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The State Journal encourages readers to submit letters to the editor for publication by noon Wednesday for the following Sunday’s paper. All letters must contain the writer’s full name, mailing address and telephone number for purposes of verification. The State Journal will not withhold the name of a writer. Any letter received without a mailing address and phone number will not be published. The State Journal will not publish thank-you letters, obvious form letters or letters addressed to third parties or to the public at large. Any letter may be rejected at editors’ discretion. All letters submitted for publication are subject to editing for length, form and content. Letters may be no more than 500 words long. Letters may be mailed to Letters to the Editor, The State Journal, 1216 Wilkinson Blvd., Frankfort, KY 40601; or e-mailed to rherron@state-journal.com.

Save pensions,

raise pay, too

To the Editor:

Across the U.S., states have frozen pay, reduced benefits, privatized jobs, revised rules to collective bargaining and even amended state constitutions in order to take money and benefits away from state employees. But are we really overspending on state employees?

The Economic Policy Institute concluded that considering education, experience, and several other factors, state employees are not overcompensated. In fact, state employees are undercompensated by an average of 7.6 percent, and employees with a four-year degree are compensated, on average, 25 percent less than private employers. How do we expect to acquire and retain skilled employees when we compensate 25 percent less than our competition in the private sector, and every year we fall further behind in pay and benefits?

The state wants to reduce pensioner benefits further. All those years of underfunding the state pension have caught up with the legislature, but instead of them paying the price, it falls on the backs of regular working class state employees. Jason Bailey, director at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, recently said, “Most public employees haven’t been receiving raises in recent years, and state workers have seen their health and retirement benefits cut…While the recession impacts everyone, the public pension system’s problems have been created primarily by poor legislative decisions. It’s unfair to put all of the burden of that problem on the backs of the workers. Deep cuts hurt those families, our local economies and our ability as a state to attract the qualified workforce we need to carry out critical public services.”

If we really want to fix the pension problem, our legislature needs to start participating in the standard state employee retirement system. I bet our unfunded liability would go away in no time at all. And if we want qualified professionals working in state government, we are going to have to increase, not decrease, compensation. As my mother used to say, you get what you pay for.

Brian E. Kiser

Frankfort

Pets’ love

is priceless

To the Editor:

Bravo.

Another brilliant editorial (“Animals we love,” Aug. 3) about the power of pets on humans in modern-day America.

At my house, our pets – we’re cat people – give us unconditional love. Period.

We have children and grandchildren and love them to death but the cats never cried when the wrong boy invited them to prom, never demanded a new car upon graduation from high school, never demanded to attend one of the most expensive colleges in the Western hemisphere and never demanded an expensive wedding sure to send me to the poorhouse in my old age.

Pets. One of life’s purest pleasures. And least expensive.

David E. Greer

Frankfort

Help save

the animals

To the Editor:

I want to thank and praise the writer of the editorial, “Animals we love,” dated Aug. 3. I have six cats (three found as kittens in store parking lots) and two chihuahuas, all of whom are my children that I love and who love me. I’ve known the pain of lost ones in recent years.

Starting two months ago, I acted on a long overdue decision to do all I can to help save the unfortunate kittens, dogs and puppies that society has turned its back on, in the Franklin County Animal Shelter and on our streets and parking lots. I have witnessed the results of cruelty, abuse and indifference by so-called “humans.” How hard is it to take the time to properly house, feed and show mercy and physical love to the little ones you choose to care for? There are good, loving and responsible people out there, but unfortunately an equal number of people who are cold, cruel individuals whose only way to demonstrate their “superiority” is to inflict pain and misery on defenseless, loving but vulnerable kittens and dogs. How can they look at these poor creatures and not see what I see, the sadness, wondering “why,” the desperation for love and attention, in their little eyes?

I grow angry when things like the biting of a mail carrier recently made news. I am so sorry for the carrier’s injury and suffering. But understand that dogs (not just pit bills) by nature are protective of their homes and must be controlled to avoid such incidents. We all have instincts. It is not the animal’s fault when they do what nature dictates. Animals should not suffer for doing the same thing we all would do when a stranger approaches and seems to present a threat. The “owners” should be punished.

