Letters to the editor: July 27

Aamer Shalash hoisted a speaker as others chanted pro-Palestinian slogans at a Wednesday rally in downtown Lexington. The event was organized by the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice to call for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Aamer Shalash hoisted a speaker as others chanted pro-Palestinian slogans at a Wednesday rally in downtown Lexington. The event was organized by the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice to call for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Herald-Leader

Justice demands compassion for immigrants

Americans First recently protested by hanging banners "Deport Illegals" and "No Amnesty" from an overpass on a busy highway. These folks say they are "fighting for social and economic justice for U.S. citizens."

I am grateful to live in a country where such vitriolic statements can be made publicly. Yet as an American citizen, I am also grateful that I can publicly disagree with them. Americans First does not speak for me.

As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I am proudly "standing on the side of love" (standingonthesideoflove.org) with thousands of other people of faith who are working to find compassionate ways to deal with immigration reform.

"Illegal" is an adjective. These "illegals" are human beings. Like U.S. citizens, they deserve to be described and treated as human beings. They deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion.

Our goal is not to seek justice for ourselves, rather to seek global justice. Seeking justice means we want no more or no less for others than we want for ourselves. Seeking justice means we love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

We start with open hearts of compassion so that all human beings may experience justice and live in peace.

The Rev. Esther Hurlburt


Eblen underplayed

I want to object to the person doing the layout of the paper who put the football stadium on the prominent page, and left Tom Eblen's fine column on the refugees to wither elsewhere. Where is the real sense of news and appropriate opinion for a so-called big-shot newspaper? Some people actually appreciate his opinion.

Mary J. Wells


Take a deeper look

According to his recent column, state Sen. Reginald L. Thomas wants to rewrite Kentucky's "stand your ground" law, citing the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin killing.

In fact, the law was not invoked by Zimmerman's attorneys. The case was argued as self-defense. Given Zimmerman's injuries, evidence of fighting before the gunshot, and evidence that Martin was on top when Zimmerman fired, it is not surprising the jerk got off.

Every year, "gun-free" Chicago probably tops Florida in dead black boys, but black-on-black crime interests neither the press nor the race hustlers of the political class.

Honest examination of Chicago's violence and its gun laws, a good project for any legislator, might reveal the tragic truths behind three generations of destructive social policy.

Thomas suggests that employment and educational disparities are evidence of racism, but correlation does not equal causation.

If he wants to write a useful bill, Thomas should first study black unemployment and underachievement. He might conclude that unskilled black workers have better prospects in states with right-to-work laws.

He also might decide that charter schools are a better option in districts where poor black kids are still waiting for Superman.

Cameron S.. Schaeffer


Rein in the EPA

Kentucky can no longer afford to treat the Environmental Protection Agency like a well-meaning but over-protective nanny.

The latest round of carbon rules are not merely an inconvenience, but a serious threat to the livelihoods of our state's coal miners, their families and everyone who relies on coal-fired energy for their heating and cooling.

The Washington Post reported that Kentucky will face the worst consequences of the regulations in the nation, after neighboring West Virginia. Why? Kentucky is the nation's third-largest coal-producing state. The 90 million tons produced in 2012 provided nearly a 10th of the nation's coal. Kentucky has been one of the nation's primary coal producers for nearly 200 years, since the first mine was opened in 1820.

Now that could all change, as even the EPA has admitted that their unprecedented regulations could destroy between 56,000 and 80,000 jobs nationwide.

Undoubtedly many of Kentucky's 14,000 coal miners and affiliated workers will be hit.

It's time to tell Uncle Sam that we are grown-ups and don't need his nannying anymore. Kentuckians should not give up their jobs and their proud coal legacy without a fight. Tell Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and your representative to rein in the EPA.

Julia Crigler

Kentucky state director

Americans for Prosperity


Somerset mayor a hero

Hooray for Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler. Finally a politician who is standing up to Big Oil's price gouging at the pump.

