Pass medical marijuana bill, offer pain relief
Recently, I was in the home of a 63-year-old man who is in severe pain 24 hours a day. He can only sleep two hours a night because of excruciating back pain.
He has seen the pain specialist and is currently receiving heavy opiate narcotics. I spoke with him and his wife about additional narcotics, a stronger pain patch and even hypnosis to reduce the pain.
I have interviewed more than 30 persons in significant pain who have had tremendous pain relief from a medication that is not addicting, has no significant side effects and is not a gateway drug in the 24 states that have recognized the value of medical marijuana.
Their pain relief has ranged from significant to complete. This has allowed them to live their lives in a normal way — to interact with others, attend church, share laughs and love others and their spouses in the way God wants all of us to do.
The relief has changed their lives forever.
House Bill 3, introduced by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, would allow physicians to prescribe medical marijuana for 21 conditions. It could be consumed as a liquid, pill or vapor. It could not be smoked. And it works.
Dave Edmiston, M.D.
At 6, he feared father more than paddle
I recently saw the video on TV of the teacher dragging the six-year-old student to the principal's office. In the Jan. 23 paper, I saw that the father of the child asked the police to review the surveillance video, and now the county prosecutor has forwarded a criminal complaint against the teacher with the fourth-degree assault charge. A brief piece I saw on TV stated that the teacher could get a year in prison.
When I was six, my teacher had occasion to take me to the principal for discipline. He swatted me on my backside twice with a wooden paddle. At that age, I was already smart enough to not tell my mom or dad about it. If I had told my dad, his first question would have been "Why were you being taken to the principal?" His second question would have been, "Why were you not walking?"
My situation would have deteriorated very quickly at that point.
Need political will to protect environment
Tom Eblen describes Robert Kennedy's speech at Transylvania University as "a breath of fresh air." Although I didn't hear the speech, I agree that Kennedy's assertion that a clean environment and a strong economy are not mutually exclusive is invigorating. The environmental lawyer's blueprint for creating a symbiotic relationship between the economy and the environment involves combining true democracy and free-market capitalism.
But how about the political will necessary to achieve this utopia? Defenders of Wildlife President Jamie Rappaport Clark predicts new congressional "leaders will pursue a radical and sweeping assault on America's wildlife and public lands."
She believes Sen, Jim Inhofe, chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, will continue to decry climate change and will work to overturn efforts to address that issue.
Clark fears that Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will attempt to desecrate the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by permitting oil and gas drilling, and that Rep. Rob Bishop, Natural Resources Committee chair, will "post a 'for sale' sign on our public lands."
Clark paints a bleak picture of Congress' deplorable stewardship of our country's air, water, land and wildlife, and she warns that our voices must be heard.
Spare the constitution, give Smith max on DUI
Sen. Brandon Smith seemed to initially think he was above the law. Section 43 of the Kentucky Constitution exempts legislators from arrest and that was his argument in court.
So here is my suggestion: Expunge the arrest from the record. Just change it to a citation for DUI. Then slap him for the maximum punishment. Give him the $500 fine, require him to attend a substance-abuse program for 90 days, require community service and revoke his license for 120 days.
All these are allowed under state law. Since he is a representative of the people, he should be held to a higher standard and justly deserves the maximum penalty.
Driving drunk like duel with deadly weapon
With regard to the lawmaker not being able to be charged with DUI: Kentucky's 1800s constitution, which includes legislative immunity, also requires lawmakers not to duel with deadly weapons.
Well, driving while drunk is participating in a duel with a potential weapon (his vehicle), and he was in a duel with everyone else on the road, they didn't even know it.
Charge him, convict him, sentence him, lock him up, then lose the key and show him he is not above the law. Next time, he could kill someone.
How to spell hypocrite? B-O-E-H-N-E-R
House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on March 3.
This is a political move by both individuals. Boehner wants to undercut President Barack Obama's efforts to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu wants that too but also hopes to boost his sagging chances in the March 17 Israeli elections since his party is trailing the Labor-Hatnuah coalition.
Polls in Israel are strongly against Netanyahu's meddling in American politics. Moreover, when Fox News hosts criticize his tactic, it's a sure sign he's gone too far.
Obama should visit Israel when Netanyahu is in Washington and meet with members of the Labor-Hatnuah coalition. Congressional Democrats should announce they will boycott Netanyahu's address.
In Israel, the president should strongly reaffirm his support for Israel but express dismay that the prime minister's conduct and rhetoric make continued American support difficult. He should express hope that future changes will restore trust and cooperation.
Do all the Republican Obama-haters remember the Republican outrage directed at the Dixie Chicks when they criticized President George W. Bush during a London performance? And they were just entertainers, not the speaker of the House. Can you say hypocrite?
James F. Wisniewski
Netanyahu better leader than Obama
White House supporters said that Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu spat in President Barack Obama's face by coming to address Congress without our "king's" approval.
Obama's face is not worth spitting in. He's the sorriest excuse for a president we have ever had, and that includes Jimmy Carter.
It will be a miracle if the U.S. can survive the rest of Obama's term along with his three stooges — Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. I wish we had a leader like Netanyahu. Then we might have some respect in the world now.
How stupid can you be when you say our worst problem is climate change instead of Islamic terrorism, our economy, our deficit and how weak Obama has made us?
I'll be glad to see him gone in 2016, but we'll probably be stupid enough to elect someone like Hillary Clinton. Heaven help us if we do.
Give tax break for success in life, work
President Barack Obama wants to raise more revenue from the top one percent. Sen. Marco Rubio leads the GOP chorus with the worn-out charge: "It's not right to punish the wealthy for being successful."
By God, somebody has to cry out, "Since when is success only the province of those who have wealth?"
The Republicans can no doubt answer that they don't disparage the poor or the middle class. I'm sorry, but words do matter.
We've heard trickle-down economics and this "wealth synonymous with success" line so often that we know they really do believe wealth and power place those who possess them in a privileged class.
For me, it is the under-appreciated teacher guiding students to better themselves who is successful. It's police and firefighters putting their lives on the line to protect us who are successful. It's the comforting nurse who's a success.
It's the garbage man, the factory worker, the clerk — all those who work long days and years with dedication who are successful.
They deserve a little tax break, not those whose lifestyles would hardly suffer at a few percent tax hike.
Yes, I'm mad; you should be mad, too.
Shrink Cats coverage not opinion pages
Your drastically condensed Opinions section is very disappointing. Yet the paper is able to include four pages for Big Blue basketball.
I was really thrilled by a Jan. 20 headline about a University of Kentucky's men's basketball player working on his work ethic.
Is that really the news people need to know?
James B. Wilmot
Another view of wealth creators
The excellent cartoonist Joel Pett illustrated the inequity of wealth caused by inheritance. First, the money had to be created by someone to pass it on. Families that obtain a great deal of wealth do so by taking risks, such as the Rockefellers, David Jones of Humana or John Y. Brown of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Innovation is what America stands for, and the ability to create this wealth by the freedom our society provides. The current estate tax laws allow each person to leave over $5 million without a tax, and if married, $10 million-plus. Over that amount, the current estate tax is roughly 40 percent, plus Kentucky's inheritance tax.
Two other important items to consider are that, for the most part, those who have created wealth are working 60-plus hours a week, including weekends and holidays. They have taken it upon themselves to create this wealth. And they have left a legacy of generosity such as W. T. Young Library, the many named buildings at Transylvania and the University of Kentucky, Kaufmann Hospice Center and many other projects, such as Triangle Park, without having their names highlighted.
Ben C. Kaufmann