Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: June 9

Closed primaries take away rights of Kentucky voters

The idea was basic: one person, one vote. Unfortunately, in Kentucky's closed primary elections, you lose your vote if you belong to the wrong party.

Seventeen states, including Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, are ahead of Kentucky and allow open primaries. New Hampshire, New Jersey and Massachusetts allow independents to choose a party to vote for at the polls. Illinois will let you change affiliation at the polls.

Starting in 2012 all candidates in California will be lumped into a primary with the top two facing each other in the general election.

There is no mention of political parties in the Articles of Confederation, U.S. Constitution or Bill of Rights. Political parties did not exist in 1789.

George Washington despised the idea of political associations formed in such a way as to pit one group of citizens against another. In his farewell speech in 1796 he said political parties "serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests."

Come on Kentucky, get with it.

Ric Maxfield


Paying not to play

Why does the state pay for the two parties' closed primaries? I understand the need to pay for the general election, since it is open to all and the winners represent all Kentuckians, but why support the party structure which has so ill-served this state?

As a registered independent, I resent the fact that I am closed out of an electoral process for which I must pay.

I realize that I expect too much for the General Assembly to do something thoughtful, decent and fiscally responsible. Maybe in another place and time I might be able to expect better.

Ed J. Brown


Williams' extreme views

Three years ago I left my reporting position at WTVQ Channel 36 and returned to Seattle to run a political campaign and become more involved in human rights issues, especially gay and lesbian equality.

My younger brother Daniel is gay. He came out to our family eight years ago and has since finished graduate school at New York University and lives with his boyfriend Andy. Dan's strength to come forward and step into his true self galvanized my family to be more active in the movement.

The rights of our gay and lesbian family members will not be realized without straight allies standing up against bigotry. That bigotry beats in the heart of Kentucky Senate President David Williams.

I had the opportunity to challenge Williams' unusually hateful views when he blamed an honor-roll student at then-Cumberland College who was expelled for revealing he was gay. When Williams blocked anti-bullying legislation because it meant kids would be punished for using pejoratives to humiliate classmates, I asked him what positive effect taunting had on children. Williams said it "built character" and was a "rite of passage."

I hope the media will challenge Williams' extreme views. I hope Kentucky families with loved ones who are gay and lesbian will speak out about marriage and employment discrimination. Williams talks about smaller government letting Kentuckians live their lives. It is the essence of hypocrisy to force our family members to live in the dark. I'm standing with my brother Daniel. Who are you standing with?

David Zimmerman

Seattle, Wash.

Budget needs GOP ticket

I'm voting for David Williams for governor because it's about time we had some strong leadership in Frankfort.

The Williams-Richie Farmer plan of significantly reforming the state tax code will seriously address our fiscal problems by making Kentucky, rather than our neighboring states, a destination for businesses. By bringing in more employers in a more business-friendly environment, state revenue will increase. This straightforward fiscal responsibility will stop the spending of next year's money to make up for budget gaps.

It is beyond me how the current governor tried to tell the good folks in Kentucky that his way to balance a budget is to borrow money from the future. Has he not read a newspaper in the last couple of years? This country has soundly rejected the notion of credit-card budgeting as we all have tightened our belts.

This type of thinking reminds me of when Gov. Steve Beshear used fictional gambling revenue to balance his other budgets. I suggest that, after his term as governor, Beshear steer clear of any accounting jobs.

There is a clear choice for the direction of Kentucky. We can either lag behind while our neighboring states enjoy success in the 21st century or we can choose, for ourselves and for our families, the bold leadership of Williams, the only candidate for governor who can and will get the job done.

Bill Marshall


It's the apathy, stupid

Our nation's founders failed to address one of our inalienable rights.

Of course, they could not have known about the unlimited access to information, indeed media saturation, today's electorate enjoys. So they implemented things like an electoral college to protect the public of their day from its inherent ignorance.

But they left the freedom to be ignorant intact. And current voters in the freest nation on Earth are not only free to be as ignorant as we choose but exercise this freedom with regularity.

Studies show that people who rely on Fox Broadcasting for news are significantly more misinformed than people who seek out other media sources (Dec. 10, 2010; "Misinformation and the 2010 election: A study of the U.S. electorate," WorldPublicOpinion.org and Knowledge Networks).

Over the past two years lie after lie in the public domain has been repeatedly debunked. Yet credulous people like "birthers" insist on ignoring the facts.

Ignorance has become so prevalent among voters that commentators on CNN have gone so far as to rhetorically suggest a law barring the ignorant from voting.

However, ignorance is not the neglected individual liberty at issue.

Rand Paul was elected with votes from 26 percent of registered voters in Kentucky. It is our freedom to be apathetic that is killing our nation.

There should be a law against voter apathy. And there is no excuse for this type of dereliction by the founding fathers.

Doug Epling


Ark park miscalculation

Shame on the Kentucky Development Finance Authority for approving tax dollars for a fundamentalist Christian theme park.

Fortunately, Kentucky has a strong separation of church and state clause in its constitution and this financing will probably be struck down in court.

