Letters to the Editor

Letters to editor: June 26

Confederate tribute glorifies dark era of American history

As an African-American and a newcomer to the Lexington area, I read with dismay and offense the article concerning the effort to erect a statue of a Confederate general in Elizabethtown.

One wonders why some misguided people desire to exhibit a representation of the dark ages of the American experience, a legacy which should be buried in the bowels of history. These folks shouldn't be under any illusions regarding the nature and content of the Confederates' struggle.

Clearly, they fought for "the southern way of life," i.e. slavery, white supremacy and the perpetual degradation, exploitation and subjugation of the African-American people. Theirs was not a noble effort. Americans need not be confused about this portion of America's historical record.

The Confederates' goal was the destruction of the American nation. There is nothing here for Americans to celebrate, and it is way past time to stop distorting the truth concerning our tragic history.

Instead of such a misguided and offensive undertaking, those behind this project would be well advised to use the energy and resources they are expending to promote racial progress in Kentucky and the nation. There is much work to be done in Elizabethtown, our state and the U.S. at large.

Herbert Douglas


Congress's insider trading

Insider trading is the trading of stocks, bonds and stock options or other securities in a public company by people who have access to non-public information about the company.

Does Congress violate this trust when members buy stocks in companies that contract with the government? I think so.

For example: In 2009 Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that there was $6.9 billion of budgeted items in the defense spending bill that they did not need. Congress was made aware of this and approved the bill anyway.

Recently there has been lobbying for $436 million to make improvements to the Abrams tank even though the Pentagon doesn't want the improvements because they have classified it as outdated and ineffective as an armored fighting vehicle.

In 2006, 151 congress members had up to $195.5 million invested in companies that received defense contracts that were greater than $5 million. In 2006 these companies benefited from more than $276.5 billion from the government.

This kind of inside trading has led to world wars and conflicts around the globe and is certainly responsible for current affairs in the Middle East/ And the practice should be stopped.

Richard Hellstrom


Bush library a waste

Recently an op-ed writer was more than hostile toward Pulitzer-winning cartoon artist Joel Pett regarding the Bush Presidential Library. Why? Because the writer was from the far-right wing.

In fact, the editorial "art" that Pett delivered was even more than I could have asked for. Why? Because the library cost $500 million.

Sorry, right-wing folks, but due to George W. Bush's great recession, there has been near zero inflation to make up for that amount spent since former President Bill Clinton built his library at one-fourth the price.

So, why couldn't, or didn't, Bush spend half that amount and give the other quarter-billion dollars to the Wounded Warrior project which gives money, education and opportunity for those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan?

That would've helped with their severe wounds, including tens of thousands of amputations, traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorders, the last of which, according to many sources have affected at least 200,000 troops.

But no. Bush wanted his legacy to say what he wanted and not the actual facts that most Americans know as facts.

Darrell G. Gross


McConnell a career pol

I have followed Sen. Mitch McConnell throughout his political career. Lacking statesmanship skills, he mastered what it takes to be a consummate, career politician who wins elections.

McConnell, Congress' staunchest supporter of "money is speech," and "corporations are people," knows how to raise huge amounts of money from rich special interests who buy his votes in the Senate.

Negative campaigns too often win elections; and no candidate I know does negative campaigning better. Over the years, his votes in the Senate have shown his lack of concern and compassion for the middle class and poor. They cannot contribute big bucks to re-election bids like his rich donors can.

McConnell did everything he could do to make President Barack Obama a one-term president. He failed, but as Senate minority leader he is still doing what he can to obstruct positive movement.

His almost 30 years of experience in the Senate has been mostly about him and his lust for dominating power. The adjective that best describes McConnell's legacy is "negative."

I believe Democrats will have a candidate soon to run against McConnell. I hope it will be Alison Lundergan Grimes, currently our secretary of state. I heard her speak at Fancy Farm last August. She is very impressive and, if elected in 2014, will bring to the Senate a youthful, energetic, positive and constructive outlook which will serve Kentucky and America well.

Paul L. Whiteley Sr.


War on miners

A recent letter writer who identified himself as president of an engineering firm praised Rep. Andy Barr for "fighting to protect Kentucky coal jobs.

But there's a disconnect between what the writer and Barr are selling and reality.

In 2001, there were 654 coal-fired plants, but only 595 in 2009. Does that mean that the Bush administration had a "war on coal" or that some of the 80-plus-year-old plants closed due to attrition?

Last November there were more than a dozen new coal-fired plants permitted or under construction, at least two opened including a cutting-edge plant in Alabama. How does that fit into the war on coal?

Here's more reality: In 2005 natural gas was priced at more than $15 per million BTU. It recently hit $3.85 per million BTU.

Surely the letter writer can do that math and understand the impact on the energy industry. Last year the industry lied to miners by claiming the Obama administration had a war on coal.

But the coal industry was closing active Eastern Kentucky mines already permitted while griping about the Environmental Protection Agency.

We need public servants who'll tell the truth to Americans, to Kentuckians and to miners. The real war is one waged on miners by the coal industry and illustrated by what Patriot Coal did when it denied union miners their earned retirement and benefits.

Bill Adkins


F in grammar

As someone who is annoyed by poor grammar, I shake my head when I pass my old elementary school, Mary Todd, and see mary todd elementary school (all lower case) in large shiny silver block letters on the side.

Maybe it isn't that big a deal, but I feel misspelling words on purpose for "cuteness" sake (Kentucky Konnection, e.g.) or lowercasing proper nouns is not the right direction to go. This is especially true for an elementary school where children are learning such rules of the English language.

Luke Meighan