A downtown vision that plays to UK sports fans
I appreciate that the powers-that-be decided to get an outside opinion about what our little town should look like in 50 and 100 years.
Norway seems far enough away to get folks who will look at our downtown with fresh eyes.
It is my sincere hope that these wise sages have clear enough vision to see all the way to Pikeville and Paintsville, as well as Flatgap, Paducah and Fulton, when they decide who we are and what we want.
This is not just about Lexington wanting to be big and iconic. It is about our desire to provide our citizens with as much livability as tight budgets will allow.
The downtown design should include a welcome to our brothers and sisters in far-flung parts of the state. An attraction that will lure them, where they will happily spend their dollars, will make our downtown vital and vibrant.
How to achieve such a thing? OK, Norway guys, I got it.
Three words: Free big screen.
You put in outdoor seating for say, 30,000, in a parklike setting with Town Branch gurgling through it, build a big screen that will show all University of Kentucky basketball and football games, and the roads to Lexington will look like the Kentucky Speedway on race day.
Show reruns on off days, and the stands will still be half full.
A welcome gesture
I write in part to thank the people responsible for the decisions to sporadically allow free admission for military veterans to an entertainment, cultural or sporting event.
Examples include an early non-conference University of Kentucky football game and one day during Keeneland live racing.
Primarily because I have not had a cost-of-living increase since 2008, I am unable to take more than two weekend trips a year, buy new appliances or new furniture, or buy and do things perhaps some others take for granted.
Also I can easily document significant price increases in mandatory items such as fuel, utilities, groceries, as can everyone.
While no one owes us an occasional free admission, I welcome it as an appropriate tangible gesture of appreciation for those who served and sacrificed. Every time I vote, I exercise the right to free speech, freedom of religion and associations. Every time I access due process, etc., I relish and cherish these liberties because of generations of veterans — many far worthier than I — who have paved the path of freedom.
Make no mistake. America is still a shining beacon of hope for a troubled world. I thank all veterans, past, present and future, not for an entitlement but for the privilege of claiming citizenship in "the land of the free and the home of the brave."
Robert M. Atkinson
Run on the issues
When an election approaches, we are bombarded with politicians spouting negative campaigns against their opponents, hoping to discredit them in any way possible.
I find this practice not only insulting to the intelligence of the voters, but utterly ridiculous.
If grownups cannot campaign in a way that is dignified and upright, they don't deserve to be in public office. It only puts them in a bad light when they attack each other as if their own merits are not substantial enough to help them win an election.
In order for candidates to get my attention, they must inform the public of plans and present them in a logical and practical way. They would be doing themselves a favor by only focusing on the problems, instead of the senseless banter of slamming the person running against them.
I would much rather vote for an individual running on the issues and trying to help the public out of this crisis we are facing today.
Shrinking from service
Compare and contrast two recent events: The helicopter shot down in Afghanistan resulting in the deaths of 30 servicemen versus the debate that swirled around raising the debt ceiling.
Members of Congress from the Republican Tea Party were adamant that any deal raising the debt ceiling would not include an increase in revenues generated from taxes on the rich or corporations; default was preferable to sacrifice by these groups.
Their position meant the rich and corporations were unwilling to sacrifice for the United States because accumulating greater sums of wealth was more important than the common good of the country.
Compare that to the 30 servicemen who did their jobs because their commitment to the common good of the country was more important than even their lives.
Quickly one realizes that using a patriotic-sounding name, like Tea Party, or wearing American flag pins doesn't make you a patriot.
What makes you a patriot was demonstrated by 30 troops. It's behavior, not symbols, and the willingness to sacrifice for the country.
Thomas Paine knew it more than 200 years ago when he wrote that the summer soldier and sunshine patriot would shrink from service to their country in time of crisis. The Republican Tea Party shrank.
Ending the draft after Vietnam for an all-volunteer military started us down this path of selfishness. Maybe we can reverse that trend in future generations by adopting Israel's system of mandatory service, for all men and women.
James F. Wisniewski
Nothing to cheer about
Some years ago, Lexington was more than excited as Air Force One landed at Bluegrass Airport bringing the president to town for a speech.
The employees of a local factory clapped and cheered as Bill Clinton outlined a plan that would keep America great, prosperous and open us up with free trade for the world. Despite warnings of dire consequences if this bill became law, it did so.
Within a year, it became my job to remove the once bustling assembly lines, and the jobs they provided, so they could be shipped out of the country.
It became an all-too-familiar scene as it was repeated in thousands of factories all over the United States. Corporations quickly saw this as a way for cheap labor and higher profits as they showed the American worker the door.
Now, years later, the true effect of this law is really showing up. While our jobless rate hovers at 10 percent, we only kid ourselves as everyone knows it's much higher. As we all well know, when people are jobless, other problems are created which we read and hear about every day. And there is nothing in the future that says it will be getting better anytime soon.
In the years since the North American Free Trade Agreement was passed, I have never heard the first person step forward and tell us how it was a good deal for the American worker.
And I bet I never will.