Letters to the Editor

Letters to editor: Nov. 25

Society has failed the mentally ill with an experiment

Several decades ago, our society embarked on a grand experiment: the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill.

People with severe mental illnesses, including paranoid schizophrenia, were discharged from state mental hospitals. Instead of hospitalization, they would get outpatient care. This change was supposed to save money and let the mentally ill receive treatment in the least restrictive environment.

It's time to say the experiment is over, and it has failed. The hospitalized mentally ill of the past have become the homeless of today. In the old days, people with severe mental illnesses lived in safe, secure institutions.

They had beds, regular meals and medical care on site. Today, in contrast, they get a bologna sandwich here, a chair to sit in there and occasional medical care somewhere else. Some get beds, but many sleep outdoors. Most of us would not wish to live in a hospital, but would we prefer to wander the streets searching for help?

For evidence of failure, look at the controversy over the Catholic Action Center in Lexington. Ginny Ramsey has done a fine job there providing badly needed services.

On the other hand, it's easy to sympathize with the neighbors who have to put up with a "chronic nuisance." In a decent society, this controversy would not arise, because we would be providing a home for our neediest fellow citizens.

George and Carol Garber


Learning together

Many people know that Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky has been a great corporate citizen and community partner, supporting many initiatives and worthwhile causes throughout the area.

What might not be known to many is its commitment to education, its efforts to improve training in advanced manufacturing skills, and its support for growth of the automotive industry in Kentucky and in the United States. Bluegrass Community and Technical College congratulates Toyota for 25 years of industry leadership.

BCTC began a relationship with Toyota in its earliest days, back in 1986. We helped to train many of the excellent team members who were hired to build Toyotas. Since then, Toyota has been a true partner in technical education.

It sent faculty members to Japan to study learning methodologies, worked to develop skills-based curricula, provided resources for an advanced manufacturing training center on its property and partnered with other automotive manufacturers and community colleges across the country to develop a national skills certificate.

Currently, Toyota is working with BCTC to support an integrated work-and-learn program to train new manufacturing technicians for their next 25 years. We look forward to continuing in partnership to create an exceptional manufacturing work force in the Bluegrass.

Augusta A. Julian


Bluegrass Community and Technical College

Stimulus for votes

As a concerned American, I find myself looking into the future with great dread. I fear for not only my generation, but the ones to follow. If the economy doesn't spring back, do we even have a future with plans like Barack Obama's stimulus, or "a way to save his own behind plan?" I say no.

In case many of you don't know, President Obama's plan to stimulate the economy is to use half a trillion dollars to create millions of new jobs. What he doesn't tell you is, most of this money will benefit unions and labor-union jobs and the rest of us taxpayers won't see a change at all. If this plan doesn't work, we are even further in debt.

So let me ask you something. Is Obama more concerned about our nation or about buying votes?

Amber Combs


Made outside USA

The clothes in my closet are from the following countries: Vietnam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, Sir Lanka, Canada, El Salvador, Japan, Dominican Republic, Jordan, China and Korea. Do we have to ask where the jobs are?

Joann Byers


Bring back jobs

President Barack Obama, Congress and governors all are elected officials who control our lives.

At the present, our lives are suffering. Each of the above leaders espoused the need to get Americans working. Every one of us knows this is the answer. Yet the politicians do not know how to create jobs so we can work.

The jobs Americans used to have are now in foreign countries. Why? Why?

For example, textiles such as sports caps are made in China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Heavy equipment to be used in making our infrastructure better carries the brand of Kubota. What happened to Caterpillar?

Television sets bear the names of Sony, Samsung and others, all foreign. Televisions used to be made by Sylvania, Emerson and GE — all U.S. companies.

Also, look at the automobile industry: Toyota, Honda, Kia. How many jobs have we lost in Detroit?

Hopefully, by now, you have gotten the picture why our unemployment is so high.

Let's bring back our jobs from foreign countries and buy products made in America. Let's take care of good old U.S.A. and not the rest of the world.

Robert L. Fugate


Jobs for Chinese

A front-page article by Andrew Taylor of The Associated Press reported that the GOP opposes President Barack Obama's plan to create thousands of jobs repairing infrastructure. The article described how Obama ripped the Republicans for favoring the rich over American construction workers in need of jobs.

There are construction jobs to be had right now in America. For example: there is the $7.2 billion project to rebuild the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, the renovation of the Alexander Hamilton Bridge in New York at a cost of $400 million and the Tanana River Bridge in Alaska at the proposed amount of $190 million, to name a few. Sounds like these projects should create a lot of jobs for American workers.

But guess what? Chinese construction companies using Chinese workers are doing these projects. So much for creating infrastructure jobs. That's something the Associated Press and the Herald-Leader didn't want you to know.

J.L. Lombardo


Land of claims

Some claim God exists. Others say he does not. Much ink is expended on the issue.

However, these are not arguments — they are claims. Assertions of this sort cannot be proved, only declared, propounded.

