Don't let city rip off library; it's too valuable
The Lexington Public Library is one of the truly great assets of the city. Numerous times, I have heard people comment on what a great library we have.
What does it provide? Attractive and well kept buildings which house the latest books, DVDs and magazines. It provides access to computers, a quick and easy reserve system for the latest books, an outstanding reference area dedicated to archiving Lexington and Kentucky history.
It also provides creative children's programs, free tax help and numerous other informational programs. It provides free computer classes and houses a media lab. The list could go on and on. Not to mention this is all administered by a dedicated and informed staff.
Do we really want this institution that is so valuable to everyone in the community and so available to everyone to be at the mercy of the city government's funding allocations?
The library should be independent of the politics of the city government. That is the reason the state of Kentucky mandated appropriations for public libraries in 1944.
More and more people are using the library during the economic slowdown. Now is not the time to penalize the library for doing a good job and providing services patrons need. The library is already making sacrifices by reducing hours and not filling positions.
Support your library — as Kentucky's own Barbara Kingsolver said in Animal Dreams, "Libraries are one institution you shouldn't rip off."
Our No. 1 priority
If you have listened to the news lately, you know our nation's education system is broken.
We all have the responsibility to make sure that all levels of our great nation are held accountable. We all agree that educating our youth should be a No. 1 priority. If school boards, school principals and school staffs do not meet acceptable standards they should be replaced.
We should also be responsible for those we have failed. If a manufacturer turns out a harmful product, we hold it accountable, such as the recall of automobiles. We have failed thousands who are without job skills.
We had an excellent system in our state until about 1992 when a greedy few decided to fix a system that was not broken. Yes, it is expensive to operate, but the vocational technical education system was teaching work skills to thousands that new and expanding business and industry must have to be successful.
We need to recall the system that was not broken to give our most valuable resource the opportunity to develop job skills and support themselves and their families. If we do not take action soon, we will need to feed those we have failed, bar our doors and build bigger prisons. Is anyone listening?
Patrick E. White
Muzzled? No way
Kudos to the Herald-Leader for printing a hilarious April 8 letter claiming accidental comedian Glenn Beck is being "muzzled." Funny stuff.
Let's add it up: The man has a prime time show on a national cable news network and has a syndicated, coast-to-coast, five-day-a-week radio show. Also he writes books available in just about every major bookstore in America. That's some muzzling!
Yes, some are trying to organize a boycott. But I've seen boycotts, from the left and the right, for my entir`e adult life. That's nothing new, and they rarely work anyway. Sure, some people criticize him. But that's not censorship.
So fear not, tinfoil hat brigade. I'm sure your champion will be with us for years to come, comparing U.S. President Barack Obama to Germany's Fuehrer Adolph Hitler, crying on cue and complaining he's being censored while appearing on every medium in existence.
Dirty and not cheap
It's a fact, folks. Coal is dirty, and the dirtiest part is not in the burning but in the taking. Mountains are being leveled, streams are being polluted and deforestation is causing erosion and flooding.
Eastern Kentucky's beauty lies in its wooded mountains, valleys and streams, and it is heartbreaking for those of us who grew up there to return to places that are no longer recognizable.
It now appears that those of us who care about our mountains and the environment will have no representation in the upcoming U.S. Senate race. Particularly disturbing is the darling of strip miners.
Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, a medical doctor who thinks it's just fine to pollute our air and streams. He also sees the mountains as in our way and impeding progress.
I suspected that the other candidates are simply "coal whipped" and do not possess the intestinal fortitude to stand up against the rich and powerful coal lobby. Our environment badly needs representation.
If we must have coal for the interim while more environmentally friendly sources of energy are being phased in, then mine it, don't strip it. And yes, it costs more to do it right; but cheap energy from coal is not cheap, that is unless one considers our mountains, forest and streams to be cheap.
Adding up the costs
To understand what is going on in Washington now, I would suggest imagining a husband and wife, both in their 60s and heavily in debt. The man says to his wife, "Honey, right now I make $100,000 a year and we are spending $150,000 a year.
I propose that you take a job paying $50,000 a year but that we increase our spending by only $40,000. That way, we will be better off when it comes time to retire."
I understand that we may be able to afford both the current health care proposal and paying Social Security benefits if we cut Social Security benefits or increase the minimum retirement age to 70 or 75.
Also, it may be that rich foreign countries will agree to provide the U.S. government with trillions of dollars annually in foreign aid for several decades so we can afford both (that would truly be a change providing hope). Further, it may be that a devastating epidemic will kill off tens of millions of elderly people while having little effect on working people, thus eliminating the problem.
However, just in case, shouldn't we try out less expensive health care proposals first to see how they work?
Finally, I have a significant question with regard to the current health care proposal: Will such conditions as drug addiction, alcoholism, nicotine addiction and obesity be considered "pre-existing conditions" for which one cannot be discriminated against?
Boyd B. Richardson
Old stream media
The mainstream media should be described as the old stream media. Tired and worn out. The old stream media's bias has contributed to the enormous success of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Fox News.
Without these individuals and Fox News, responsible reporting of the news would not see the light of day.
It is difficult to understand why the old stream media failed to recognize the obvious. The ability to control the reporting of the daily events and news was lost with the advent of the Internet. This has paved the way for the emerging new media — fair and balanced.
Our proud country has experienced difficult times and pain before with the separation from England and the Civil War. In time, the country healed. We will again come together. After all, this is one nation under God.