Proven musical ambassadors in UK's orchestra
Question: How many orchestras can boast beginning their season with an encore before playing the first note?
The University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra did just that as they welcomed Itzhak Perlman back for a second year, opening appropriately with Brahms' Academic Festival Overture.
How did they manage to pull off such a coup? Luck? No. Money? No. Fame? No. Then what?
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For starters, they are a superb group of musicians with an outstanding conductor. Otherwise, such a world-renowned virtuoso would have never given them a second glance.
Also, maybe they have seen the elevator doors on the first floor of the Office Tower and they subscribe to the university's mantra, "See blue," although they receive no university financial support.
But it's not just seeing blue. They see the other words inscribed on those doors as well: success, ambition, leadership, innovation, opportunity, now, tomorrow and forever.
Perlman, who played the famous Mendelssohn concerto with the orchestra last year and the equally famous Tchaikovsky this year, knows something important about these young players.
They, like himself, are musical ambassadors through their education and outreach concerts. They perform locally, nationally and, next year, internationally, with a tour in May to China.
I hope Perlman stayed for the last half of the program as the UKSO played Dvorak's New World Symphony. Excellently executed, the Largo movement with its English horn solo was particularly elevating. I also hope these ambassadors take the New World with them to China.
North Dakota's edge
I enjoyed seeing your two full-page ads by the New America Energy Opportunity Foundation. I'm sure they paid a high price for these ads.
However, I have something to say that should have been included. And this is the absolute truth why North Dakota's unemployment rate is so low and most all of the other states are in economic downfall.
Kentucky's economic problems are due to its indebtedness to the Federal Reserve where North Dakota is indebted to no one, being the only state in the country with a public banking system that functions very similar to the Fed. North Dakota may not be able to print its own cash but it can and does create credit for its citizens and businesses. That is the main reason why North Dakota's unemployment rate is only 3 percent.
It is about time for all states to jump on the bandwagon and take back this country.
Paul's view disappoints
Sen. Rand Paul recently responded to a Herald-Leader editorial that criticized him for voting against a veterans jobs bill. It failed by two votes.
In his defense, he noted that there are education and vocational training programs already in place and he emphasized his view that any bill of this type should be funded by eliminating foreign aid to specific countries.
I was privileged to wear our country's military uniform for 28 years. Fortunately, as a retiree, I don't need a job. However, there are tens of thousands of men and women who have served honorably — literally risking their lives — who do need jobs.
The senator pursued his radical and obstructive agenda rather than serving the needs of the country.
Yes, there are education and job training programs in existence. However, they don't guarantee a job. This bill would have created actual jobs — in understaffed police and fire departments and in positions working to benefit our environment and our country's resources.
Isn't "job creation" what the Republican Party is supposedly all about? Perhaps the senator didn't get that memo.
It is irresponsible to hold valuable legislation hostage because of an issue unrelated to the bill.
Of course, Paul has used this tactic before, sometimes annoying even his fellow Republicans.
Those who have served our country so well under extraordinary circumstances deserve better treatment than this, and Paul's lame explanation does nothing to mask the truth: he cares much more about his views than he does about real people in need.
Last month, we lost former U.S. Sen. George McGovern. Although many will recall his disastrous 1972 loss to Richard Nixon and his subsequent leadership in getting us out of Vietnam, his truly lasting legacy will be his war on hunger and malnutrition.
In 1977, following extensive public hearings, McGovern's Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs published dietary goals for the United States, a precursor to today's guidelines.
It marked the first time a U.S. government document recommended reduced meat consumption.
The meat industry forced the committee to destroy all copies of the report and to remove the offending recommendation from a new edition.
It then abolished the committee, voted McGovern out of office and warned government bureaucrats never to challenge meat consumption again. (Food Politics by Marion Nestle, 2007).
Yet, after 35 years of studies linking meat consumption with elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases, the MyPlate icon, representing USDA's current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recommends vegetables, fruits and grains, but never mentions meat, choosing, instead, "protein" (www.choosemyplate.gov). And it all started with one brave senator from South Dakota.
I take issue with "Kudos for the paper" letter published Oct. 14.
The letter writer's rant about the editorial board being non-political is laughable, appalling and unbelievable.
The Herald-Leader along with the Democratic Party has been hijacked by the far left, which started in Chicago in 1968.
That is when the Democrats lurched so far left that many people left the party, including me. I might add, the Republican Party values now are about what the Democrats were in the 1940-60s era.
The Herald-Leader may not get many letters from conservatives, but I do know this; by far, most of the letters published are of liberal persuasion.
While I'm ranting let me really illustrate the "Neanderthal" that I am: Often we read or hear people talk about one of our most important "rights," the right to vote. Well that is true, but our established Constitution has several rules one had to meet to be able to vote.
Down through the years we have discarded most of these regulations and almost anyone can vote if they can prove that they are alive — or not, in some places.
I take issue with this line of thinking: anyone who cannot tell you who their senator, representative or even the vice president is, or has no idea how our government works, or would rather watch re-runs of Happy Days than the news should not be allowed to vote.
As some comedian once said, "You can't fix stupid."
There, I feel so much better.
Doyle L. McCollum