Your letters


Dressing up and swift boating

Remember playing “pretend” and “dress-up” when we were kids. In my time we were Johnny Tremain and Davy Crockett and sported “flintlocks,” tricorns and coonskin hats. A prominent Republican politician, Estes Kefauver, wore a coonskin.

We all still “dress up,” do some pretending regarding who we are, or want to be like; some more than others. For example, conservatives, more than liberals, incline to emulate cowboys and soldiers, like Republican hero, John Wayne, who was neither (his unfortunate real non-cowboy name was Marion). Reagan presented his Western bonafides by wearing a cowboy hat and “splitting wood.”

George Bush liked to dress up like a hotshot fighter pilot god and “land” on carriers, even though he lost his pilot certification because he wouldn’t take a required physical. Before running for president he bought a ranch without cattle where he “cut brush,” wore a cowboy hat, and drove a (two wheel?) truck. None dared call him “all hat and no cattle.”

The Ferguson and other police forces sport surplus Army jungle camo. Barney Fife said it best, “It’s a jungle out there.” 

Then, there’s corollary contempt for those who don’t pretend or play dress-up. Remember Kerry’s “swift boating”? Who volunteered for two combat tours in Vietnam? Remember how he wasn’t wounded badly enough to deserve Purple Hearts? Remember how he wasn’t brave enough to earn a Silver Star: all this when Dick Cheney “had other priorities” and Bush was hiding somewhere in Texas? 

Remember Al Gore’s “earth tones” and how, even though he also served “in country,” he wasn’t in combat? So who will Republicans “dress up” for next election, and which Democrat will be swift boated (i.e. undressed)? 

Hint: Her competence and brains become Benghazi and brain damage. And oh my gosh, her hair and cellulite!

Mark Henry



Don’t make judgments without facts

“I have a crow to pick” with your cartoonist Ms. Boileau and one of your letter writers. I refer to the cartoon concerning the young man that was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., with the caption “What the police found on Michael Brown.” The picture was of a male with hands raised and a target on the front of his shirt. This was Aug. 15.

The letter in question was in the Aug. 24 edition. The writer states as fact that the young man was unarmed and had his hands over his head.  

I find this very troubling, as he must be relying on the “eye witness” that saw what was going on and saw Michael Brown “shot in the back.” This is not helpful in cases such as this as it becomes reality to some folks and has been shown not to be the case. We do not know what happened in this case and should not be making these types of pre-judging. Did either see the reports about the police officer having a fractured eye socket, which may or may not be true?  

The writer goes further and makes statements about the militarization of police due to the return of combat veterans. How on earth did we survive when the combat veterans returned from the Civil War, WWI and WWII? There were a whole lot more of them than what are returning now. The militarization of the police is so they can confront the situation such as that occurring in Ferguson, Mo.

Also, the militia mentioned in the Constitution would be every abled-bodied citizen not the ”state National Guard.” Had there been gun control at that time, there would be no USA today, and that is why it is in the Constitution.

Henry Cardwell



Ditch biblical Mitch

In a recent article in the Lexington Herald-Leader titled, “Politics and government: In tight Senate race, McConnell talks religion,” we learned that Mitch McConnell, preaching to the choir, at a Baptist church, is opposed to abortion and gay marriage.

McConnell wants control of Kentuckians wombs and bedrooms. McConnell is an old man with old rules from a time past that is now, thankfully, in most of the nation’s rear view mirror. The question is, are Kentucky voters still stuck it the past with him or are we at last looking to move into the future with the majority of the country? 

McConnell and most of the Republican religious right would have a Kentucky theocratic government if they had their wishes. Their opinions on how people should be governed are formed from the writings of ancient men that believed the earth was the center of the universe and an invisible deity controlled the weather and the seasons of the year.

It’s fine if you believe in God and heaven and hope to get there with him when you die. However, we live in the year 2014 and times have certainly changed for the better in the thousands of years since rules were written down that would eventually be bound together to form the Bible.

You can be a Christian and vote for a Democrat. In fact, if you open your bible and read about Jesus you will see he looks a lot more like a Democrat than a Republican.

Phil Greer



Gift vs. inheritance

Here are a few of my thoughts on the whole inheritance from Elaine Chao’s mother thing Mitch McConnell’s camp is exploiting in political advertising as reason for their vast increase in wealth since 2008.

Both of Chao’s parents were American citizens. Therefore, the American law of succession bound them both, including laws regarding communal property. Therefore, Chao’s living father inherited the estate of her mother, not Chao. So the money Chao supposedly got as an inheritance from her mother was, in actuality, a gift from her father in memory of her mother, not an actual inheritance, as was verified by Don Stewart, a McConnell spokesman to Politico on June 12, 2009. Quoting the article, “That was a gift from Secretary Chao’s father in April 2008 to the Senator and the Secretary, in memory of her mother, who passed away in August 2007,” said Stewart.

There is a big difference between getting a gift and getting an inheritance.

The fact that the McConnell’s reported it as a gift and not an inheritance on their tax statements gives credibility to this claim as well. The tax statements list the gift at between $5 million and $25 million. According to a 2012 wealth estimate from Center for Responsive Politics, McConnell’s estimated net worth went from approximately $7 million in 2007, to approximately $17 million in 2008. So it is probable that the gift from Chao’s father was between $5 million and $10 million.