Under Girdler, a Republican, Somerset has opened a city-owned, non-profit gas station with much lower prices — and it doesn't sell pop, cigarettes, beer, junk food or other harmful products.

Although Kentucky's worthless Attorney General Jack Conway can't see the price gouging and collusion, it is obvious to everyone else in the state.

Girdler is an American hero. Let's hope that Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and leaders in other communities across America quickly follow his lead.

Dave Cooper


Voting ID laws harmless

Why all the fuss about requiring the showing of your ID in order to vote? Everyone who is legal has some kind of ID. It is required for cashing a check, at the doctor's office, at the hospital, and at times when paying by credit card.

It is a requirement when applying for work or when enrolling in school and college or buying a car or a house. ID is required when applying for Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Program.

Cable companies, electric and water companies even demand ID before service can be obtained. Paying by cash is about the only thing one can do without showing an ID.

There is fraud anywhere there is money or power at stake. That means there is fraud at the voting booths and a good reason to require ID. Politics should be completely left out of this controversy.

Unfortunately, these days an ID should be a requirement to vote. Washington Post writer Catherine Rampeil, who complained that ID laws hurt young voters, evidently just needed a subject about which to write.

Judy Yount Lyons


Accolades for Bill Sturgill

I met Bill Sturgill in 1981 when I interviewed for the job as his executive assistant and media advisor when he was serving as Gov. John Y. Brown's secretary of energy and agriculture for $1 a year (which he had framed on his office wall). I was hired, and so began two fascinating years with the most intelligent man I have ever known.

Thanks to him, I was privileged to know two other brilliant Kentuckians who were his close friends, former governors Wendell Ford and Bert T. Combs.

Ford, of Owensboro, liked that Sturgill championed more environmentally friendly use of coal, which made him a multimillionaire. Combs, from Eastern Kentucky, liked Sturgill, because he always championed coal, period.

Sturgill often said that the only things in life that were worthwhile — read that as profitable — were either made from the earth or the air, and he proved that to be essentially true through his involvement with coal, tobacco and horses. He also served as chairman of the state racing commission and the board of trustees at the University of Kentucky.

I have lots of "Sturgill stories" that would bore all but the older political junkies. I won't delve into that here, but suffice it to say that Bill Sturgill deserves accolades for his many services to the people of Kentucky. He was not perfect, far from it. But, he was a good person and I am proud to have been associated with him.

Ken Hoskins


Peace rally slanted against Israel

The Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice's July 23 rally promotion included the following: "We call on the two sides to resume negotiations. We are concerned about our own nation's role in causing the immense suffering that is occurring. We ask our congresspersons to work to ensure that our nation follows its own laws — civilian lives must not be endangered by U.S. military aid."

The wording was clearly slanted against Israel. Participants expressed anger and made hyperbolic statements. A successful peace rally would have created a space for acknowledging our shared longing for peace and despair over loss of life, regardless of how we feel about Israel.

The mission to be a coalition of peacemaking groups and individuals can best be advanced by sharing ideas and working together. If CKCPJ was trying to advance this mission, it surely missed the mark.

It would have been better to plan an event which educates people about the barriers to peace and the things people are doing and proposing to make peace a real possibility. At the very least, the wording of the rally should have been balanced.

The world has plenty of conflict, misunderstanding and animosity. We don't need to encourage more.

Lisa Satin


Inspirational photos, story

What a wonderful photo story Charles Bertram presented on Zach Pickard. Each photograph was outstanding on its own merit, but collectively they showed the joy and love of this remarkable young man and his family.

Through his sensitive and artistic eye, Bertram captures the enthusiasm that Zach has for life. He has given this community a look into Zach's life on several occasions, and I am amazed that each presentation exceeds the previous one.

Likewise, Cheryl Truman's writing shows us great insight into this inspiring second-grader.

Thanks for the superb update on "Zach's attack" and his family.

Ken Weaver