E. Ky. residents shouldn't change how they speak
Speaking of issues in Eastern Kentucky, while I agree with a recent column writer that we should speak correctly, I do not believe we should try to lose our accent or try to conceal it.
Most of us around these parts are proud of our "hillbonics," it is part of our heritage and makes us unique. Some may say unique in a bad way — I say it is a good way.
Why is it still acceptable to judge us to be dumb because we talk differently?
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I enjoy the accents of Cajuns, Virginians and South Carolinians, but judge them for what they say and not how they say it. We in Appalachia deserve the same.
I figure that if someone assumes me to be stupid because of my accent, that is their bad and not mine.
Instead of changing our speech, why don't we try to change the attitudes of the people who look down on us because of it.
Trim military spending
Your editorial, "Failure to invest is costing us a future," presented a false choice between investing in scientific research and education and reducing the deficit.
If leaders in Washington were better stewards of taxpayer dollars, we could find billions in additional savings in the federal budget.
We'd have enough to pay down the deficit and to fund education, research and critical services for veterans, all of which have been slashed by automatic sequestration cuts.
Fiscal responsibility starts with basic reforms, starting with a tax code riddled with confusing loopholes that only an accountant could love. We must also be more honest about what we can and can't afford and which programs aren't making the grade.
For example, the Pentagon is buying a new fighter jet that will cost taxpayers $1.51 trillion, making it the most expensive defense contract in history.
Yet defense experts give this pricey new plane — known as the F-35 — a failing grade, saying that its poor maneuverability makes it a sitting duck in a dogfight while its cost increases make it unaffordable.
Canceling this plane and making a few other bipartisan reforms would free up billions in the federal budget — money that would be better spent paying down our debt, creating jobs and taking care of veterans.
Retired sergeant major, U.S. Army
Secret life in seas
When your children ask to see dolphins anywhere that they are kept captive, such as SeaWorld or "swim with the dolphins" parks, think twice. There is a very dark side to these places.
Dolphins are intelligent, social mammals that live in family groups and swim long distances in the wild. In theme parks, they suffer from sensory deprivation, social isolation and nutritional deficiencies and often die from captivity-induced diseases.
The methods by which they are acquired are also questionable. Worldwide, the largest source of dolphins for the entertainment industry is the infamous Japanese town of Taiji, where dolphins are treated with unspeakable brutality.
Although the importation of wild dolphins is now illegal in the U.S., SeaWorld has taken no action against animal trafficking.
These parks are based on cruel and unethical practices and should not be supported.
Children have open minds. Tell them it is cruel to keep dolphins captive — that they need to swim in the ocean and, just like people, be with their families.
Offer alternatives like watching one of many educational films showing dolphins in natural habitats or take them on a whale-watching trip — children love it!
You are teaching them to respect wild animals and protect them, which is good for them, the dolphins and the planet.
Why are we silent?
God is not running the economy, humans are. There are many people in need. The first priority is to take care of them.
Of course, there will be mistakes; there will be waste. Has anyone ever done anything without some waste?
Many have caused much waste. Much of it human. Why are we not speaking to this and the incompetence that led us to where we are?
Why are we silent? Is the battle of ideas so heated that most are not willing to join in? Why are the clergy silent? What is wrong with us? Are we all focused on small parts of our lives that we do not see anything else? Let's hear from those who say we are doing all we can!
The second priority is for people to sit down and ask what are we doing wrong? How can we fix the system so that more have gainful employment? Is America really saying that money is more precious than people?
Do not listen to a foolish, privileged politician with an elite background who warns in his privileged ignorance that more benefits will harm the people in need. His worry is that he might not end up in charge. Maybe that would be a good thing. He offers clichés instead of solutions.
Do not let public figures mouth nostrums while claiming there are no perfect solutions, which excuses us from trying anything. Most solutions in life are short term at best, as is life itself.
Proctor S. Burress
The University of Louisville's hiring of Bobby Petrino as the men's football coach does require a rewriting in Louisville of an old adage: "If you put a dress on a pig you still have a Petrino."
Work for the people
I voted for Sen. Rand Paul and want to remind him that all in the U.S. Senate and House are employees of we, the people.
Why don't we cut their salaries? Why can't the American people say that when they are out of office they no longer get any benefits?
It is about time to step up and save our military and our seniors who built our great country.
It is time to cut the retirement out for our senators and representatives instead of cutting benefits to our military families and Social Security.
Time to clock in and represent the people, not the coworkers stuck on Capitol Hill.