The State Journal encourages readers to submit letters to the editor for publication by noon Wednesday for the following Sunday’s paper. All letters must contain the writer’s full name, mailing address and telephone number for purposes of verification. The State Journal will not withhold the name of a writer. Any letter received without a mailing address and phone number will not be published. The State Journal will not publish thank-you letters, obvious form letters or letters addressed to third parties or to the public at large. Any letter may be rejected at editors’ discretion. All letters submitted for publication are subject to editing for length, form and content. Letters may be no more than 500 words long. Letters may be mailed to Letters to the Editor, The State Journal, 1216 Wilkinson Blvd., Frankfort, KY 40601; or e-mailed to email@example.com.
get their way
To the Editor:
This is in response to a recent State Journal article titled “Frankfort pastor leads rally against gambling,” by Kevin Wheatley, which stated, “Hershael York, the pastor at Buck Run Baptist Church – who opened Gov. Steve Beshear’s budget address last month with a prayer against expanded gambling, led Tuesday’s rally at the Capitol with representatives from the Kentucky Baptist Convention and Kentucky Council of Churches.”
I happened to hear a radio broadcast of York at the Capitol rally leading his Christian mob in a loud chant against gambling to intimidate our government representatives. And it would seem between his intimidation on the outside and Senate President Republican David Williams’ intimidation on the inside that the powers that be have decided that the voters of Kentucky cannot be trusted with a yes or no vote on casino gambling.
The truth is that I personally have never been in a gambling casino and if we had them in Kentucky I doubt that I would partake in casino gambling here. I don’t think it’s wrong, it’s just that gambling isn’t a big deal with me one way or the other.
However, what is a big deal with me is one group of people from the church taking it on themselves to decide for the rest of us what we should or should not be doing. I would never darken the doors of any church with such Pharisaical leanings as Hershael York’s or any other of his preacher cohort’s churches that led their captive flocks to arm-twist the government to do their wishes. And I would call on other freedom-loving Kentuckians to join me in forever boycotting churches.
Instead of separation of church and state in Kentucky it looks like we have a “church state”: The Theocracy of Kentucky.
Perhaps a little Bible reading would be good for preacher York and his minions.
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus Christ has some unkind words for the Pharisees. Jesus chastises the Pharisees, saying, “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger” and “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”
What Jesus is saying to the Pharisees is simply, your overreaching rule making is keeping people out of heaven.
It would seem that the words of Jesus would apply to a Frankfort preacher and his willing Kentucky Christian co-conspirators.
To the Editor:
I would like to commend Bro. Hershael York and the other pastors in Kentucky that truly believe in the Word of God. There are a few so-called “pastors” that have allowed Satan to corrupt their thinking. Consequently, they are leading some good people down the path of destruction (2 Peter 2:1-4). I feel sorry for the children that are being taught this modern nonsense (Gal. 1:6-12).
You can’t take part of the Bible and use it to fit your purpose. The Bible does speak to the sin of homosexuality (Lev. 20:13). It also talks about the sin of murder (abortion) (Exodus 20:13). It’s true that Jesus didn’t use the word “murder” in his teachings. However, he did say that he didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17-20).
I would also like to commend Sen. Julian Carroll for voting his conscience on the gaming bill. I have known him for many, many years and I believe he is an honorable man. Instead of filling the pockets of the horse industry, how about helping those who are truly in need, e.g. the homeless and hungry?
Now, I know that there are going to be those of you who will disagree with this letter. Well, that’s OK. Just remember you are not disagreeing with me, you’re disagreeing with God.
Garry L. Toole
To the Editor:
I have been a strong supporter of Sen. Carroll for many years. However, I did not agree with his no vote on stand-alone casinos. In my humble opinion, I think that in a state that generates huge revenues from the manufacturing and sale of alcohol and tobacco and legal lottery and horse betting the logic behind Sen. Carroll’s no vote seems weak and prejudicial.
Suggesting that stand-alone casinos would alter our pastoral countryside is preposterous. I have seen my share of stand-alone casinos in the heartland of America, Canada and Europe and have never seen one as described in the editorial or by Sen. Carroll. They are typically hidden away, out of public view and very unobtrusive and usually offer food, entertainment and lodging, and of course JOBS. The images conjured up in the editorial and by Sen. Carroll are so far from reality that it’s frightening. Comparing a stand-alone resort-style casino similar to the one in Indiana just 5 minutes from Kentucky to a casino on the strip in Las Vegas is so far from being accurate that even speaking those words would suggest that we who live in Kentucky are so unworldly and backward and never get to travel out from here to see how things are outside of our borders. I take great offense at the grossly inaccurate depictions of stand-alone casinos by our senator and in the editorial I refer to.
