Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, June 6

Condemn Israeli action to protect U.S. interests

The U.S. must strongly condemn Israel's attack on a humanitarian convoy to relieve the besieged Palestinian population in Gaza to protect its own interests and be true to its own values.

The Obama administration cannot afford a damaging embargo against a million and a half Palestinians when it is trying to convince Arabs and Muslims around the world that it values their lives, dignity and livelihood.

Most of the humanitarian volunteers who were killed by the Israeli troops were Turks. Turkey, a fiercely patriotic country and a major NATO member, may reconsider its alliance with Israel and increase its support for the Palestinians.

The hundreds of volunteers on the humanitarian flotilla come from more than 40 countries. They reflect worldwide support — including from most of America's European allies supporting efforts in Afghanistan — for relieving the suffering Palestinians,

While the U.S. has used embargoes against Arab countries, it learned in Iraq how much resentment they produce. It is also counterproductive — Hamas is more popular than ever among Palestinians by standing up against such an arbitrary policy.

The Israelis clearly used violence against non-violent opposition. The Obama administration will do much harm to U.S. interests by not taking a firm stance against Israel's overreaction to a non-violent project.

Making a million and a half people suffer and killing non-violent humanitarian volunteers are against American values. The Obama administration must take a firm unambiguous stance against Israel's attack on the humanitarian convoy and support lifting the inhumane embargo on Gaza's civilians.

Karim Rasheed


Israel must protect itself

The American public needs to better understand the nature of Israel's conflict with its Palestinian neighbors.

Essentially, Gaza and Southern Lebanon have been taken over by Iran and Syria to create havoc and threaten Israel's existence.

The inflow of lethal, longer-range rockets is staggering, and these client organizations, Hamas and Hezbollah, are waiting until they are strong enough to launch a major initiative to destroy Israel.

In the meantime, they hide among the general population, crushing any resistance and dominating their social and religious life. No free elections, no freedom of expression and a more difficult life compounded by Israel's fear of attack.

Understandably, Israel is not going to allow the free flow of arms into Gaza, while Hamas launches rockets against Israel's population.

So, the incident that just occurred at sea should be seen in context. If humanitarian aid is headed for Gaza, it needs to be screened through the adjoining Israeli port to assure that it is non-military and that it reaches the people who need it. Egypt shares Israel's concerns about the flow of arms and the nuclear capability of Iran.

The "activists" who escorted this aid came armed and looking for a fight, which they found. Of course, Israel gets the bad press. But at least Israel is not going to commit suicide and allow another Holocaust. I hope we Americans can judge this issue fairly.

Steven H. Caller


Miranda protects all

I read letter after letter demanding that terrorists not be given Miranda warnings until after they have given all information they have. Who could possibly disagree?

But these letters miss the point entirely. These are people who are merely accused of being a terrorist. At that stage they have been convicted of nothing. Anyone, including you, dear reader, can be accused of anything. The effect is that if your son or daughter is denounced as a terrorist — by anyone, anywhere, at anytime — he or she can be held without habeas corpus or benefit of counsel until "the truth" is extracted from them.

We all know that truth is often defined by whatever an interrogator wants to hear. I don't care a fig about a terrorist's rights. I do care very much when your rights and mine go out the window when the latest witch hunt comes to town.

Bob Coffey

Mount Vernon

Teen drinking tragedy

In support of Kentucky State Police Lt. David P. Jude's letter regarding graduation and teen drinking, I would like to share my own story.

A few weeks ago, my nephew, a senior in high school, was out with a friend looking for a party. They found one, though they didn't know whose house it was. An acquaintance asked him for a ride home for himself and his girlfriend.

Yes, my nephew had been drinking. My nephew and his friend were in the front seats, wearing seat belts.

The two others were in the back without seat belts. You can see the end of this story coming. Both back-seat passengers were thrown from the car. The 17-year-old girl was killed; the boy got off with serious injuries. The cause of the accident was driving under the influence and excessive speed.

My nephew, who had a partial wrestling scholarship for college, is now looking at Ohio's mandatory 18 months in jail and up to 13 years.

How can we stop teens from making these choices? My brother and his wife told my nephew each time he left the house: If you are ever in a situation, call us, no questions asked. We will come and get you.

Teens, what does it take? How can you learn this lesson before your life is forever changed? It can happen to you or someone you know.

Kimberly D. Steinmetz


Fuming at Rupp Arena

My wife and I were enjoying the Alan Jackson portion of the Alan Jackson concert when we started smelling smoke from a lit cigarette. Thinking maybe it was just on someone's clothes, we let it go. A few minutes later, it started again and I turned around to find a young man behind me shielding his cigarette but puffing away.

I asked him if he would please put it out and he reluctantly complied. As we were all standing to see Jackson, I did not see it but a young lady seated next to me told me not to sit in my seat as the smoker had put something on it while I was standing up.

Several songs later, I again smelled smoke and at this point we left our seats, told three different ushers and two security personnel.

Nothing was done to the smoker and we left before the concert even ended, fully disgusted that one person's selfishness and lack of regard for everyone else (not to mention the risk of a fire) spoiled an otherwise very enjoyable evening. But we are even more disgusted that Rupp security and staff did nothing to enforce their own rules.

