Keep Ky.'s flag; it honors heritage
Tom Eblen is hands down the best columnist working in Kentucky. He is from here. Knows us. Loves us. Confronts us. Teaches us.
That said, I disagree with his proposal for a redesign of our flag. I love our state flag.
I served as the assistant deputy attorney general under Ben Chandler for eight years and proudly wore my flag pin every day. It reminded us for whom we worked.
We have a tendency to apologize for or be embarrassed by our heritage. Some of it is beyond embarrassing to the point of culpability — slave holding, destruction of our ancient forests to timber barons, moonscaping the hills of the east and plains of the west.
But, we have much, much to be proud of our more that 200-year history. Our flag is not a tourist icon, but an emblem that binds the generations. It speaks honestly of who we are (rural and urban) and warns us of a fate our politics today embrace.
Keep the flag.
Don't waste property tax
A number of times I have written your paper concerning the Fayette County Board of Education's usual meeting in August for the purpose of raising property taxes. I expect this August will be no exception.
I read the May 26 article about William Wells Brown Elementary School needing improvement and how other low-performing schools are asked to appear at board meetings to show plans to improve or else face state action.
If you have been a board member for the past few years and all of a sudden realize that some schools are in trouble, please tell me (with tongue in cheek) that this is new to your ears. You will argue that we can only do so much with our budget and I would argue that if you keep squeezing Fayette countians with the 4 percent property tax increase that you must think we all have money trees in our backyards.
So, come August, vote yea for a tax increase but put it to good use, because we all would like to have more money to do things we want to do but realize we can't.
Tale of two states
Kentuckians should consider two polar-opposite models of state politicians.
Kansas is under radicalized Republican leadership via Wichita-headquartered Koch brothers money. Moderate politicians were forced out. Tax cuts for the wealthy have the state broke, with its credit rating lowered again and again. Public education is squandered. The uninsured unhealthy often just die. (See The Nation, "Life and Death in Brownback's Kansas," June 27-29.)
Oregon is under female executive leadership, has the nation's first bisexual governor and a Democratic-controlled legislature. It is first with automatic voter registration. Public school budget increases for K-12. Low-carbon fuels standard. Expansion of background checks on private gun sales. A first-of-its-kind insurance law allowing women to obtain a year's worth of birth control at a time. Paid sick leave by most employers.
In Kentucky, special-interest politicians refuse to pass tax reform to fund public programs. Such inaction serves as an excuse to increase public-private partnerships.
What percentages of the University of Kentucky's and University of Louisville's public budgets are privatized? Are companies using public institutions as tax shelters and incentives to increase profits? Is there 100 percent accountability by legislation? Is it a "commonwealth" in name only?
Blame societal decay
Our nation has become the most divided and polarized it has ever been. Left, right, gay or straight — we all contribute to this moral decay and personal unaccountability in one way or another. Because of the misguided values and narcissism woven into the fabric of today's society we look the other way.
The devil made me do it. Not my fault, we say. I didn't do it, we say. Better him than me, we say.
We have become a nation of blame shifting and of no personal accountability. We need to take a breath, step back and ask ourselves who we are and how we have become what we are.
More gun control will not stop evil people from doing evil things. It will not stop massive homicidal acts of malice and terrorism. What it will do is restrict those good people with good intent from defending themselves or others against those with bad intent.
Blame the individual and the society that created that individual who used that tool to create horror. Until we can do this, there will never be an answer to such horrific acts of violence in our nation.