I am not a great fan of casino gambling, the lottery, alcohol, tobacco or horse gambling, but I am a realist and know we should be able to compete for monies that leave the state. Well-planned stand-alone casinos out of sight could be very lucrative for the commonwealth
Living it up
To the Editor:
Mike Cooper, Kentucky tourism commissioner, allowed a British contractor, employed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, to pay $735 for his meals, party tickets and other expenses in June during an unauthorized trip to London, England. That is, the listed expenses were paid for by the PR firm.
Cooper had to know it was a violation of state ethics laws. He has been a state employee for years.
Gosh P.R., a British marketing firm, was paid from Kentucky taxpayers’ money the amount of $179,900 a year to promote Kentucky tourism in the United Kingdom. Cooper helped award Gosh’s contract in 2008 and signed off on its monthly billing.
In 2008, Cooper sat on the three-person committee that gave a marketing contract to Gosh P.R. The company since has been paid a total of $647,769 to publicize Kentucky tourism to the British through state-subsidized media junkets and a website operated by Gosh P.R.
Cooper was not disciplined for taking the gratuities and he told the cabinet it was an isolated incident. Yeah, the tooth fairy only leaves quarters now.
Accident, my hind end. This guy is a privileged member of Gov. Steve Beshear’s political circle. This is how one enters the inner circle of Kentucky politics.
A 2007 campaign organizer for Beshear and the Kentucky Democratic Party, Cooper has since resigned his $111,353-a-year appointed post, from which he traveled widely on state business.
This freeloader did not have authorization from the cabinet when he traveled to London in June, an infraction that led to a five-day suspension.
Consider this: A PR firm in London has been awarded a million-dollar contract to promote Kentucky. One of the officials, responsible for the million-dollar contract, is coming to town. Cooper schedules his own trip to London, to join the big party, paid for by Gosh P.R. London, England, a state private contractor.
Cooper told his superiors he worked on state business while in London for several days. How were the wine and the food, Mr. Cooper? I’ll bet your hotel room had a bed canopy, it was so fancy. Who paid for that?
It appears, when Mr. Cooper was finished with the wining and dining, golf and whatever in England, he then went to France, where he did have authorization to travel.
Hold on to your hat. This one is so far out in left field you can’t see left field.
Cooper was planning Kentucky-related publicity events for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, which was expected to cost the state tens of thousands of dollars. The Olympics plan was canceled after it was made public.
Will Cooper be transferred to some other position at the same salary that is not quite so public – with a smaller credit card?
Jim Anderson Stivers
To the Editor:
Sen. Rand Paul has recently come out in opposition to additional U.S. drug enforcement legislation, and he was right to do so. He very accurately noted that federal penalties for drug crimes today are wildly disproportionate, with minor drug offenses liable to punishments in the same range as those for homicide. Whatever the problem is here with drugs, more prison sentences are only a dressing.
According to the New York Times in 2008, the United States led the world in imprisonment. About 20 percent of the world’s prisoners hold American citizenship. In the U.S.A., 750 persons are locked up for every 100,000 adults. Compare this to 620 for Russia, 150 for England and 60 for Japan. Ironically – particularly given the self-perception here – some other parts of the world see the U.S as a police state and as a vast prison camp.
The numbers and percentages would be scandalous except that they pass without notice by most, and are excusable to others because of their near-religious devotion to a belief in American exceptionalism. The latter bristle at any the notion of problems with the U.S.A., or any diminution of “law and order.” They no doubt would argue that the international incarceration numbers do not mean anything.
Well what do they suggest? That Russia is soft on crime? Or that American citizens are just more immoral and lawless than everyone else? Is it something in the sea air?
Sen. Paul additionally argues that drug enforcement should be in the main a state issue, and he detects with this legislation, yet another attempt to federalize yet another crime. He is correct again. Yet some in Kentucky law enforcement don’t seem to have a problem with ceding more commonwealth sovereignty to the U.S. government. Perhaps they would like to see more action by the International Criminal Court as well.
No, the problem of drugs is a local community problem. If local people did not wish to use local drugs, there would be no problem. Rather than focusing on stopping up a supply, one should ask, why the demand? Some may answer “poverty.” But while one may admit that economics is a route, it is not the root. Far poorer countries than this one have no drug problem, and fewer prisons.
As far as the senator’s argument that increasing incarceration increases the number of people in radical Islam, well I suppose one has to be satisfied with two out of three good reasons. This far-fetched notion is probably meant to assuage that “law and order” contingent of his constituency.
Robert E. Salyer
$5 gas might
To the Editor:
Do you like paying higher fuel prices?
Our leaders are telling us that by summer we will be paying close to $5 per gallon for gasoline.
