Brush up on Jack London's 'law of life'
I can't believe the Affordable Care Act's death panels myth is still on life support.
Do we need a wooden stake? A silver bullet? Or better yet, a death panel?
The op-ed "The Affordable Care Act's undertone: the 'duty to die'" was a risible attempt to resurrect the myth.
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The writer really should have read the Congressional Research Service report prior to writing. It gives the qualifications of Independent Payment Advisory Board members on page five. He will be astonished that physicians are qualified.
And about that Jack London story of the aged Indian left to die by his tribe, it is (1) a story, (2) a story based on an extremely rare practice and only in the most desperate of times, and (3) a story that, as London makes grimly clear, provokes us to see that it is we "civilized" Americans who practice this "law of life," this abandonment of the helpless, a law ratified by the wealthy applicable only to the poor.
London did not have a high opinion of how the one percent of 100 years ago treated the helpless as disposable.
No money, no care
Dr. Cameron Schaeffer's anti-Affordable Care Act column is an excellent illustration that years of formal, academic education do not necessarily result in the ability to reason.
To compare the alleged practice of a remote nomadic "tribe" living under extreme weather conditions to allow elderly to freeze in the snow to "modern Democrats" is almost laughable.
Since his argument is so weak, he has to resort to metaphor: the hidden, secret heartbeat "under the planks" (apparently a reference to Edgar Allen Poe) in order to conjure up horror of the ACA.
The fact is, under current and pre-ACA law, medical services are already allocated. You have no money, you get no medical care. Ask anyone who has been unable to find full-time work with health benefits.
Schaeffer should have submitted a photo in a grisly Halloween mask. It would have made a much better fit for the article, which is unworthy of a man with years of formal education.
In Mitch McConnell's world, income is not derived from social opportunity with a corresponding social responsibility.
Income merely reflects hard work and ability, and taxes are a gratuity reflecting social generosity.
Thus, if the poorest would merely do with less, the wealthiest could have more. McConnell has worked tirelessly to that end.
He blocked adding $250 for Social Security recipients to an annual average $12,350 a year, costing Kentuckians about half a billion dollars.
He blocked over $2 billion in federal tax relief for Kentuckians, an average of $1,130. Otherwise those making over $1 million a year would have lost more than $30,000 extra on their tax returns.
He voted against extending unemployment benefits, the Affordable Care Act, SCHIP, Medicare for mental illness services, and resources for education and retraining of unemployed workers.
Let's remove McConnell and replace him with someone who can better represent the poor and average Kentuckian.
Fight for coal areas
I'm tired of hearing people say we must save coal jobs. It isn't that I don't want the people in the coal-mining region to be prosperous.
It's just the opposite. I want them to be able to be prosperous, well employed and healthy. I also want our environment to stay as healthy as we can make it.
If the people who keep fighting to save coal were to put as much energy into developing new, clean industries in the coal region, it would see great rebirth and prosperity without the workers getting so ill to support their families.
The streams wouldn't be getting polluted. More mountaintops wouldn't be removed, saving what remaining beauty this area has.
Refusing to change tends to cause a painful and gasping death to communities.
Isn't it time these people who proclaim to be so concerned about jobs in what has been the coal region really start fighting for the future of these areas by working to do everything they can to bring new, alternative, clean industries which pay good wages to them?
By doing so, they wouldn't be just saving these communities. They'd be working toward a better future for all of us by helping keep our most precious natural resources, air and water, as clean as possible.
They'd do this while providing their region good-paying jobs that will last far longer than the dying coal industry.
Pot beats booze
Recently, state Sen. Perry Clark introduced legislation to legalize the sale of medical marijuana in Kentucky.
State Rep. Robert Benvenuti spoke against this, saying he could fill the statehouse with individuals affected by "pot deaths."
I welcome Benvenuti to try to do so, but in the meantime I would like to point to a few facts. THC is a mind-altering drug and should be used with great care, but to prohibit its use is simply ignorant.
Kentucky has prided itself for more than a century on the production of alcohol and tobacco, mind-altering substances with far more devastating effects than cannabis.
I could mention the benign effects of cannabis, the almost miraculous medical benefits of this plant.
I ask that Benvenuti educate himself, and stop spreading the kind of misinformation that will land 750,000 Americans in a pair of cuffs this year alone.
I ask that he stop looking after his own self interest and look to the wants and needs of his constituents instead.
If he must cling to his misinformation, I will invite him to debate this topic, and when he tries to fill his chambers with victims that do not exist I will fill the seats of Commonwealth Stadium with those affected by alcohol and show him prisons filled with those affected by a useless prohibition.
Dennis McGuire is dead. He was the man executed in Ohio who took a little longer to die than expected by "gasping and snorting" up to 26 minutes.
His son proclaims "nobody deserves to go through that."
Did the pregnant newlywed whom he raped and repeatedly stabbed to death deserve to go though what she did before she died?
I don't think so.