State doesn't need to guarantee right to hunt and fish
Two state lawmakers have proposed a state constitutional amendment to guarantee a right to hunt and fish. Why is this special legislative action necessary? What will it achieve?
It is well known that organizations like PETA oppose all hunting and fishing, but there is no conceivable world in which PETA could succeed in making all hunting and fishing illegal. So, why do we need to make legal activities super-legal by enacting a constitutional right?
A right to hunt and fish will not change the fact that hunting and fishing will need to be licensed and regulated in order to manage wildlife properly. Thus, activists will still be able to lobby for new regulations. Enacting a general constitutional amendment out of a nebulous fear of animal rights activism is not a wise way to legislate.
We should legislate from justification and reason, not fear and disdain. Indeed, enacting a legal right to hunt and fish might simply give activists a clearer target to aim at.
Many will argue that this proposed amendment can't hurt. Perhaps not. Will it help? I don't know. To protect these traditions requires not simply laws, but also education and evidence that they continue to be traditions worth preserving and passing on. The law itself cannot make them so.
If people cannot be shown how hunting and fishing manifest a love and respect of nature, and that they can be practiced with ethical and ecological responsibility, then laws alone will not save them.
Signs of state diversity
On Sept. 4, I was awed, and I'm sure the rest of the nation was awed with me, to watch the state of Kentucky showcase its diversity, when head football coaches at three of its top universities — Western Kentucky University's Willie Taggart, the University of Kentucky's Joker Phillips and the University of Louisville's Charlie Strong — took to the fields for their inaugural games.
As a black man, I know what this feat means for Kentucky, a state known more for its lack of diversity than anything else.
But as impressive as this may sound, I can't help but be reminded that these coaches would most likely not have gotten their coaching positions if put to a public vote. Kentucky voters would not have voted for black coaches.
So while I applaud the few folks whose bravery at these universities made the coaches possible, I have to blame those good Kentuckians who choose to keep silent in the face of the evils of racism. They should stand up to be counted on to drag fellow Kentuckians screaming, with knuckles dragging, into the 21st century.
As I sigh, I return to my awe.
Opposed to execution
I am opposed to the death penalty. I am specifically opposed to putting someone to death with an expired drug. I am opposed to the execution of Gregory Wilson.
Free parking for Games
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are nearly upon us. Ticket sale numbers are not what they should be. Crowds of people still could be brought here, but not without a few changes.
Missing is an easy way to get to the event. If people could drive to Lexington, park in an outlying parking lot for free, go by bus to the Horse Park and be taken to the site of the event, I think there would be lots of takers.
The same is true for people in Lexington who could get on a bus at already existing bus stops, and go to the site of the event paying a reasonable bus fee.
Not with Obama
A letter writer suggested we should side with either President Barack Obama or Osama bin Laden on the Ground Zero Mosque. It would be great if life were that simple.
If Mohammad were still with us, he would give Osama the highest marks as the perfect Muslim. He would either congratulate Obama for lying to infidels or rebuke him for not having installed Sharia Law in the United States.
Mohammad would roundly condemn the "peace-loving Muslims" so respected and honored by the political left and the useful idiots of the media. Obama may be a Muslim, he may be a fool or he may really be ignorant of what Islam teaches. Whatever it is, I am not about to choose his side.
Has the letter writer seen the 5th verse of Suratul Al Tawba where Allah directs followers to "slay the idolaters wherever ye find them," unless they convert to Islam?
Most Muslim scholars believe this was the last verse revealed to Mohammad and they also agree it effectively nullified everything (124 verses) previously revealed that remotely suggested peace with Jews and Christians and those resisting Islam.
The scholars can do this because of their rule of abrogation — this rule says when there are contradictory revelations from Allah, the latest is to be believed, the earlier to be set aside, abrogated.
Militant Islam has always built a big mosque at the site of its victories over infidel nations. Let's at least make them win before we give them the memorial.
Catering to King Coal
Being from Eastern Kentucky, I am accustomed to a certain level of cowardice in political candidates. Until recently, I did not realize the trend stretched into the center of the state.
Thankfully, I have been enlightened by the impending catfight between Lexington mayoral candidates Jim Newberry and Jim Gray over who loves King Coal more.
Newberry wants to paint himself as a friend of coal. I'm guessing he wants to take the next step and ask coal to be more than just a friend to line his pockets.
I have to admit, though, I'm far more disappointed with Gray's response to Newberry's attack. Both Jims could use a dose of courage.
I want to see a candidate who supports alternative energy sources and believes in the possibility of green jobs.
I would support a candidate who believes coal miners have a right to earn a livelihood without constantly risking their lives. I want candidates who would value clean water and clean air and view them as basic human rights.
I hope for a future for coalfield residents that involves a sustainable economy which does not also destroy the environment they live in. I want a future where the people who have to live next door to King Coal do not watch their homes float away.
