Finding economic, energy solutions for E. Ky. urgent
Coal is one of Kentucky's greatest natural resources, and losing more than 1,000 coal jobs in Eastern Kentucky is devastating. We must determine how we can bring renewable energy sources to the commonwealth and keep the revenues generated from these resources in our region.
We must become the makers of our own destiny and stop relying on government and industry to determine our future.
There has never been a time where our community needed us so desperately. This immediate economic loss presents the opportunity for energy companies, city and state government and educational leadership to join together. We have the ability to make a difference in this region but it also requires a personal commitment.
Initiatives to institute industrialized hemp within the commonwealth exist. We have the chance to bring Eastern and Western Kentucky together in an alliance with such a managed market to create jobs and benefit the state's economy.
There is a need for education in Eastern Kentucky, to bring hope to this region. There is a need for financial aid and relief from utility companies. What will it take to overcome stigmas associated with certain crop production and see the big picture?
Let down by doctors
In June 2009, I had surgery for rectal cancer. The doctor's initial diagnosis, however, was that I was a drug addict. My mother had the same symptoms, but my emulating her changes in diet, among other things, did nothing. All the doctors ignored obvious symptoms. Why?
And now, three years later, I may be getting a colostomy. Because doctors have not tried something simple like breaking up obvious scar tissue in the area where I have been having problems. What compounds this problem is I have found out that doctors do not read X-rays. A radiologist does. And they considered some things in my X-rays not important.
I find it difficult to believe that surgeons and doctors can only do routine work and if something requires a little time to find out a patient's actual history, they avoid it.
I would think they would try the least invasive procedure to resolve a patient's medical dilemma. Maybe this is where the insurance companies should get involved since they are paying for most of the medical expenses I have been incurring.
Stop judging others
Regarding the whole "Jesus not ever mentioning homosexuality" issue, no one ever said that Jesus approved of homosexuality.
The point is that since he did not mention it, it obviously wasn't important to him.
What he did talk about, repeatedly, was people judging the sins of others, but those self-righteous letter writers totally ignore him on that.
For those who insist on using obscure quotes from the Old Testament to justify discrimination against gay folks, if homosexuality is such a bad thing, why wasn't it one of the Ten Commandments?
According to the Old Testament, homosexuality is no more of a sin than getting a tattoo, trimming one's beard, eating pork or shellfish, gossiping and a host of other offenses that the same folks who judge gays commit on a daily basis.
No one suggests that they should be denied equal treatment under the law.
No one even suggests that commandment-breakers should be denied equal treatment. But for some reason, folks like to use the Bible to justify discrimination against gays.
This is a commandment: "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Until those letter writers (and that church in Georgetown with the billboard) start obeying that one on a regular basis, they should just shut up and quit using Jesus to justify their hateful words and deeds.
Hasten the pollution
According to the Earth Policy Institute, Kentucky is falling behind China in pollution-creation technology. China, from all appearances, has achieved an enviable national cancer mortality rate of 25 percent.
According to the New York Times, most of the cancers are caused by pollution. Tobacco, says the Times, accounts for 1 million of those deaths.
Since China's largest source of pollution is coal, and since we are a tobacco-growing state, perhaps Gov. Steve Beshear should appoint a Blue Ribbon Committee of Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Rep. Jim Gooch and the coal executives of his choice to go to China and learn from the masters.
Who would even need the Affordable Care Act if we follow Chinese best practices?
If the committee does its homework, the lower and middle classes of Kentucky will conveniently drop dead from cancer, heart or pulmonary disease by the time they are 50, thus creating an efficient turnover of the working population.
Society won't have to even consider providing anything like a retirement. There is no downside.
War on the safety net
The war has started. The GOP and the Tea Party are out to destroy our social safety net as we know it.
Former Sen. Dick Lugar was defeated by Richard Mourdock in Indiana, and the first thing Mourdock promised was to not compromise on any bills from the Democrats. This will lead to more gridlock in Congress, just what we need.
I read a quote from Bill Luckett, a Mississippi attorney and businessman who ran for governor, that I find true: "When you get a white man walking out of his rusty trailer getting in his pickup and he has a 'Vote Republican' placard in his yard, then you've reached the height of stupidity."
In a state as poor as ours I just don't understand how any GOP candidate can win an election. Oh, see above quote.
Bishops too dogmatic
The conservative Catholic bishops' claim that their First Amendment rights are violated by a mandate to provide contraception coverage for their secular employees is a triumph of dogmatism over humanism.
The First Amendment, they argue, protects them even as administrators of hospitals and universities because they are engaged in religious activity, witnessing their faith through a corporal work of mercy.
Their argument would be stronger if the medical care or education provided was vitally linked to Catholic doctrine and their patients and students were seeking a religious experience as well as medical care and an education.
But most employees of these institutions are secular and often not even Catholic, and the services they provide are little different from those at other institutions. They are religious in name but secular in nature. Nor are corporal works of mercy specifically religious, apart from motive; even atheists can perform them.
Providing contraceptive coverage does not imply the bishops accept the morality of contraception, even if it makes an awkward thoughnon-lethal fit between dogma and civic responsibility. That's just the product of using secular means for religious ends. Compromise is inevitable.
European bishops took a flexible, less dogmatic approach in a similar situation when they cooperated with civil authorities in distributing condoms to young people to reduce the incidence of unwanted pregnancies, AIDS and other STDs.
They accepted a lesser, theologically frowned-upon evil — distributing condoms — to secure the greater good of protecting the health of young people, a triumph of humanism over dogmatism.