What’s wrong with our species when we kill animals because we tire of them or they become a “nuisance.” I read recently that a bear was euthanized in Corbin because it had “lost its fear of people.” What? Bears naturally avoid people. People cause the problem by feeding them.

Why are dogs, cats, bears, etc., “murdered” for things that we do?

I’m begging all readers to open their hearts as I have and help animal shelters stop killing precious cats and dogs and find them good homes. I know it’s easy for people to turn a blind eye, but it takes a beautiful heart not to turn away.

Help us find a way to acquire the money needed to build a larger, modern animal shelter so we can strive to become a euthanasia-free home for the homeless little ones it would house.

I am a disabled Vietnam veteran and I donate every dollar I can now toward helping the shelter and its inhabitants and I will until I die. By the way, please don’t buy from those “breeders” you see in the classifieds. Come to the shelter and save a life. Please open your heart and adopt.

Junior Birdwhistell

Frankfort

Rick Paul’s

true colors

To the Editor:

Local short-order cook Rick Paul has once again let his mouth get away from him, and in doing so has shown his true colors. Over the years he has bleated on many occasions about his love of humanity and yearning for peace, but when his burger joint was broken into last week he couldn’t help himself. He wasted no time in spouting belligerent statements about “not messing with the White Light” and “showing a baseball bat” to the burglar. His first response was to threaten violence, not to offer benevolence.

This leads to some obvious questions, such as – Where is the love, Rick? Where is the compassion? What are your apologists in your church going to say about this revelation of your violent nature? Have they held an intervention for you, to help you confront your seething inner self?

Rick Paul has been well known for his violent nature for years, at least to those who’ve paid attention or been the targets of his fury. He was charged with terroristic threatening for saying he was going to shoot my dog several years ago, yet he claims to hate guns. And he struck a woman at a public concert at which witnesses said he was obviously intoxicated, speaking so loudly as to make it impossible for others to enjoy the performance. When she objected to his profanities he knocked her to the ground.

Yet his sycophants and apologists persist in saying that he’s merely “colorful” and “eccentric” and “opinionated.” Threatening to shoot family pets? Striking a woman while he’s soused? That’s more like sociopathy than eccentricity. And it’s all in the public record.

Paul is a creature who seeks attention, so when he pops off like he did it’s fair to point out that his bellicosity and threats are not consistent with the way he would prefer to be perceived by the unwitting public. This points out his true nature and his hypocrisy. He is not just a guy with opinions, he is a person filled with anger bordering on rage. He’s a narcissist who craves attention, like a dangerous child.

That’s something that people should think about before they patronize his “dive,” as he calls it. Why enrich a person who displays this defective personality with your trade? Why give him more of an audience for his twisted performances? Pass him by, and let him writhe in his cave unobserved

Charles Riggs

Frankfort

Be a patriot,

be a recycler

To the Editor:

If you do not recycle, you are un-American. If you keep reading I’ll prove it to you.

There is an attitude by some people that recycling is just for tree-huggers and environmentalists.

Those same people often think of themselves as patriotic Americans. You can’t have it both ways. Every aluminum can that goes into regular garbage means that the USA needs to import more oil. Much of that oil comes from the Middle East. So when you throw out your plastic water bottles, your glass beer bottles, and your aluminum pop cans, you might as well be sending a check to OPEC. I’ve understood this relationship for a long time, and I’ve been a committed recycler for a long time. But I’ve wondered, just how much energy is saved by recycling.

