Long way to go to uphold King's grand dream
Electrifying the crowd at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with his famous, "I Have a Dream" speech, Martin Luther King Jr. captured the nation's attention with the problems facing black America. He asserted that "1963 was not an end, but a beginning" for black citizens, but also for white citizens.
Fifty years later, long gone are the days of segregation, signs for "white only" and the constant fear of lynching.
However, America has a long way to go to live up to the rights and guarantees promised in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. As such, we can honor King through remembrance, gratitude and discussions on the state of race relations with our friends, families, colleagues and politicians.
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Without King and his supporters, officials such as President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and Rep. John Lewis would not have been elected to office. Americans must be thankful for the racial barriers that the march helped dismantle, but acknowledge the work is far from complete.
The Supreme Court recently outlawed a key anti-discrimination ingredient of the Voting Rights Act. Stop- and-frisk policies in New York City have horrified the nation and the ongoing battle to investigate "stand your ground" gun laws persists. As citizens, we must continue to work to end racism and decrease the wealth and opportunity gap between black and white America.
The words that King spoke at the march have become immortal. We must make sure that his message and work becomes immortal as well.
Health care for all
Today's Republican Party is the party of gloom and doom.
All through the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican politicians, Fox News, right-wing talk radio and other conservative media said over and over that Barack Obama was a terrible president, thinking that if they said it enough, voters would think it must be true.
Obama's re-election showed a voting majority thought Obama was a good president.
Now, Congressional Republicans and their kowtowing media propagandists are doing the same thing with Obamacare, saying ad nauseam how bad Obamacare is. It must be repealed.
Once Obamacare is fully implemented, the American people will like it. How could anyone be opposed to 30 million more people getting health care coverage?
Some years ago, when the Family Leave Act was being debated, Republicans opposed it, saying it would hurt business. It passed, is still in effect and did not hurt business.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr.
No to Clark quarry
The Allen Company has requested a zone change for a 102- acre farm from Agriculture (A-1) to Heavy Industry (I-2), to create an open-pit quarry in Clark County.
The county Planning and Community Development board has voted against the plan.
But the county government could still vote to approve it. The 2012 Comprehensive Plan designates this part of the county as a tourism area. Sites designated for I-2 zoning are near I-64 north of Winchester.
This mine would destroy the viewshed at a major gateway, destroy the quality of life of communities near the property, devalue homes and add significant gravel truck traffic to Highway 627.
These trucks would be entering the road midway in a steep grade, into heavy traffic.
The 2012 tourism expenditures in Clark County alone were $78 million in a multi-county area called "Bluegrass, Horses, Bourbon and Boone" in state economic publications. This mine would be in the heart of the Boone settlements.
If it is approved, our officials would not be serving Clark County, but the economic interests of a company based in Fayette County. Approving the quarry would destroy a beautiful, historic gateway to Clark County.
This issue deserves scrutiny from anyone concerned about Kentucky's heritage and the importance of responsible zoning and planning.
McConnell a statesman
The war on coal rages on and now a war to defeat Sen. Mitch McConnell is being waged by the same extremists.
A complete stranger to Kentucky politics, Matt Bevin, is McConnell's primary opponent. He may be well-intentioned but his biggest cheerleaders are Obama liberals and McConnell's liberal Democrat opponent. They hope the primary will weaken McConnell by making him spend lots of time and money defending unfair attacks.
I have known McConnell since he was a college student working as an intern for Sen. John Sherman Cooper. We are honored to have a Kentuckian of his stature fighting for us in Washington.
During my lifetime, the two most powerful senators from Kentucky have been McConnell and Alben Barkley. Barkley was the Democrat Senate Majority Leader and served as vice president with Harry Truman. McConnell has been the Republican Senate Minority Leader since 2007. He was the Republican whip from 2003 to 2007.
Republicans are expected to take control of the Senate in 2014, and McConnell would be the most powerful senator in Congress. Kentucky may never again have the opportunity to have a senator in such a position.
In the highly unlikely event McConnell is defeated; his greenhorn replacement would have almost zero influence and be under the control of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Losing McConnell would be a disaster and bring more attacks on Kentucky coal. Kentucky Republicans and Democrats must join together to keep McConnell. In the words of the Kentucky motto: "United we stand, divided we fall."
Thomas B. Ratliff
The tragedy of Newtown and now the near-tragedy in Decatur, Ga,, where a 20-year-old armed with an assault rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition invaded an elementary school, moved a reader to write, lamenting that no gun laws have been passed to protect children.
There is a simple solution to motivate certain members of Congress to act. We will no longer refer to schools as schools, instead we'll call them coal mines, and children or students will be called coal.
You'll be surprised how fast Rep. Andy Barr and Sen. Mitch McConnell, who oppose the president on everything, will act to pass gun laws to stop the war on coal.
There are no coal mines in Barr's district. Nevertheless, he is more worried about protecting coal mines than about protecting the lives of school children from gun violence even though there are more school children than coal mines in his district; so much for concern about the community.
Another alternative is for parents to create local PAC's, Parent Action Committees, through their PTA's, to counter the National Rifle Association, who tell politicians not to believe the polls showing overwhelming support for gun reform.
If politicians feared the Parent Action Committees the way they fear the Tea Party and knew these PAC's would hold them accountable if they did not pass gun reform, that legislation would pass overnight without any party bickering.
Currently, politicians don't fear parents' demands for gun legislation because there's no muscle behind those demands.
James F. Wisniewski