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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 Any letter received without a mailing address and phone number will not be published.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 rherron@state-journal.com.

Protect us

from 401(k)

To the Editor:

I was pleased to see someone taking a stand on the issue of state employee retirement with a letter to the editor.

For the past few weeks, there has been news that House Speaker Stumbo and Gov. Beshear favor changing to the 401(k) investment program rather than allowing the Kentucky Retirement Systems to invest our retirement money.

 

Did Speaker Stumbo or our governor invest and lose money in their 401(k) accounts? If they did, they don’t want to announce it as the state retirement system is moving toward a more costly, more risky investment for employees. If you are retired or about to retire, you should be very concerned.

Over $500 billion was lost in 401(k) accounts during the last financial recession-depression.

Now would be a perfect time for our governor and Speaker Stumbo to push for a new program as many are dissatisfied with the performance at KRS. With KRS involved with an inquiry into the investments, it would surely carry some weight in the final decision. But it should not!

Actually, the performance of the KRS investments is created by the General Assembly for lack of appropriations for 10 or so years.  Appropriations were supposed to go the retirement fund. Yet, members of our General Assembly used retirement money for PORK in order to be re-elected.

Workers and their families continue to send the same old, same old back to the legislature with no fear on the part of the elected members about not being re-elected. That is just plain ignorant on our part. Is it time for solidarity with those that are stockholders in the retirement systems?

Sure it is – unless you’re want a 401(k) as a placement for your investments. If you concerned, write a letter, let our local senator and representative know about your objections to the 401(k). It is up to Julian and Derrick to protect us. Nevertheless, will they stand and deliver to the face of Speaker Stumbo and Gov. Beshear?

As these “senior” workers keep their jobs, the cost for benefits will go up. Obviously, this is not good and in fact, a total of $500 billion was lost in 401(k) plans. What if you are 50 years old and lost your 401(k)? That would mean a longer time before you can retire due to the loss. It takes years to build, hours for it to disappear. Social Security alone is just not enough. Social Security  was never intended to be a retirement program, only a safety net for the those unable to afford any kind of retirement.

No action on our part will result in the government doing what it wants with no say from employees. Please, stand up and be counted.

Are Kentucky government workers SHEEP?

Jim Anderson Stivers

Frankfort

Mitt plays

his VP hand

To the Editor:

Oh my, going, going, gone and it’s outta here. We have the “choice of the century” in November. Some time ago I observed that Republicans would nominate an empty suit that flipped this way and then the other according to each shift of the political wind. Well, Mitt just flipped his last flop; he’s all in with the right-wing radicals who control the House of Representatives. He’s all in with a “Randian” Republican Party that believes the road to “prosperity” is paved by unrestricted corporate power, untaxed wealth that seeks to starve government to the point it can be “drowned in a bathtub” (the Grover Norquist pledge, and sorry about the mixed metaphor), a party that will provide even more tax relief to the wealthy while placing an effective tax increase on 95 percent of Americans, a government that plays no effective role in social policy or the amelioration of poverty and income inequality, and which seeks to regress women’s rights back to the 1950s, or perhaps further. He’s all in with a party that seeks to suppress minority voting, “privatize” Social Security (i.e. use tax dollars to invest in the stock market), convert Medicare from a program that uses tax dollars to provide medical services into a program that uses tax dollars to support medical insurers.

Romney’s choice of VP running mate Paul Ryan demonstrates he is “not his own man” and only a front for the far right. He is owned by the radical tea party base of the Randian Party. The Romney/Ryan ticket is the most conservative in more than 100 years. It makes Barry Goldwater (whom I have always admired) look like a liberal. Ryan’s House budget, which now inescapably becomes Romney’s, and the major platform of the Republican Party, was denounced by that “liberal” U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as essentially un-Christian for the way it places almost all the burden of a near (Republican) bankrupted government on the backs of the poor, the sick and the old. Ryan is a disciple of Ayn Rand and her (atheistic) philosophy of Objectivism. He’s a “fan” of the fictional hero John Galt (“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor expect him to live for mine”). Almost reminds you a bit of Gordon Gecko’s “Greed is good.” This election is really only about unfettered power and wealth – and race. “Policy” talk is only a sideshow to the center ring.

