Letters to the editor: Feb. 12

February 12, 2014 

  • 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.

Black lung victims wait and wait for hearings, benefits

Thank you for your editorial reporting the injustice to coal miners with black lung.

My dad was diagnosed with black lung in 2006 after working 37 years for the coal industry. He had a hearing in 2008. The attorney for the coal company failed to appear.

Instead of awarding him benefits, the judge delayed the hearing to later in the day so that the attorney could attend, even though the letter my dad received stated that if he failed to appear, the case would be dismissed. The judge ruled to give the attorney more time to prepare his case.

Dad had another hearing scheduled for September 2013. This hearing was postponed due to the presiding judge being on furlough. They have now delayed his hearing until February 2014.

My dad has documented evidence from his doctors dating back to 2000 stating that he clearly has black lung and is disabled from the disease. Each day is a struggle for him and other miners to breathe. My dad is now on oxygen 24-7.

The coal industry delays these hearings hoping these men will give up or die. Most of these miners are on Social Security and cannot afford an attorney to represent them. They rely on the government to do the right thing and give them the benefits they deserve.

We hope and pray that with recent renewed interest in this injustice to coal miners that he and other miners will be awarded their benefits.

Vicki LoBiondo


Paul a vulture

When I read the Jan. 27 article about Sen. Rand Paul slamming former president Bill Clinton, two words came to mind: bully and vulture.

First, Paul is a bully for picking on another person. That incident took place a long time ago. Paul needs to remember two things. One, it takes two to tango. Two, he admitted his guilt, was forgiven and has gone on to be a better man than Paul will ever be.

Second I say vulture. The vulture is known to hunt out and pick at dead things. This topic has been dead for some time. Sharpen your hateful beak, Paul.

I have never liked Paul, and with his snide comments, I like him even less.

Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone.

Dona Perrin


Paul has our backs

A recent letter writer saw Sen. Rand Paul as grandstanding.

Are you kidding me, an intelligent man speaking his mind is grandstanding?

Paul is our voice — us, the little guys, the working class. So when I hear our senator has made the news I'm doing the happy dance out in the street because obviously Paul got in somebody's face up there in Washington.

And, boy, do we need a man who's smart and gutsy watching our backs here in Kentucky, especially when dealing with the arrogance and lies of the Obama administration.

Kerry Brook Cooney


Minimum-wage inflation

Regarding the Jan. 12 editorial on raising the minimum wage in Kentucky: Raising the wage absolutely sounds like the right thing to do. Who wouldn't want to see more money in the lowest wage- earners' pockets?

The problem with artificially raising the minimum wage by governmental decree is that the good intentions never quite materialize as they were supposed to and are often accompanied by a host of deleterious effects.

The editorial aims to stifle debate early by making porous arguments against raising the minimum wage. One claims there is "virtually no research" that shows employers will cut jobs in response to raising the wage.

Research by Neumark and Wascher, published in 2008 by The MIT Press, showed that "two-thirds of the studies in this 'new minimum wage research' utilizing state variation in minimum wages came to the same conclusion that previous economists had: higher minimum wages reduce the employment of less-skilled workers."

Research by Burkhauser and Sabia published in 2010 finds that raising the minimum wage has no net effect on poverty levels.

It is an economic fundamental that as the price of a good rises, overall demand for the same good falls. By artificially raising the price of minimum-wage worthy labor you deprive unskilled workers the opportunity to gain entry-level employment and hone skills that can lead to promotion and increased incomes.

Michael Keck

Science Hill

Livelihood removal

Sen. Mitch McConnell blamed President Barack Obama for losses of coal mining jobs.

I have friends once employed by mining companies, one in the machine shop and another as an office manager.

One's husband was in charge of rail transportation, arriving at 5 a.m. to give the all clear for operations to begin.

The loss of jobs — those underground, using explosives to blast coal seams — was due to mountaintop-removal mining. Bulldozers replaced miners.

The most profitable way is to decapitate a mountain. Blow the top off, remove the rubble with heavy equipment and clear cut.

The trees are scraped away, and bulldozed into a pile and burned. A pad is leveled. Large rigs drilled holes for a mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil. The charge explodes, the Earth shudders and sprays the area with flying rock.

Recommended reading for McConnell: Plundering Appalachia, the Tragedy of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining.

David A. Shipp


Bible time-tested

A recent letter to the editor portrays the Bible as a collection of ancient writings, written by ignorant and superstitious people not relevant to today's social issues.

I am sure that some people would be offended until you realize who is really misinformed in this portrayal.

The Bible has survived over 2,000 years with billions printed, and is still being printed and sold. It is the basis of our law and morals, has influenced and continues to influence millions of people daily and is taught in thousands of languages at a cost of millions of dollars and sometimes lives.

No other collection of writings has influenced as many people for such a long period of time as the Bible.

Obviously there is something meaningful and important in this book that's worth respect and honor.

Social issues of good and bad, right and wrong are documented in the Bible and won't change with any amount of modern social engineering.

I agree with a poet who once said, "The Bible is a collection of letters to Earth from somewhere we can only wonder and hope."

It is interesting to propose that a group of ignorant people could have composed a profound and enduring collection of writings we call the Bible.

Charles Tipton


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