Obama should follow through on commitment to mountains
Last week, President Barack Obama showed that Appalachian citizens are finally being heard. The White House announced a plan for more than $1 billion in federal funding for Appalachia that would at least partly fill the economic void left by the long-declining coal industry.
For years, people throughout the region and across political divides have been calling for renewed national investment in Appalachia.
As the Herald-Leader's Feb. 3 editorial notes, it's a matter of "simple justice" for a region that powered America's industrial ascendancy, and yet continues to suffer from widespread pollution and poverty.
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Appalachians are fed up with being portrayed as the nation's tragic story. People across the region are taking bold and worthy steps toward creating a positive future for their families. The administration's proposed budget solidly aligns with this direction, with funding for job training; infrastructure; restoration of forests, waters, and abandoned mines, and other tools to diversify the region's economy and support communities.
The president's budget may not become law, but it represents a commitment from the White House to ensure Appalachian communities are not left behind in a 21st-century economy that is no longer dominated by coal. We intend to hold the administration to that commitment.
Legislative associate, Appalachian Voices
Webster wrong about Wendell Ford
I would like to express my disagreement with contributing columnist Larry Webster about the record of Wendell Ford.
The late senator represented the commonwealth well for 24 years in the Senate and was also an outstanding governor. He represented the working men and women of this state and the industries that kept them employed.
Right or wrong, coal, tobacco and whiskey employ a significant number of people in the commonwealth.
When you look at our two current senators, Ford stood head and shoulders above both of them in character, integrity and heart for the average citizens. He was elected to four terms because he took care of everyday people and he was beloved.
Besides Webster, what is wrong with good wholesome hate for Republicans? As a kid I thought "damn Republican" was one word. Actually, I still do.
Ford's record repels cowardly attack
Less than a week after his funeral, an unprincipled, decadent attack against Wendell Ford was published in the Herald-Leader as a column by Larry Webster.
At best Webster's act was contemptible; at worst cowardly as he spewed vitriol against one who can not defend his own honor and integrity.
Therefore I do so on behalf of my friend whose greatness and unselfishness in all he accomplished inspired love and respect from millions near and far.
Thomas L. Preston
Dr. Paul's prescription for infant deaths
Sen. Rand Paul's remarks about vaccinations were, quite frankly, unintelligent and damaging. As clearly stated in the Feb. 4 article, vaccinations work. Parents who refuse to get their children vaccinated are choosing to endanger their children. This is particularly well illustrated with the recent measles outbreak.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, around 145,000 people, mainly children, die every year from measles around world.
In fact, high numbers of children die every year in other countries from diseases such as mumps, polio, chickenpox and whooping cough. Those who do not vaccinate or even delay vaccination are choosing to allow these diseases to become more common, which directly results in the possible death of their own children.
Worse, the society that chooses to allow laxness in vaccination allows those who cannot yet get vaccinated, such as very young children or those with weak immune systems, to suffer the consequences.
Paul went to medical school. He is aware of all these facts, but chose to ignore them. He is encouraging actions that would result in many infants' deaths. Shame on him.
Sophomore, Scott County High School
Ky. should consider banning fracking
The people of our commonwealth owe a debt of gratitude to the Herald-Leader for airing the thoughtful Jan. 25 column by Xyara Asplen, recounting her experience with the fracking industry in Madison County.
With respect, I submit that no promised fee is sufficient to tolerate the risk of saturating the land with chemicals, ruining water tables, creating health hazards and leaving contamination for the whole community to suffer and live with. The literature on hydraulic fracking clearly shows these are dangers stemming from this process, and there may be other dangers not fully understood by the experts.
The sorry record of this technology — you have only to read of the destruction inflicted in other parts of our country — makes it a practice that likely should be banned in Kentucky, as it has been elsewhere.
Whatever the case, state and local government officials have a clear responsibility to educate themselves and inform the public on this issue now — little seems to have been done in Frankfort to date — so the citizens have the opportunity to judge what is at stake and voice their views.
Obama's lack of leadership aids ISIS
Does President Barack Obama still think ISIS is the JV team? Does he finally get it?
I guess not, because even after all the atrocities — crucifixions, children cut in half in front of their parents and now a Jordanian pilot burned alive — he still would not call them terrorists in his televised reaction to that pilot's horrible murder.
At least this time, he didn't leave the cameras and then go play a game of golf. Maybe he's learned something.
Almost a year ago — when ISIS was in the desert and vulnerable, before they got their hands on the American artillery left behind when he took our forces out of Iraq against the advice of our military leaders — Obama refused to do what needed to be done. Now he has refused to effectively lead the world in fighting these depraved savages.
We aren't the world's guardian and aren't obligated to fight other counties' battles, but other countries do look to the U.S. to lead the way. Our allies in the Middle East have gotten little outside of the "pinprick" bombings Obama is allowing, and they'll most likely be getting little more help and zero leadership from our hard-headed, lazy, adolescent president.