Romney can’t even pretend to have anything in common with the “common man.” He “likes to fire people.” His solution to increasing costs of higher education opportunity is to “start a business,” “borrow money from your parents.” He states fondness for the auto industry. His father ran General Motors and his wife has two Cadillacs. He is not sure how many houses he owns. What’s he got “in common” with the majority of “red state” voters? The color of his face?

Mark Henry

Frankfort

Use precise

language

To the Editor:

The English language is deteriorating, and has become worse in the era of text messages. When sending a message, breaking down two sentences into four words shows the deterioration of language as well as the direction in which it is going. If this continues on its present course, we will see people speaking to each other in text message format, and have seen some evidence already. Even in Orwell’s “Newspeak,” which he wrote about in “1984” and “The Principles of Newspeak,” a conversation would sound precise and eloquent when compared to the speech of today. What is even more disappointing is that the correct use of language doesn’t seem to be important to most people, if they consider it at all. There are many examples, but I would like to focus on one.

The statement that “the United States is the greatest country in the world” isn’t a simple patriotic declaration, it contains examples of the problems of language. The politics are argued repeatedly, usually without achieving any type of solution, but the solvable problem is that of the language used in the statement. Arguments and debates over foreign policy, economics, bureaucracy and so on are constant and seemingly with no end, a tiresome adventure. Putting that aside, I want to consider the meaning of the words that make up the statement, as well as the interpretation they carry.

First, not everyone defines the word “greatest” in the same way. Obviously there is a technical definition, but it means many different things to people. Without specifying what one considers “greatest” to encompass, it’s open to absorb all interpretations, which makes the word meaningless. One person may view greatness as having the power to do whatever we want, but someone else may think the wealth and privilege of this country are what makes it great. There are two ways, in this situation, of determining the intent and correct usage of “greatest”: the word must encompass every feature of this country, in which it will remain vague and without meaning, or it has a specific purpose that will show evidence of certain intent.

Secondly, using “in the world” must mean that the individual making the statement has traveled the entire world and is reporting on his/her determination. If the person has truly covered the entire world, they would be correct in making it; otherwise, “in the world” should be replaced by a more specific term, such as “that I’ve visited.” If that seems too literal it’s only because we have learned not to observe technicalities in language. It’s easier to say, “That’s too technical for me” than to investigate the issue.

Without considering the true nature of language and its interpretations, saying “the United States is the greatest country in the world” has no meaning, though intended to have a powerful meaning.  The fact that it’s said without thought shows that “patriotic” submission has been successfully inserted into people’s minds. Independent thought is disappearing, and the weakening of language is a perfect example.

Casey Roberts

Frankfort 

Soup Kitchen

needs you

To the Editor:

Several weeks ago, a front-page article in The State Journal outlined the dire circumstances ACCESS/Soup Kitchen faced that would have, without some immediate assistance, forced its doors to close within a week. The organization’s coffers were nearly empty and the future of this facility, founded on the compassion of a community to care for its own, looked bleak.

As a frequent volunteer at the Soup Kitchen through Bridgeport Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we, along with several members of our church, quickly went to work to help keep the doors open. Our wonderful, caring congregation approved a gift and also gave personal donations totaling over $2,000. As word spread through other churches and workplaces, donations began to pour in and ACCESS was able to get back on its feet.

Many of you have witnessed the line of men, women and children walking across the Singing Bridge, down Second Street, up Wilkinson Boulevard and from all across Frankfort to have lunch at the Soup Kitchen every day of the week who would have no place to go if those doors were closed. Would you want to lock the doors?

We often hear people advocate for getting government out of social services and letting the community and churches take care of the people. Can we be entrusted with this responsibility?

