Media ignores privatized army in Iraq's shadows
The Herald-Leader, channeling The New York Times News Service and The Washington Post, ran two stories Aug. 22 about the reduction of troops in Iraq. Neither piece mentioned the vast number of remaining military contractors.
The number is hard to pin down. Jeremy Scahill, who exposed Blackwater's misdeeds, had the figure at 132,000 as of June 2009. Sen. Mitch McConnell's office had the figure at 100,000 in February 2010, according to its contact at the Pentagon.
In either case, the media deceitfully continues to ignore this shadow army, which calls into serious question the headlines of "Combat mission over" and "Myths about Iraq drawdown."
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If the two "papers of record" won't give us the unvarnished truth, then who will?
And what's happened to McClatchy's (the Herald-Leader's owner) journalistic integrity? After all, it was the only newspaper chain that seriously questioned the run-up to the war in Iraq.
Perhaps President Barack Obama is privatizing the war in Iraq with an unaccountable shadow army, but then who will be there to report on it in light of the death of the Fourth Estate?
Pay college athletes
Colleges make millions from athletes' pictures, jerseys and the rights to what shoes they wear. A scholarship student in English, science or medicine doesn't give up the right to his own image, his photograph or his popularity.
Any student on scholarship (except an athlete) can do a commercial to sell cars, hire an agent, or appear on a calendar.
Why shouldn't a kid have an agent? Somebody needs to look after his interests.
While coaches and universities make millions selling their pictures, putting them on TV and pocketing a fortune, these young kids are supposed to live in poverty and refuse a free meal. If an athlete's mother dies, don't expect the university to fly him home for the funeral because it must protect the integrity of the student-athlete.
The K-Fund raised the required donation for a ticket to $5,000. Who's the real abuser?
Some of these kids may be getting girlfriends on their fame. If only the university could collect that, too.
Earl M. McGuire
Stimulus no help
The Federal Reserve Board has lowered rates dramatically to keep the economy ticking and maybe continue the painfully slow recovery, but at the receiving end there is no feeling of relief at all. People know the stimulus is about to stop stimulating. They know money is petering out. They know states are preparing to cut billions to balance their budgets. They realize the "great recession" has wiped out huge amounts of wealth and, unlike other recessions, this will not be followed by the kind of economic boom when people who sat on their money during the lean years unleashed pent-up demand for all sorts of goods and services.
There is no sign of that happening this time around. Households and businesses have kept their hands in their pockets. So while many think that the only way to revive the economy and to inject more money into it is through government spending, the general feeling is that we can't afford that right now. The government will be writing more IOUs on top of those we already can't afford.
Why plan a second stimulus if the first stimulus couldn't prevent high unemployment?
Thinking of coal
The few performers who recently voted with their consciences rather than their pocketbooks by canceling their Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games performances in front of a "clean coal" banner will not change the world. But they might get some of us to think and speak up.
In spite of the believers in "clean coal," we must continue to protect Mother Earth for all of us, especially our children and grandchildren.
With apologies to the writers of Luke's Gospel and at the risk of the ire of some theologians and Frankfort politicians, I submit the following:
Prepare the way for the Coal, make way its paths. Every valley should be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, And all of Appalachia shall see the Salvation of Coal.
No trust in Islam
Winston Churchill knew Hitler and the Nazis could not be trusted while many other high British government leaders were foolishly convinced that they could be appeased. Like Churchill, some of us know that Islam cannot be trusted while others in this country foolishly hope to appease its followers.
A few years ago, I was more open and sympathetic toward the intriguing people from the Middle East. However, recent events have forced me to realize the Islamic ideology is one of the gravest threats to civilization the world has even known.
I find it deeply disturbing when well-meaning columnists such as Merlene Davis attempt to downplay or sugarcoat the ultimate aim of Islam. They intend to totally dominate the world.
Billy Ray Hughes
Conway for miners
I ask the coal miners of Kentucky: What has a Republican senator or congressman ever done for you?
They are against federal black lung benefits. If a miner gets an attorney to file a black lung claim, he will be sent to West Virginia to see a doctor. The doctors in Eastern Kentucky can't see a black lung claimant.
If you want a senator who will help you, vote for Jack Conway.
Marriage straw man
A Sept. 1 letter is wrong on so many levels.
The writer says same-sex couples should not be allowed to get married because they cannot produce children. This is just like saying an opposite-sex couple should be denied the right to get married because one of the spouses is infertile.
Same-sex couples can have children through many kinds of alternative procedures such as sperm donation, in vitro fertilization, adoption, etc.
If gay people can procreate like straight people, how can same-sex couples' relationships be called "inferior" to opposite-sex couples? It is a straw-man argument.
While I agree that new humans must be born to continue the human race, I find it unfortunate the writer doesn't know there are starving children all around the world because of a lack of food and other resources. Our world leaders need to enact programs to dissuade people from reproducing too much; the current and real problem of overpopulation is getting worse.
Finally, the letter writer says gay people should keep "their hands off marriage." Ironically, before same-sex marriage was even available in most modern societies, (and sadly today) some closeted gay people would marry someone of the opposite sex because it was the only choice and was expected of them.
Imagine how opponents of same-sex marriage rights would feel if they lived in a world where their marriage rights were curtailed. When everyone has additional marriage rights, whether they choose to use them or not, everyone benefits and is happier.