City insurance crisis shows need for health reform
Last week's crisis at city hall over employees' insurance rates going up should be a wake-up call for even hard-working conservative Republican families that their party's solution to health insurance woes isn't workable.
As high as monthly insurance rates are going, a tax credit — which you wouldn't receive the benefit of for 15 months —wouldn't help pay the monthly bill for the first year.
Tax credits are also never anywhere near the amount of what you pay out. So you are left with a decision of what to pay for each month. It is coming to the point that the rates are so high that you chose between housing, food, clothing or health insurance.
Surely, even the "Joe the Plumbers" have to realize that, if they want to be able to provide health care for their children, a Mitt Romney-like solution or something akin to "Obamacare" is going to have to happen.
Why? Because just like hard-working Independents and Democrats, they are in need of coverage for their families, too. Or are they willing to be the ones who will be doing the dying as some at a Republican debate were so easily chanting,
Reality is what it is, and you have to accept it — whether you like it or not.
Prohibition meant well
Thanks to writer Jim Warren and the Herald-Leader for the fascinating look at the Prohibition era in Lexington.
I was pleased that the story included the lead-up to actual Prohibition; the temperance leagues worked for years in their appeals for drinking in moderation. The 18th Amendment, though short-lived, was a long time in coming.
And Prohibition supporters weren't all teetotalers: many were just desperate to curtail the consumption of booze. For a little while, it probably worked.
A sad fact: Alcohol abuse has wrecked more relationships, families and lives than anything else in history. It's a statistical reality.
Karen Armstrong Ristau
Fund cancer screenings
Despite advances in early detection, breast cancer remains the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women. When discovered early, the survival rate is 98 percent; but when diagnosed later, only 27 percent.
Only 26 percent of uninsured or under-insured women over the age of 40 had a mammogram in the past year, compared with 56 percent of the adequately insured.
This month, the 10 millionth screening will be performed under the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which serves low-income women. Kentuckians are served through the Women's Cancer Screening Program, which operates in local health departments.
Despite the program's success, it serves less than one in five eligible women. Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are working on a budget for 2012, and setting priorities for the next decade.
For all our wives and mothers, sisters and daughters, aunts and grandmothers, please take action right away and ask Congress to protect these cancer programs.
A. Scott Lockard
President, Kentucky Public Health Association
Public Health Director, Clark County Health Department
Rupp rises to occasion
On the way home from a concert at Rupp Arena, my party agreed it was the most enjoyable evening we had spent in many, many years.
The Lexington Singers and its Children's Choir, the University of Kentucky Choirs and the UK Symphony Orchestra performed with The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra.
More than once, the Boston conductor mentioned that one reason they wanted to come to Lexington was their respect for UK conductor John Nardolillo and the excellent UK Music Department.
During the second piece, it occurred to me that less than 24 hours earlier, 24,000 blue-clad basketball fans had cheered the UK team at Big Blue Madness.
What a feat for the Rupp management and staff to turn that place around in such a short period of time. From a basketball venue to the concert setting with all of the lighting, large screen TVs, "cannons" for the 1812 Overture, etc. (Huge applause).
The Boston Pops playing less than 24 hours after the introduction of the No. 1 recruiting class in college basketball — I'm told the third in a row for UK. All in good old Rupp Arena.
What more could a town want?
Jon N. Zachem
Being rich not a sin
In her recent diatribe against the rich, author Barbara Ehrenreich chose to take an unwarranted swing at evangelical Christians and megachurches. She says the rich claim they are demonized because of their money and later that money is the root of their problems.
There have been, and perhaps now are, some speakers who espouse a prosperity gospel. But they do not represent orthodox Christian teaching. This so-called "health and wealth" gospel is not found in scripture.
Although I am unfamiliar with every megachurch, I can attest that the most notable local ones — Saddleback, Willowcreek, Northpoint, Southeast and Southland Christian — teach no such thing.
While it may be true that secular evangelists advocate for the rich being selfish, you have never heard it from evangelists Billy or Franklin Graham or Luis Palau, and I confidently say that you never will.
