Unions' power needs to be curtailed
Recently, a letter writer said he couldn't think of anything he could thank Sen. Mitch McConnell for. Judging from what he said, he couldn't think, period. The writer appeared to be an unhappy union man just chockfull of mindless hostility.
He needs to understand that the reason union membership has been declining in the private sector for the last 50 years is that people simply don't want to join unions. Unions in the public sector are growing because no one can get a public job unless they sign up for union membership. Many have to pay union dues even when they have said no to the union. That is fundamentally wrong.
Seventy-four percent of non-union workers say they would not "personally like to be a member of a labor union" (Zogby International poll, August 2006). Seventy-eight percent of Americans prefer secret ballots for union organizing (Opinion Research Corporation poll, March 2007).
Union power (and stupid, weak management) put Chrysler and GM into bankruptcies. Tens of thousands of union workers lost jobs. The union bosses who pull the strings of our current president got him to give 51 percent of the former Chrysler Corporation to the UAW pension fund. The UAW got about 8 percent of GM.
Now the unions want Congress to pass a law that would wipe out the secret ballot for union elections. To sum it up: If McConnell can stop the spread of union goonism, corruption and stupidity, more power to him. We should be thankful he is on our side and not the side of the union goons as is our current president.
Edward L. Smith, Jr.
My congratulations to the University of Kentucky athletics administration for once again demonstrating uncommon arrogance and stupidity. A recent story in the Herald-Leader about the saga of John Wall reported that Sandy Bell, UK's NCAA compliance coordinator, told Wall that he could/should use his Pell Grant to pay the penalty imposed by the NCAA for his transgressions.
I would have thought that Wall would not need a Pell Grant, being that he received a basketball scholarship that pays for everything including all the practice outfits he is wearing today. If he is in need of a Pell Grant, I would hope that money would be used to pay the cost of education, not to pay fines. There are many, many other deserving folks who could certainly use and benefit properly from Wall's Pell Grant.
Thanks to Mitch Barnhart and his lieutenants like Bell providing such enlightened guidance, UK will surely gain top 20 status just any time now.
One more thing, I'm sure the marijuana growers of Eastern Kentucky can come up with the money for the Wildcat Pot Lodge. How about it?
President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, and some Americans are unhappy. President George W. Bush left office when the reputation of our nation was very poor. Some Americans rejoiced when Chicago didn't get the Olympics. Most of those who are pulling for Obama to fail are in the South, including Kentucky.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 led our nation to establish the Social Security program. Republicans opposed it as socialistic, but today Republicans are among the millions of Americans who would be in trouble without that program. In 1935, nine of every 10 rural families did not have electricity. Roosevelt established the Rural Electric Association, and within a few years the lights turned on in places in which there was darkness. Was that socialistic or a program to make life better for many Americans? The CCC and WPA programs taught people a trade and built some of our infrastructure that still stands 70 years later. Was that socialistic or was it to help people have jobs and opportunity?
President John F. Kennedy initiated and President Lyndon Johnson completed the effort to enact Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts to provide minorities and women equal opportunity. Johnson also got Medicare for older Americans.
If it had been up to the Republican Party, none of these things would have happened. Many Kentuckians bite the hands that provide us an opportunity for a better life.
Return the ring
During the month of October, my husband committed suicide. He was a wonderful man who had a problem he didn't know how to solve. The tragedy has left me without my high school sweetheart and my children without their father.
The night the tragedy occurred the Lexington police responded wonderfully. They arrived quickly and were very sympathetic and professional. They were kind and thoughtful. I was very impressed with how they handled my situation.
However, someone was not very sympathetic, caring or kind. During the uproar, someone took a ring that had been given to me by my late husband. It was a ring he had custom-made for me and I wore it as my wedding band.
I have cried so much for my husband, but I have also cried because I don't have the ring he was so proud of. The ring that reminded me of how boyish he could be, of how much he loved me. To whoever took the ring, please return it. I won't press charges. I won't be angry. I will be thankful it was returned to me.
Laura A. McCreary
Memories of missions
I was at the post office recently and overheard a conversation by two residents talking about someone I know very personally. They were saying that he was an Iraq war vet. I will not repeat what they said, but I was sickened and shocked by the fact that they did not respect the sacrifice that he lives with every day.
Then, they started talking about how it was so cool that morning. That comment brought back memories of waking up and getting ready for my first mission in Iraq; it was a cold morning. I remember sitting there holding a full belt of ammo for my weapon and thinking "Please give me no reason to use this and, if so, let it be just."
I put the letter on my makeshift desk — the letter we all denied having but all had written. The letter we hoped would never be opened.
I remember the chill hitting my face and the weight of my combat load (140 pounds of gear). I can remember each step of the long walk to the motor pool and the cold air coming through the windows of my truck as we left the almost safe zone of the base. Most of all, I remember thinking that one or more of us may not be coming back.
I now walk outside with my dog on these cool mornings. I walk out to a cool breeze on my face and remember those missions.
I also know that there is soldier at this very second feeling a cool breeze on his face and wondering the things I did. They need to know that we are proud of them and support them.
Luther E. White