Using a research paper found on the EPA website – http://epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/waste/downloads/Energy%20Savings.pdf – I calculated how much energy is saved by recycling 100 cans or bottles, and how much that energy equates to in gallons of gas. Here are the results:

100 aluminum cans = 3.33 lbs. = a savings of 344,000 BTU = 2.73 gallons of gas

100 glass bottles = 43.7 lbs. = a savings of 59,000 BTU = 0.47 gallons of gas

100 plastic bottles = 2.86 lbs. = a savings of 74,000 BTU = 0.59 gallons of gas

A BTU is a way of measuring energy. The energy savings come from not having to produce new containers from raw materials. The reason recycling aluminum saves so much energy is because mining and refining bauxite to produce aluminum is very energy-intensive. But any and all recycling (newspaper too) helps to reduce our country’s imports of foreign oil.

So please take these three steps:

At home, use your recycle bins for all materials that you can.

When away from home, put trash in the trash bins and recyclables in the recycle bins. (A glance in any of the downtown Frankfort trash cans shows that this is not happening.) If there is no recycle bin nearby, then take it home with you.

At a bar or restaurant, ask the owner if they are recycling and encourage them to do so.

I know you would never pour a gallon of gas on the ground. It’s bad for our environment and it’s bad for our country. So, for the same reason, don’t throw cans and bottles in the trash. Patriotic Americans recycle.

Richard Rosen

Frankfort

Progressive

churches fail

To the Editor:

 I read an article recently regarding the U.S. Episcopal Church’s move toward blessing and confirming homosexual unions. One dissenting bishop from South Carolina linked the decline of the U.S. Episcopal Church with the march toward anarchy in sexual mores. 

This is an ironic use of language by the bishop. Moral anarchy—though not physical or violent anarchy – is at the heart of progressive liberalism, in things political, religious, etc. Anarchy is used as a pejorative by this cleric, but, stripped of its negative connotation, this is exactly what liberalism strives to achieve. The goal is for humanity to be composed of self-defined, and self-defining, human beings. Not an imposed order (whether imposed by nature or man).

 

The U.S. Episcopal Church now self-evidently wishes to endorse this goal on theological grounds.  Whether the goal is realistic, achievable, or even a good, one can leave aside.  The point of the article I read was to ask, how do such progressive moves affect church membership?

 

Organizing for anarchy seems an oxymoron. Perhaps the decline in Episcopal Church membership is not really a sign of ham-fisted opposition to homosexuality, but of increasing religious insouciance. If the point of the religion is the “ME” — the dignity of the human individual as the ultimate value, the tacit confirmation of moral anarchy – why in the world would one bother going to church? What for? 

One might respond that one belongs to a church in order to help one’s fellow man, both physically and spiritually (the modern conflated notion of charity). Yet this begs the question: “What for? To lift them up, so they can become their own ‘ME’?” 

Is it possible that church membership is motivated not by the desire for an ultimate liberation, but the desire for an ultimate sacrifice? That people seek to bind themselves beyond themselves – rather than to “self-actualize”? The article noted that, as church membership began to flag for liberals, it began to swell for “traditionalists.” “Traditional” here refers not to practical theology, but to a core essence of religion: submission to a higher good, the highest good.   

 

A Frankfurt School scholar such as Theodor Adorno might observe this as a flaw in the human condition, to crave higher authority or justification, one that should be addressed as a problem, and not simply as an innocuous human attribute. But this aside, what about the practical, continued vitality of religious congregations? 

Whether or not the desire to sacrifice one’s being, to be “enslaved,” to be a “fool for Christ,” as a High Anglican, a Roman Catholic, a Greek Orthodox, or a fiery Southern Baptist is a flaw; to be a Lavender Episcopalian seems somewhat pointless, ultimately. The alternative to carrying the cross has proven stultifying to many, and it no doubt explains in part the exodus from more progressive church communions to those less so.                                                               

Robert E. Salyer

Frankfort

Doctors share

Rx concerns

To the Editor:

For the past several years, the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure has been on the front line in Kentucky’s fight against the epidemic of prescription drug abuse. As the medical board overseeing the licenses of more than 15,000 physicians, we are a key participant in protecting the independence and individual judgments of our doctors, while also working to enforce regulations designed to keep both doctors and patients safe.