The Bible does not suggest money is the root of the problem. The love of money is. This is greed. In the book of Matthew, which she cites, one cannot serve both God and money. Indeed, Jesus says it is difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Thankfully not all rich people are greedy. Many acquire their wealth through honest means and as true Christ followers they take the command of Jesus seriously and are quite generous.
Great volunteer effort
I was fortunate enough to participate in the 2nd Annual Town Branch Creek Stream Clean-up organized by The Fayette Alliance and The Bourbon Review.
I was astounded that more than 30 volunteers devoted an entire Sunday afternoon to clean pollution and invasive species of brush from the Town Branch of Elkhorn Creek in downtown Lexington.
Town Branch is Lexington's founding waterway and was diverted, due to repeated flooding problems, into a subterranean channel under downtown Lexington. The creek re-emerges just past Rupp Arena as you head toward Manchester Street.
Once a little-known and neglected natural wonder of the Bluegrass, its profile has risen due to the hard work of several local organizations and businesses. From the great work at McConnell Springs to the ongoing endeavors of the Town Branch Trail and the Distillery District, the waterway has become a steady source of exciting news.
The Fayette Alliance and The Bourbon Review have very different missions — one advocates for a balanced approach to development and preservation while the other promotes the bourbon industry.
However, both agree that Town Branch is vital to the community's economy, quality of life, local agricultural industry and environment.
Having never participated in a stream clean-up, I wasn't sure what to expect, but the dedication and effort put forth by the volunteers was truly an inspiring experience.
Ads glorify violence
I am disturbed by the billboards advertising the haunted trails at Jacobson Park. They show a monster with what appears to be an ax in his right hand stalking a mother and her young daughter.
In my 30-plus years as a paramedic, I have seen the abuse of women and children firsthand. I am not opposed to a good scare. I just think that the organizers of this could have come up with a more appropriate method of advertisement.
I had an interesting experience this month at an event I attended with other MoveOn.org members at Sen. Mitch McConnell's Lexington office.
We were there to give our senator our "Jobs Not Cuts" message. Our leader had secured an appointment with a member of his staff.
When we arrived, there were two police cars, in the parking lot waiting for us outside the building.
As we approached, ("we" being eight senior citizens and two young women) the policemen stopped us and said that we were trespassing on private property and we had to leave.
Our leader told the policemen that we had an appointment with McConnell's staff. The police said that the office was closed and that the management wanted us off the property, immediately.
When McConnell says that he speaks for the majority of the people, I guess he means the majority of people that he deigns to listen to. He calls the police on the rest of us.
Diane Y. Spurlock
Mitch McConnell's net worth is between $7 million and $32 million as of June 2011, accordining to financial disclosure records. In 2005, he was only worth between $1.6 and $4 million.
So he has two to eight times more dollars than there are people in Kentucky — more than 4.3 million, based on the 2010 Census.
How is it moral, fair, justifiable, rational and, least of all, patriotic that he and other ranking congressmen are getting far richer while the rest of us get poorer?
Taxes prevent woes
Raising taxes is comparable in some aspects to abortion: No one likes it, but sometimes it helps in more ways than it hurts.
President Barack Obama's plan to raise the tax rate on the wealthy is more like a birth-control pill.
The section of the population Obama wants to tax can afford it, without seriously decreasing their chances of survival, or even their standard of living.
A fact that many in Washington are overlooking (maybe intentionally): Obama's plan just brings the wealthy up to par with the middle class when it comes to percentages paid in taxes.
Instead of paying the minimum amount they would pay the maximum amount required, just like the rest of the country does.
Don't want to pay more taxes? Build your own road. Drive your own mail to its destination. Get rid of your Internet and turn off the TV. This is the world we live in.
Government is big and we like it, but we don't want to pay for it.
Love thy enemy
I am very disappointed in University of Kentucky basketball fans for the way former Duke player Christian Laettner was treated when he coached the Villains team last week.
We could have showed our love to him and given him a standing ovation.
Forgive and forget.
E. Faye Hodge