Letters to the Editor

Letters to editor: July 15

Cigarette trash a result of hostilities toward smokers

We would not need a cigarettebutt fairy had it not been for the non-smokers, tobacco-free employers and health nuts who took away all the ashtrays and created hostile entertainment and work environments for smokers.

I have smoked for 32 years, so I have lived through the changes that have caused smokers to feel harassed and discriminated against.

When you treat someone with no respect, you shouldn't complain when they lash out; you have created the situation.

I stand outside with doctors, nurses, researchers and other faculty and staff now that I can no longer go to the privacy of my car, parked on an open lot by the way, to have a smoke on my break.

I also keep a water bottle in my car so that I can place my butts there; I don't toss them out the window. Others continue to lash out by tossing butts onto sidewalks or streets.

I've asked why they do this, letting them know that it's part of the reason why people now harass us at work. Their reply: "When they put an ashtray out I'll stop tossing my butts on the ground."

My employer says they are concerned about providing a "healthy" work environment while many of us only wish for a happy work environment, which is not when it's filled with discrimination and harassment.

If health was a true concern, we wouldn't have a Starbucks, snack machines filled with junk or a building filled with roaches.

John Smith


Can't legislate morality

We have seen smokers' rights more and more restricted. The University of Kentucky tried to usurp authority over non-students on public streets passing through campus. It was recently proposed that smoking be banned where children are passengers in a vehicle. It was also proposed that welfare recipients lose benefits if they fail mandatory drug screens.

We have seen what jail and prison sentences have done, particularly for those with minor drug violations. These institutions are bursting at the seams and, consequently, the tax base is greatly diminished and services to citizens suffer.

Welfare recipients are clearly one of the easiest groups to attack, but if such a proposal were to pass, what then? Or more accurately, who is next? Employees of companies contracting with the state? State workers? State retirees? What about those receiving state or federal financial aid for education beyond high school? Active or reserve military or National Guard? Retired military? Those drawing Social Security, disability or retirement?

"Sorry, Maude, your drug screen came back with excessive levels of Maalox and Metamucil. The feds are pulling our check." Laughable? Maybe. Possible? You bet.

Ultimately, all attempts to legislate, adjudicate or by executive decree to punish personal moral choices will fail. Addiction to either a legal substance or a banned one does not make one a moral failure.

If rights-diminishing and threatening legislation can pass under the guise of fiscal responsibility, then no one is safe. "We the people" are lost in the wilderness because our "freedom compass" is broken.

Robert M. Atkinson


Tax breaks mean jobs?

Since 2002 we have repeatedly been told the tax breaks for the rich and/or famous result in jobs. In this age of openness and transparency why hasn't anyone asked for the number of jobs created? You would think the Democrats would be all over this one.

But wait, the Republican and Democratic politicians are among the rich and famous.

Why hasn't anyone made an issue of the numbers of jobs created? Even a high school debater would ask that question.

Tim Ashmore


No one said Earth 'flat'

One hundred years ago, the Webster and Century dictionaries defined the common meaning of "circle" to be orb or sphere.

A few centuries earlier in England, scholars translating the Hebrew Book of Isaiah chose "circle" for the King James Version Bible. Thirteen centuries prior to the KJV, the theologian Jerome translating Isaiah into the Latin Vulgate wrote "gyrum."

Aristotle, in accordance with Thales, determined the Earth a sphere by dint of its curved shadow on the moon during an eclipse. After observations of the stars, Aristotle described the Earth as "a circle of no great size."

Two centuries earlier, in the days of Thales, an exiled Hebrew prophet was writing in Babylon, a nation known for keen study and understanding of the circular movement of the near universe. The book of Isaiah is credited to three persons, the second of whom wrote from Babylon the section containing the Hebrew word translated as "circle" and "gyrum."

This second Isaiah wrote from within a culture having a 360-degree circle enabling calculation of lunar and solar eclipses, and the observational skill necessary to identify the astronomical Zodiac.

An observant Babylonian noting the sun or moon maintained the appearance of a circle while crossing the sky would imagine a sphere much like a pomegranate passed before the eye.

The Hebrew word thus translated "circle" can call to mind orb or orbit. Only a clever modern-day dilettante will insist on a geometrical flat-disk interpretation, since to him our ancestors were either idiot savants with selective genius or ape-like.

Gary Ward


Government heartless

This is not a letter of complaint as much as it is a letter of sounding an alarm to all citizens. I never thought I would live to see this day, but I have. You need to realize that tomorrow you could be without a job and could find yourself without health insurance. Tomorrow you could find yourself diagnosed with a health issue that needs medical attention and no way to pay for it.

If you do have health insurance, drop to your knees and thank God.

My recent endeavors of seeking health insurance have been a nightmare. The insurance companies do not offer reasonable policies. With the very high deductibles, the insurance company isn't paying for your medical expenses, you are. I have been turned down by all of them. Talk about hopeless.

Any politician, who looks me in the eye and says to me they do not want socialized health care reform is someone who does not care about helping people. The only way things will ever change will be when those who have it lose it. Maybe then there will be an awakening.

We have got to stop rewarding the deadbeats and start helping the ones who actually work and try.

Why does Kentucky want to be known as a state with no heart? How many people have to die needlessly?

Patty Hadley

Russell Springs

Toxins bursting in air

As I traveled around Lexington recently, I noticed a profusion of fireworks stands. I wonder where all that paper debris with chemical residue ends up. So much for common sense when it comes to the Clean Water Act.

Whoever issued all those permits should have to pick up all the waste.

Mike McCurry