Letters to the Editor: COVID fantasies; the reality of 9-11

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers looks out over the Senate body during the opening day of the Kentucky General Assembly’s special session in Frankfort, Ky., Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.


COVID fantasyland

Ditching the mask mandates for Kentucky schools is not about freedom, it’s about a group of lawmakers seeking an escape from reality. They’ve codified this attempt in a measure which would allow schools to permit students to stop wearing masks. The stated rationale is to “allow school districts to decide for themselves” which policies are best.

The coronavirus affects all schools the same, so it makes no sense to pass a law designed to ensure Kentucky will end up with a patchwork of different school policies. What the law really says isn’t decide which policy is best, but decide for yourself which alternative reality is most comforting. For the bill’s advocates, their alternative reality is one where masks are no longer needed.

A majority in the state legislature does not confer the authority to vote on what constitutes reality. The virus is rampant, and for kids too young to vaccinate their last line of defense is mask wearing. As a parent of school-aged kids, it’s disturbing to watch lawmakers attempt to put kids’ lives in danger to help them act out their delusions.

Jason S. Belcher, Pikeville

Stivers’ shame

None of us are as smart or as smart as often as we should be. But rarely is anyone’s dullness displayed in a picture on the front page of the local paper.

Clay, Knox, Owsley, Whitley, and Wolfe are burning with COVID-19 and their state senator, Robert Stivers is shown on the Sept. 8 edition of the Herald-Leader front page barefaced, and within a breath of a clerk, in his chamber. A pile of half measures is the country’s response to COVID-19. After 4.5 million deaths worldwide the personification of this response is a character like Robert Stivers who uses a highly infectious airborne virus as an opportunity to exploit the fears and uncertainty that he himself encourages.

Masking, distancing, and vaccines have no relation to personal freedom. What they are related to is the public interest, the public welfare, and the only smart response to COVID-19.

Todd Kelly, Lexington

Remember 9/11

On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists carried out a murderous attack on innocent Americans. They tried to break our spirit, but were met with our nation’s strength and resolve.

Today, we remember.

Lest we forget.

Paul Bacon, Hallandale Beach, Florida

Joint bus solution

The challenges faced by James Vest as a less than full time school bus driver are distressing. Further the shortage of bus drivers has forced Fayette County Public Schools and LexTran to cancel routes, negatively affecting individuals who lack alternative transportation and working parents.

I propose that our transportation leaders look at a model of transportation partnership in Wichita, Kansas (pop 383,000); buses transport the public as well as middle and high school students.

Working together, FCPS and LexTran can identify potential routes with buses traveling within .5 miles of most high school students, transfer options, and routes which crisscross the city. Public buses can also provide options for travel to vocational training, after school sports and part time employment. Also working together, they may be able to increase the benefits, hours, and working conditions for drivers.

Funding for this partnership and expansion of service might come from the pending infrastructure bill as well as American Rescue Plan funds.

In Lexington, available transportation is stretched to the limit. Schools are hurting for bus drivers. Companies are desperate for workers and potential workers may not own a motor vehicle or have a driver’s license. A new partnership between schools and the public bus system may solve it.

Jean Sabharwal, Lexington

Act ‘transformative’

Soon, Congress will vote on President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan. This plan will help Kentucky families. I wanted to make sure your readership learns the truth, before misinformation is spread.

This plan will be transformative, especially for rural communities in Kentucky. One of the biggest parts of the plan will allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs, which will lower costs for everyone.

It makes the child tax cut expansion permanent, meaning families that opt for it will continue to receive $300 per child per month. It will help with childcare costs and fund universal preschools.

It’ll make the earned income tax credit expansion permanent, meaning low wage workers in our community, with or without children, will receive a tax cut as well.

The plan includes infrastructure improvements for schools. It allows for two years of free community college; students can choose to attend nearby community colleges for free, rather than taking on student debt for a four-year institution.

These are just a few things this plan will accomplish, putting Kentucky on the path forward. I hope Congressman Andy Barr will vote yes to support all Kentuckians and not get caught up in his typical partisan misinformation.

Sarah Moore Katzenmaier, Lexington

Prather on grace

As a longtime convert to Islam, I was very touched by Rev. Paul Prather’s religious experience regarding God’s grace. As a Muslim one of my most important discoveries, is that the grace of God is derived from our sincere effort to adhere to the guidance received from God. Absolute forgiveness as the Christian definition of grace, is actually a negation of God’s guidance. For, of what value is guidance, if all of our behaviors are automatically forgiven by grace. This fundamental paradox has given us a nation filled with individual religious experiences, but has yet to yield a collective religious life.

