E. Ky. legislators should fight for more coal money
Just when you think that our elected officials cannot put the screws to Eastern Kentucky more than they already are, they did it. Giving $2.5 million to Fayette County to help renovate Rupp Arena — the same people who turned up their noses at coal mining in Kentucky.
I work for a sheriff's office in Eastern Kentucky, which has only one deputy; the rest are volunteers. The department has two court security officers; the rest are part-time.
The department is responsible for uniforms and equipment. We have officers wearing uniforms that are worn out, shoes that are cracked, and they do not have bulletproof vests. Some of our court security officers don't have guns. Only one of the court security officers has a vehicle.
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The deputy and volunteer deputies have cars. However, they are drivable one week and the next week they're in the garage for repairs.
We have sent request upon request to our senators and representatives over the past four years. The first year we were given $10,000 for equipment and uniforms and have been given $7,500 for the 2014 fiscal year.
For the life of me, I just cannot see why our elected officials from Eastern Kentucky don't fight for us. Take what is coming from the poor counties in our state and put it back into the poor counties.
Sen. Mitch McConnell's June 17 column shows a lot about the man.
His short-term memory is showing gaps, since he doesn't seem to know that the stock market is at a very high level, double its price of four years ago; or that housing values are rising and we are not becoming Greece or Spain.
He doesn't want to raise the minimum wage even though he knows that what the worker takes home can spur the economy. He talks about the national debt but doesn't remember that under President Barack Obama the deficit has dropped by 50 percent already.
His long-term memory is also in trouble. He seems not to remember that much of our debt comes from supporting our military ventures while Republicans have held the current level of Pentagon spending to be sacred. We have had to borrow this money — but at extremely low rates, unlike those of the Reagan era. He doesn't acknowledge the control the Republicans have held over current spending by blocking jobs bills and infrastructure projects and warmly embracing the troublesome sequester while accusing the administration of out-of-control spending.
But he claims that recent tax proposals would harm Kentuckians — meaning himself. As one of the one-percenters, his income would be taxed, and he remembers that well. But higher taxes on the one percent would not hurt even those few Kentuckians who would pay them.
He wants to protect his current job, with its work schedule of a few days a week and a few weeks a year with its excellent benefits program so that he can lead the fight on "Obamacare" and its coverage of many Kentuckians who have no coverage at present.
McConnell is 71, and we shall wish him well in his retirement, with its full advantages.
Unlikely fit in print
Was anyone else struck by the "sick" irony (pun quite intended) in a recent Sunday Herald-Leader that ran a short article announcing the American Medical Association's declaration of obesity as a disease opposite a colorful full-page advertisement by a local discount grocery store for Pepsi soft drinks?
I suppose next we'll have articles about the dangers of smoking alongside announcements of where one can buy cartons of cheap cigarettes.
F. Bruce Engle
Pro-life, except war
I respect veterans as much as anyone. I had three uncles who I put on a pedestal that reaches all the way to the heavens for fighting in World War II.
But former President George W. Bush's and Vice President Dick Cheney's two illegal wars were totally wrong. Dropping those big bombs the first five months in Afghanistan should have been a sufficient response to the 9/11 attacks.
Anyway, we have other means of going after al-Qaida: the drones. They cost less and have saved a lot of our young people's lives under President Barack Obama.
Conservatives have become a nation of bully hypocrites, by supporting pro-life laws but not convict ing Bush and Cheney for killing little babies, old people and young wives in Iraq and Afghanistan with their two dictatorial wars.
It will cost us trillions of dollars in medical expenses to take care of 250,000 of our young soldiers who have had their heads scrambled or have lost one, two or even all four limbs in wars that profited someone else. We had better be putting some of that military-industrial complex spending to fixing up our infrastructure before we go the way of the Roman Empire.
The Tea Party-conservative-libertarian Republicans need to stop and think about what they are saying and work for the betterment of all of us bottom 99 percent.
Looking for Hoffa
A recent report indicates that the FBI was again digging for evidence of Jimmy Hoffa's body. It recalls a story of Hoffa's last ride as told by the driver in the book I Heard You Paint Houses.
According to the account: a team is assembled to borrow an unused house and drive Hoffa to a meeting there. He realized it is his last ride. The pistol was dropped by his body and the driver left the scene. The crew cleaned the house, disposed of the body and dispersed. Proximity to a crematorium was hinted.
Perhaps the FBI has gotten a new tip.
Rex J. Phillips
Ky.'s mountain wonders
Several recent articles have commented on beautiful Kentucky locations such as the Red River Gorge. I find great majesty in the Bluegrass, Natural Bridge, Cumberland Falls and the Gorge.
However, I would also recommend Kentuckians experience the wonders of southeastern Kentucky. The Cumberland Gap offers sweeping vistas and a wealth of historical attractions.
Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Pineville features a beautiful lodge, numerous hiking trails and the majesty of Chained Rock.
Perhaps try Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park in Perry County for its tranquility on a lovely autumn day. Or hike the trails of Kingdom Come near Cumberland in Harlan County with its scenic views of Black Mountain and the chance to spot black bears.
For the more adventurous hiker I recommend the Pine Mountain Trail with its sometimes treacherous but always enchanting trails along with camping opportunities. Marvel at the lovely Bad Branch Falls south of Whitesburg in Letcher County or climb to High Rock for a view that puts Red River Gorge to shame.
Or perhaps catch the varied pastels of a wondrous sunrise after a star-filled night somewhere along the summit near your campsite or driving pull-off.
Eastern Kentucky offers visitors these and many other wonderful experiences which a Kentucky traveler can enjoy.