Obama was a stoner, explain that to the kids
In the June 3 issue, syndicated columnist Clarence Page writes about Barack Obama's past prolific use of marijuana.
In essence, he infers it's popular as polled by 42 percent of Americans, so really not so bad. However, there is no mention of Obama's admitted use of cocaine, which I think most would agree is not so acceptable.
How could a syndicated columnist who reaches millions of people address Obama's marijuana use and completely ignore his more egregious use of cocaine?
Is this an effort to defuse use of illegal and dangerous drugs as a campaign issue?
Evidence of Obama's cocaine use is stated in 60 Minutes' Steve Croft's interview with the Obamas in 2008. The question was, "Did you (as a community organizer) ever smoke pot or do a little blow?" For those who don't know, "blow" is cocaine. Obama's answer, "Yes, when I could afford it."
Now we have, in Page's words, a "stoner" for president. Add to that Obama admits to cocaine use and we have something worse than just a stoner. I have two questions:
■ Is Obama still a user?
■ What do parents tell their children who use marijuana and cocaine when the kids say, "Why not, Obama did it and look at him?"
The biggest myth of all
Reading GOP political strategist Frank Luntz's column, "Busting biggest myths about conservative voters," I believe that he missed the biggest myth of all. The myth that the Republican Party represents conservative principles.
Many elected Republicans are simply big-government politicians waiting for their next spending opportunity, while posing as conservatives yet pushing policies that mandate how we as individuals must live our lives.
In a sense, they have drifted away from time honored conservative principles and are motivated by political concerns in a need to defend the agenda of the Republican Party. Most often, this movement has been away from liberty, and it has not encouraged the kind of care, thoughtfulness and candor that represent conservatism.
Anyone not on board with their agenda has been left behind, wondering how elected officials who are allegedly conservative not only fail to advance conservative reform, but actually implement legislation that is starkly contrary to conservatism, and in which "conservative" personalities can win conservative support without demonstrating that they can and would do better.
Separating church and state
Rev. Jason Hutchinson has both us and federal tax law all wrong ("Ky. preacher has right to apply gospel to president," June 11).
We think pastors have every right to address public issues. But they can't turn a houses of worship into a political action committee and remain tax exempt.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Big money, big lies = big win
Thank you so much for publishing the June 10 column by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein explaining how obstructionist the Republicans in Congress have been. It put the responsibility for the gridlock in Congress exactly where it belongs.
When I read 1984 years ago, I did not believe anyone would believe that kind of thing. But we are seeing it happen before our very eyes. Republicans call black white and white black over and over thinking that if they say it often enough, people will believe it. The Swift Boat lies against John Kerry worked, and they did in Michael Dukakis with the Willie Horton ad. Romney will be a natural; he lies as easily as he breathes.
That's how they plan to win. They will carpet bomb America with half truths and outright lies. With Citizens United on their side and many billionaires behind them, we might as well just ask them who they would like to be president. If the Republicans win this fall, we can say goodbye to American democracy. I don't mean to exaggerate. We have already seen how Republicans in Congress have brought the government to a standstill and how Republican governors and state legislatures have passed a radically far right agenda. Such is only a small glimpse at what they will do if they own all three branches of government. Their only concern is for money and power so that they can continue to tell us that black is white and white is black.
Welcome to 1984.
Lawrence E. Durr
African Cemetery No. 2
In the article addressing the Lexington Housing Authority's maintenance of property in the East End, it was appropriate to mention the development of the Isaac Murphy Memorial Garden and the restoration of the Lyric Theater as examples of urban renewal. But the article omitted an example of renewal that illustrates how government and local cooperation can restore a degraded property. African Cemetery No. 2 on 7th Street was an urban wasteland until its restoration in the 1970s. Since the mid '90s, African Cemetery No. 2, Inc., a nonprofit 501c(3) corporation, has used private, university, city and state funding, and the intellectual and sweat equity of countless volunteers to build on that restoration and make the cemetery a source of regional pride.
