Perfect lawns are also killing pollinators
In a recent commentary my friend Tammy Horn, a Kentucky beekeeper, rightfully bemoans the absence of pesticides regulations (likely due to chemical industry lobbying) in the five-year national farm bill.
It's a gaping inconsistency for Congress to include conservation of habitat programs to preserve pollinators while doing nothing to further restrict use of pesticides which can kill them.
We Americans notoriously take for granted our bounty, such as fresh water and the need for numerous pollinators in producing food crops. Chief among these is the magnificent little honeybee, which in recent decades has suffered alarming declines in vital populations.
The primary culprit is excessive use of pesticides and herbicides, which are more subtle in attacking the bee's resistance to intrusions into its nervous system.
Farming operations, especially the large corporations, are the major source, but also unsuspecting urban homeowners — seeking the monoculture "perfect lawn" in lieu of the more natural bio-diversity yards — inadvertently worsen the problem.
The pesticides and herbicides then contaminate fragile fresh water sources, especially groundwater, spreading for miles via the aquifers in Kentucky's karst geology.
Getting Congress to properly amend the farm bill seems a tough sell. So reasonable solutions to protecting our pollinators, especially the hardworking honeybee, fall to small-scale local foods producers, with emphasis on organic practices, and on all of us to become more conscientious and educated on the plight of pollinators.
A good start on learning more is Horn's fine book, Bees in America: How the Honeybee Shaped a Nation.
Don J. Dampier
Smoke by any name
Reading the paper and watching the news brings the lines from an old song to mind: "Smoke gets in your eyes." Or "Puff, puff, puff that cigarette."
People in Kentucky had a battle on their hands to get rid of a crop that brought money into this state plus work for farmers and their workers. But they won the fight against cigarettes to protect all mankind from this evil smoke.
Now the fight is to legalize marijuana. Oh, yes, there are some out there who need it for sickness. Will just those who need it get it? Or will every Tom, Dick and Harry run to the doctor saying, "I need this wonder weed, so, please let me have a prescription?" Hold on for one minute. Isn't this also smoke? How is it going to help replacing one vice with another?
I don't want to breathe that smoke or put up with the smell. Plus, do we honestly know what effect it will have on the body and those around us? All you are doing is replacing one evil with another. Can someone please tell me the logic in this?
Elsie L. Hendrickson
Phone bill bad for Ky.
If Kentucky Senate Bill 99 passes, it means many poor and older Kentuckians will be switched from land-line to Internet telephones.
Recently, the Internet service at my workplace went down Monday, all that night and part of Tuesday. We pay handsomely to AT&T for that service. When we asked what was wrong, we were told they did not know.
It is one thing if you own a business and can't get to your customers. It is something else if you are a senior citizen reporting a fire or a break-in or a health emergency and the only way you can communicate is over the Internet.
AT&T and Verizon are guaranteed a profit on their landlines. Of course they would make more, if they can move customers on to spotty Internet service. But it is not good for Kentucky and does not make us safer.
I read with dismay that the state Senate's Health and Welfare Committee approved creating panels of medical experts to review proposed legal claims against health care providers.
First, let me say that I like my doctor very much. She is a caring, compassionate, highly competent physician. Additionally, as a practicing attorney for nearly 30 years, I have never filed a lawsuit against a doctor or health-care provider.
However, I believe it is extremely arrogant for some physicians to think that they are so important that they deserve to have special protection not afforded to other professions.
Physicians are among our most highly compensated professionals. Patients wait weeks to see a specialist and are too often gouged and overcharged for fairly routine services.
To believe that this profession — more than airline pilots, carpenters, mechanics, engineers, plumbers or other service providers — deserves special consideration and special protection, is the most arrogant thing that I have heard in a long time.
Who hasn't heard a horror story about someone who experienced poor treatment from a health-care provider?
Most doctors and hospitals do a very good job of caring for patients, and the relatively small number of malpractice suits, not to mention the even fewer frivolous suits, are probably exaggerated.
Carving out a special exception for doctors is not necessary and would provide an extra layer of bureaucratic protection for a profession that simply doesn't need it. The medical community has considerable political influence.
Let's hope the legislature gets a second opinion.
Campaign funds polluted
I always enjoy reading Tom Eblen's columns, but his recent one on "Political polluters" was particularly poignant. It deserved to be on the front page of the Herald-Leader and every other U.S. newspaper.
Campaign funding by polluters is nothing short of bribery. While many politicians fill their campaign troughs while ignoring or attempting to repeal laws previously passed, the result of lax regulation at the federal and state levels will severely harm our country environmentally for generations to come.
Abortion and race
Sen. Reginald Thomas expressed opposition to Senate Bill 8 which would require doctors to perform an ultrasound before abortion was performed.
Supporters of such bills have been accused of racism because they are said to "deny a woman's constitutional right to have control over her own health care decisions," as Thomas said.
People have accused abortion opponents of racism. In doing so, they fail to understand that if we opponents were racists, we would be saying to black women, "Abort all of your babies."
Instead we are saying, "Don't abort any of them. Let those little black babies live." And for that, we are called racists. Shame.