Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor, Oct. 26

Actor Wesley Snipes starred as a superhero in several Blade films.
Actor Wesley Snipes starred as a superhero in several Blade films.

Paul sided with NRA, not docs, on surgeon general

When there is a public health threat like Ebola, the U.S. surgeon general, as America's doctor, is the point person who can educate the nation and calm unnecessary fears.

Thanks to Sen. Rand Paul and the National Rifle Association, however, we have no surgeon general in place.

President Barack Obama's permanent appointment of Dr. Vivek Murthy was blocked by Paul who put a senatorial hold on the nomination, thus guaranteeing there would not be enough votes to move the nomination forward for Senate confirmation.

Ordinarily, this level of presidential appointment sails through the confirmation process. Paul's reason for obstructionism? Murthy is in favor of the Affordable Care Act and he considers gun violence against children a public-health matter.

Murthy's appointment was endorsed by every professional medical and public health organization in America, but he was opposed by the National Rifle Association.

Therefore, Paul — a doctor himself — placed his own crass political allegiance to the gun lobby ahead of the nation's public health.

Walter Goedeke


Alcohol worse than tobacco

I cannot believe the argument by Janie Heath, dean of University of Kentucky's College of Nursing, that the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products is the reason many people are in ill health and dying.

If CVS is so concerned for everyone's health, why does it still sell the largest killer of all — alcohol? Untold numbers of people are killed or maimed by drunken drivers, our jails are crowded with inmates who committed crimes fueled by drinking.

Alcohol destroys families, jobs, marriages and causes abuse to spouses and little children who are not properly raised. A child raised in an alcoholic home is scarred for life. Does tobacco do this type of damage? No.

I have heard of so many cases where drunken husbands pull out guns and shoot their wives and children. Tobacco doesn't cause such violence.

Years ago, smoking tobacco was recommended by doctors to calm nerves. Alcohol is a poison that should not be sold by CVS or other drug stores. The company's revenues from alcohol sales are huge, much more than it makes selling tobacco.

Mazine and James V. Tevis


Kentucky Long Rifle lore

There has been much discussion in the U.S. Senate race about Mitch McConnell holding a gun. McConnell was not holding just any gun. It was a Kentucky Long Rifle.

The rifle was a far superior weapon to previous firearms. It was a lighter, more accurate gun with a longer range. It became the primary weapon of the frontiersman. Daniel Boone carried one through Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington recruited riflemen carrying Kentucky Rifles to defeat the British. Their accuracy enabled them to pick off British officers early in battles.

The War of 1812 would have been lost had it not been for Gen. Andrew Jackson's arrival with Tennessee and Kentucky volunteers carrying the rifles.

The Combat Infantry Badge is awarded to infantrymen who personally fought in active ground combat under fire. The Kentucky Rifle is used as an insignia on this badge.

The rifle has become a time-honored symbol for a common man's ability to bear arms and free himself from tyranny. May God help us to never lose this liberty.

W. M. "Mitch" Collins


Join the herd, Dr. Schaeffer

Given his occupation as a pediatric urologist, I find it difficult to believe Cameron Schaeffer does not possess some modicum of humanity. His arguments in his Oct. 13 column, however, strongly suggest otherwise.

People of conscience should be stunned by several assertions that reveal his apparent support for a cold, calculating kind of unrestrained capitalism. Gems such as, "Every dollar spent by the ACA is ultimately a dollar taken from the wealth-creating private economy," and "health care spending ... is consumed, leaving little of tangible monetary value," demonstrate what little regard he holds for those apparently worthless individuals who labor to fuel our capitalist system.

Does he really believe the Affordable Care Act provides no more than "goodies for constituents?" He speaks as if health care is some kind of treat or perk, rather than a necessity for maintaining a healthy and engaged citizenry.

Regardless, I hope he and his poor fellow "demoralized doctors" can find a way to cope with "being herded like cattle." Those of us who visit hospitals and clinics as patients have felt like that for a very long time.

