Those in mobile homes need safety from tornadoes
On April 3, 1974, I was the locomotive engineer of Southern Railway train #172, about a mile and a quarter long, passing through Moreland about 5:30 p.m.
A tornado, one of many in Kentucky that beautiful warm day, passed through the center of the train, blowing 17 or 18 heavy cars completely off their wheels and depositing them elsewhere, or overturning them.
Nine of the 10 mobile homes on a ridge on the west side of the tracks disappeared and pieces of the blown-away trailers and downed trees were sandwiched between the cars in the train. Another mobile home a few yards away on the east side of the tracks imploded.
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Of the 22 deaths reported in Kentucky due to the tornadoes of last week, 13 occurred in mobile homes, not unusual though other types of buildings were also destroyed.
There were many stories of people who survived the destruction of homes or other buildings simply by protecting themselves within the confines of the buildings. This is not possible in mobile homes.
The point: There are not enough standards regarding safety with respect to mobile homes. They should be built to withstand tornadoes (especially imploding) and anchored securely to the ground.
Or, at least some part of their construction should include a "tornado safety-cell."
Sheltered from storm
My mom and I were scared when the sirens went off March 3 at 4 p.m., so we got in my car and drove to the Marriott Griffin Gate to take shelter.
My 88-year-old mom was greeted by an employee who helped her inside to the ballroom while I parked my car. He was so caring and so nice to us, even though we were not staying there.
They were so efficient and organized with all the people. The staff did a wonderful job in keeping us all safe from harm. They made announcements every 30 minutes. They got my mother a chair to sit in and ask if we needed something to drink. A job well done.
The March 4 column "More Gore, Less Crime?" by Charles Kenney violates good journalism.
It presents a conclusion that violent crime, which has fallen by about 53 percent over 20 years, has done so because there is more easily accessible virtual violence in computer games, television and movies.
Kenney, a fellow at the Center for Global Development, represents that this drop in violent crime is due completely to the increased vicarious violence that is available today. Allowing people to harmlessly let off steam? He cites no studies by anyone to substantiate this conclusion, and makes no effort to explore what other factors might have contributed to all or part of this reduction.
In my opinion, it is preposterous and irresponsible to conclude that people will commit fewer violent crimes because they are exposed to more simulated and fictional violence. It is far more likely to find after a thorough and comprehensive study, that violent crime has been reduced by other, unrelated factors — and that this is the case in spite of, not because of violence depicted in entertainment.
Senators' shameful vote
Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul brought shame to our great commonwealth by voting for the radical Blunt Amendment. This amendment, which thankfully failed, would have allowed any employer to refuse insurance coverage for any medical procedure to which the employer had religious or moral objections.
This grew out of the Obama administration's requirement that even Catholic hospitals and charities (but not churches) cover contraception as part of employees' health insurance. The administration compromised when the U.S. Catholic Bishops objected (the church believes all sexual activity should be for procreation) by simply requiring that insurance companies offer the coverage directly.
That compromise was not good enough for the bishops or for McConnell or Paul. They want poor women to have to choose between paying the rent and paying for contraceptives that can cost up to $100 per month — and which are also prescribed to regulate excessive menstruation, prevent the formation of cysts on ovaries, decrease chances of uterine cancer and much more.
But for the sake of employers' consciences, they were willing to risk the lives and health of Kentucky's sisters, daughters, mothers and wives.
The bill would have allowed any employer to refuse coverage for any medical procedure.
So, if you worked for a Jehovah's Witness, it would have been fine if you had been denied coverage for a blood transfusion.
Since when does religious liberty mean that our employers have the right to impose their views on employees? Or make employees pay extra for the right to follow our own consciences? Shame, senators, shame!
Violating women's rights
Sometimes I wonder what planet state Sen. Damon Thayer lives on. Trying to interfere with a woman's right to control her own body by requiring an ultrasound before having an abortion is just another smokescreen for his real agenda: to ban the right to an abortion. Is his Catholicism clouding his objectivity?
If you remove religion from the debate, there is no issue. Opposition to abortion is premised on two religious beliefs. The first is the belief that human beings have immortal souls. The second is that the soul enters the embryo at the moment of conception. Many religions do not share these beliefs, nor do many Americans. This is just one more example of the willingness of many people to impose their own religious beliefs on others. One of the most basic principles of our constitutional democracy is to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority.
These days, unwanted pregnancies should be a rare thing. However, as a last resort it is a woman's right to choose without governmental interference. The fact is that many of our legislators consistently deny access to contraception. As I often say: Don't believe in abortions, don't have one (this is a non-issue for men). Don't believe in topless dancing, don't go to a place that features it. Don't believe in drinking alcohol, don't do it.
How long will we allow our legislators to waste tax dollars trying to violate a woman's constitutional right to choose?
The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide contraceptive options at no cost for your grandmothers, mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, nieces and granddaughters who are employed by businesses operated by churches.
All houses of worship are exempted. There is clearly no abrogation of the First Amendment here and, if the Catholic Church does not want to run a business and adhere to the secular laws of our nation, they should get out of that business.
Sen. Mitch McConnell is, of course, trying once again to mislead and confuse a far too often gullible public. His stated goal is to make sure Barack Obama is a one-term president. Fairness and honesty in that pursuit does not enter McConnell's thoughts.
State Sen. Damon Thayer, aka Mini Mitch, has introduced legislation requiring women and their physicians to meet face to face prior to an abortion. He says this is to protect life and help the woman through this difficult time. In truth, Thayer's primary interest is to keep this hot-button wedge issue foremost in the minds of voters. This is a tried-and-true GOP strategy.
The idea of telling the women of our state and nation what they may or may not do regarding their sexual choices is nothing short of Sharia law. We don't need to worry about the Taliban taking over America and clothing women in burqas. McConnell, Thayer and their fellow troglodytes will gladly do that for us.
Rush Limbaugh's statement that Sandra Fluke is a "slut" and a "prostitute" in response to her testimony before Congress about health care needing to cover the cost of birth control does not qualify him to be an idiot.
It's a stretch, but I suppose one could make an association of sluts and prostitutes with birth control.
It was his apology that unequivocally seats him as "village idiot" by suggesting his comments were an attempt at humor. Even if he believes that all college women are sluts and prostitutes, I fail to see where that would be funny.
Paying for other's choice
The harm from Rush Limbaugh's outrageous comments regarding Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke was not only that they were rude and crude, but that it was a distraction from the real issues. Fluke's testimony was erroneous and also illustrated how ridiculous the Obama health care reform is.
Let's take the simple part first. Fluke claimed that a friend had to give up taking birth control pills because she was in law school and over the three years she spent in law school the pills could cost her $3,000. I checked with a national retailer's pharmacy department and they stated they sell two different brands of birth control pills with a cost of $9 per month. (Is there a Georgetown student who doesn't have 2 lattes per month?) That is $300 over three years, not $3,000 as Fluke claimed.
Why is a health insurance plan required to cover birth control? Sex and birth control are a lifestyle choice, not a health care issue. In fact, one could argue that birth control pills enable promiscuity, which in turn can spread diseases.
If Fluke and her friends want to participate in sex, that is their choice. But why should an insurance company be forced to pay for her pleasure? Remember, the insurance companies don't pay this, it is added into the premiums and all of us as employees or consumers or taxpayers or premium payers are the ones who pay.