Respect for Williams leaves with Senate exit
For years I admired and respected David Williams. Under his leadership, the state Senate stood between Kentucky's taxpayers and the tandems of Gov. Paul Patton/ House Speaker Jody Richards and Gov. Steve Beshear/House Speaker Greg Stumbo, protecting Kentuckians from the bad public policies they sought to inflict upon us.
Like Williams, I was upset when Charlie Borders and Dan Kelly allowed Beshear to give them lucrative positions with fat pensions in the attempt to co-opt the Senate and eliminate resistance to his proposals.
However, my admiration and respect for Williams went out the window when he chose to participate in the same behavior. If Williams really wanted that judgeship, he could have served out his Senate term and then run when the term expired.
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I supported Williams' gubernatorial campaign, and expressed that support financially. I wasn't upset that I had contributed to a losing candidate, because I thought he would be a better governor than the incumbent. It does bother me that I supported a candidate who later turned out to be a hypocrite.
Shortly after the judicial appointment was announced, I wrote to Williams and to his gubernatorial campaign treasurer, seeking a refund of my contribution.
The one bright spot from this episode is that Robert Stivers will be replacing Williams as Senate president. I trust that he will not seek a judicial appointment should there be a vacancy on the bench in Clay County any time soon.
We get what we pay for
A Dec. 5 letter bemoaned President Barack Obama's re-election. That writer claims because voters are dumb and unaware we could soon have a tax rate of "75 percent like France."
This writer wasn't joshing and was obviously unaware in the 1950s under President Dwight Eisenhower the top marginal income tax rate was 91 percent. However, we built an interstate highway system and expanded national defense.
President John Kennedy reduced that rate to 70 percent while developing a space program that landed men on the moon. Even with those tax rates we survived and prospered as a nation, contradicting the doomsday forecast.
This writer complains that workers are being taxed to give free stuff to those who don't work. First, a basic lesson in economics of American capitalism: Workers (the 98 percent) are never in the top rate, owners and investors (the 2 percent) are. If the writer examines the federal tax dollars generated from each state versus those dollars returned to each state, the takers are those states that voted Republican, the red states. Oops.
People like this writer romanticize the past, always overlooking the actual living and working conditions that existed then. The life expectancy then versus now demonstrates we have a better living standard and prosperity now than at any time in our history.
It never fails to amaze me how people clamor about American exceptionalism but never realize how or at what cost it was achieved.
James F. Wisniewski
In 1938 Germany, Jews could no longer head businesses, attend university or drive. In 1940, they started to be taken to concentration camps for "protective custody." They had to hand in woolen or fur clothing in 1942 and were forbidden to keep pets.
By September they could no longer buy meat, eggs or milk. The horrors of the concentration camps support the cry "Never again."
Fast forward to Israel's blockade of Gaza as punishment for electing Hamas. A U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks in 2011 says Israeli officials want to "keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse." The U.N. secretary-general said in 2010 that the blockade was causing "unacceptable suffering."
Here are some goods Israel would not let enter Gaza before 2011: wheelchairs, canned fruit, crayons, soccer balls and musical instruments, plus steel, cement and glass so the infrastructure destroyed during Operation Cast Lead (2009) cannot be rebuilt.
During Cast Lead, when Israel killed 1,400 Palestinians within three weeks and destroyed 3,500 homes, Congress passed resolutions supporting Israel.
The recent eight-day attack by Israel on Gaza killed 162 Palestinians, including 42 children, and injured over a thousand. On Nov. 16, before the cease-fire, the U.S. House and Senate passed resolutions in support of the assault. Later, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reiterated Washington's support for Israel was "rock solid."
That Israel, of all countries, is humiliating and brutalizing 1.6 million people, supported by a U.S. president who conducts assassination meetings every week and an intimidated Congress, makes a mockery of "Never again."
The comics 'cliff'
As if I didn't have enough to worry about with the fiscal cliff before us and end of the world looming because of the Mayan calendar, several readers have recently stirred up trouble about the comic strips.
I have gotten used to Dustin and Big Nate, but still find Pearls Before Swine about as predicable as a Sen. Mitch McConnell speech. I continue to enjoy almost all the newer strips, except for Get Fuzzy.
The comic pages, like any good newspaper generally, should appeal to a wide range of readers of whatever political persuasion. Your pages do that. What we don't want to read or see can easily be accomplished. Just don't read it.
However, don't mess with my old favorites, such as The Family Circus, Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey, Garfield and Rex Morgan, M.D., particularly the latter now that I am concerned about the fate of the lady with cancer.
Most of all, being in my distant youth a redheaded boy with a dog, don't you dare mess with Red and Rover. To one reader I say, "Sic 'em, Rover."
William E. Ellis
We have met the enemy
I'd like to respond to the letter writer who argues that Mitt Romney lost the election because he dared to speak the truth. The writer says 47 percent of Americans are, indeed, being paid not to work, at taxpaying Americans' expense. Incredibly, the writer then complains that her supplement is "rising at a great pace since Obamacare," and that she is on a fixed income.
First of all, supplement? Is that a Medicare supplement? Is any part of this from Social Security retirement benefits? If yes to either, the writer is a member of Romney's lecherous 47 percent.
He was not talking about only those who receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and food stamps. These folks comprise just 8 percent of the U.S. population.
The 47 percent figure includes people who, due to joblessness or low income, pay no federal income taxes, although most do pay some combination of payroll taxes, sales taxes and state income taxes.
Many of these people are retirees on fixed incomes.
But don't despair; many of your fellow Americans will judge you less harshly than does Romney.