To fight prescription drug abuse, we initiated disciplinary proceedings against those physicians who willfully overprescribe controlled substances. We developed advisory opinions on prescribing for chronic pain, and partnered with the state’s KASPER program to lead educational presentations throughout the state.

However, the state needed a more comprehensive plan to squeeze out those who abuse the system at any entry point. House Bill 1 (HB1) addresses the prescription drug abuse problem head-on through a variety of methods designed to discourage the abuse or diversion of prescription drugs. The bill mandates increased usage of the state’s prescription monitoring program, KASPER, and regulates pain clinics throughout the Commonwealth.

HB 1 went into effect July 20, and the board worked for months to develop and promulgate emergency and ordinary regulations on a host of subjects, as required by HB 1. Some of those regulations include setting standards for prescribing controlled substances, regulation of physician-owned pain clinics, and requiring continuing medical education on prescribing.

We know the vast majority of physicians work diligently to prescribe controlled substances carefully and thoughtfully. We also know that misinformation about the regulation of those substances has caused confusion, anger and unintended consequences among the very physicians we depend on to provide the best care for patients.

Patients have called the board, concerned about whether they can still receive their medications. In some cases, their physicians have chosen not to continue prescribing schedule drugs. Understandably, legitimate patients with serious medical conditions are worried. The board understands and shares these concerns of patients, and we are working to alleviate the fears of the physician community on these new changes. It is important to point out to all patients that nothing in HB 1 or the KBML regulations precludes any licensed physician from prescribing any controlled substance to a patient that the physician believes is medically necessary or appropriate.

Over the coming months, we’ll continue to work with physicians to educate them about HB1 and the board’s new regulations. We strongly believe that physicians will become more comfortable in their prescribing practices under the regulations. We as physicians play a crucial role in helping to curb the abuse and diversion of prescription drugs in our state, and I am confident that our efforts will enhance the overall health of the citizens of Kentucky.

Preston P. Nunnelley, M.D.

President, Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure

Bike Safety

Day pleases

To the Editor:

What a wonderful event for the entire community last Saturday at the Frankfort Regional Medical Center. Bike Safety Day, hosted by the hospital under direction of Charlotte O’Neal and her committee, which consisted of many of the loving and caring employees of the hospital. The turnout was absolutely great with well over 500 children and adults in attendance.

Free helmets were given out to all participants and 10 donated bikes were given which featured “Charlie’s Challenge” in honor of Charlie Semones.

As a community we should be honored to have a great hospital and employees who want to be involved and contribute so much to make our town a really great place to live, and what an opportunity to remind all children and parents of the importance of bike safety.

This is just another example of how our community steps up and supports such programs. Job well done by all volunteers. As Charlie Semones’ grandmother, my gratitude is personal.

Pat Price

Frankfort

What was

Mitt thinking?

To the Editor:

Mitt Romney’s tour to embellish his image overseas certainly helped voters back home. Romney reminds me of the hard sell a mother does to convince her daughter to go out with him. “He’s good looking AND has lots of money.”

“True,” the daughter answers, “but he lacks one important thing, ethics. Trust me, I know exactly what his intentions are.”

Romney’s visit to Poland and reception by Lech Walesa was truly a “Lost in Translation” experience.

Walesa was the antithesis to Romney’s business success. His strong leadership with the Solidarity trade union workers against the brutal oppression of Polish business interests also won him a Noble Peace prize.

When a Polish journalist dared ask Romney a question, an aide answered “Kiss my ass!” then clarified it saying, “This is a holy place.” Any Catholic could tell him, when you are standing in a holy place, experiencing a holy act of arrogant imperialism, the proper answer is “Kiss my ring, dude.”

Was Romney’s real interest for visiting Poland to check out their feelings about vulture capitalism and offshore tax shelters? Why does a man who wants to be president of the United States keep his money in hundreds of offshore tax havens? The fact that he is cheap is one thing but does Romney know something about our banking system that we do not?

What was not lost in translation: When Republicans tell us “no” we understand what they are really telling us.

Judy Rembacki

Georgetown

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