I want candidates with courage and vision to actually lead us into that future. This state deserves better than candidates who love King Coal more than its citizens. Lexington deserves better.
Elitist heath care trend
I was alarmed by the Sept. 7 article about the growing trend for "concierge doctors," who charge $1,500 (and up) per year in addition to insurance payments and payments by patients.
Some close friends of mine live in a large urban area in another state. Most doctors there now follow this system; virtually all doctors who are currently taking new patients do, as my friends found out when they tried to switch physicians.
There is going to be a great temptation for more and more doctors to adopt this system as Medicare and Medicaid payments decrease.
I think most doctors really feel the new system gives them more time with the smaller number of patients they will see, but the result will be that fewer and fewer people are able to get the care they need.
As this situation develops, there are still far too many people out there who blindly insist no health care reform is needed.
Universal health care is not socialism any more than free universal schooling is; both are considered basic rights by every modern developed nation in the world — except for the U.S.A.
And with very few exceptions, the overall cost per capita is a fraction of what it is here, even counting taxes paid for the purpose.
Small government reality
Republicans love to talk about small government. What does that really mean?
Cut or eliminate Social Security with its divisions like disability. Get rid of government regulations like protecting our food, drugs, our workplaces, our environment from all the damages that companies interested in profits first have always caused.
If you like small government, you would have loved the government of Herbert Hoover, the president who gave us the Depression and did nothing.
Don't like the bailout? Well, look at 1929 and see what happens when you don't bail out: a Depression rather than a bad recession and 27 percent unemployment instead of 10 percent.
Who are the real big spenders of money we don't have? The Republicans, who in eight years took a surplus to a massive debt in order to please the rich and distract this nation with a senseless war in Iraq, while losing Afghanistan.
Don't be misled by half-truths.
The Sept. 5 article on the U.S. Senate race, "Coal a 'driving factor,' should be expanded upon. Coal is a driving factor, but for two diametrically opposed reasons.
The reality is Rand Paul and Republicans are anti-labor. They consider workers to be thugs and unions to be criminal organizations.
Labor isn't respected or revered by the GOP; labor is tolerated as a necessary evil and the individual worker is a disposable component to be used and discarded.
The right-wing portrayal of "cap and trade" energy police is a scare tactic — one more scam designed to scare coal miners to vote against their interests and for Republicans.
That's the everyday tactic of the Republicans and the "Tea-liban."
I was appalled by the sentencing disparity in three recent court cases:
■ White man runs over his wife in a pontoon boat and kills her. Sentence: possibly nine months, time served.
■ White males defraud over $1 million at Blue Grass Airport. Sentence: probation.
■ Black man defrauds University of Kentucky ticket holders. Sentence: eight years.
When you visit detention centers, what do you find?
Just us, not justice.
Real objection: the poor
I followed the contentious negotiations between the Fairway Neighborhood Association and Vineyard Community Church with interest.
Surprisingly, never were my husband nor I asked by anyone on the association's board how we, as residents and members of the association, felt about their decision to formally oppose the church moving into our neighborhood.
We were bombarded with requests to sign a petition blocking sale of the Julia R. Ewan School to the church. As one neighbor said to us, "It's just not the right fit."
I know the owners of the property had the best intentions for our neighborhood in mind when they purchased the school to save it from demolition.
I also know the large signs in residents' yards caused hurt feelings. And I know gossip and innuendo were used by a select few to fan the flames of controversy.
Increased traffic, parking, noise, water run-off, decreased property values were the stated issues.
But throughout the debate, one fact became increasingly clear: People in Fairway do not want the poor and the homeless walking down their public streets.
I read in the paper daily about the unsettling economic forecasts ahead.
And I reflect on my grandmother's stories about life during the Great Depression (and the many people who came to her door asking for food).
Perhaps that is why, now, whenever I see a homeless person I take a minute and remember, "There but for the grace of God, go I."
Art with a purpose
Thanks to Blake Eames and Claudia Michler for adding art, color and fun to our neighborhoods storm drains.
What a wonderful way to promote awareness of sewers and water quality. This project was funded by a grant from the city government.
Thanks for the artists' talent and time.
Show respect by burying the skeleton
The great Thoroughbred Lexington's skeleton has been on display at the Smithsonian Musueum with dinosaurs, a kangaroo, lizard, ostrich and a llama. Most of its time was spent in storage in the museum since 1876.
It's great we brought Lexington back to his home state. We would show our respect for this fine race horse if we would re-bury it and erect a statue or a nice stone monument outlining his accomplishments.
Lexington now has a room at the Kentucky Horse Park with two huge portraits of him. The park's staff said this room would be a permanent exhibit.
I don't care about bragging rights over other cities. I do care about the right thing to do for this great horse.