Stumbo wrong about incentives for Ark Encounter
We wish to comment on statements attributed to House Speaker Greg Stumbo about the future Ark Encounter.
The project has received preliminary approval from the state to receive a refund of sales tax collected at the park if it draws large crowds and tourism dollars.
Contrary to what has been widely reported, no tax money is coming out of the state budget and away from needed services to build the full-size Noah's Ark.
Stumbo opposes the possible refund of sales tax as a supposed violation of separation of church and state and suggests that a lawsuit will result.
We point out that an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky told USA Today in 2010 that the state should be non-discriminatory toward the Ark Encounter.
We would further suggest that it would be illegal for the state to engage in viewpoint discrimination. In addition, the state is not compelling anyone to visit the Ark Encounter and is not endorsing its content.
Was Kentucky endorsing alcohol consumption when it approved tax refunds for a beer distillery tour project in 2012?
Recent federal cases involving incentives and establishment of religion have been generally permissive to promote economic development. See, for example, a 2009 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which includes Kentucky.
The granting of a sales tax refund is for a legitimate public purpose: economic development.
Meanwhile, earth-moving equipment will soon be making its way to Williamstown as excavation and construction starts on the Ark.
CCO and co-founder Ark Encounter and Answers in Genesis
House blocks prosperity
A recent Bluegrass Poll found that the majority of Kentucky voters are concerned mainly about the economy and jobs.
Yet Frankfort's political leaders — particularly in the Kentucky House of Representatives — stubbornly refuse to support policies that offer the best path toward prosperity and the kind of employment opportunities produced by a robust economic environment.
During this year's legislative session, the House leadership killed:
Telecom reforms that would encourage the private sector to expand broadband access for Kentuckians in all parts of the Bluegrass state.
A right-to-work bill that would attract new industry and result in economic growth.
Legislation to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits filed by trial lawyers against our health-care professionals.
These policies would increase Kentucky's competitiveness regionally and reduce burdensome government policies holding our commonwealth back. However, people have long stated what they want from policymakers, and it's high time they follow suit.
President, Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions
I'm writing to respond to a July 20 letter, "Invest in life." The writer's argument supporting insurance coverage for erectile dysfunction medication, such as Viagra, while denying women the same coverage for their own reproductive health left me speechless with both his arrogance and ignorance.
His claim that "contraceptive devices of any kind are designed to prevent new life" ignores their use to treat other medical conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome and uterine fibroids.
Additionally, the use of birth control to allow a woman to control when and if she gets pregnant can in no rational way be equated to a man taking a drug like Viagra, which is purely a choice.
Men are generally prescribed Viagra so that they can enjoy sexual relationships despite age, illness or injury. The need to "be ready when the time is right" does not in any way equate to the needs of a woman who needs to address a serious medical condition or who wishes to control when or if she becomes pregnant, carries and delivers a child.
This archaic thinking that reduces women to their reproductive capacity to maintain the species holds us back. The ignorance astonishes me.
Call off the police buildup
I was shocked to read the letter from an ex-cop who said "unleash the dogs of war" on the communities "north of Main street" — code for black neighborhoods — in order to protect the "middle class educated whites" from drugs.
I have news for him: The dogs of war have been unleashed on black people for the last 400 years. These attacks are a way to suppress their speech and take away their right to self-defense
Black people have been targeted for arrest through targeting of their neighborhoods. Every time you can arrest another black man you take away his right to vote and his right to a firearm.
Crime in America is at a 40-year low, there is no cause to wage a war.
As the population grows, the number of crimes rise naturally, but the actual rate of crime is going down because the population rate is growing faster than the crime rate. It is not cause for hysterics, a military-style police buildup and a war on citizens.
It sounds like our political leaders are preparing for a Fallujah-style assault on Lexington. I stand with the oppressed, including blacks, immigrants and the poor who will all suffer from more police.
Where did all this hate come from?
"America for Americans" is the chant we hear on the nightly news as we watch protestors swarm around buses carrying children.
