Appreciate the legacy our founders left us
In preparation for Independence Day, I read the Declaration of Independence, as I have for many years. I wanted to understand, as clearly as possible, what the Founding Fathers were thinking.
Recognized as "the best known and noblest of American state papers," that short document, containing 1,364 words, had a profound effect.
It threw off tyranny, broke off relations with England and established a nation that came to be known as "the land of the free and the home of the brave."
Although political leaders use terms to pit one group against another, we are a nation in which all citizens "are created equal." There are neither lords nor commoners; we are one. The founding fathers recognized that all "are endowed with" certain "inalienable rights," including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." These entitlements do not come from governments; they come from the creator of all things.
The fate of government rests in the hands of the people. The Founding Fathers declared that "whenever any form of government becomes destructive" of the ends for which it was created, it is "the right of the people to alter or to abolish it."
At a time when there is pressure to replace all references to God in the public arena, we should remember that the Founding Fathers recognized that there is a creator, known as "nature's God."
When they wrote the Declaration, they acted "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence."
As we observe Independence Day, we should remember our precious heritage.
Edward Snowden for president! What a wonderful country we would have if honesty were a political office prerequisite.
Like a toothache
In response to the recent letter asking if we miss George W. Bush yet: I point out that if he had been president of anything less than the only remaining superpower, he and his fellow war criminals would have been put on trial and sent to prison for the rest of their lives.
No, I don't miss sending thousands of our precious children to have their lives ended for nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. I don't miss making tens of thousands of them crippled for life.
And I don't miss rubbing the world's nose in the fact that we had an administration so evil it carelessly murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Who's in denial?
A June 8 letter, "Media in denial," implied that a December 2012 report by the United Kingdom's Met Office gave broad significance to the sentence fragment, "there has been no statistically significant increase in annual global temperature since 1997."
Not so. The Met Office reported that widespread warming has occurred in the U.S. (and most everywhere) since 1960 and that in the U.S. there have been fewer cool nights while summers and winters have become warmer. Sound familiar?
The denier ignores that the longer global temperature trend, in contrast to the 1997-2012 period he cherry-picked, shows warming, despite fluctuations from El Nino, etc., that warming generally tracks the carbon dioxide rise and that the 12 to 14 hottest years on record have occurred in the last 15 years.
The denier message is that anthropogenic global warming is a hoax; that 97 percent of expert scientists are wrong; that the dynamic, scientific consensus on human-caused climate change has been fooled; that renewable energy has no value, and that the media are in denial of this view.
Matters of empirical science and technology rest on dynamic, expert consensus, formed with the best experimentally-based, peer-reviewed understanding available. Empirical science advances because a consensus continues to be refined by a highly competitive test/retest process.
We all depend on this approach every time we follow doctor's views (often long-term trend-based), feel safe eating out or ride in an airplane powered by an explosive liquid.
Consider this when encountering any individual view.
A change is gonna come
When I read the news, songs started popping into my head: "I feel good, I knew that I would ..."
The news? A woman in Kentucky declared her candidacy for Congress: "I'm so excited and I just can't hide it ..."
Elisabeth Jensen announced for Congress. She's president and executive director of the Race for Education in Lexington and is running on an educational platform, among other issues. How good is that for Kentucky?
"So good, so good."
The news is worthy of a celebration. Envision Kentucky with a woman in Congress and women in abundance as state representatives. Think of the positive attention the state can have for a change, a big change.
The moribund morass of male, monolithic monoculture needs some fresh air, different perspectives and ways of approaching and resolving problems and issues. Why not give half of the state's brains a go?
More songs surfaced — "C'mon baby, let the good times roll."
I thought about flash mobs that spontaneously come together for singing and dancing.
Let's declare 2013 the start of the Kentucky Decade of Women.
When the women running for offices win, I'll be "dancin' in the street." Join me, please.
"Proud Mary (Hillary, Alison, Elisabeth, Crit, Lisa), keep on rollin'."
And now, together, in loud chorus, "I've got you, babe."
I feel good.
The un-Robin Hoods
I see the congressional Republicans have constructed a farm bill that would cut food stamps — the basic sustenance for millions of children and elderly or disabled folks — and shovel that money into the pockets of corporate agribusinesses as subsidies.
And these are the policies proudly supported by our U.S. senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul.
It's hard to believe the state that produced Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay and Alben Barkley is now represented in the federal government by such a pack of clueless and unprincipled political hacks.
If the current version of the GOP had an official motto it would be "We take from the poor and give to the rich."
Driving from Versailles to Lexington in the right lane one becomes aware of the following hazardous conditions resulting from the new construction:
1. Guard rails placed within inches of the right of way can be easily hit;
2. If one needs to pull off the right of way the shoulders are not car width and so steep it would be easy to have one's vehicle roll over.
With obvious climatic changes leading to severe flooding of roadways around the nation the old technology of runoff management on the above mentioned road will probably be inadequate.
Ralph R. Huffsey