Merlene made us laugh, cry
I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Merlene Davis over the years. She has given us good advice and great stories about real life that would make you laugh and cry.
I had the privilege of meeting her at the home of John Y. Brown Jr. and Phyllis George Brown. They were promoting the Kentucky brand of crafts at the gathering.
I hope she enjoys her well-earned retirement. We will miss her greatly. Thanks to Davis for sharing a large part of her life with us.
Alberta J. Toomey
Pay for your ride
Some of your readers have probably heard that the National Labor Relations Board is re-examining its 40-plus year prohibition on fees for grievance representation that some labor unions would like to charge non-members in the so called right-to-work states.
Years ago, the NLRB ruled that non-member fees were discrimination based on membership. Such fees might restrain individual workers in their exercise of their right not to join or support a labor union, they theorized
Since then, a number of scholars have argued that the NLRB's prohibition is wrong as a matter of law. Labor unions that offer services only to employees who pay member dues or non-member fees are only discriminating on the basis of who pays and who doesn't. They serve non-members who pay fees the same as members. This is not discrimination based on membership, these attorneys say.
It seems to me the famous story of Rosa Parks is a useful analogy on that point. Remember that Parks wanted to exercise her right to take a seat on the city bus for which she had paid the fare. She did not want a free bus ride.
Blood on his hands
Gen. Colin Powell was praised at the Alltech Rebelation held in Rupp Arena last month. That's surprising because of the blood on his hands for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The U.S. State Department's Office of Strategic Proliferation and Military Affairs had the best handle on WMD in Iraq, but he ignored their findings during his United Nations speech.
Greg Thielmann, then acting director of that office, reportedly was flabbergasted when Powell talked about aluminum tubes for uranium enrichment in his speech.
It is likely that the U.S. would not have invaded Iraq if Powell had been honest about the State Department intelligence. Over 100,000 died. I hope the millions Powell receives for his speeches and corporate board seats help him sleep at night.
Dreams of a revitalized Lexington downtown community could become a reality if the CentrePointe area were rimmed with buildings enclosing a large green space interspersed with patio block areas. Buildings along the outside sidewalks would have retail stores and office space.
Inside, the buildings facing the green space and patio block area would offer social services such as driver's licenses, health services, an information center, teen center, computer club, food court, children's splash pad wading pool, drinking fountains, benches and tables, like in the Matthews Garden at the University of Kentucky.
Perhaps a rollerdome top ensuring protection from rain or storms for people enjoying the interior space is too big a dream but a possibility nevertheless.
No to trade deal
It's no surprise that the American people have lost so much trust in our elected officials. Instead of promoting economic policies that will help America's workers, some members of Congress want to pursue fast tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement put together in secret that will drive down wages and benefits and ship more jobs overseas.
In a recent op-ed Jason Bailey of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy points out that Kentucky is a manufacturing state and has suffered the loss of many good jobs due to trade deals like this one in the past.
Given the current struggles of working families in Kentucky, members of Congress should not be pursuing a trade deal that will widen the gap between the rich and the poor, and give working and middle-class families even less of a chance to find personal and professional success.
No elected official truly interested in making the economy better and fairer can support the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If members of Congress truly care about America's working and middle classes, they will oppose fast tracking this terrible trade agreement.