Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor, November 23, 2014

Commonwealth Stadium renovation in August.
Commonwealth Stadium renovation in August. Herald-Leader

Stockholders punished for Blankenship's crimes

I am retired after 40 years in the coal industry. Part of my career was in engineering but a large part was in management. I am well aware of the mindset of many managers who operate in the feast or famine world of the coal business. Although I never met Don Blankenship, I did meet several people who either worked for him at Massey Energy or were vendors. From their accounts of this man there is no doubt that he should be in prison.

The point of this letter is about who gets punished by the actions of a few despots like Blankenship. I happen to own a few shares of Alpha Natural Resources. Alpha purchased Massey Energy in 2012. The management team at Alpha was clearly aware of the explosion at Massey's Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, W.Va., but the purchase went through. Alpha recently agreed to a huge fine levied by the federal government for the egregious behavior of the Massey group.

The question is who pays the fine? It is not Blankenship or any of his cronies. It is not the management team at Alpha. It is the people who own stock in the company.

Jack Bates


All lies are bad, some are worse

Conservative media are making hay with Jonathon Gruber's admission that the administration misled Americans to pass the Affordable Care Act. For instance, the tax on high-value insurance programs was framed as a tax on insurance companies although it was a tax on individuals who hold these policies.

While such deceit is reprehensible, supporters of the last two Republican administrations should dismount their high horses. Both George H.W. and George W. Bush deliberately misled Americans into war.

Because the first Gulf War ended favorably, the public seems to have forgotten or forgiven G.H.W. Bush's trickery. First he sent thousands of troops to the Gulf to enforce economic sanctions. Although every military and geopolitical expert argued that such sanctions would be useless. The president insisted they would force Iraq out of Kuwait until the last pair of boots was on the ground, then changed his mind and ordered an invasion. Apparently, he didn't think the public would support going to war if told the facts. As for George W. Bush, Weapons of Mass Destruction; enough said.

So, to those incensed about the Obamacare deception: Which is worse, tricking the American people into a bloody war or tricking them into having health care?

Chris Flaherty


Step up to solve pension shortfall

Every year the General Assembly is warned of the Kentucky Retirement Systems' dire circumstances. On Thursday, the Herald-Leader reported that officials of the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System are urging lawmakers to shore up the retirement accounts for the state's teachers. Year after year the legislature does nothing to fix this problem which will not fix itself. It needs swift action very soon or the hard-working employees of our state, counties and school boards will suffer.

Our governor needs to step up and get this problem fixed once and for all by stopping these so-called short-term fixes and fix this problem for the long term. Our state elected officials have consistently failed to allocate their share to the retirement systems and have caused this problem. Now it seems they want to change the rules on hard-working employees of the commonwealth who want benefits they were promised when they hired on. The Kentucky General Assembly only has itself to blame for this problem after several years of neglect and no action.

James Jeffrey Coleman


Ridiculous, loud militarized police

After you showed a picture of the police helicopter I realized that it is the nuisance that is rattling our windows and disturbing the peace. I live near New Circle road and the police helicopter will sometimes circle for hours at night at rooftop level.

Don't they have to fly at higher altitudes or do they get a free pass? If your neighbor is playing music too loud at night you can complain about the noise. How do we complain about the noise from the police helicopter? We are not in 1969 Viet Nam and do not deserve to be under military occupation.

Dump the helicopters, tanks, horses and the rest of the ridiculous militarized police buildup, and treat them as government employees just like anyone else.

Ellen McGrady


Greed and gas prices

I was recently in Eastern Kentucky and paid $3.15 a gallon for regular. A short time later I drove into Virginia and gas dropped to $2.72 a gallon.

The lower gas tax in Virginia accounts for 10 cents of the difference. What accounts for the other 33 cents a gallon difference? Likely greed.

Philip French


What about global warming?

In the wake of last week's frigid weather, I can't seem to find any proponents of global warming. I guess they have all gone south to stay warm.

Dale Henley


Can't fool us with bogus stories

On the Sept. 28 front page there was a graph and story ("Experts say ACA will grow Ky. jobs, refute GOP claims that law hurts economy") about how the Affordable Care Act has led to lowering unemployment in Kentucky. But a sentence under the graph says economists think the law hasn't had much effect on jobs so far. Then the reader turns the page and finds an article saying the ACA is actually going to hurt the state budget after 2017, because the state will be forced to pay 5 percent and then 10 percent of the expanded Medicaid spending now paid by the federal government.

The editor must think the readers are a bunch of boobs. How can an article say decreased unemployment is a result of the ACA when the article's own facts tell a different story, then one page later another story tells readers the ACA is going to take funds from the state that it can't afford to pay.

The ACA seems bad for the state and the Herald-Leader is trying to cover it by printing a bogus story saying it has been good. We aren't that stupid out here.

Tom Eigel


UK loves money more than fans

In renovating Commonwealth Stadium, the University of Kentucky has taken away all season tickets. Each ticket holder was given an appointment time to select tickets. The time was based solely on how much money you had given to the Blue White fund. Large donations — early appointment. The tickets in some cases had doubled in price. To stay in seats from 2014 would have meant an additional $1,500. UK gave only nominal value to the long-term fan. I've had tickets for 40 years. A long time before it was fashionable to have them.

I have endured and been a UK football fan through many disappointments. (Sitting in bad weather, watching poor coaching and suffering through the mediocre seasons.) Got to see several great games against LSU, Alabama, Louisville. The wonderful players in Cobb, Johnson, Tamme, Woodyard, Mastay, Abney, etc. Always had hope next year would be better.

Bottom line for UK is to raise money to pay for the new stadium. Loyalty from "old" fans was way down on the list of considerations. I love my Cats but the athletic department loves the money more.

Ann S. Tandy