Amtrak should link Ashland, Lexington and Louisville
I read with great interest the poll and commentary about how Kentuckians support more Amtrak funding and service. My husband and I moved to Lexington from New York City in March 2011 and the only thing we miss is the Amtrak service we used to enjoy.
The great thing about train travel is the ease of movement, as opposed to being stuck in a tiny seat on an airplane. You can leave your car at home and do not have to worry about horrible traffic.
You can sit back and relax, read, sleep or just watch the scenery go by. You also meet some interesting people from all around this country who have traveled to every state using Amtrak and are happy to tell you their rail story.
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The commentary stated that Amtrak has two routes near Lexington. The Cardinal leaves from Cincinnati at 1 a.m. This does not seem very convenient or safe. The New Orleans leaves from Fulton, which is way past Paducah, a 340-mile drive from Lexington and leaves at 3 a.m.
How about creating a rail line from Ashland, through Lexington to Louisville? The Lexington station could have a connection north to Cincinnati. The Lexington to Louisville route would certainly be popular for people going to Churchill Downs. A link to Cincinnati would be well travelled going to Reds and Bengals games.
Let's see if our politicians can get together for the common good and make Amtrak more accessible to Kentuckians. "We the people" should demand this.
Campaign funds a waste
The recent article "Bevin files for Senate, rips 'failed leadership','' is a perfect illustration of what is wrong with today's political system. The article noted, "political observers have estimated (the Senate race) will cost $100 million in campaign spending."
The Founding Fathers of this great nation looked at political office as a service to the people who elected them. Instead we find politicians all over this country who look at politics as a career, with all the perks they have voted themselves to go along with the office.
Politicians will do anything, say anything, spend anything to get elected and re-elected and re-elected and re-elected. I suggest we start with term limits (a four-letter word to the political machine). Politicians need to get back to serving the American people and not serving themselves.
It is a travesty that $100 million will be spent in one state for one Senate election. Imagine all the good this money could do if it was put to use for the people. Just imagine if only half of this money was used for education.
Fracking too dangerous
Most people are unaware of the dangers of fracking; how drilling deep into the Earth's crust and injecting water to "erupt" substances from the rock strata to get at natural gas brings up many additional toxic materials.
There is evidence fracking causes underground instability and may cause localized earthquakes.
Toxic materials exuded by fracking have to be disposed of somewhere and because the volume of these waste liquids is so large, these dangerous fluids have to be transported off-site. Transport is apparently cheaper by pipeline.
Pipeline companies are strong-arming Kentuckians and local officials to ram through our state a pipeline carrying horrible fracking pollution liquids — hundreds of thousands of gallons.
The Williams/Blue Grass pollution pipeline is intended to cross the Kentucky River around the confluence of Franklin, Anderson and Woodford counties. This pipeline carrying toxic liquids will intersect our region's drinking water source immediately upriver from the water intakes for Frankfort, Lexington and others.
Clean drinking water is essential to all animal and plant life. Kentuckians should not have to suffer the devastating consequences of fracking activities with these toxic liquids polluting our drinking water and the environment.
Fracking is a bad practice and should not be permitted.
Make patients responsible
The Affordable Care Act will never be affordable until Congress passes an "Individual Patient Responsibility Act." Legislators, for various reasons, have passed an entitlement for which there is no individual responsibility or consequences.
The law, like all insurance programs, spreads risk, which in this case requires the healthy to pay for the unhealthy. But there is no incentive for responsibility for the unhealthy to care for their own well-being.
Present American culture of rugged individualism has fostered a culture of "it's not my fault" and "I'll take care of myself and do what I want." This is why we continue to smoke, why we continue to operate machinery under the influence, why we fail to control our weight and our diabetes, etc.
It is why people come to the emergency room in crisis, expecting to be made better, then go back and continue to do what got them into crisis. One bad patient exceeds the cost of 10 good patients.
Entitlements are unintentional Ponzi schemes. When Social Security and Medicare were enacted, the legislatures had no concept that people would live so much longer, on so much medication, with so many procedures and hospitalizations.
Now people work 25 to 30 years and expect 30 to 40 years of retirement benefits and medical care. And then there are those who really never work and receive benefits. This is clearly unsustainable and the cost is to be borne by our children and grandchildren.
Commentary on target
Thank you for printing the best op-ed that I've recently read: "Obama trying to tame a monstrous health system."
The author, retired minister Richard Bridges, effectively used a metaphor to describe our country's attention, or lack thereof, to our health care situation. Continuing the metaphor, I suspect that the only town folk who worried their little minds about the dog were those who were directly affected by its presence, or worse yet, bitten.
Similarly, some obviously couldn't care less about the dog until they have a physically or financially devastating illness. How sad. How immoral.
I am surely sorry that the writer retired without me living in Bowling Green while he was active. I'm sure his messages were equally pertinent.
Obama no hero
The Nov. 14 op-ed piece by Richard Bridges of Bowling Green likened his hometown dog whisperer to President Barack Obama, suggesting that both were foresighted heroes.
A much more accurate analogy would be to Gen. George Custer. An egomaniacal leader formulates a plan that by simple mathematics is doomed to failure, but bullishly pushes ahead with predictable results.
Memorable? Yes, for all of the wrong reasons.
Drivers to the rescue
My church, Southern Hills United Methodist, sponsors a program called the Backpack Ministry. We provide over 300 backpacks full of foodstuffs for grade-school children who qualify for the free lunch program to take home over the weekend.
One day I was transporting a skid full of fruit cups in the back of my truck and it toppled over into the middle of New Circle Road. I got out of the truck thinking I've just shut down both lanes of New Circle Road at rush hour.
As I looked at the mess, I was almost frozen in place. I was waiting for the cussing, screaming and horn blowing.
But what to my wondering eyes should appear? People were getting out of their cars and picking up fruit cups and reloading them into my truck. Many of them had a big grin on their faces, but that was all right. In no time I was reloaded and on my way.
Why did I think the worst of people? I do not have an answer. I want to thank all the people who helped me reload and all the people who were patient.
Norman M. Newsome
GOP a bully
A bully is: "a blustering browbeating person; especially one habitually cruel to others who are weaker," says the Merriam Webster dictionary.
This clearly defines the present day Republican Party. It doesn't pick on the rich and powerful, it goes after women, children, the aged, gay/lesbians, the disabled, non-Christians, the working poor, the unemployed, immigrants and minorities.
Until we stand up to the bullying, it will continue to target those too weak to fight back.