Chandler on the Governor's Mansion end of the Capitol.
But first, while he is able to be here at the Capitol, Muhammad Ali should be honored immediately.
Don B. Pratt
Better active than sorry
I'm a physicist. I teach a course at the University of Kentucky about science, technology and the future. One of the major topics is the global-warming theory.
The controversy over global warming has to do with whether we are observing it yet, how large the effect is supposed to be, what are the likely consequences, and whether we need to or even can do anything about it.
Scientists have been measuring the carbon-dioxide content of the atmosphere for over 50 years. It has increased by a third in that interval. This trend will continue as long as we burn fossil fuels.
Scientists have also been measuring the temperature of the Earth, using several different techniques. The temperature also has been steadily rising, about 1 Fahrenheit degree in 50 years. This doesn't prove the global-warming theory is correct, but the implications cannot be ignored.
Last month's heat wave and the continuing drought to the west are not evidence for the theory; these can be accounted for as normal local fluctuations. But if the average temperature of the Earth is going up, the possibility of such events increases. Small changes in average temperature can have significant effects, both good and bad.
One clear implication of the global-warming theory is that the process will be difficult to reverse. There is no place for the carbon dioxide to go; the elevated levels will persist for many hundreds of years. Prudence requires that we take the global-warming theory seriously.
The article regarding the upcoming attempt at a statewide smoking ban recalled to mind a quote from the wise and honorable C.S. Lewis: "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
Own worst enemy
"Cyber-attack danger," the New York Times' editorial on your Aug. 2 Opinions page, is alarming. Even more alarming is the unwillingness of Republicans to let this bipartisan bill go forward.
Fearing that the Obama administration could get some credit from voters for the passage of a bill designed to protect the nation's security, Republicans continue their unconscionable and untenable obstruction tactics. I can think of another word to describe their inaction — shameful.
On right-wing diatribes
As I read letters to the editor, I cannot help but wonder why right-wing zealots who write in continue to read the Herald-Leader, since they seem to hate everything about it. Typical is the letter, "Vintage liberalism," on Aug. 7.
The writer starts by mocking spiritual beliefs different than her own ("'Tain't no good if 'tain't Christian" is a common theme among such missives), condemns an entire Kentucky city as "kooky," then goes on to bash your Pulitzer-winning cartoonist, Joel Pett, a favorite target.
In stereotypical and predictable fashion, the writer goes on to extol the virtues of carrying concealed weapons, and finally, of course, ends by bashing our president, calling him "a liar, a socialist who will wreck the country given four more years." Blah, blah, blah.
I would suggest such writers cancel their subscriptions to the Herald-Leader and stick to the more radical right-wing variety of supermarket tabloids that make up their own "news." This would provide them with a medium that is not only in tune with their political philosophies, but more in line with their intellectual capacities.
Tax the bullets
While I realize it would be impossible to remove the approximately 270 million firearms from the U.S. citizenry, there is one thing we can do to reduce future casualties during such mass tragedies as in Aurora, Colo., and Oak Creek, Wis., and at the same time raise government revenue.
Ammunition purchased at firing ranges or for hunters with lawful permits would be sold at current prices. At the range they could purchase as many bullets as they desire but must expend these or turn in the unspent ones. Licensed hunters would be allowed to purchase a set number of bullets — say 10 per rifle per year.
Gun owners who want to purchase bullets to stockpile at home would have to pay a hefty tax. Say if we were to tax a bullet $99 (or $1,000 for that matter) the government could realize a nice revenue stream.
While this does not interfere with one's Second Amendment rights, it is a way for the government to raise revenue and at the same time reduce the number of casualties during these ever-increasing massacres.
It seems most of these tragedies are at the hands of unstable people, the majority of whom I surmise do not have high-paying jobs. Taxing bullets heftily would restrict many from purchasing large numbers and thus restrict their ability to carry out these atrocious attacks.
Blight on sides of buses
Ambulance chasers have hit a new low. The latest blight in Lexington after these beautiful new buses hit the road is to have attorney Daryl Isaacs' face and his huge marketing ad running all over the city. Even more hideous are the words "car crash" covering the balance of the side of the bus.
I was hoping that we would continue to see the new buses without advertising, but now this is beyond the pale.
Is LexTran this desperate for funding even though they are enjoying increased ridership?
I would have hoped that there would at least be an art committee assigned to pass on any submitted design.