Shahied Rashid, Lexington

Empty words

My father always told me two things to never discuss: politics and religion. I failed those tests terribly. When I read Paul Prather’s latest piece I about exploded. It seems his topic recently was grace; all about grace. For as long as I can remember — and I am a little long in the tooth — all sorts have tried to cram this nonsense down my throat. God is an all-loving, all-caring, all-forgiving entity, yet his “followers” contain NONE of the attributes of their idol. First to judge, first to pass sentence, refuse to forgive, close-minded – all the while referring to themselves as Christians. The Catholic Church is rife with pedophiles, yet those sins have been covered up for centuries. Our current world has been turned upside down thanks to elected officials who are only concerned about complete control. The phrase “we the people” is a joke now. People, look around you. If man is the best God can crow about, I’m far from impressed.

Donnie Hagy, Frankfort

State river board

I wonder why have executives or senior staff of Kentucky-American Water Company been continuously appointed since 2009 to the board of the Kentucky River Authority. The current appointment in this string will expire on September 18. Will it continue?

Who is on the board is important. The Kentucky River Authority Board is responsible for making decisions to raise water customer fees that are paid by those residing all along the Kentucky River. The board also decides how the millions of dollars in fees will be spent. When they vote to incur debt, we have to pay.

Surely the governor can find someone to serve on the board who is not an employee of Kentucky-American, a subsidiary of American Water Works, Inc., of Camden, New Jersey, the largest investor-owned water utility in the country.

Tom Marshall, Frankfort


With all the news of treating COVID with the livestock wormer Ivermectin, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul needs to read Martin Gardner’s book “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science”. If Martin were alive today, he would be adding a chapter to the book on just this subject. I’d bet Senator Paul would be prominent in that chapter. Just think, ex-Gov. Matt Bevin deliberately exposed his kids to chicken pox so they too can have a chance to enjoy shingles. Thoughtful! They may decide the shingles vaccine might be wise later in life. I might point out, vaccines are the ONLY way to survive a rabid animal bite. Vaccines also globally wiped out smallpox and killed off polio in all countries except for Afghanistan and Pakistan. It appears a significant segment of our population, with Robert Kennedy, Jr., leading the way, feels the same way about vaccines as those two countries.

George Weems, Lawrenceburg

COVID care plan

Nobody likes to fly coach. With that in mind, let’s take a lesson from the airline industry in order to convince people to get vaccinated. Simply put, we classify available medical care as follows: first class and economy (coach). If you have the required vaccinations, you go to the emergency room and are eligible for the next available bed, ventilator or ICU. First class. For those showing COVID symptoms with no vaccination? Well, remember at the onset of the pandemic when cities had set up emergency COVID units in convention centers, exhibition halls, and gymnasiums? There they go. Coach. Economy class. “Hello, and welcome to COVID tent number one. Please find a bed and someone will be with you as soon as possible”. Might those folks in the exhibition halls and tents have to wait awhile for less-than-stellar medical attention? Maybe. But keep in mind, these are the same folks that turned up their noses at one of the most astounding medical advances in modern history: a safe, effective, and widely available vaccine. “Welcome to COVID Hall. Your care is very important to us. We’ll be with you as soon as possible”.

Ross DeAeth, Lexington

Back to the past

While the Texas legislature, with the tacit consent of the U.S. Supreme Court, has only set the United States back 48 years, the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has set that country back 1,300 years. Which event is more distressing depends on your perspective.

Tommy Glover, Lexington

Keep our distance

I read in the Richmond Register an editorial by the sports editor criticizing the president of the United States for giving up on Afghanistan.

The United States entered Afghanistan Oct. 7, 2001. What was the goal? Colloquially, probably vengeance on 9/11, which of course was carried out primarily by citizens of Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. entered Vietnam Nov. 1, 1955. I think the situations were similar. Civilians and enemy combatants looked similar. For every civilian death, injury, or loss of property, enemy combatants were created.

But for a while we must put up with Republicans screaming that not every Afghan ally was evacuated, due to the incompetence of the Democratic president. I’m waiting for the Republicans to start complaining about all the Muslims being allowed to immigrate. It’s coming soon to a theater near you.

On the other hand, if the question is stay or leave, I admit that Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is very knowledgeable on the subject, thinks we should have stayed. “To keep a lid on it.” He said it “only cost 1% of the Pentagon budget.”

I say get out and stay out. The U.S. military is best at bombing from a distance, and covert assignments. Just do that.

Bill Carey, Richmond

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