Paul's stand on Patriot Act commendable
In the days following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Congress passed the anti-terrorism law, the Patriot Act. I must admit that at the time I supported the government's tactics supposedly aimed at keeping us safe.
However, in the years since, it has become apparent that its main function is to spy on American citizens and control dissent and protest of government activities such as the war in Iraq.
President Barack Obama was a critic of the Patriot Act during the 2008 campaign. Flash forward to February 2011 when the president backed a three-month extension of key components of the act, saying it was a necessity for law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Now Congress has passed a four-year extension, another four years of government looking at your financial records, plundering through your emails, listening to your phone conversations, holding citizens without due process and ultimately making a mockery of the Constitution.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was one of eight Senate votes against debating the law's extension, and I commend him for that.
We need to let our politicians know that how they vote is going to affect how we vote come the next election. Let's stand together and take our government back. After all it is still "we, the people," isn't it?
Cranes boost tourism
Sandhill cranes are being promoted as targets by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The plan calls for killing a minimum of 400 birds starting this year.
The Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet oversees KDFWR. Where is the consideration of tourism when it comes to starting a new hunting season on a species?
Can't Kentucky state officials and various Kentucky towns see the value of promoting eco-tourism opportunities to view migrating sandhill cranes?
What if the cranes were horses? Would our state officials be so quick to promote killing horses every year, only getting a meager hunting permit fee from 400 horse hunters?
Tourists who want to see horses pay far more into our local and state economies. But it doesn't make sense to appease 400 while losing so much from so many more who want to see and experience live animals, like people want with both horses and sandhill cranes.
I think sandhill crane viewing opportunities would infuse good money into those localities lucky enough to have cranes. A mistake will be made by Kentucky state government officials June 3 in Frankfort by allowing the hunting and killing of sandhill cranes.
I hope more people let our officials know they support the state receiving greater financial rewards from viewing cranes more than Kentucky catering to a few people who only see these birds as targets. See sandhill cranes for their beauty with larger value and greater benefits to Kentucky's economy.
Top member services
As a retired Jefferson County Public Schools employee, I have been involved with the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System since my hiring in 1969. After all these years, I am continually impressed with the professional services KTRS provides to its members. Never have I been disappointed.
KTRS has constantly provided pertinent information in a timely manner throughout the years regarding issues of service, health insurance, retirement — the services implemented are extensive.
In addition to these quality services, the phone assistance is also truly exceptional in today's world. A caller does not have to listen to a litany of commands for the information needed. A KTRS employee answers the phone and personally asks you how they can assist.
The operator, almost always, responds stating the answers to your concern. This person is so knowledgeable on these issues, basic questions can be deferred immediately without a referral to a specialist.
I wish other businesses would follow this example.
Gas prices don't add up
It's hard to believe. During a recent congressional hearing regarding escalating gasoline prices, attended by five oil company representatives, it was stated that the oil companies realize a profit of 6 cents per gallon of gasoline.
During the first quarter of 2011, oil companies reported record profits during this period — about 40 percent higher than in previous periods — which would suggest that a significant source of the increased profits resulted from increased gasoline sales.
However, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that, during the same period, about 750,000 barrels of gasoline were produced, about 70,000 barrels fewer than during the fourth quarter of 2010. This implies a decrease in demand, or sales, of gasoline.
If a comparison is also made with the first quarter of 2010 versus the first quarter of 2011, the result is similar. Consequently, the claim of a profit of only 6 cents a gallon sounds extremely questionable.
Bob N. Naydan
Photographer spot on
It has been a few months now since I began spotting Charles Bertram's memorable photos in the Herald-Leader.
One day, before reading the photographer's credit, I caught myself thinking, "I bet Charles Bertram took this." Indeed, he had.
Now, when I pick up the Herald-Leader I test myself. Every single time I pick out his beautifully focused and centered photos. They are clear and often action-oriented.
I find no fault with your other photographers. It's just that Bertram seems to study his subjects and quickly pinpoint them correctly to get the best possible angle.
You have a winner with him.
Joanne Y. Brubaker
Let's have a clean fight
As election time draws near, I hope the mudslinging and name calling is not what we, as voters, are going to hear for months.
Don't tell me so-and-so did this or so-and-so did that. Tell me what you as a candidate are going to do for me as a voter. How are you going to help me with things like state employee furloughs, no pay raises in a few years and insurance costs?
I could care less how this one called this one a name. Grow up, people. Let's try and get an adult-based campaign without negativity and lies. Tell us what your platform is.
Now see if you are capable of this and you will make us informed voters and not someone who wants to turn the channel when a commercial comes on.
Let the campaign begin.
It's in the water
I read that we have a senator who just can't quit milking the cash cow, a governor who has given millions to a splinter religious organization that plans to build the biggest wooden boat ever built, on top of a mountain nearly a thousand miles from the nearest ocean, and a representative who wants to build an outhouse in his townhouse.
Can there be any doubt that we have mercury in our drinking water?