Boehner no Clay; Barr should chart his own course
After seven months of passing no legislation, our exhausted 6th District U.S. Rep. Andy Barr took a five-week paid vacation in July and August. During his much-deserved break from not doing his job, half of the nation's defense workers were put on unpaid furlough for six days. Not satisfied with his "work," Barr and his fellow Republicans have now determined to hold the entire federal work force hostage while his party extorts changes to a 3-year old law that they don't have the votes to overturn legitimately.
How ironic and sad that Barr's district was once represented by the finest speaker of the House in American history, Henry Clay, the "Great Compromiser." Even worse is the fact that Barr is doing the bidding of the weakest and most ineffective speaker of the House in American history, John Boehner.
As Clay's Whig Party dissolved into irrelevance in the 1850s, the same is happening now to Barr's Republican Party. Thirty racist ideologues under the banner of the Tea Party control an entire branch of government due only to the desire of Boehner to keep his title. Barr should be ashamed of himself for participating in this political charade at the expense of hard-working families from his district. If Barr cannot chart his own course and work for his constituents, he should resign his office and make way for someone who can. (Note to Andy: Ted Cruz is not one of your constituents.)
Cue the eerie music
Imagine a future with a Republican president and Republican majorities in the House and Senate. In the euphoric atmosphere after the election, several key legislative reforms are accomplished.
In the mid-term elections, due to the draconian measures adopted, Democrats seize control of the House of Representatives. Unable to overturn the Republican measures, dedicated left-wing Democrats refuse to fund the government unless specific Republican programs are overturned. Standing on principle, the Republican president will not be cowed and the government shuts down.
We have entered the Twilight Zone — government by de-funding.
Shame on the Republican Party. They already have shown time and time again that they have no compassion or decency. Now they are playing their thug games with people's lives again. The government shutdown is affecting scientists all over the world. The scientists in Antarctica are unsure if they can continue their research. Vital drug studies are being delayed, leading to unnecessary deaths of cancer patients. Research into crop-damaging insects is being delayed, leaving food crops and timber stands vulnerable. The national DNA databases are shut down, making it more difficult to solve crimes and bring criminals to justice.
Republicans like Rand Paul don't care whom they hurt, from farmers trying to feed people to cops trying to catch the bad guys, as long as they get to be on TV and stroke their egos on their way to a presidential run.
Protect sentinel oak
Like many others, I am concerned by a proposed protection plan for the magnificent bur/white oak tree that graces the rise above the intersection of Harrodsburg Road and Military Pike. Experts agree, a 50-foot protection zone is inadequate for a tree of this size, dooming this wonderful tree to a likely early demise.
Not only is the tree a marvel of nature because of age (300 years old) and size (six feet in diameter), it has been a witness to our history as a nation, a state and a city.
I can picture my great-great grandfather passing by this tree when he traveled from northern Fayette County on horseback to visit his brother in Harrodsburg. That was 200 years ago, and this bur oak already was 100 years old at the time. It is still sentinel of the same roadway — on which I now travel in my car.
This tree is precious, beautiful and must be adequately protected as part of any plan for development. Only God can make a tree, but he doesn't mind our help in protecting them.
Speak up for tree
I am a native Lexingtonian and disturbed by the gross negligence of developers who ruin our Bluegrass landscape and make millions in return. Why can't we have profit and beauty?
A 300- to 350-year-old bur oak tree at the intersection of Harrodsburg Road and Military Pike represents beauty and majesty, but it is destined for destruction unless we rebel against high-density developments such as the one proposed at Old Schoolhouse Lane. We are concerned about the impact of 196 apartments and 45 houses, as well as the 400-plus cars that will be exiting onto Harrodsburg Road at one exit. If developers want to save the tree, they would not propose a development with more than 400 cars driving over its extensive root system. Any drilling, blasting, excavating, traffic or change in water distribution can disturb the 300-plus-year-old bur oak's tranquil environment.
Lexington follows the false notion that filling empty land with higher-density housing will discourage citizens from invading rural areas. They don't understand that people move to rural areas to get away from apartments. What is to keep citizens living in neighboring counties from moving onto this same farmland to be closer to Lexington?
If you want to definitively save this tree and oppose a zone change from agricultural to R-3 then come to the Urban County Council public hearing at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in council chambers or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exercise right to vote
It has really come to my attention recently the number of U.S. citizens who don't exercise their right to vote. This right is one of the most fought-for causes in history. We weren't just given this right; our ancestors fought long and hard to make this a reality. There are 193 recognized countries, and 15 do not have the right to vote. Now, let's look at good old America. During any given election 40 percent to 50 percent of us do not vote.
I've done my part as a citizen; now it's time to see everyone carry out their duty to our ancestors and vote in the next election. When I think of America, I'm very proud to be from such a strong and free nation. It infuriates me that many others apparently don't feel the same way. I feel if they did, they would take advantage of each and every right that they possess.
Help laid-off miners
I am very concerned about the 525 jobs that were lost at the hands of James River Coal. The coal industry, though it might be failing, is the sole source of income and livelihood for many families.
Due to the state of the economy, finding another job will not be easy and might be near impossible for those who have done nothing but mine their entire lives and may lack other job training or experience.
I hate to think of the countless families' lives that will change forever because of these cuts. Life is hard enough; these people don't need to be worried about whether they will still have a job by the time their shift rolls around tomorrow. I just hope the government will rethink these cuts or provide resources and/or training to help those who lost their jobs to maintain their lives and support their families.