Cheers for GOP senators who defied McConnell
Here's wishing all the joys of the holiday season to the Senate Republicans who defied their majority leader, Kentucky's own Mitch McConnell, and put nation before partisan politics at the end of the last Congress.
If McConnell had things his way, gays, lesbians and bisexuals would not be on their way to serving their country openly and proudly in uniform, Russia's nuclear arsenal would not be set for significant reduction and the firefighters and policemen who impaired their health acting as first responders at Ground Zero on 9/11 would not be in line for federal help with their mounting medical bills. Happily, his efforts came up short.
So a warm season's greetings to McConnell's Republican colleagues who summoned up the courage to thwart him. Now here's hoping that the truly miraculous might have happened, and McConnell awoke on Christmas morning to see the powerful good in bipartisanship rather than a lump of coal in his stocking.
Barnhart has flaws
I must take exception to the laudatory remarks about University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart found in a recent letter. Barnhart has not "demonstrated a strong sense of integrity and total propriety" in dealing with employees of the UK Athletics Department. Specifically, when Bryan Settle, the UK basketball equipment manager Coach John Calipari brought along with some other staff from Memphis, made a minor misjudgment, Barnhart bullied him into a resignation before Calipari had even learned of Settle's mistake.
UK, like most organizations, follows the protocol of progressive discipline for minor errors committed by employees. Barnhart did not follow a progressive plan to allow the young man to atone for the mistake and remain employed with the university. Instead Barnhart chopped the young man's head off. That harsh action does not coincide with the lofty phrases regarding Barnhart's integrity and judgment.
For Barnhart to be worthy of such high praise, Settle needs to be reinstated and Barnhart needs to carefully consider a progressive plan of employee development for minor disciplinary cases. Let's value all employees involved with making UK athletics programs a success, from basketball manager to university athletics director.
After all, Barnhart wasn't terminated for bringing Billy Gillispie into the program.
It's all about WLEX-18
Lunchtime in the WLEX-TV cafeteria:
"What did you bring for your LEX-18 lunch?"
"Oh, some LEX-18 ham, LEX-18 cheese, LEX-18 mayo on some LEX-18 wheat bread."
"Yummy. I brought a LEX-18 hamburger with LEX-18 cheese, and some LEX-18 pickles."
"Would you pass the LEX-18 ketchup, and some LEX-18 salt and LEX-18 pepper?"
"Dia Davidson, thank you so very much."
Enjoy carriage rides
As a lifelong equestrian and renowned riding instructor, I winced while reading in another publication an article entitled "Holiday carriage rides are a tragic tradition."
The author is correct in her assertion that lameness may occur after long hours of walking on asphalt surfaces, but her claims about horses not being safe or meant for domestication cause her to lose her audience. As someone who lives and works on a farm where safety is a top priority, I know the horses we choose to allow our visitors to interact with are the most reliable and well-trained on the farm.
I would bet an overwhelming majority of those in the carriage ride business would not dare harness a steed that is in any way questionable. Those offering carriage rides know what is at stake, both in terms of others' safety and their businesses.
The same attitude toward horseback riding lessons should be used when riding in a carriage; there is an understood element of risk when interacting with large animals.
President Barack Obama's handpicked National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has issued its final report. One of the commission's recommendations for reforming Medicare is to stop all supplemental insurance programs from covering the first $500 of an enrollee's cost-sharing liability and limiting coverage to 50 percent of the next $5,000 in Medicare cost-share.
The assumption is that by putting $3,000 in expenses on the backs of senior citizens, they will stop running to the doctor's office or hospital emergency room when they really don't need to.
This proposal would also apply to our military's wounded warriors who are covered by Medicare and a military supplement called TRICARE for Life. In order for them to receive the military supplement, they already have to pay Medicare Part B premiums of about $1,200 per year. Adding another $3,000 to their out-of-pocket expenses is just another kick in the pants from a grateful nation for those who have sacrificed greatly for their country.
It is comforting to know that this is only the recommendation of a one-time commission, and that our president and Congress would never accept such a cockamamie proposal. They really wouldn't, would they?
Ret. Col. Jimmy D. Helton
Look past bling
The Dec. 21 letter "Incongruous" seemed to take exception to a picture of an individual working at The Well in Paris. How does what he is wearing define the individual or the task at hand?
What is real, is that this particular individual gives freely of his time and energy to be a part of, in what I can only imagine is a very stressful several hours, listening to very sad and distressing information, trying to assess a situation and then to make a determination that may or may not be well received by the individual sitting across the desk.
These individuals only assess, approve or disapprove, and the money is then distributed by yet another party. Maybe if one were participating instead of observing, one might need a little bling to brighten an otherwise depressing day in these harsh economic times.
Bears: About the two men who so bravely shot down two innocent bears — shame on you.
Sarah Palin: If someone put a gun to my head and said watch Sarah Palin's Alaska, I would have to think long and hard about my response. I have no desire to watch her roaming Alaska killing innocent wolves and bears.
Health care: Providing health care to all is not socialism. I have lived in a country with socialized medicine, and believe me this is not socialized medicine. I find it very interesting that every person I have run across who is against health care reform has health insurance.
Lynn Fish Blacketer