Jay Christian


Choosing money over fans

As a huge fan of University of Kentucky basketball, I am very upset that Big Blue Madness was not shown live and in full on television.

Having a good coach and a great team does not mean much to me if I can't watch them in action.

It is a sad state when making a good money deal is based on who is going to broadcast the games, as opposed to how many fans will actually get to see the games. Not everyone in the state is fortunate enough to be able to go to Rupp Arena and Big Blue Madness or games in person.

I hope that the powers that be will take this into consideration and not let this happen again. Perhaps they could renegotiate a broadcasting contract.

Nellie Hibbits


More Academic Madness

While Big Blue Madness took stage recently in Lexington, it was Academic Madness a week earlier in the Prestonsburg Gymnasium that will be remembered for a long time.

With a full house from rafter to rafter, an audience of students, parents and friends from 18 Floyd County schools celebrated the academic accomplishments of the district, which came from 145th in the state nine years ago to 12th.

Superintendent Henry Webb orchestrated the procession of schools which achieved recognition for their excellence. Thunderous applause, music and drumbeats greeted each school. They were then congratulated by our elected officials and members of the Board of Education.

It was a watershed night to be sure and one that we hope will be repeated in coming years.

Indeed, if other districts follow, it could well be the key to Eastern Kentucky's future.

John and Jean Rosenberg


Preach, don't politic

In a recent letter, a pastor complains of "encroachment of constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech." He wants to preach against "evils" without fear that "some government agency" will take away his tax exempt status.

I would make an educated guess that one of his evils is a woman's (constitutionally guaranteed, by the way) right to choose.

Regardless, his First Amendment rights guarantee that he may preach about any evil he wishes.

What he may not do, is so much as imply that any particular politician or party is responsible for what he regards as evil.

You see, that would be a violation of his government's most generous allowance of his church's tax exempt status. This tax exemption, or taxes for that matter, were not part of our Constitution and have zero to do with his First Amendment rights.

His flock should be able to decide for itself if these evils belong to one party or the other.

Regarding his tax exemption, why do religious organizations deserve tax breaks? They do not benefit all citizens as does, for example, public education. We do not all belong to a religious organization but we are all part of the public.

Darryl Halbrooks


More black superheroes

The article about Frank X Walker's exhibit was interesting, but there were some huge omissions. There have been a few black superhero leads in film.

First, Marvel's movie success started with Blade, starring Wesley Snipes. That film was so successful that New Line Cinema made two sequels and a short-lived TV series. The Blade character originated in Marvel Comics' Tomb of Dracula series in the 1970s.

Because of the success of that film, Marvel was able to sell other properties, such as Spiderman and X-Men, to the big studios. Recently the film rights reverted to Marvel Studios, so we may see a new version that interacts with the current Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Also, the comic-book character of Spawn was played by Michael Jai White, and was a successful film at the time. And even though it was a huge flop, Shaquille O'Neal portrayed Steel on the big screen. Steel was a spinoff in DC Comics from Superman. And Halle Berry played Storm, one of the most famous X-Men in four feature films.

These characters should have been mentioned in the article. Either way, I'm anxious to see the exhibit. But I gotta wonder, where are the Latin American superheroes?

Kevin Martinez


Need a law so candidates talk own policy, don't trash foes

I would propose and vote for a law that decreed that in the 12 months prior to any election at any level, candidates would be allowed to state their own points of view and their own proposals. If, at any time during that interlude, any candidate discovered to have a negative statement about his or her opponent or opponent's party — whether in print, on television or on any communication device — would be automatically disqualified from running for office.

The law — call it a Good Conduct Law, if you will — would provide voters with a clear choice of what the ensuing years of service by the winning candidate would actually provide.

Such a law imposed on candidates and their supporters would not prevent justice officials from exposing malfeasance, but it would result in better-informed voters and would hold the candidates' feet to the fire if they later supported opposite views.

At this point in the election cycle, I have heard almost nothing except the negatives about the other candidate. I need something to keep me from grinding my teeth at night.

Marjorie Fey Harris