Healthy eating habits should not become partisan issue
That Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin are criticizing Michelle Obama for promoting healthy eating and physical activity for children would be laughable if the issue weren't so important to the well-being of our children, our economy and our country's future.
The first lady's "Let's Move" campaign is not about tea-brined turkey and controlling what people eat, as a Dec. 5 column suggested.
It is about engaging all sectors of the community — families, schools, faith groups and the food industry — to give our kids a chance to grow up healthy, without carrying the burden of excess weight and the chronic health problems associated with it.
Limbaugh said Michelle Obama is "ripping into 'food deserts,'" and they're not the reason Americans are fat. But right here in Lexington, "food deserts," areas with limited access to healthy and affordable food, contribute to our health disparities.
The Lexington Food Assessment, published by Drs. Keiko Tanaka and Patrick Mooney of the University of Kentucky, showed access to healthy food is limited in neighborhoods in both north and south Lexington. Many stores they visited in these neighborhoods did not carry basic items such as apples, potatoes, milk and eggs — and when they did, they were often expensive, out of date or of poor quality.
Whatever our political views, surely we can agree on the goal of having a community where families can raise healthy children. I encourage everyone to take a productive stance about helping children eat better and move more. Visit www.letsmove.org and see what you can do to be part of the solution.
Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition
No raises for peons
As a former state merit employee, I see nothing has changed in regard to the peons and upper echelon when it comes to who gets raises and who doesn't.
Gov. Steve Beshear claims he needs non-merit positions for help in running state government. Now, Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer comes along and rewards 11 employees because they have taken on more responsibilities while the peons in other state cabinets haven't received a cost-of-living allowance and also get six furlough days. What is wrong with this picture? Due to cutbacks, I bet the peons in other cabinets are asked to increase their workload, so Farmer's argument doesn't hold much water.
In the last few years I was in state government, I didn't receive a COLA; but I did see non-merit employees receive raises.
Recommendation for Beshear: Announce a few state employee appreciation days, realizing that is all they will get. Wait, that's been done. As one present employee told me, employee appreciation days and $1 would have gotten him on the LexTran bus for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
There is plenty of money to be had in state government. It just depends on whether you are a peon or in the upper echelon.
Displeased with EKPC
The East Kentucky Power Cooperative abandoned its proposed Smith generating facility in Clark County. The consequence to the member-customers of rural cooperatives in Kentucky is that they get to pay the $150 million already spent on the plant's development. The reason for cancellation was the generating capacity was not needed.
This $150 million fiasco comes on the heels of a disregard of the Environmental Protection Agency rules concerning emissions from EKPC plants, which resulted in fines totaling more than $10 million plus much more in legal expenses. It was noted by the Public Service Commission that EKPC was on the brink of financial disaster.
During this entire period, the chairman of the EKPC board of directors was the Shelby Energy representative. He served as chairman of the board during both of these unwise decisions. He remains and has not resigned in favor of a wiser, more concerned individual. We member-customers of Shelby Energy are responsible for voicing pleasure or displeasure with our Shelby Energy board members. We are very displeased with the actions of our EKPC chairman of the board from Shelby Energy.
Forty years ago while researching my dissertation at the Hoover Presidential Library, I read some vitriolic correspondence between former President Herbert Hoover and his more conservative supporters. Although I anticipated the venom directed at Franklin D. Roosevelt by the wealthy bankers, businessmen and politicos, I was stunned at the sexist, sexual and political jokes and diatribes hurled at first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Today, sadly, I note the hatred and disinformation the Tea Party movement and GOP spokesmen express for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Their demonization, often in unprintable terms, exceeds anything Mrs. Roosevelt experienced. Of course, in 2010, comedians, the media and extreme partisans display no restraints or objectivity. Why is she so hated?
Ironically, the first female House speaker has engineered passage of a truly landmark health care act that benefits most of the 50 million previously uninsured Americans. The act will endure long after her "do-nothing" detractors have passed into oblivion. Moreover, historians will note her significant success, against all odds, in passing an important financial regulatory act benefiting all investors, a children's health insurance act, a fair pay act and a stimulus bill that, despite GOP reductions, saved the auto industry and developed energy alternatives as well as infrastructure projects.
Pelosi has proven to be the most genuinely compassionate, honest and non-hypocritical House leader in decades. Have Americans forgotten the low standards set by her predecessor speakers from both political parties? Historians are likely to judge her kindly and even rank her as one of our greatest House speakers.
Henry E. Everman
Why protect rich?
Well, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans have done it again. They have protected their rich, fat-cat friends who keep stuffing campaign contributions in their front pockets and maybe their back pockets as well.
President Barack Obama and the Democrats acquiesced after trying to keep the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for all except the ultra-rich. But ultra-rich Mitch and crew were willing to throw the poor under the bus by voting this down so they could protect their rich friends.
We now truly know which side they are on — their own.
It's time McConnell and crew, and Democrats as well, realize we put them up there to work for the entire country and not just the rich.
One more thing: Why is it the poor would experience, in the unlikely case of repeal of the Bush tax cuts, a 50 percent increase in taxes (from a 10 percent rate to a 15 percent rate) while the very rich would experience a 13.1 percent increase (35 percent rate to 39.6 percent rate)?
Yes, I realize that means the rich got a smaller percentage in their tax cuts originally. But don't try to talk common sense to me — I'm a Republican.
Pass DREAM Act
During the past two years, I had the opportunity to work with a number of undocumented youths who are eligible for the provisions of the DREAM Act. These youths were in both high schools and Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Their talents and dedication to learning were impressive.
Six years ago, I met a young undocumented woman who was class valedictorian for her high school class in Northern Kentucky. She was also DREAM Act-eligible, but was despairing about her future because of her immigration status. She was about 7 when she entered the U.S. and was only barely conversant in her native tongue (using it in her household but never expanding its use to encompass all the words and concepts she mastered attending U. S. schools).
Not surprisingly, the Congressional Budget Office recently reported that passage of the DREAM Act will be a plus for both the economy and U.S. tax revenues, issues we dare not ignore at this point in our history. As baby boomers approach retirement and we carry a larger burden of Social Security payments with a smaller work force, the addition of more highly employable, college educated young people into our national economy is a huge asset.
While I am in favor of more comprehensive immigration reform and have some fear that the "cherry picking" of the best of our undocumented youths could reduce the pressure for such reform, addressing the needs of these youths and what they can do for our economy is too important to delay this positive legislation.
Thomas Kerby Neill
Turn down the noise
Vroom, vroom, vroom. A race car engine being tested at very high pitch. Again and again and again. At night, on the weekend, any old time.
My family — all the way over on Elsmere Park — hears this inside our house even with all the doors and windows shut. It emanates from an area zoned for business on North Limestone and Seventh Street.
Many homeowners here — and elsewhere in Lexington similarly affected — are diligently working to responsibly engage the problem of nuisance noise from noisy businesses that abut residential areas, by re-working Lexington's current vague and toothless noise ordinance.
None of us wants to shut down local businesses, but we also need to find a way to co-exist in peace because we are not right now. My family is considering moving because of this problem. Unfortunately, lawyers for some of the offending businesses are now taking up the fight and are "drowning out" (pun intended) the calm and reasonable voices of those of us affected.
Residents of Lexington — affected or not — please show your support by contacting your Urban County Council member, or by attending the monthly ordinance meetings (the next one is Dec 15 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., 5th Floor, Government Center). Your voice counts. Don't let it be drowned out