If it is upheld, we will probably have to add an extra few million in legal fees to the $43 million being proposed. There's also the $11 million that we might spend on improving an interchange. Considering the condition of many of Kentucky's roads, that money would probably be better spent elsewhere.

Are we really willing to spend tax dollars to reinforce our image as ignorant hillbillies? At least that embarrassment called the Creation Museum was not built with tax dollars. Creationism is not now, nor has it ever been, science. It is a religious belief that denies science.

This is the 21st century and I am amazed that desperate Christians still cling to the false hope that everything in the Bible is true. No, wait, that's the King James Version. All other Bibles contain errors and are the work of Satan.

The King James Version was not a new translation. It was primarily a compilation from the various other Bibles that had already been published. Its editors put in what they wanted and left out what they didn't. Many researchers believe that their primary purpose was to defend the concept that kings ruled by divine right. Only Republican presidents do that now.

David Hamblin


Religion in the way

A few weeks ago I read a Herald-Leader editorial asking what's wrong in Eastern Kentucky.

The answer is religion. Moreover, there never was a Noah's ark, nor was there a Noah's flood.

More importantly, my father's chromosome did not come from the land known today as Iraq. My point of origin was North Africa. (Oh, Noah was an Arab.)

How can Kentucky advance when politicians, allegedly Americans, can't get elected unless they cower before the religious community?

Billy Ray Wilson


Poor party needed

As to Mica Sims' "No one should take Ky.'s Tea Party vote for granted" (May 27), we poorer people here in Kentucky are grateful for Tea Partier Sen. Rand Paul. We can look forward to six great years of prosperity.

We poorer class need to take a cue from the Tea Partiers and elect people from our own class. This will be the only way we can accomplish anything.

Victor Privett


End of world would fix it

Prognosticators have been predicting the end of the world for decades, and often their predictions are based on a timetable contrary to biblical chronology. Mark 13:32 clearly shows that God knows the foretold end of the world. Most people believe the end of the world is a bad thing for mankind.

However, the end of the world would be a good thing. How so? It would end the Middle East crisis, the endless conflict between Jews and Arabs in which thousands have died in disagreements over land, borders and territories.

Ending the world would end the racial strife that has plagued this nation for decades. Racism affects the lives of black and white people and led to the assassinations of champions against racism such as Abraham Lincoln, the Kennedy brothers and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Electing Barack Obama has inflamed both sides. Blacks are proud to have our nation's first African-American president while other folks are angry that he occupies the White House and vent openly.

The end of the world would end the sexual revolution and same-sex marriage, which has gained traction with the churches. Forgotten is God's view of marriage and immorality. When God ends this world, he will end wars, racism, immorality and violence. These conditions have caused the deterioration of mankind, and God, just like in Noah's day, will end the world.

Alvin Brown


Rich should be giving

In a letter to the editor in the Washington Times (May 18), titled "Stop Vilifying the Wealthy," the letter writer seemed to say that everything America has been, is and forever will be, she owes to the wealthy 5 percent who give so much money to good causes.

If "to whom much is given, much is required" is true, the more wealth one has the more one should be willing to give to charity, their church and to the government via taxes. The rich and the poor we will have with us always, the big difference being the rich will always have much more than enough.

The writer said nothing about the enormous contributions the other 95 percent of Americans make to our country's greatness. Many of them are in the public sector funded by millions of regular taxpayers. A good case could be made that Republican conservatives should stop vilifying government. To malign government is to vilify ourselves, for we the people are the government. This enables us to live as a civilized nation.

All Americans — rich, middle class, poor — are critical to our country's well-being. We need the best each can give with none believing themselves superior to the others. Job creators need workers as much as workers need jobs. All of us throughout the country should be on our knees praising and thanking the people who collect and dispose of our mountains of garbage each week.

Paul L. Whiteley Sr.


Do not target EPA

I had the opportunity to sit in on the May 5 Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing chaired by U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, regarding the Environmental Protection Agency. Contrary to testimony delivered, here are some facts to consider.

1. Much of Eastern Kentucky's coal is going to China, increasing our dependence on foreign fuel.

2. Coal-producing counties are the poorest counties in Kentucky. In 2006, taxpayers subsidized the industry with a net impact of $114 million — part of the reason we struggle to balance our state budget.

3. The coal industry has created a health crisis from the particulate matter introduced into the air by mountaintop removal blasting and the coal ash produced by burning this fossil fuel.

4. This undue burden is on the people and the communities. Many of the counties in the 5th Congressional District produce coal. Out of the 435 districts, Kentucky's 5th is 435th in emotional health, physical health, overall health and mortality.

5. It is not legally defensible for this industry to be destroying our air, water and health.

6. lt's long past time to let the EPA do its job. The EPA has been meeting with stakeholders (not stockholders) and listening to people's real concerns — family members dying from asthma, pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease and cancers.

Conclusion: It's long past time to transition to renewable power sources. Industry can't get rich on these sources. Think of the dollars it would put in our pockets and how we would enjoy better health.

Sharman Chapman-Crane