Immigrants face tragic conditions
When I read about the California protestors stopping the immigrant buses, I was reminded of Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath.
In the novel, people from Oklahoma traveled to California in hopes of finding work and food. What the characters go through is horrible, but what was truly horrific was how utterly cruel and selfish people can be to others.
Well, I got to see firsthand what Steinbeck was writing about in real life on CNN.
Obviously, people do not want other people to take what could be theirs: land, jobs, state and national funds, etc. So what is the solution?
It is our responsibility, as human beings, to help. To turn away children who are hungry, mothers and fathers wanting a better life for their kids, or teenagers looking for just a job is atrocious.
What have we gained if we lose our compassion; what have we kept if we lose our soul? Ironically, what those in California think they are protecting can be taken from them in a heartbeat.
Circumstance can be a monster, and anyone can experience hard times. Material things do not last, but actions do. They become history, they set standards and they change lives.
True humanitarian crisis
Nobody wants thousands of women and children flowing across our southern border. Nobody I know anyway. But given that this humanitarian crisis is, indeed, happening and that there is precious little anyone can do to stop it, we pretty much have two choices.
We can put our heads together and try to figure out the best way to handle it or we can go into full bore, "hair on fire, blame-it-on-Obama, build the 2,000-mile electric fence, shoot 'em at the border, refuse to let them unload the buses" mode.
Somehow, I doubt that the latter choice will prove to be very productive. But then nobody ever accused modern-day conservatives of being productive, much less rational, intelligent or genuinely interested in solving any problem other than taxes on the wealthy, regulation and those pesky huddled masses.
It has been a thoroughly depressing six years since the Tea Party ate the GOP with no end in sight. How much longer can we survive this group of know-nothing, do-nothing, hateful simpletons?
America cannot spin its wheels forever. History will march on, with us or without us.
E. Ky. hurt by leaders
How can our local, state and federal elected officials be so negligent and misguided on policy relating to Eastern Kentucky?
A recent article in The New York Times magazine posed the question "What's the matter with Eastern Kentucky?"
From the perspective of someone living in the area, my answer is: our leaders and their policies.
The article detailed President Barack Obama's declaration the region as a "promise zone" for federal grants, and Sen. Rand Paul's proposal of an elimination of capital-gains taxes and reduced income taxes in the area. Neither of these proposals would help. We cannot garner enough private investment to match government dollars; and, as for Paul, Eastern Kentuckians can't afford to pay their bills, let alone invest in the stock market.
As for the senatorial race, neither Mitch McConnell nor Alison Grimes has proposed a workable plan, just pointless coal rhetoric. Coal isn't coming back, and it's time to stop using citizens as pawns in a game of politics.
As a young citizen of Eastern Kentucky, I am calling on all to look toward an economic revolution for our beloved, yet desperate, area. We must broaden our economy, make the region marketable to new industry and take matters into our hands.
Disrespect for judiciary
The Family Foundation of Kentucky has again gone too far.
A federal judge recently invalidated Kentucky's gay marriage ban as contrary to the United States Constitution. In the June 2 article responding to the ruling, spokesman Martin Cothran compared Judge John G. Heyburn's decision to the imposition of martial law.
To compare a reasoned judicial ruling with martial law is nothing short of reckless. Cothran's words diminish respect for the judiciary — an institution enshrined in the Constitution which has been responsible for the endurance of freedom for more than two centuries.
Over the course of our shared history, the courts have time and again preserved our greatest individual liberties.
Over the years, our courts have protected citizens from trial in military courts, prohibited government from wiretapping people without a warrant, ensured that elections were open to all citizens, ended racial segregation, upheld the right to peaceful protest, and closed the door on much gender discrimination.
Luckily for Cothran, the courts have upheld the rights to free speech and religious freedom, so he is free to continue making asinine public comments.
Let's hope he stops anyway, so the next generation holds the judiciary in the esteem it deserves.
Legalize cannabis oil
This year, our legislature unanimously approved a non-psychoactive form of cannabis oil, called CBD. Ideally, doctors affiliated with Kentucky's two major universities can now research CBD oil and order it for sick patients, but with cannabis it's never that simple.
Though 35 states have legalized some form of medical cannabis, the plant is still federally banned. That means patients treated in state-sanctioned programs can still be prosecuted. And it happens.
A collection of Washington state patients, known as The Kettle Falls Five, is currently standing trial. They are prevented from citing their status as legitimate medical marijuana patients, since the plant is still federally illegal. If convicted, the oldest among them, Larry Harvey, 70, could die in prison.
What does this mean for our law in Kentucky? I am a cancer patient. If I take this non-psychoactive cannabis oil to help with chemotherapy side effects will I go to jail?
And, if I give it to my son for his epilepsy, can I face federal charges? Would our prescribing physicians lose their medical licenses?
This madness must end. The Paul-Booker amendment will be considered in the United States Senate soon.
This legislation would prevent the Justice Department from prosecuting patients in states with medical cannabis laws.
