Damron wrong to subject others to firearms danger
A front-page Herald-leader article recently indicated that state Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, an investment banker, had beefed up state gun laws to ensure that our public agencies cannot attempt to keep firearms out of their work areas.
Public employees might well wonder why Damron has decided, gratuitously, to increase their daily risk of physical harm or even death for no plausible reason.
They might also wonder if Damron is inviting the public to wander into his own offices packing a gun. If he is, I suspect his staff does not share his enthusiasm.
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In a democracy, ideally, we choose as our lawmakers those souls who exhibit the highest levels of wisdom and prudence. Kentucky clearly falls well short of that ideal.
There are many ways to lie. Sen. Mitch McConnell and some Republicans have found a new way. They claim the sequester is only a 2 percent cut to the federal budget and that any home or business could absorb that.
The truth is that, because Social Security and Medicare are not affected, the cut is more like 11 percent on only a part, a vital part, of the budget. So try, in your mind, the effect of an 11 percent cut on, say, your housing, gasoline, and food budgets. Not a problem?
Start cuts with Congress
Looks like the Republicans finally got what they wanted way back when they passed the Bush tax cuts. They are going to force smaller government through the sequester.
Instead of taking credit for finally achieving their goal, the Republicans are trying to shift the blame by calling it the Obama sequester. As even Sen. Paul Ryan admitted in the vice presidential debate, any reduction in government spending will increase unemployment.
Since the Bush economic policies were so effective in increasing unemployment, the Republicans apparently don't want to take credit for doing it again.
The sequester needs to start with Congress. First reduce all congressional staffs by the required 8 percent. Then reduce the pay of all remaining staff members by 8 percent. Then take 8 percent off their travel allowances so they will have some incentive to stay in Washington and do their jobs.
Next, get rid of the congressional entitlements. First close the subsidized congressional dining rooms. Let the members of Congress and their staffs support the local economy by eating in local restaurants.
Then, eliminate the unfunded congressional retirement entitlement that gives the former congressmen lucrative pensions and benefits. Instead make the congressional retirement plan Social Security and Medicare. Then the members of Congress will have a vested interest in preserving those programs for all of their constituents who depend on them to survive.
Andy Barr wrong on deficit
Congressmen Andy Barr's recent letter demonstrates the funny thing about spending cuts — they always seem unnecessary and inappropriate when they affect your district.
There are a number of problems confronting Congress and the deficit is one, but not the only one. Barr and his party need to prioritize the problems that need solving.
This country still has not recovered from the recession. Barr and the Tea Party should learn from Great Britain, which before completely recovering from its recession, instituted an austerity program that plunged it back into an even deeper recession.
So, put the sequester on hold until the American economy has fully recovered but start with the following reforms:
Cut government spending by ending oil subsidies costing $4 billion per year.
Close half of our 865 overseas military bases, which cost $250 billion a year.
Close the offshore tax loophole used by 83 of the nation's top 100 publicly traded corporations for the sole purpose of tax avoidance, costing the government $70 billion to $100 billion a year.
End the carried interest loophole for partners of investment fund managers and hedge managers and gain $17 billion over 10 years.
Over 10 years, that is a total of $2.3 trillion and you didn't have to put it on the backs of the poor, children, veterans or the elderly.
James F. Wisniewski
Suggestions for Rupp
At a recent basketball game at Rupp Arena, it was way too hot. After 25,000 people were there a while, we were uncomfortably drenched in sweat.
Second, the sound system was ineffective. The announcer was not loud enough to overcome the crowd, but mainly he did not enunciate clearly.
Third, it was hard for my friend to find and get to the smoking area outside. Are helpful signs impossible in this day and age?
Fourth, our cheerleaders are great. They were polished and classy. No wonder they often win the national title. This cannot be said for the pompon girls. Monotone blue or black pompons instead of the mixed blue and white would look better. The blue top with the silver neck was pretty, but some girls had too much belly.
Fifth, we should build a 50,000-plus seat arena with luxury boxes (why does football have such a big stadium?). How about more blue décor and some basketball displays, as in Memorial Coliseum? Our basketball history is something to be proud of.
Barbara Ellen Curtin
Any scholarship ball player who does not complete his free education and goes pro should have to reimburse the cost of his scholarship and that money should go to some deserving student who doesn't get assistance. Every student who gets free schooling on an athletic scholarship should have to spend at least three years in school. That would give them time to finish their degrees and complete their obligation to the college.
