Cyrus' act was tasteless, but it was not child porn
After reading the Sept. 8 column by syndicated writer Mona Charen, I simply have to respond. What planet is this woman living on?
I found Miley Cyrus' performance on the Video Music Awards juvenile, offensive, tasteless and vaguely vulgar, but to compare it to "taking child porn mainstream?" Just because the performer used to be a tween idol?
Charen readily acknowledges she has no idea what is involved in child pornography, but then eagerly equates what she saw on this television show with the sordid, vulgar, sickening reality of true child exploitation.
Throwing in multiple examples of other media popular with (some) teens that she also finds offensive does nothing to further her argument that the performance she is so worried about is somehow promoting sexual exploitation of children.
All reasonable people are sickened by and eager to do everything possible to put an end to the scourge of child pornography.
Hysterics like Charen, by lumping everything she happens to find offensive into the "kiddie porn" category, just makes it that much harder to combat the true problem.
Pass gun-control law
I am discouraged that our lawmakers have done nothing to prevent gun-related violence since the Newtown tragedy.
I'm not just mourning the 26 innocent lives lost, but also the estimated 23,381 people who have died from guns in the U.S. since the Newtown shootings. Countless lives have been shattered, including a young male in Lexington who was killed at the same venue in which my son's fourth birthday party took place just days earlier.
Curbing gun-related violence requires a comprehensive solution, including gun safety legislation, increased access to quality and affordable mental health care and substance abuse treatment, community outreach to troubled individuals and families, law enforcement and lots of prayer.
While it may take multiple solutions to curb all gun-related violence, research shows that gun safety laws are correlated with substantially reduced homicides and suicides.
The Journal of American Medical Association reported that states with stronger gun regulations had 40 percent lower gun-related fatality rates than states with few to no regulations.
I urge our representatives to support the King-Thompson expanded background check bill (H.R. 1565), which 90 percent of Americans support. The bill would require background checks for all gun sales in commercial settings, including at gun shows, on the Internet and in classified ads.
Background checks may not prevent all firearm-related deaths, but how many individuals might still be alive today if their perpetrators had been required to have a background check before purchasing a firearm? Please support common-sense gun legislation that could save lives.
Holding heath safety net
As an oncology outreach nurse for many years, and a member of the Community Outreach Committee of the Susan G. Komen Lexington affiliate, I have carefully followed the recent Herald-Leader articles about HealthFirst and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.
I have seen very little focus from either group on the patients whose care is affected by this situation. It is important that the people of Fayette County know how much those of us in the trenches care about their access to health care.
In light of the recent problems, some of us from many area agencies recently began meeting at the Komen offices. These are not the people who make big decisions, have lots of money or get in the news. We are the nurses, physicians assistants, administrators, advocates and navigators who see patients every day.
We are so bold as to call ourselves the Bluegrass Health Task Force. Our goal is to network and share resources and creative ideas so that our patients can get the care they need without standing in line at 7:30 a.m.
While many people think this will all be solved Jan. 1, with the new health insurance exchange, we are doubtful that everyone will be insured by then and we know that there are many people who need care now.
Victim of politics
Richie Farmer made one fatal mistake. He chose to be a Republican rather than a Democrat.
Had he been a Democratic agricultural commissioner, his antics would have passed largely unnoticed.
Even if they had come to light, his troubles would have endeared him to the Democratic base. The ability to be a political manipulator is the stuff of any Democratic pol's dreams. Farmer probably would have been encouraged to run for governor.
Take down the jersey
I can't believe there is even a debate brewing about removing Richie Farmer's jersey from the lofty rafters in the iconic Rupp Arena.
For a university athletics department that sometimes has difficulty making the right decisions, this is a no-brainer. Take it down now, before the first home basketball game.
Marvin D. Pickett
Better site for grocer
The Sept. 1 Opinion section gives hope and energy for good developments in the historic East End.
And how about adding a crown jewel there — namely, a new, large state-of-the-art Kroger grocery store. This is where it is most needed.
Prepare for disasters
September is National Preparedness Month. Emergencies can happen in communities just like Lexington, to people just like you.