African Cemetery No. 2 is on the National Register of Historic Places, is an 8-acre green space for the East End community, and serves as a constant reminder of the contribution of African Americans to Lexington's development. Only blocks from William Wells Brown Elementary School, it is an open laboratory for the study of Lexington's past, and a place for quiet contemplation. The cemetery currently displays information about the history and role of African-American jockeys in the Thoroughbred industry.
No discussion of urban renewal in the East End would be complete without a full appreciation of how this site was saved for posterity. Come and see for yourself.
Chair, African Cemetery No. 2, Inc.
San Antonio isn't Lexington
The recent trip by a contingent of Lexingtonians to San Antonio was highlighted in several Herald-Leader articles. They all contained the same basic message that whatever had been done in that city which could reasonably be claimed to have helped its growth would somehow be clearly applicable and obviously beneficial to Lexington.
While it is hard to imagine what useful urban development comparisons can be made between Lexington and a sunbelt city five times its size that has a river running through it, that won't stop the forces bound and determined to spend $300 million-plus on an improved home for University of Kentucky men's basketball and a larger and probably even more underutilized convention center. We are told it just takes a civic-business partnership working together to magically transform a quiet downtown into a bustling urban business hub.
Your coverage of the trip follows a familiar pattern. Ignore all the myriad differences between Lexington and other cities being cited to justify the Rupp entertainment district. Ignore the fact that UK doesn't support spending state dollars on the renovation and that the small and mid-size conference and convention business is dying. Most of all ignore the fact that Lexington is a far more charming and livable town than any of these other places.
An excuse to create work for developers is needed and there's no reason that logic and common sense should get in the way.
Complexity of being Catholic
Thanks to Jacalyn Carfagno (June 17 column, "Pursuit of power is not moral leadership") for writing about the complexity of being Catholic as the church continues to embarrass itself.
Her views are exactly how I and my husband have been feeling regarding the church for several years. At this juncture in my own life, I can only wonder what Jesus would do. Thank goodness he is still my moral compass and a light in a very dark world.
Hierarchy's wall of silence
Jacalyn Carfagno's criticism of a Catholic Church hierarchy that has lost sight of its guiding principles is underscored by the woefully misnamed Fortnight for Freedom campaign of the U.S. Conference of Bishops.
The campaign's inflammatory rhetoric is a protest of a government guideline that directs all employers to provide coverage of contraceptive services as part of their health care insurance plans for employees.
Yes, this guideline does include church organizations when they act as employers. No, this is not an attack on religious freedom. Yet the literature of this campaign compares the "plight" of the church to the violent martyrdom of an early saint of the church in the most illogical of analogies.
Unless my memory is faulty, these same American bishops are the brotherhood that tolerated, condoned and denied a culture of pedophilia over many decades. When did this leadership body ever call as loudly for justice for the victims of these acts?
How can intelligent, well-educated leaders of a church expect credibility when they close ranks and maintain a wall of silence around truly reprehensible behavior of members of their clergy and, instead, focus their outrage on a mandate that ensures women employees their right to insurance that covers contraceptive services?
For the sake of full disclosure, I am a lifelong Catholic. Like Carfagno, I am struggling to maintain a relationship with my faith tradition. This struggle becomes increasingly difficult as the church becomes less faith community and more political institution.
If coal goes, we all go
EPA hang tough? (June 10 editorial, "EPA should hang tough in coalfields.") It's more like a hanging from the EPA, and it sounds like this paper approves. A house divided cannot stand; if we go down, so will Lexington. This paper rails against coal and seemingly this end of the state.
For many years it's said things like "the end of coal." How good would it be to say "Ah! The Herald-Leader brings us a paper that builds us up and not tears us down." In 1990 coal made 37 percent of the world's electricity, today it's 40 percent and by 2035 it's projected to be 42 percent. Don't we deserve to work? This is all we have.
We don't need to pray for a heat wave, we need to pray we have a change of command.
Ray E. Davis Jr.