I hope Sen. Mitch McConnell joins Sen. Rand Paul in protecting the states from such unwarranted federal intrusion. My life and my son's health may depend on it.
Suzanne De Gregorio
For UK, sports is priority
Anyone who observed the University of Kentucky's initial lack of transparency when the renovation of Rupp Arena was on the table should be ashamed if they were surprised by the following Herald-Leader headline: "On-campus arena not ruled out."
That noise, by the way, is the UK 900-pound gorilla emerging from the closet.
Kentucky's priorities seem to be set. Remember that UK is the flagship state university and has been able to raise tens of millions of dollars for its basketball coach and hundreds of millions of dollars from its sports broadcasting rights to be used, as far as I see, for sports facilities, fans and interested parties.
Both of these amounts appear to be No. 1 nationally in their respective categories.
At the same time, the other part of the state is nationally No.1 for providing the lowest amounts for services to elderly and disadvantaged Kentuckians.
Let's cut the rhetoric and admit that sports are more important than anything else. Remember, actions speak louder than words and quickly unveil hypocrisy.
John C. Wolff Jr.
Brave new world
With the direction the current Supreme Court is headed, how long will it be before individuals demand the same rights as corporations?
Norman E. Goldie, Jr.
With the recent shootings, I do not feel as safe as I should living and working in Fayette County.
One mayoral candidate's advertising boldly stated that Lexington's crime rate is only half that of other communities our size. So, should I just shrug my shoulders and say that I am glad I do not live in one of those more dangerous, crime-ravaged places?
But those statistics compare apples with oranges — cities with similar population ranges (100,000 to 500,000 people) to all of Fayette County (308,000 people). We have had a merged form of government since 1975.
Generally speaking, most crime occurs in the inner city and surrounding suburbs that comprise the Urban Services Area, which is only 30 percent of the county's land. Much less crime occurs in the Rural Services Area, which comprises 70 percent of the land.
When one compares crime statistics from Fayette to those of other counties of similar population, Fayette has 140 percent more violent crimes than the average American county with a population between 280,000 and 350,00 people.
The truth is that Fayette is actually ranked as the 9th most dangerous (measured by violent crimes) county in the United States in that population range.
According to Mayor Jim Gray and the FBI, Lexington is one of the safest cities in America.
Who are they kidding? There seems to be a shooting and killing almost every night. Lexington is slowly becoming another Chicago.
Where was the Lexington Police when there was a killing in Wood-hill? Can't the police check these bars and parking lots?
I think it's getting out of hand and the mayor should control his police department better and stop the killing.
Also, so what did former Chief Anthany Beatty do that was so great to control crime?
I don't think he would be a better manager of city government than Gray. All Beatty can say is add more police but what needs to be done is make the police we already have to do a better job.
Ronald T. Winkler
Save Jacobson playground
Can you give the playground at Jacobson Park a second chance? I don't want you to replace it. I like that it's made of wood and it's old and you can feed the ducks.
I like to play there a lot because it's a maze. Mazes are fun, but if you tear it down it won't be any fun anymore. If you tear it down I will not want to go to the park. Don't tear it down, OK?
Patriotic concert a great event
This year's Fourth of July concert at Transylvania University was simply superb. Everyone associated with the planning and execution deserves the community's warmest thanks.
The 202nd Army National Guard Band was truly outstanding. When you consider that these citizen-soldiers are able to rehearse together only twice each month, their performance was even more impressive.
The University of Kentucky singers were also terrific. Their enthusiasm and talent were really showcased well. The soloists couldn't have been any better. Each one enhanced the event. The music selections were very appropriate for the event — much better than the array of show tunes and movie themes that have been featured in the past.
Unfortunately, we arrived too late to hear the Young at Heart group, but we understand they did a great job as well, and really set the stage for the main concert. Thanks again for a great evening. We hope this format is continued in coming years.
Tom and Marcia Little
Enough with the personal fireworks
As I sat the night of July 4 listening to what sounded like a war zone, I wondered why so many Americans felt the need to celebrate our independence with their own re-creation of battle.
Is it the folks from the military missing the days of war (I doubt it), or those who have not fought feeling the need to do so (possibly)? Are people just wanting to have a good time (yeah, most likely)? They could easily watch the professional pyrotechnics approved by the city.
Why set off grenades in our neighborhoods where babies are trying to sleep, dementia patients are trying to keep some semblance of normalcy, combat veterans are trying to keep the horrific memories at bay, work-weary people are just trying to enjoy a day off and animals are quietly resting?
Our local government has put restrictions on fireworks which, obviously, many choose to ignore. And although Independence Day is one day, my neighbors seem to feel it should include several nights before, certainly the night after and for many weekends to come.
I love America and the independence it gives us. With this independence comes a responsibility to respect the rights and peace of our neighbors.
Politicians on parade
What happened to the 4th of July parade?
All I saw were politicians and no floats, because it seemed like it was a political parade and nothing else. My children and I were very disappointed in it so we left. Before, we always looked forward to coming downtown for the festivities, but next year I may reconsider.