If you have given or will consider giving to help ACCESS/Soup Kitchen and Men’s Shelter remain open, your dollars provide more than just a meal.

They provide free counseling for men. Help them find apartments, get food stamps, section 8 housing, medications, phone service, refer them to the Mission Frankfort Clinic for health care.

Through partnership with Thorn Hill Learning Center, patrons and men get GEDs, improve reading, writing, spelling, math skills, develop job skills, job placement, and college preparation.

Men from various church and organizations spend time with the men at the shelter. A Sunday morning church service is offered and opportunities are available for men to visit area church services and Bible studies on Sunday morning and evening, and Wednesday evening.

So many caring people volunteer their time in the kitchen cooking and serving meals. First lady Jane Beshear has worked in the kitchen alongside us: slicing, dicing and serving patrons with a smile. She hosted a fundraiser and has offered support in many ways. Others stop by and offer their services on small repair jobs, which are always needed in a facility that is in such heavy use. Farmers bring in produce and food is donated from Kroger, Panera Bread and Save-A-Lot East and West, and the list goes on.

If you have never visited the Soup Kitchen, we invite you to stop in. The director, Andrew Baker, calls it a community center, and with all the new programs being offered, it is much more than a kitchen. Please don’t let a lack of funds jeopardize this essential support network for our neighbors in need.

Ann Morse

Jodie Hillard

Frankfort

Let’s ditch

McConnell

To the Editor:

I am a registered Democrat and as such feel that I am being left out of my rights being represented in Washington. The party of “NO” has chosen to oppose anything that will make my president (and theirs) look good. Their objective is to evict the president from the White House. This used to be called treason and sedition, which was punishable by death. Oh, for the good ol’ days!

Now that I am being subject to “taxation without representation” I feel that history needs to be repeated once again. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, our two worthless representatives, are coming to Frankfort to speak to the tea party. How appropriate that we have a river nearby that we could dump them into and show Boston how a tea party can happen again. Mitch campaigned to get into office against Dee Huddleston. Mitch has managed many more years of tenure and has embarrassed his state far too long. Let’s ditch Mitch and the other obstructionists in his party. Time to move forward.

Jim Beirne

Frankfort

$8 corn good

for farmers

To the Editor:

Kentucky has been hit hard by the drought, and corn supplies will be tight in the commonwealth, but now is not the time to ask for changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which has led to 400,000 jobs in rural America, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and lowered the price of fuel at the pump for all consumers, not to mention improving our air quality at the same time.

Provisions in the RFS in times of a supply emergency are working. The ethanol industry has responded by lowering production, and fortunately there is an adequate supply of ethanol and ethanol credits to help the U.S. achieve the renewable fuels mandate.

As a hog feeder, I know full well that corn above $8 a bushel makes it very difficult for livestock producers to be profitable. But $8 corn may be our corn farmers’ only saving grace this year to make up for dramatically reduced yields. Many of our farmers are reporting the worst yields in their history of farming. If they are not able to meet their costs of production, we may lose a significant amount of acres in the future, and corn prices will remain high.

We endured low corn prices for many years and worked hard to grow a strong ethanol market to utilize growing corn supplies. It has been a win-win for agriculture and the economy. More money is entering rural America, jobs are being created, and feed supplies have increased with lower-cost distiller’s grains, a co-product of ethanol production. It is imperative that we maintain a strong renewable fuels market this year and for the future.

Ray Allan Mackey

President, Kentucky Corn Growers Association

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  • I think that either the compassion shown by the mental health professionals in Kentucky is amazing, or they're engaged in some kind of cruel scheme to embarrass one of their patients. Why else would they continue to allow Mark Henry to write to State Journal week after week, showing one and all how completely delusional he is? Is the SJ editorial staff also in on this ugly joke, or just laughing up their sleeves while the poor wretch persists in his bizarre scribblings? His lack of contact with reality is strikingly apparent. Who will take pity on this sad fellow and put an end to these farcical letters, at least until his medications kick in and he's restored to at least some semblance of sanity?