Letters to the Editor

The big mooch: Blue states carry the load

The big mooch: Blue states carry the load

A recent letter writer wants to reward red states for voting Republican by imposing a top tax rate of 28 percent and punish blue states that vote Democratic with a 70 percent top tax rate.

Blue states would surely accept this with one caveat: all blue state revenues, minus an amount per citizen to cover national security and general government expenses, will stay within blue borders. The blue states are weary of propping up the welfare states of America.

Which ones? North Dakota, which gets back $2.03 for each $1 it sends in as federal taxes. Or New Mexico, Mississippi, Alaska (hear that Governor Palin?), West Virginia, Montana, Alabama, South Dakota, Arkansas and Virginia — all of which say "gimme, gimme" to the tune of $1.47 to $1.89 back for every $1 collected.

Who do these states look to for continuous handouts? Poor New Jersey, for one, which gets a paltry 62 cents back on its $1 investment. Others earning the Daddy Warbucks Award: Connecticut, New Hampshire, Illinois, Minnesota, Massachusetts, California and New York, which receive 64 cents to 81cents back for each $1 taxed.

The only two red states sending back more than they receive are Colorado and Nevada, largely based on very Democratic and sinful Las Vegas. Both states went blue this time,

By keeping more of their own tax money, blue states would be flush. Taxpayers would probably get frequent refunds. Revenues could be expanded by charging red-state citizens huge fees to visit blue states' parks, attend their good schools and drive on their safe roads.

Teri Kelly


EKPC rate increase

The October edition of Kentucky Living cooperative magazine informed members that electric producer East Kentucky Power Cooperative intended to request a rate increase that, if approved, would increase bills by 6 to 7 percent for the 16 distributing cooperatives, including Clark Energy, the distributor for Powell and portions of other surrounding counties.

The article said that "cooperatives were working hard to keep rates as low as possible." Clark Energy has provided a similar message many times.

It takes money to operate an energy company, but I recall reports of non-essential spending by Clark that would require no small change to cover.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission allows two fuel adjustments for East Kentucky Power Cooperative. One is about 1.38 cents per kilowatt hour rolled into rates while the other is a percentage. The PSC also allows an environmental charge.

Was all of the cooperative's $74.5 million loss in 2004 and 2005 unavoidable?

Odra Ledford


Bush attack

Nearly 98 percent of American women control their fertility through contraception at some point. Even so, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is proposing new restrictions on access to birth control.

This attack on family planning in the waning days of the Bush administration opens the door for medical providers to redefine the most commonly used forms of contraception as causing abortion.

The regulations could exempt a health care provider from providing a patient with accurate and complete information about her condition or treatment options.

For the first time, religious refusals could trump patients' health care needs, absolving providers of their legal and professional responsibility.

Legal and ethical principles of informed consent require physicians to inform patients about all treatment options, including those which the physician does not provide or to which he objects.

The proposed rule affects 600,000 publicly funded entities, such as pharmacies, hospitals, physician offices and clinics that serve low-income women. Those facilities risk losing direct and indirect federal funding if their hiring practices don't align with the proposed requirements.

For example, a gynecologist's office would be forced to hire or retain a technically qualified employee, even one who, because of personal beliefs, refuses to offer patients the most basic information and services. It would be like requiring a steak house to employ a vegetarian who refuses to serve dishes containing meat.

Women suffering from economic hardship would lose access to health care.

Dave Bowman

Board member

Planned Parenthood of Kentucky


Light in Martin Co.

I read the Herald-Leader's article about the building going up in Inez at a cost of $6 million in coal severance taxes and the editorial indicating other Martin County frailties.

We certainly should evaluate spending, but it serves no purpose to belittle the county, as the Herald-Leader did, or to bring in the political picture, which had nothing to do with the idea of a building.

What we need is to light a light in this dark place and not curse the darkness.

I would like you to see the work that many of us are doing — private citizens working through churches and philanthropic organizations to make this a better place.

I have been in Martin County 20 years as a priest. My first visit was in 1946 as a seminarian. I fell in love with Appalachia and wanted to be part of the answer, not part of the criticism.

A newspaper as important as the Herald-Leader should take leadership in bringing about unity. In our modern world, with all the crises facing our nation, we need unity. We need to work together, not find fault with everybody.

I hope and pray that this letter may be a sign that the good people of our area are not going to give up, that we are going to work harder than ever to bring about a better tomorrow for Appalachia and Martin County in particular.

There are a lot of people out there who want to get excited about doing good.

Monsignor Ralph W. Beiting


Silent screens

America is supposed to be a place with equal opportunity, but is that always the case? There are 11 movie theaters in Lexington, but Regal Hamburg Pavilion 16 is the only one that has closed-captioning. And still there are not many choices at Regal.

On weekdays, only one movie has closed-captioning, and it is shown at the same time each day. Of course, the show times are always during the day, when most people are in school or working.

On weekends, Regal shows one movie with closed-captioning with two show times.

More than half the time, when I go to see a movie that is supposed to have closed-captioning, the machine is not working even though I call each time to check on it.

Kentucky has 649,000 people with some degree of hearing impairment. I do not find it fair that hearing people can to go see a movie whenever they want, but that deaf people have to drive miles to a theater that shows only one movie a week with closed-captioning, which may not be working.

It would be fair for theaters with more than five screens to offer the choice of closed-captioning.

Amy Smith