Domestic strikes wouldn't be tolerated
Would President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder use drones to kill American citizens inside the U.S. borders? Does this not concern anyone that this discussion is even taking place?
Is there something that America has done in this administration's eyes to possibly convince it that such a response may need to take place? Are they so misaligned with our Constitution or so filled with hate?
Do they actually think that our friends, neighbors, acquaintances and families who work for homeland security organizations — who carry the weapons, drive the armored vehicles and fly those drones — will ever follow the orders to kill innocent Americans without justification?
We are not a Third World country, though it may seem that the media is censored. Journalists have no morals and entertain agendas, and will not report all that takes place, only what supports their views or makes the opposition look bad.
Paul loves attention
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul ranted for over 13 hours in an attempt to filibuster a well-qualified person, John Brennan, to lead the CIA.
Why? The answer is simple, Paul loves attention and wants it constantly, regardless of how he gets it.
And, as usual, the Paul filibuster was full of fiction and not facts. One of main issues that he brought up was the killing of American "citizen terrorists" by using drones, but that's already not allowed by federal law.
Just over a year ago, Paul publicly lambasted President Barack Obama for wanting to put on trial three men in Bowling Green who attempted to help al-Qaida, but there were no problems.
In fact, all three men pleaded guilty before the trial began. What does that say about Paul's tactics as a senator from Kentucky? Simply worthless, except to make noise.
The man Paul was trying to filibuster currently serves as Obama's top counterterrorism adviser in the White House. He was nominated for the CIA post by the president in early January and the Intelligence Committee held his confirmation hearing Feb. 7.
He was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in right after Paul's filibuster. That says enough for me, but not Paul. Duh?
Darrell G. Gross
Dwatted Wand Paul
Last week, for 13 hours the U.S. Senate will never get back, Sen. Rand Paul fabricated a fantasy and then portrayed himself defending America from it. What's next? Filibuster a threat of attack by fire-breathing dragons or chimeras? Paul is Elmer Gantry Fudd, a con man hunting elusive wabbits. People who lead the gullible always require an enemy, a danger from which they will defend the gullible. Let's call it a "filiquester" instead of filibuster— another creation of Tea Party theater.
It was the Paul version of Joe McCarthy's "I have in my pocket the names of communists in government."
Have you no shame, Rand Paul? At least Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham see RINO Paul for the abject fool he is, and said so.
Zoning laws mean zip
Your article about plans for a Boone Creek zip line didn't go into depth about the illegality of building structures without proper permits.
If developer Burgess Carey doesn't need to comply with zoning laws or get a building permit to build canopy tour/zip line structures after being denied by the Board of Adjustment, why should anyone bother abiding by any of the building and zoning laws?
It sets a bad example for everyone. He has openly defied laws, rules, building regulations and the board's decision by proceeding with construction. The proper officials had been notified in writing of this illegal action weeks before the article appeared.
The local zoning ordinances and even state planning and zoning laws define a structure as "anything made which requires permanent location in or on the ground or attached to something in or on the ground."
Any structures permanently built on a tree are obviously attached to something in the ground and, therefore, the multiple platforms with zip lines fastened to trees require building permits. (Are the bathrooms built in trees, too?) Carey could not legally get a building permit to construct the platforms since they do not conform to the literal terms of zoning and building regulations.
What will it take for the city to enforce the laws and regulations on the books in a timely manner? Deep pockets and community connections should not mean free rein to go above the law.
Canopy tour enthusiast
I am in favor of moving forward with plans for canopy tours in the Boone Creek area of southwest Fayette County. It is unfortunate that the city's building inspectors office is trying to thwart the development of an excellent family outdoor activity.
This will be a great opportunity for families to enjoy and teach their children about the biological aspects of part of our beautiful local environment.
Protect natural beauty
Central Kentucky is known for its natural beauty. That's why people come here. I hope developers Conn Robinson, who has been strip mining his land for years, and Burgess Carey, who wants to build a Boone Creek zipline don't start a new law-breaking tradition of building, excavating or destroying their land by their examples.
If this becomes accepted tradition, it will have dramatic damaging results. In January, 2012, I presented a petition of landowners living two miles along Boone Creek on the Clark County and Fayette County sides in opposition to the Boone Creek project.