Jack Wilson


Stand up for U.S. family

I had a guest over for dinner. I told him that my son had joined the Boy Scouts.

I told him that my son wanted to go camping and enjoy the outdoors. As a father, it was my responsibility to provide these opportunities for him. But I did not live up to my responsibility, and so he went behind my back and joined the Boy Scouts.

My guest, as expected, began to tell me how bad the Scouts are. That they discriminate; they profile; they force you to show your birth certificate. It wasn't fair; they wouldn't let his daughter into the Boy Scouts.

I immediately stood up at my dinner table and spoke directly to this invited guest and agreed with him. I expressed how disappointed I was in my son and that I was sure that it is against the rules I set down for my family (but I hadn't really checked out the Boy Scouts yet). Then, two-thirds of all his brothers and sisters stood and applauded my guest.

I remember a day when a family kept family concerns within the family. Heads of households lived up to their responsibility. Heads of households and other family members did not allow others to come into their homes and berate their children. My father and mother would never allow this. I will not in mine.

Yet that is what we saw of our president, the Mexican president and our Congress. How very sad and disgusting.

Mark VonFumetti


Government to excess

Tom Eblen's column, "Amid responsibility," vividly describes the ongoing debate in this country regarding the role of government.

What is concerning, however, is that many of the proposed solutions to our current economic crisis have already been tried and have failed in Europe.

The implementation of high individual and corporate tax rates, a value-added tax, stifling regulation and an expanding and unsustainable welfare state have all contributed to a budgetary crisis for many countries within the European Union.

Greece is structurally bankrupt. Spain, Portugal and others hang dangerously over the edge. There are real lessons to be learned from their experiences and it would be dangerous for us to follow them down that path.

While one can always point to abuses within a free-market system, the entrepreneurial spirit of the United States has been the source of immeasurable good throughout the world for over two centuries. The discouragement of that spirit through the implementation of tried and failed policies will be to our detriment.

Aaron Ammerman


Paul defends rights

Reginald Thomas of the Fayette County Democratic Party, in reacting to Rand Paul's remarks about the 1964 Civil Rights Act, has it backwards.

Private businesses, the most egalitarian of all institutions in our country, were forced by government power to cease and desist in open service to blacks. Jim Crow laws (government) forced segregation of blacks and whites.

Paul is not a racist but a defender of the rights of private citizens to determine with whom they will associate.

History will support that private businesses, whose main purpose is to provide goods and services for profit, willingly traded with blacks. It was the 19th century racists who used government force to institutionalize their hatred toward blacks in abhorrent ways.

Perhaps a more fundamental issue is government's reach into private businesses and private lives.

Yes, the public sphere must be non-discriminatory. But not so in our private lives.

The truth is we all discriminate based on many factors as any intelligent person should. Additionally, we are all constitutionally guaranteed the right of free association.

The beauty of free enterprise is that a business hurts only itself when it stupidly discriminates against a class of people.

The competitive nature of free enterprise assures that another business will simply take up the slack and provide the service.

Rand Paul abhors racism and would have voted for the Civil Rights Act. But he makes an important distinction between public and private spheres.

Please listen to his entire Rachel Maddow interview.

Kathy Gornik


Limited availability

After reading about the Vienna Philharmonic coming to Danville in September, to be conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, I began speed-dialing the box office at the exact minute it opened.

Unfortunately, I wasn't fast enough as it took me 40 minutes to get through. Not a problem as I was willing to work for the opportunity to get tickets to see this wonderful performance. I was willing to spend $100 or more for that privilege.

Finally, I got a live person and to my dismay the only tickets left were $275 or $375, upper level. According to the ticket office, only two rows in the whole theatre were for sale for $100. It would have been nice to know that in the beginning. Sort of bait-and-switch advertising.

I did find, however, that if I fly to Los Angeles I can see any performance conducted by Dudamel for under $50, or if I go to Vienna this summer they have a free concert at the Schonbrunn Palace.

I hope this isn't an example of how difficult and cost prohibitive it will be to participate in the events sponsored by the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Diane Layson


Look within city

Lexington is always looking for cities to emulate. In the past, that has included every "little big town" from Asheville to Austin.

Now it is Pittsburgh.

While I applaud the efforts to seek inspiration from outside of the state, I feel continuing to copy the ideas of others will not secure Lexington's livelihood in the long run.

Leaders must begin to seriously listen to the ideas of young Lexingtonians, many of whom have lived in this area their whole lives.

We have a vibrant community of thinkers waiting to be heard by the local government.

Mary Goldie


Moving tribute

I read with interest the column, "Holding onto humanity by connecting to war's loss" in the Memorial Day column. Its author, Dr. Ralph Caldroney, is my personal physician. Many times over the years, I've called to make an appointment, only to be told that he's away in Afghanistan. When I've asked him about his experiences there, he's as stoic as the soldier he writes about.

I credit the doctor with discovering and diagnosing my high blood pressure. Now he's touched my heart with his words.

The Hippocratic Oath says, "First, do no harm." Dr. Caldroney goes far beyond that in both word and deed; he's a healer.

Keith Lindsey