While McConnell’s net worth is hard to pin down, current estimates range from $27 million to $38 million, or an approximate $10 million to $21 million rise in estimated worth over and above the gift from Chao’s father in 2008, or $1.66 million to  $3.5 million increase in net worth per year over the 6 years from 2008-2014. Based on Chao’s $340,000 salaries from her corporate director posts and McConnell’s salary of $193,400 their combined pay is $533,400 per year. That leaves a net worth increase of $6,799,600 to $17,799,600 over 6 years above salary after the gift from Chao’s father.

Keep in mind, these gains occurred at a time when most investment portfolios either lost significant money or remained flat for the vast majority of investors.

Clearly, something would certainly appear to be amiss in McConnell’s statements in his political advertising attempting to lead the viewers to believe that his vast increase in wealth was due solely to an “inheritance” from Chao’s dead mother, which none of the available relevant information seems to support.

Ron Hargrove



Calling out McConnell’s record on food safety

I’ve never spoken to Mitch McConnell, but if I were ever to meet the senator, I would ask him why he has spent a career on Capitol Hill opposing measures to make our food safer.

Salmonella, listeria, campylobacter — you have heard of these disease agents that sicken 48 million Americans and kill 5,000 people annually. Tainted food costs the industry billions of dollars in lost sales, recalls and lawsuits.

This past spring we have seen 1.8 million pounds of ground beef contaminated with deadly E-coli bacteria from Wolverine Packing Co. in Detroit recalled after it hit store shelves in nine states including Kentucky. In April, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture recalled approximately 350 pounds of hickory smoked, pit cooked barbecue pork product due to misbranding and an undeclared allergen, from a west Kentucky establishment. 

In November 2010, when the Senate, by a vote of 73 to 25, passed the Food Safety Modernization Act, which for the first time gives FDA the authority to test for dangerous pathogens and to recall contaminated food, McConnell voted no. 

Why did our senator vote against a bill that protects Americans from unsafe food produced overseas by making imported foods subject to the same standards as those made in the U.S.? 

In July 1995, when McConnell voted against an amendment to allow the USDA to require science-based hazard analysis and critical point control (HACCP) systems for meat and poultry inspections. 

Again, why did McConnell 

vote to weaken the pathogen standards on the meat and poultry we eat? 

The pattern is clear. Mitch McConnell’s record on food safety makes me sick. I believe the correct antidote is to vote McConnell out of office come November.

Norma Bell



War profiteering and waste 

One can only shake their head at the billions of our tax dollars that have been wasted on wartime contracting over the past decade. 

In 2011, in its final report to Congress, the Commission on Wartime Contracting said as much as $60 billion in U.S. funds was lost to fraud and waste in Iraq and Afghanistan because of lax oversight of contractors, poor planning and corruption. 

It is fair to ask what was Sen. Mitch McConnell’s role in all of this?

Four times in 2005 and 2006, McConnell voted against establishing a special committee to investigate Afghanistan and Iraq war contracts. And in June 2006, when the Senate debated the defense authorization bill, McConnell helped kill an amendment to improve federal contracting and procurement by eliminating fraud and abuse and improving competition in contracting and procurement and by enhancing administration of federal contracting personnel. 

McConnell is a poor student of history because the Truman Committee formally known as the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program, was created in March 1941 to find and correct problems in U.S. war production —problems with waste, inefficiency and war profiteering — saved an estimated $10-15 billion in military spending. 

McConnell says he is tight with the taxpayer’s buck but his refusal to back systems to audit and monitor this wasteful war spending did little to defeat the Taliban, but helped the defense contractors line their pockets. And the defense industry has been very generous to McConnell during his campaigns. Over his career, McConnell has received more than $680,000 in donations from defense PACs and lobbyists according to the website 

This year, I believe it is time to show Mr. McConnell the door.

Jenifer Smith


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  • This comment refers to Mr. Mark Henry's letter.  Senator Estes Kefauver was a lifelong Democrat.  He was never a Republican.  Indeed, he was the Democratic Party's vice-presidential nominee in 1956 on the Stevenson-Kefauver ticket.  Moreover, he never wore "coonskin" (as in a coonskin shirt or coat or the like).  He did wear a coonskin cap during the U.S. Senate campaign in the 1948 Democratic Primary in Tennessee, after Boss Ed Crump of Memphis had taken out full-page newspaper ads accusing him of behaving like a stealthy pet raccoon.  Then-congressman Kefauver made a speech in Crump's hometown of Memphis, pulled on a coonskin cap, and said, "I might be a pet coon, but I'm not Boss Crump's pet coon."  Kefauver went on to win the primary race, to defeat his Republican opponent handily in the general election in November of 1948, and to serve Tennessee very well in the U.S. Senate until his death in August of 1963.

    Theodore Brown, Jr.
    Senior Lecturer, The University of Tennessee Department of Political Science
    Adjunct Professor, The University of Tennessee College of Law
    1001 McClung Tower
    Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-0410

  • cult

    "a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
    "the cult of St. Olaf"

    a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister."