An interesting fact: We are exporting $34.9 billion in fuel annually. Yes, read that again. It’s $34.9 billion.
Our president has done absolutely nothing to stop the inflation we will all suffer this summer with these price increases. Remember, when we are paying for gasoline, we are not buying other products. It therefore stands to reason unemployment will rise again, people will continue to lose their homes, food is going to get more expensive due to transportation, people are able to do less and less for their families.
We need to be able to let private industry buy and manage oil fields and produce gasoline and diesel fuel. We need the oil Canada is offering us and we need a government that rewards the American spirit through work and ambition, not more restrictions.
On the other hand I just might be willing to pay $5 per gallon to get this president out of office.
in a sad state
To the Editor:
The State of Hypocrisy would have been a more relevant title for President Obama’s last State of the Union report.
A neglected America, an exploited citizenry, a misguided foreign policy, an irresponsible deficit, a tyrannical debt, lobbyists/legislators by the score, and a stagnant Congress controlled by the old incumbents who have pillaged America define the State of Our Union.
Moreover, corporations and money now have freedom of speech with privacy. Secret donors and indecent sums of money will elect the next president and reelect the old incumbents.
Talking money with strings attached is the only real threat to our democratic republic. The late Gatewood Galbraith and Abraham Lincoln demonstrated that threat right out in plain view.
Last fall, Gatewood Galbraith stood at the intersection of Huntertown and Lexington Roads holding up a cardboard placard. If perseverance is a predictor of performance, and it is, he would have made an excellent governor.
If Abraham Lincoln were a presidential candidate in this era of human-like corporations and talking money, he would also stand at intelligently selected intersections and hold up his cardboard placard, and he would have made one of our greatest presidents.
An electoral fumigation of Congress and the White House is the first step in the rehabilitation of America. Only an objective-minded electorate teamed with simple honesty has the power to implement that step.
To the Editor:
This is a poor state with a government that has policies in place to excuse stealing from the poor. I am one person and the following has happened to me.
State taxes: We are being nickeled and dimed out of our money. When you pay taxes out of your paycheck you expect to get back all that is owed you, right? But you don’t because there are those zeros in the cents column, including your “owed” line. If any cents are owed you they keep it.
Unemployment Insurance. When you file for your claim check, before you are approved they do not log that in so that you lose those weeks. When you try to participate in the retraining program you get a letter stating that you will be charged, but request details and none are given.
When I filed for an UI extension after losing a job, state taxes were removed without permission. Contacting the UI people got them claiming I said “yes” to state taxes yet that option was not available. My research found out that the option is hidden. You can see it if you copy/paste to notebook, yet only a yes option is there. Federal has “no, yes.” They lied to the state representative I contacted for help, and I lost the interest I could have earned if the money were in my bank account, as I got it all back. The UI and the state taxing people still will not walk in truth and righteousness in this matter: blaming me that the option was hidden.
Now for today’s saga in the theft from the poor.
I just had two months’ food stamps stolen from me because personnel in either my office or the main office in Frankfort failed to properly log in my UI income. Yes, I brought that info to my office. Paying back what they gave me that I was not qualified for is no problem. But for the past two months that I was qualified for, with no income in February, I received nothing. I have lost five pounds. The lady at the Frankfort office I talked to implied there were lots of people this was being done to. The letter I just received, Feb 23, states I have 15 days to pay back $366 in food funds with no more income and nobody wanting to hire this over-50 autistic female.
These are the ways our gluttonous government gets its spending money. It won’t get rid of the illegals so people like me can find work, it won’t stop spending money it does not have at our expense, and now it is taking people’s food out of their mouths and making them give back what they do not have in the first place. So, if we can’t pay it will they use this as an excuse to black-list us to “save” money?
was a travesty
To the Editor:
The Citizens United case, crazily, said corporations have a “free speech” right to spend unlimited sums of money influencing our elections, as if corporations were people. They aren’t.
Every major presidential candidate now has a Citizens United-enabled super PAC that allows corporations and the ultra-rich to spend limitless sums, anonymously, to buy our elections.
Ninety-four percent of elections are won by the candidate who spends the most money. That’s not an election, that’s an auction.
Corporations, with virtually limitless money at their disposal, will always be able to outspend real people. It’s the end of democracy, unless we undo the damage done by Citizens United.
The U.S. Supreme Court has a chance now to fix the enormous mistake it made in the Citizens United decision. A Montana case challenging that Supreme Court decision has just been appealed back to the court (American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock).
Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy just issued an extraodinary statement, calling on their fellow Justices “to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway.”
Polls show 80 percent of Americans want Citizens United overturned, because free speech is for people, not corporations.