The reason Americans make such claims and counterclaims is because they think themselves far advanced in wisdom.

Their brains somehow seem to have evolved into a higher intelligence that permits loud declamation. This assurance and confidence grows with the number and scope of the claims made.

It all started with Christopher Columbus, who claimed the land for the king and queen of Spain. And the only wonder is why America sometimes is called "Columbia" instead of "Claimbia"?

Risto Marttinen


Support excellence

I am writing regarding the lowly status of University of Kentucky football. Since 1881, in 1,156 games, UK has won 50 percent of its games. But in the Southeastern Conference things are much worse: UK has won only 30 percent of its games.

Why is it that Kentucky people settle for mediocrity or ineptitude in football while demanding excellence in basketball?

The No. 1 reason for this situation is lack of adequate athletes. This state never has and never will produce enough talent to compete in Division I football. Currently, we are competing with mostly three-star players against five-star players. We have lost before we even take the field.

Reason No. 2 is that change starts at the top. We will never have a winning program until we hire a coach with a national reputation. Louisiana State, Alabama, Florida and Auburn would never be where they are today without the right coaching change.

Reason No. 3 is a winning attitude. Change must be made across the state with everyone involved in the program including the players, coaches, fans and administration.

The rule must be: "We will accept nothing less than excellence." With that goal achieved, the indomitable spirit of the 4 million Kentucky people will lead us on to glory and victory after victory.

Bob McMenama


Reagan's achievements

It was interesting to read "No Tea For Me" on Sept. 30, a very sarcastic commentary on the Reagan years.

It was a dual slap at the Tea Party and Ronald Reagan, insinuating that the writer did not prosper during the Reagan era and he sees Tea Party activists as a bunch of "grossly misinformed corporate stooges."

I would respectfully disagree. I not only worked in the Reagan administration, but actively support the Tea Party.

First, a few facts about the Reagan years:

  • 20 million new jobs created.
  • Inflation dropped from 13.5 percent in 1980 to 4.1 percent in 1988.
  • Unemployment fell from 7.6 percent to 5.5 percent.
  • The net worth of families earning between $20,000 and $50,000 annually grew by 27 percent.
  • The real gross national product rose 26 percent.
  • Employment of African-Americans rose by more than 25 percent between 1982 and 1988, and more than half of the new jobs created were filled by women.
  • During this time, growth in government spending plummeted from 10 percent of gross domestic product in 1982 to just over 1 percent in 1987.

    I am tired of the left-wing garbage thrown at the Tea Party. President Barack Obama would do well to dip into the Reagan playbook and understand that private business, not government, creates jobs and prosperity.

    But get ready America, the race card is about to be played yet again, the class-warfare mantra will continue to be chanted, and the Tea Party will become Charles Manson. The Democrats have nothing else to offer.

    Russell Tompkins


    Faith is irrational

    Some thoughts regarding the Oct. 31 article "Faith is a truth found through grace, not reason."

    The author claims to have become a believer after he prayed for belief and it was granted to him through the grace of the Holy Spirit.

    I would respectfully submit that he was a believer before he admitted it. Non-believers do not pray nor do they have any reason to. His story, as he tells it, strongly suggests that he came to believe simply because he wanted to believe. There is no reason to suppose a supernatural agency was involved or even necessary.

    The author appears to assume that faith leads to belief in Jesus Christ. But Christianity does not hold a monopoly on faith. Doesn't faith also lead Muslims to Allah, Hindus to their multiple gods, Buddhists to believe in reincarnation, etc.? All these beliefs are contradictory and exclusionary. They can't all be right. How, then, can one argue that faith leads to truth?

    I would argue just the opposite. I often see faith used as a tool to promote anti-intellectualism and bigotry. Faith, by its very nature, is irrational, which can make it dangerous. We need look no further than the hijackers of 9/11 to see what havoc blind faith can deliver.

    Unlike the author, I do not count faith as a human virtue. And I do not find his arguments to the contrary persuasive.

    Steven Gabbard


    Money for our foes

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has stated that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan if the United States and Pakistan went to war. I wonder whether the Afghan leader has said the same thing to Iran.

    I wonder whether Iraq would side with Iran if the United States went to war with Iran.

    The president and Congress should consider these issues before giving billions of dollars to these countries. Much of this American money is going to the military of these countries. Are we giving money to these countries to build and train their military so they can kill Americans?

    Recent news reports say we're giving millions to China and other countries. If we have a world war, whose side will all these countries be fighting for? Is the United States handing out money trying to buy friends, and how much of that money will be used to kill Americans if we have to go to war? Further, how much of that money is being used now to kill Americans?

    The president and Congress really need to wake up and decide just which of these countries will be killing Americans in the event of a war with Iran or any other country?

    How about spending all those billions of dollars trying to buy friends (who in reality don't want to be our friends) on health care for the disabled and elderly, or to help the economy recover here in the United States?

    Lannie Ray