Palestinian merger with Hamas will hurt peace talks
Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, announced April 23 that the organization would unify with Hamas, the Palestinian entity in Gaza, with whom Israel would not negotiate. Hamas does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
The announcement came just six days before a framework for further negotiations was to be reached on Tuesday. The failure of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is notable because it likely will terminate further meaningful negotiations.
The failure of negotiations in the Israel-Palestinian peace process weakens one of the two most important announced objectives in the Middle East for the second term of the Obama administration.
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It may be surprising to some readers that these negotiations are announced as a failure before the Iranian nuclear issue, the other key Mideast initiative.
Indeed, Iran's negotiations with Britain, France, China, Russia, U.S. and Germany, scheduled to be completed by July 20, might well prove successful enough to establish a framework to allow negotiations to continue for another six months — despite Israel's objections.
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's retort to the Palestinian-Hamas unification was, "The PA wants to negotiate with Hamas instead of Israel."
This development does not augur well for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza as they face the powerful, well-armed state of Israel bent on annexation of the West Bank. Its annexation will be supported by powerful allies in the U.S. Congress, strong pro-Israel and pro-Jewish lobbies as well as the broad support from American cultural, religious, societal and educational institutions.
Amateur-pro line blurred
One feature of the NBA draft lottery has troubled me since its inception. After the bells are drawn and the franchise picking order has been determined, the owners and managers are allowed to make whatever swaps, deals or trades suit their purposes.
Lottery winners are expected to sign on the dotted line, thank their benefactors and happily integrate into their new pro family.
In theory, the NCAA is the protector of the amateurs' rights and fair treatment. Apparently their responsibility ends at the draft lottery door.
As the system operates now:
■ The universities enjoy unexpected windfalls.
■ Coaches add a new "one and done" chapter to their résumé.
■ Sports agencies love a new crop of NBA stars every season.
■ Radio and TV sports gurus talk draft status for this year, next year and beyond.
■ Every year a few dozen superstars realize their dreams.
■ The lesser talented or lesser promoted players learn a valuable life lesson.
It is time that someone — NCAA, the universities, NBA, or the parents of these kids — draw the line separating amateur and professional and that the revenues each generate can be channeled where they are most deserved.
No money for E. Ky.
As a retired senior citizen and a state and federal taxpayer, I was appalled to see the big salaries and bonuses paid to the Kentucky Wildcat basketball coach and his staff.
Evidently the state has no problem paying these bonuses and renovating Rupp Arena. Monies seem to be plentiful.
But ask for assistance for schools, highways and even jobs in Eastern Kentucky, and all of a sudden state surplus funds are low and everything east of Lexington is put on hold or shall we say on the shelf.
We hear, "just hold on we'll get back with you later or as soon as possible." Same old story.
There should be different levels of laws especially when it comes to sex offenders, because not all who are labeled this have hurt a child.
For a person who intentionally hurts a child, yes, take away his rights. But you can have people who did something wrong in the eyes of the law and didn't know it was wrong. I believe they should have some leniency.
Anyone can have access to a wireless router, and if it is not secured with a password it would allow everybody free rein to whosoever on the Internet.
So whatever perversion that person is looking at will show up on the other's computer.
Another problem that has occurred is that dangerous malware and viruses could easily be attached to files and be sent to unknowing users. It can also make it easy for hackers to invade a person's personal computers and personal information.
I believe that a person shouldn't even be labeled a sex offender unless they actually touched a child. This suggestion should be looked at instead of people having their lives ruined.
Haskins for legislature
I am writing to express my support for the election of Michael Haskins as state representative in the 77th District. Through the years, I have had the opportunity to work with Haskins on issues which have directly impacted the district.
I have always found him to be extremely conscientious, hard-working and dedicated to our community. Anytime that I have approached him with a question or concern, he has always exhibited a willingness and desire to address the concern.
The citizens of the 77th District will be well-served by the election of Haskins.
End testing on animals
Our fifth-grade class has been studying animal cruelty, which is sad and is setting a bad example. We can stand up against it by not buying the products that are tested on animals.
I feel this way because monkeys are endangered from animal testing, people are killing animals and making money for it, and we can fix this but we haven't.
You hear people say, "Don't destroy animal habitats." But the No. 1 reason monkeys are endangered is because of testing on them. This is very sad that, as we have evolved, we forget how important all the other animals in our wonderful world are. It is an important part of a childhood to see all these great animals and if we keep testing on them they will be gone.
Bath & Body Works does not test on animals and the company is very successful. So why can't all of our companies be like them?
If we don't buy products from companies that test on animals then those companies will run out of money or will realize that animal testing is hurting their business.
So let's all work together to set our goal and say what's on our minds. All I'm asking is to not buy products from the companies that test on animals. It mostly says on the tag if they test on animals but if not you could ask or search on the Internet. So let's get to it.
Mary Jane Stacy