$859 million will buy corruption
At the recent annual confab of Freedom Partners, this coalition of arch-conservative groups announced plans to spend $859 million on various causes and candidates in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.
Freedom Partners is the successor to the Koch Industries Forum founded by the radical right-wing Koch brothers, David and Charles, whose personal wealth is estimated to be $80 billion.
Much of this grotesque sum will come from wealthy individuals who will contribute to non-profit groups that do not have to disclose the sources of their income. The secrecy of these limitless contributions is now protected under campaign finance rules.
This money will be used to twist, deceive and otherwise distort the truth about the campaign, the candidate and the issues. It's a public disgrace and a real threat to our democracy.
It's example No. 1 of how money is corrupting our politics.
Pass on POLST
Before Christmas, a young woman came to my office with a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment form for my signature. Although it was already signed four times, I refused.
I called my patient's son; he said he was told, "We had to sign it." He felt duped.
The real agenda here is care limiting. If you're sent by ambulance to an emergency room, it supposedly trumps any orders given at the hospital, even if the initiating doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner has no privileges there and barely knew the patient.
In any other situation, only a doctor who is properly credentialed at the hospital, and attending a patient, may give orders.
Advanced directives and health care surrogates are reasonable. This isn't. This is just another frightening attempt to limit spending on seniors.
Take a pass on POLST. I did.
A. Patrick Schneider II
The review of Cabaret at the Grand Reserve is headlined: "Life isn't beautiful in this version of 'Cabaret.''' Though the writers of the headline and the review are different people, the immediate response of the casual reader would be to place this local theatrical effort in the "no-go zone."
I attended this production with friends. We all enjoyed it, even with the flaws mentioned by the reviewer. The positives far outweighed the negatives. Our $40 admission included a delicious German-themed meal.
I could not help but contrast this with seeing The Book of Mormon last year in New York and paying $125 for almost the last row in the balcony.
When one attends a local production, one expects something less than Broadway, something like attending the Legends rather than the Cincinnati Reds.
This particular review is indeed well written, almost the quality of the New York Times. And undoubtedly, the critic will uphold the highest standards. But largely the consumer will not. This was my first Kentucky Conservatory production and I am eager to see more.
Hope and horror
When I read about Middle Eastern relationships with other countries, I am simultaneously struck by hope and horror.
Hope comes from a realization that we just might misunderstand each other and can move on. Horror comes from the realization we are not able to move on when we misunderstand each other so much.
In a 2009 diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, Jordan's King Abdullah said "cut off the head of the snake" when referring to Iran.
There are two interpretations of that phrase. The first is a Christian view of the snake being evil and cutting the head off is an act symbolic of war. The other is the Islamic view that sees the snake as something to eat and the attack as symbolic of prosperity. When this cable is reported, the dominant Christian version is adapted.
It is a saddening joke to realize how self-centered some views can be, followed by the irony that no one presents any other view.
Colleen M. Fitzpatrick
Black Republicans exist
This is in response to the letter lamenting the fact that the GOP is racist. Obviously the writer knows nothing about the name-calling, such as "Uncle Tom" and sellouts, and the contempt shown when a black person admits that he or she is a Republican,
I wonder if the writer would be such a strong advocate for his party if he faced such derision.
We have many black Republicans who are fine, moral, upstanding citizens and there would be more if the liberal media heaped praise on them instead of jeers.
It seems racism is not where the letter writer thinks it is.