Why is it OK to deny people the choice to smoke?
For those of you who advocate a ban on smoking (House Bill 289) everywhere indoors except personal homes, you are attempting to use the majestic power of government to achieve what you as an individual, or even a group, could not achieve without force.
Imagine you and a group of friends who oppose smoking decide to go to Sadie's Saloon and stop the smoking. You strap on your guns, saddle up and head out for Sadie's.
You enter and confront Sadie and demand that she not allow people to smoke in Sadie's Saloon. Is that a society that is civil or tolerant? And do you want to live in it?
Remember, you probably have several things that other people object to — obesity, gambling, alcohol use, curly hair, loud talking, slow driving, late sleeping, TV or many other "vices" as defined by others, not you.
But just imagine an individual could command you to change. And they could use force to compel your action. We would call that person a despot, king, ruler, parent and many other words from history. But today we say "government."
Is that the society we want? Or a civil and tolerant society where people accept differences and live their own lives with minimal interference in others' lives?
Cuts cost, don't save
Gov. Steve Beshear's budget proposes cuts in programs for the physically disabled. These folks need help to stay in their own homes and avoid going into much more costly institutional care.
The programs save taxpayers lots of money, so if you're trying to cut government spending, spend more on these programs. All the alternatives are far more costly.
I'm talking about services provided by the Department of Aging and Independent Living. The governor's budget lowers funding for meals and home-care programs, and eliminates the personal care attendant program.
A PCAP recipient must be severely and permanently disabled. They receive money to hire an attendant who helps them with things they can't do themselves at home. This person is typically a friend, family or church member or neighbor, who helps with cooking, cleaning, laundry, bathing, driving to the doctor or to get groceries.
The attendant gets minimum wage, usually part-time. The recipient gets to live where they like, eat what they like, do what they want when they want to, and get by.
If we're lucky, we all eventually get too old or disabled to make it on our own. Then what? Do y'all want a little help to live in your own home, or a whole lot of help to live in a nursing home?
Surely, this must be some kind of oversight. These programs help cut taxes.
Contradiction at UK
I recently observed a man standing in front of the University of Kentucky health service building smoking a cigarette a few feet away from a "no smoking" sign.
What made the situation worse was that after he finished smoking he threw the cigarette butt on the sidewalk.
It looked like the man was a UK employee as evidenced by a name tag hanging on his shirt. This was a very ironic picture of a health institution whose task is to promote the health and well-being of every citizen.
What are we doing about the smoking ban on and off of the university campus?
Why does a "druggie" get more jail time than some murderers? One plausible explanation is money.
In Kentucky's judicial system, one convicted of drug offenses can have assets confiscated. The proceeds are shared between police and prosecutors. This is not the case with violent crimes.
Low-level drug offenders, many of whom are addicts, often hold no bargaining chips. Large-volume traffickers can turn informer and provide prosecutors with information leading to more arrests, headlines and asset forfeitures.
This lessens their penalties. Consequently, low-level and first offenders receive harsher sentences instead of much-needed treatment.
Incarcerating violent criminals is costly — requiring better facilities and more manpower. This inequity will persist until the almighty dollar is removed from the equation. Lawbreakers should receive punishment, but it should fit the crime.
Incivility on both sides
I find the March 7 commentary, "Incivility in public discourse troubling" to be misleading and one-sided at best.
What Rush Limbaugh said was in poor taste and he apologized. Calling a woman a "slut," as bad as it is, does not even come close to what Bill Maher has called Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann. Here's a guy, a favorite of the Democratic Party and donor of $1 million to President Barack Obama's super PAC, who has used filthy, vulgar language, and yet there is no outrage. Why? Because it was said by a liberal Democrat.
A conservative Republican would be excoriated by the media. Unfortunately, there is a bias against conservatives in the media today.
Credibility at stake
I agree with state Reps. Joni Jenkins, Mary Lou Marzian, Darryl Owens and Jim Wayne: Incivility and character assassination should have no place in our national discourse.
I wonder, however, where was the outrage expressed by these representatives when TV talk show hist Bill Maher called Condoleeza Rice, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman names that were much more vulgar than "slut" and "prostitute?"
Where was their disgust when MSNBC host Ed Schultz called pundit Laura Ingraham a slut, and when Barbara Walters laughed about it on The View?
Why do Jenkins, Marzian, Owens and Wayne feel compelled to speak out now? Why didn't they object then? Isn't it time that conservatives and liberals (and everyone in between) should be held to the same standard?
Ladies and gentlemen, your credibility is at stake. So is the paper's.
Mary Anna Rogers
Reacting without facts
I am responding to misinformation in a March 11 letter.
First, hormonal replacement therapy tablets are prescribed to women for birth control and also to other women who are not using them for birth control.
Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke was to testify to that effect. Her friend, and fellow law student, was having a hormonal imbalance that was painful and affecting her daily life.
To rectify the problem, her doctor prescribed hormonal replacement therapy.
However, her insurance company declined to pay for the prescription because it was also prescribed for birth control. The outcome? Her friend lost an ovary.
Fluke had been invited to testify before a legislative committee. However, when she arrived, the committee had already assembled a panel of six men to make the case against hormonal therapy coverage and she was told, by the committee chairman, that she did not qualify to testify and would not be heard.
She was then asked by a subcommittee to give her testimony. It was at that point that she told the sad story of her friend.
It is sad that people do not educate themselves or take the time to understand the premise.
Diana S. Lane