Hemp restrictions rooted in bias against Mexicans
Regarding Sen. Rand Paul's thoughtful Feb. 6 column, the U.S. is indeed one of the few countries in the world that denies farmers the right to grow industrial hemp.
Apparently federal bureaucrats can't tell the difference between a tall hemp stalk and a squat marijuana bush. Prior to passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, few Americans had heard of marijuana, despite widespread cultivation of industrial hemp.
The first anti-marijuana laws were a racist reaction to Mexican immigration during the early 1900s. White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding "reefer madness" propaganda.
Never miss a local story.
Decades later, marijuana use is now mainstream. Government exaggerations about marijuana have created forbidden-fruit appeal and increased use where none existed.
If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be fully legal. The direct experience of millions contradicts the lies used to justify prohibition. There is no excuse for denying farmers the right to grow industrial hemp.
Common Sense for Drug Policy
I see on C-Span that Sen. Mitch McConnell voted against extending unemployment benefits.
He just took away food and a way to pay for heating homes, and he wants us to give him one more term. I think not.
Value foreign languages
Senate Bill 16, which recently cleared the Kentucky Senate, declares computer programming a foreign language so that it can be used to satisfy a student's foreign-language requirement.
Its stated objective is to "help prepare students for good-paying jobs in the computer industry," according to a Jan. 28 Courier-Journal article and to offer "opportunity" and "flexibility" to students and school districts, according to sponsor David Givens, Republican from Greensburg.
In reality, the bill will pit foreign language against computer science and will result in a reduction of language choices for students and in a reduction of language programs in schools, particularly in rural areas.
Foreign-language education is not a luxury, but an essential component of a 21st century education. In Kentucky, 21 percent of all jobs are tied to international trade; 13 percent of our gross domestic product is tied to export.
If we want Kentucky to be competitive, if we want our children to be competitive, we need to prepare them to become part of this growing trend.
That demands a real commitment to an education in which thoughtful curriculum design and adequate funding allow students to pursue a well-rounded education that fits 21st century demands.
Ask your representative to vote against SB16.
Linda S. Froelich
Clear icy Phoenix Park
I understand city resources must be carefully allocated, but neglecting Phoenix Park — a public place across from the halls of justice and outside the main library — seems penny wise and pound foolish, as the saying goes.
In its condition today, someone is going to break a leg from falling on the ice that covers most of the park. Answering just one complaint will cost more than plowing the walkways that intersect this nice little city place.
ESPN poor quality
I find it annoying and very pathetic that ESPN — which defines itself as "the worldwide leader in sports" — has eight channels and alternates yet has only two telecast in high definition.
I recently watched the Cats on ESPNU and the clarity was pitiful. Where do they spend their profits?
Science, religion coexist
After reading the Feb. 3 commentary, "From creationist to scientist," and the Feb. 5 article about the creationism vs. science debate, "Billions of years apart," I cannot get out of my mind the words of Albert Einstein: "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."
The Rev. Larry Hehman
Don't you know what the Bible says about same-sex marriage? The bible says marriage is between a man and a woman.
James R. Johnson