Paul ignores the realities facing long-term jobless
I was astounded by the premise of Sen. Rand Paul's Dec. 23 commentary on unemployment benefits.
Of course he is absolutely correct about the fact that employers do not wish to employ the long-term unemployed.
But what he conveniently leaves out is that there are currently three unemployed people for every available job in this country, and that includes all the low-paying service jobs that make up the majority of what is available.
This is not an education problem. Many people with college degrees are currently working low-end jobs that don't require one. Only one out of three unemployed people is going to succeed at finding work, no matter how hard he or she tries, because there are only that many jobs available.
Paul's solution seems to be to tell the other 66 percent to just die, already. It is extremely disingenuous to tell people who have no chance of finding employment that you are doing them a favor by condemning them to homelessness because that will somehow make them more employable.
Employers also want people who have access to transportation, a home address and are able to bathe and do laundry regularly.
We had plenty of money to bail out reckless bankers. We apparently have all kinds of money to start wars. Why is it that only when the citizens he is supposed to be representing need help, because of a mess he and others like him have caused, that Paul starts squawking about the deficit?
End to lifeline no rescue
Sen. Rand Paul's Dec. 23 commentary argued that we would do the long-term unemployed a huge favor by denying them an extension of unemployment insurance benefits. Somehow, if we deny the benefits, they will magically get motivated and find a job.
But he says he is not accusing them of malingering. The unemployment problem is, he says, "in the minds of the employers."
For the life of me I can not understand why cutting off a lifeline for the unemployed will encourage employers to increase hiring when they don't have the jobs.
I pray fervently that Paul will consider a return to improving the vision of his patients and, we pray, improving the vision of his heart.
Where are the fathers?
In regard to the article, "Child care cuts having 'devastating impact'," I believe it is imperative that a society take care of its most vulnerable citizens.
And these children certainly should be included as the most vulnerable. To not try to help these children now will most likely have a negative impact on their lives, and on society in the long run.
But, I have one question about the article: Why were the fathers of these children never mentioned? Why are they not being pursued for child support?
It is seemingly always the mothers or grandmothers who end up with the children of failed relationships or one-night stands. A man might opt out of a relationship with the mother of his children, but a man would not opt out of a relationship with, nor the responsibility of rearing, those children.
Society needs to hold these — whom I suspect, in most cases, are immature males — accountable for the children they help bring into the world.
Someone should be fired
When a judge fines the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services $756,000 for not complying with state open records laws about abused and neglected children and we taxpayers have to pay it, someone responsible should lose their job, with salaries equal to the fine. There should be consequences for their actions.
Nice moment spoiled
I attended the University of Kentucky-University of Louisville basketball game. I want to thank whoever came up with the idea of having the crowd sing the Star Spangled Banner prior to the game. I usually enjoy the soloists who do that, but it was especially moving to hear over 20,000 fans singing our national anthem.
However, just as they do when a soloist sings, there were a few fans, mostly in the student section, who had to call attention to themselves by screaming out inappropriately during the high notes at the end of the song.
Doing so does not show appreciation for the singer or the song, it's just rude, disrespectful and classless.
A&E revels in trashiness
No one should be surprised that A&E reinstated Phil Robertson on "Dumb Dynasty."
One look at the network's troglodyte programming shows that they have no morals, no principles, no courage, no taste and no class. Their only motivation is to keep the cash cow chewing its cud.
But I am still baffled why people focus on Robertson's homophobic sneers, given that such ignorant vehemence usually spews from the Bible-thumping Christian far right and should have been expected.
But even the Bible can't be used as an excuse for his blatantly racist fiction of happy blacks singing in the fields. I would boycott cowardly A&E if I didn't already.
I've not watched the channel since it abandoned arts and cultural programming for exploitation programming which, let's face it, is what most reality TV is.
A&E ... arts & entertainment? It's neither.
Charles Edward Pogue
State insurance goes up
"If you like your plan, you can keep it." That's what President Barack Obama repeatedly said as he promoted Obamacare. And that lie doesn't just affect consumers who buy health insurance on the individual market.
None of the 2013 plans are being offered this year to state employees, public school employees and retirees.
The Personnel Board's August 2013 meeting minutes state that the old plans were not grandfathered in and had to be changed. Nothing resembling my 2013 PPO plan was available for 2014.
Only one plan with co-pays for doctor visits was offered, and it increased those co-pays by 40 percent for primary care physicians (from $16 to $25) and nearly doubled them for specialists (from $25 to $45). The policies are marginally less expensive, but higher out-of-pocket costs and deductibles more than offset those savings.
Now we're being told that the new plans are actually better, because the old plans are inadequate.
This is like telling a person who is perfectly happy with a Chevy Cobalt that they have to buy a Chevy Tahoe instead —complete with unwanted options, decreased gas mileage and increased vehicle insurance prices — because the government knows best what kind of vehicle a person wants or needs.
Kentucky's governor has been all over the left-wing national media, praising Obamacare to all who will listen.
If he really likes it that much, he should have set an example by waiving his state-sponsored health insurance and instead buying a policy through the Kynect exchange.
Not all lies the same
People say President Barack Obama lied about keeping your health-care plan, but George W. Bush's lies led to soldiers dying in Iraq.
At least Obama fibbed so people might live. I can see Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi or Christ doing the same thing.
Toking for success
The headline above the column read: Youth pot smoking rises as attitudes shift." No kidding.
When we elect an admitted pot smoker to the highest office in the land, the presidency of the United States, what message have we sent to our youth?
If you aspire to bigger and better things, smoke pot.
Yeah baby, the dude abides.
J. L. Lombardo
Thanks for reminder
With the advertisements for "things" during the holiday, I applaud you for reminding us about the real meaning of Christmas through the birth of Christ by printing the story from Luke 2 on Christmas Day.
Effecting Christ's message of spreading love will bring peace and joy in 2014 and beyond.
Marilyn Dixon Pfanstiel
Paper ignored McConnell hearing and Obama's war on coal
As the former administrator of the Rural Utilities Services, which has made billions of dollars of loans to coal-fired electric generating plants across the country, I was disappointed the Herald-Leader failed to cover Sen. Mitch McConnell's Dec. 6 hearing on the coal industry.
It was attended by more than 200 Kentuckians and was designed to give our state, which has lost 5,000 coal jobs in the past four years, a voice as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to promulgate further regulations on coal-fired plants.
The EPA held "listening seesions" on future regulations this fall, but only in cities that do not rely on coal, such as San Francisco and Seattle.
Coal accounts for nearly 40 percent of our nation's power, which is why it is was critical to provide the coal industry, and those who rely on it, an opportunity to be heard.
Notable panelists included America's Got Talent star Jimmy Rose and Senate President Robert Stivers. Booth Energy, Elm Street Resources and Whayne Supply provided testimony, as well.
Most important, testimony was heard from miners and families living through the hard realities of the current administration's war on coal. In the words of panelist Howard Abshire, a fourth-generational miner from Pikeville, "We don't want a bailout — we want to work."
By failing to cover such a meaningful and well-attended event focused on preserving Kentucky's signature coal industry, it appears as though your publication does not want to hear from those presently affected by the war on coal.
New election-year rules
Letters about candidates in 2014 political races are limited to 150 words. No commentary from candidates will be published. Candidates may respond, every 30 days, in 250-word letters to editorials, news articles and columns in which they are the primary focus.