    All organized religions meet the criteria of a cult by defintiion.  Of course, they always say that theirs is the true religion and it is always the other guy's that is the cult...

    But in the final analysis, most likely, the end of the world as we know it will be because of religion.  Some day, some religious fanatics will overtake a country with 90 - 120 nukes (india has 90 - 110 and Pakistan has 100 - 120) and start firing them off creating nuclear winter and the destruciton of life as we know it on this planet.

  • It’s just fun to read isn’t it? I think so anyway. I think the previous editor of the State Journal was a preacher; at least he looked like one. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it!

    Phil Greer

  • I wrote this a while ago and the State Journal wouln't publish it. I like it. It should be required reading for all Christians!


    As a god delusional Christian the ability to apply reasoned thought to the bible and the gods contained there is not available. I know this because for years I was deep inside the Christian god delusion myself and suffered this strange malady. This loss of the power of reason isn’t exclusive to Christianity but affects all believers of the various religions and the gods that they promote. For an obvious illustration of this think about the religious cults that have trapped so many over the years. Cults like the Jim Jones phenomenon that led to the mass suicide in Jonestown Guyana in 1978 or the Marshall Applewhite Hale-Bopp comet cult that led to mass suicide in 1997 are a couple of the most obvious that come to mind. However there are also various cults such as the Hare Krishna cult that don’t lead to suicide but trap believers inside its religious delusional web just the same.

    The Christian viewing such cults as these from the outside looking in so to speak, will scratch their head in wonder trying to understand how people could ever get caught up in such dangerous delusional nonsense. However they are unable to view themselves as they truly are, trapped inside of their own delusional cult called Christianity. Christians believe that there is a universe creating super being capable of reading everyone’s thoughts. Christians believe that this super mind reading being is judging the thoughts of billions to see if they meet his standards. After reading and judging the thoughts of billions of humans the mind reading super being will impose an eternal  sentence upon all  of either  a world of eternal supposed bliss spent worshiping the mind reading super being or eternal  torture spent forever burning but never  dying. 

    The thoughts determining which of the eternal judgments you will receive must be that you believe, contrary to any evidence whatsoever, the following; over 2000 years ago the mind reading super being that created the universe became a ghost, impregnated a Jewish teenager with himself, was later killed by the governing authorities that were ignorant of the fact that they were part of a suicide plan that the creator of the universe had thought up.  

    The thought reading, universe creating super being was according to his plan taking the place of sheep. The sheep were previously being killed to pay for what the thought reading, universe creating super being judged to be sins against his self. Part of this belief must be that the thought reading, universe creating super being after committing this assisted suicide didn’t stay dead but came back to life and flew into outer space.  

    The delusional Christian having lost the ability to understand how utterly insane all of this nonsense is believes that it is the unbeliever of this delusional world that fails to see the light and needs their help to come to the same conclusion that they have about Christianity and how much sense it all makes.    

    Phil Greer

  • "You can be a Christian and vote for a Democrat. In fact, if you open your bible and read about Jesus you will see he looks a lot more like a Democrat than a Republican."

    Phil Greer

    Shucks Phil, the character of Jesus as portrayed in the Bible spoke and acted like a card carrying socialist, much to the chagrin of charlatans like Mitch McConnell!  Here are some of the "word of God" in verses that apparently no Republican Bible contains

    Matthew 6:2-4 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    Mark 10:21-22 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

    Luke 6:20-21 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. ‘Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. ‘Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

    Matthew 25:34-36 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”

    Mark 12:41-44 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

    Luke 12:16-21 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

  • Henry Cardwell, what facts do you have about the shooting in Ferguson?  The police officer shot an unarmed teenager, Mike Brown, and there were eye witnesses.

    Was Brown armed?

    No. Again, this is undisputed.

    Every casing found at the scene came from the officer's gun, Belmar said, and witnesses say that after the officer initially fired, the two young men took off running.

    "I saw the officer proceeding after my friend, Big Mike, with his gun drawn, and he fired a second shot, and that struck my friend, Big Mike," Johnson said. "And at that time, he turned around with his hands up, beginning to tell the officer that he was unarmed and to tell him to stop shooting. But at that time, the officer was firing several more shots into my friend, and he hit the ground and died."

    This matches Crenshaw's and Mitchell's story. Crenshaw told CNN that Brown got about 20 feet away from the police cruiser before the officer shot him again.

    "The cop gets out of his vehicle shooting," Mitchell said. "(Brown's) body jerked as if he was hit from behind, and he turned around, and he put his hands up. ... The cop continued to fire until he just dropped down to the ground, and his face just smacked the concrete."

    A private autopsy conducted for the Brown family showed that Brown had been shot at least six times, including twice in the head.

    A new witness, Michael Brady, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Wednesday that Wilson fired at Brown after the teen ran about 20 feet.

    Brady ran out of his apartment to get a closer look.

    Seconds later, he saw Brown doubled over, cradling one arm and beginning to fall forward. He took a step or two towards the officer but did not charge him, Brady said.

    Wilson fired three to four more shots at him, he said.