We've seen tornado outbreaks, flash flooding, severe storms, earthquakes, water-main breaks and power outages that affect millions of people for days at a time.
Police, fire and other first responders may not always be able to reach you quickly. The most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself and those in your care. Follow these four steps:
■ Be aware: Information is available from federal, state and local resources, including our website, BeReadyLexington.com. Use your smartphone, tablet, computers, radio and television to keep up-to-date with news and weather.
■ Make a plan: Discuss, agree on and document an emergency plan with those in your care. Make sure to include your pets.
■ Build a kit: Keep enough supplies — water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and battery-powered radio — on hand.
■ Get involved: Participate in programs and activities to make homes and places of worship safer from risks and threats. The Division of Emergency Management sponsors two Community Emergency Response Team classes each year.
On Wednesday, emergency management will participate in the annual Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program exercise.
This effort will involve 10 counties in Central Kentucky and hospitals, police, fire and emergency-management agencies.
More than 1,000 people will practice responding to a chemical emergency at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond.
You and your family can be prepared as well. Be aware. Make a plan. Build a kit. Get Involved.
Emergency Management Director
Unfair smoker penalty
As an ex-smoker of more than 20 years, it still makes my blood boil to see the way smokers are treated with disdain outside, as well as inside, public places.
They are denied employment by some companies. And some landlords prohibit them from smoking in their residences.
The negative facts about smoking, as well as the effects of secondhand smoke, are all known and not the issue here.
But if we are going to further penalize smokers with increased insurance costs, why not penalize other people who also engage in dangerous behavior that could lead to costly medical care — like those who have AIDS, drug users, alcoholics or obese people who have no known contributing medical cause?
And why stop there? How about the people who engage daily in dangerous behavior to themselves as well as others: the people with multiple speeding tickets. You don't need any expensive medical tests to determine the identity of the patient or the results.
There is not a great deal to like about smoking, unless we consider the taxes received from the sales. But let's be fair with our disdain and penalties for all dangerous behavior which leads to increased medical costs or disability.
No council projects
The preliminary vote by the Urban County Council to allocate $2.25 million among the 15 council members to spend as they choose for projects in their districts is not in the best interest of the city. The expenditure on minor projects will not benefit the larger community.
The money, part of a $7.6 million surplus, can best be used by either adding it to the rainy-day fund or allocating it to larger projects that will benefit the overall city and help create new jobs.
I commend the council members who voted against the idea, initially proposed at $3.75 million, and ask the council to reject it in the final vote Sept. 26. If approved, Mayor Jim Gray should veto it.
I understand the temptation to want to utilize these funds by individual council members to benefit their own districts, but do not believe it is the best use of these surplus funds.
Use surplus for sidewalks
The simple act of being able to walk in your community should be a given, but not in certain areas of Lexington.
With the recent pork-barrel allocations to the Urban County Council, I propose we use that money to expand pedestrian access and safety in every district. The increased walkability of our city increases safety, physical fitness, social interaction and community prosperity.
The Tates Creek Road sidewalk project is a step in the right direction but it doesn't go far enough. It should be extended all the way to Tates Creek Centre.
If you look close enough, you'll see worn paths on our busiest streets and roads that are in desperate need of sidewalks, such as North Broadway near the railroad overpass, Southland Drive, Liberty Road/Fortune Drive and Richmond Road/Lakeshore Drive.
These are all in different council districts and should be immediate priorities. It is long overdue that we invest in our community and people.
TV rights hurt fans
I am writing to protest the use of ESPN News and ESPNU to broadcast our University of Kentucky ball games. It is a shame for Big Blue fans to have to pay an extra $10 a month to see our team play.
I am a senior citizen on a fixed income and know there are many others who feel the same way. How about some consideration for us instead of just selling the rights to the highest bidder?
Berry's fairy tale
I see author Wendell Berry is still living in a make-believe world about a Party of Coal. We needed his books in the coal camps in the 1940s.
They sure would have saved the Sears catalogs. The factories in the flatlands are what is poisoning the fish. He only wants to pass the blame. Send him to Eastern Kentucky and let him go fishing. But he isn't interested. He's interested only in what his president told him to do.