February 15, 2012

Inbox — Feb. 15, 2012

Money Out of Politics
Your recent interview of Congressman John Yarmuth (LEO Weekly, Feb. 8) reminded me of a famous quote by Justice Louis D. Brandeis (another Louisville native). “Those who won our independence valued liberty as an end and as a means.”

Put simply, freedom is a process. It happens by our participation in public events. Freedom does not exist all by itself. We have a problem with the libertarian majority of the U.S. Supreme Court, however. These five justices see freedom as a thing, like intangible property. So, they’ve decided that “money is speech” and “corporations are people.”

Yarmuth spoke pointedly to this problem about three-fourths of the way into your interview: “And one of the things that I’ve begun working on, that is a passion of mine, is to make (government) work more fairly, to get money out of politics.” He followed that with an explanation of the constitutional amendment he proposes.

As a practical matter, I would say the issue Yarmuth has defined is the mother of all other public issues. If we let the power of money take charge of public policy, the other issues we care about will be suffocated. You really should have opened the interview with this issue instead of leaving it almost to the end.
Tom Louderback, Highlands

Pants On Fire
“When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Kentucky, because everything there happens 20 years after it happens anywhere else.” —Mark Twain

I often hear from religious people that it is unfair to question or ridicule their beliefs as if there is something taboo about an adult conversation about infantile notions rooted in religious superstitions. If such beliefs were rooted in sanity or truth, then they would stand up in the face of truth or basic fact. The real question that I can never get a cognizant answer to is: How much longer must we coddle the juvenile stupidity contained in the book of fiction called Genesis as if it were true?

Gov. Steve Beshear recently presented his budget to the general assembly with a proposed $286 million in cuts — 6.4 percent in higher education and $50 million in K-12. Buried in the proposed budget is a $43 million tax break and an $11 million allotment for a lane improvement especially for the creationism museum Ark Encounter.

If the mass delusions of ignorant religious people are to be taught to enslave others into their way of thinking, then why must the state pay for it? Why must the rest of us fund religious museums that teach things that most domesticated animals know aren’t true? If you want the freedom to worship your imaginary friend in the sky, then why must you steal precious resources from kids who might otherwise learn something useful like calculus? Would you have us “believe” that teaching the outright lies contained in the book of Genesis has done more to help mankind than, say, Isaac Newton, Jonas Salk, Einstein, Galileo or Darwin? Do you creationists think you are entitled to taxpayer hand-outs so you can mend old religious chains to put on your children? If you truly believe that there should be a separation of church and state, then why can’t you keep your hands out of the state’s pocket? You have the right to intellectually cripple your children with your religious indoctrination, but it doesn’t mean the taxpayers have a duty to fund your religious projects that make the entire state of Kentucky look like the ignorant hicks that patronize that standing abortion you call the Ark Encounter!
Eugene Thomas, Prospect

Magic Carpet Ride
Barack Obama must be an incredibly wealthy man. During his first presidential campaign, he got elected by bribing four of America’s most powerful men. Here I refer to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and McCain, whose antics made Obama’s first election a shoo-in. Now we’ve got a whole stable of Republican candidates doing buck-and-wing routines that will whisk our beloved pres back into the White House like a magic carpet.

Holy cow! This has to be costing the poor man a fortune!
John Gamel, St. Matthews