As a nation we pride ourselves as hyphenated Americans — Irish-Americans, Polish-Americans, German-Americans, African-Americans, etc. — confirming our origins from somewhere else.
Are these protestors calling for the return of America to the true Americans, you know, the ones whose land we stole and who we forcefully put on reservations but love as logos for sports teams?
What is it about the current American psyche that produces this level of hate? We hate the Europeans, especially the French, Latinos and even hate other Americans: minorities and the young.
Look at the targets of the voting restrictions in those states enacting the so called voting reform (or suppression) laws.
Are these protestors the same individuals who proclaim this is a Christian country? If so, what brand of Christianity do they practice?
Christianity involves more than just wearing a cross around your neck. Where is the clergy to provide moral leadership for these folks? Once the clergy of all faiths provided leadership, came together and marched for civil rights. What happened to that clergy?
James F. Wisniewski
Apology demanded for racist label
In the July 22 column by Tom Eblen, did he really judge me as a "racist nitwit" just because I disagree with his view regarding our southern border?
I believe he did just that by stating that a cartoon by Mike Luckovich of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution summed up his thoughts. The cartoon which showed the Statue of Liberty with a new inscription: "I'll trade you your huddled masses for my racist nitwits."
Nitwit I can handle, but "racist" is a much more serious charge that should not be made without some supporting information that proves the charge to be true. To make that charge is at best sophomoric and at worst unprofessional. Until Eblen can support his "racist nitwit" allegations with facts, he owes me (and all others he included in his charge) an apology.
Eblen, Pett wrong targets for anger
Americans First's anger toward Tom Eblen and Joel Pett over their opinions about the border crisis is misguided.
Instead of being angry at Eblen and Pett for their insight, the organization should take its case to Sen. Mitch McConnell or Rep. Andy Barr. These two can have a real impact on policy.
While the organization screams at Eblen claiming his column was unfair or that Pett's cartoon made them look silly, they might just want to protest to their representatives.
Norman E. Goldie Jr.
A defining moment for America's soul
Inside the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands is a poem by Emma Lazarus that describes the soul of America: "Give me your tired, your poor . . . send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me."
And now the huddled masses are children fleeing out of fear of violence and the hopelessness of poverty.
And on our shore, instead of the Mother of Exiles from whose raised beacon-hand glows welcome, there patrols a gunboat with 250-caliber machine guns provided by the Texas National Guard.
Instead of a golden door, there is a revolving door which many are attempting to speed up. Instead of a "mighty woman with a torch whose flame is imprisoned lightning" are cells and detention camps.
How America responds is more than about politics and economics in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The real question is, "What is America?" What is the soul of this nation? Who are we in the world?
This question is not just for the elected leaders. It is for all of us. We are the ones who need to speak up and stand up in this defining moment of national identity. "America, America, God shed His grace on thee."
But was it just for thee?
Easily recognized falsehoods
The border crisis is spawned by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008, signed into law by President George W. Bush, which makes it illegal to immediately deport unaccompanied children from non-contiguous countries.
Fact: By 2015, President Barack Obama (a.k.a. "deporter-in-chief') will formally return more undocumented immigrants than the Bush administration. Formal deportations discourage undocumented immigrants from returning to the U.S., because it's a felony if they're caught.
I feel sorry for Americans First supporters who truly believe Obama policies will lead to a fantastical post-apocalyptic U.S. run by illegal alien gangs corralling citizens on reservations.
However, I cannot sympathize with those who use pejorative language to describe immigrants, mock the decimation of Native Americans, insist the "first Americans" are white Europeans or support a moratorium on legal immigration.
In addition to highlighting the rantings from scared, derogatory radicals, perhaps the Herald-Leader can remind us of The New Colossus line engraved in the Statue of Liberty "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
Or the legal alien Albert Einstein's quote, "It is difficult to say what truth is, but sometimes it is so easy to recognize a falsehood."