Robert Moore is totally wrong about the Black Lung Program. I worked as a disability examiner when Black Lung was enacted. Black Lung was a political boondoggle for buying votes.
Like the mortgage boondoggle that lowered qualifications for loans and allowed people to purchase homes they could not afford, all through political pressure.
The Black Lung Program lowered qualifications and raised benefits to high levels, way above Social Security benefits. Through political pressure, the qualifications were whittled down to X-ray evidence of pneumoconiosis and any exposure to coal dust.
The social security qualifications for disability due to lung disease included X-ray evidence of lung disease and loss of breathing capacity by pulmonary function studies (breathing tests). (And sometimes blood gas studies to show oxygen deprivation.)
These objective evidences led to a decision based on ability to exert yourself (function in any work setting).
The joke among disability examiners was that people in the coal field areas were going out and sitting on piles of coal and breathing deeply. We found that many of these people had excellent breathing capacity and excellent oxygen saturation of their blood.
Just having a diagnosis does not qualify anyone for disability under Social Security. Just having pneumoconiosis does not mean you cannot function in a job. The sum total effect of applying the more stringent disability requirements is less people will be allowed benefits.
The Black Lung program is a social welfare program that favors a group of people over other groups and redistributes wealth to a depressed area. Miners have had high incomes for most of their working lives and they would qualify for a significant benefit amount in most cases, if they are really unable to work, due to a physical loss of capacity.
The notion of a special benefit for one group of people over another is social engineering at its heights.
Politicians gone awry.
We need redistribution of people, not wealth.
I don’t favor additional bureaucracies, such as the one that resulted from Black Lung Laws. There is a retroactive element in all of this, that says someone must pay (the taxpayer always pays).
Time and free market principals take care of pollution and energy production. Energy use choices, based on an individual’s economic needs, will lead to cleaner air. This is transition without government influence.
Coal is an important transition fuel.
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When the parties are over, who will pick up the pieces?
The City of Somerset recently voted to sell alcohol by drink and through store outlets. We believe that a number of city management members were quite pleased by this outcome by the support this vote received prior to that election. It means that the city will receive a boost in tax revenue, a big boost that will aid the city's financial picture greatly.
A number of other Somerset citizens lament that vote because they have a number of realistic concerns regarding the consequences of that monumental decision. They are afraid, with reason, that the incidence of alcohol addiction will increase in proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed.We tend to share those concerns. Accidents, auto crashes, addiction related illnesses and social dysfunction related to alcohol will, by its nature increase.
This vote comes at a time wherein methamphetamine and other drug addiction continues to soar. It seems that every issue of your paper carries stories about drug related violence, crimes, assaults and felonies of all description. How do you think the addition of an increasing alcoholism population will effect those numbers and this community? I am sure that the members of Somerset City management have considered that question and are seeking responsible solutions.
We would like to suggest one: Help give Somerset something she has needed for decades, an effective and viable alcohol/drug treatment program. It is very doable and would prove to be very cost effective within a short period of time. We have all been misdirected to believe that we need to wage a "war on drugs" except that wars don't often have winners and America is far from winning the one we've been involved with since President Reagan declared it.
Alcoholism and drug addiction are identical as disease entities, they share the same symptoms, pathology and, sadly, the same prospects of morbidity. On the positive side, they respond favorably to specific treatment.
Localities where addiction was viewed realistically and treated effectively report high recovery rates and significant cost savings. The airline industry stated, in 1979 that they realized that they received $15 back for every dollar invested in employee addiction treatment. Sending addicts to prison is far more costly than sending them to treatment. Treatment works.
I do not know what the projected sales of alcohol by the drink is, the city managers do, I'll bet. Well, if the city levied a 5-cent tax on each ounce of distilled alcohol, beer serving, and 4 1/2 oz. glass of wine, they would be able to fund a freestanding residential as well as an intense outpatient facility that would serve some 1,300 Somerset persons including their family members a year. Other funding would come from self pay, insurance, state and federal formula funds and court referrals.
If readers of this letter care to discuss this issue further we give the editor of this newspaper permission to share our e-mail addresses to interested parties.
We thank you for publishing this letter.
Bronston, KY. 42518
Alden R. Phelps
Bronston, KY. 42518
'... Salt in the Wound'
As a Christian, local pastor and one who worked very hard with K.I.D.S. of Somerset in the recent local option election, I would like to express my disgust with the distasteful cartoons on your editorial page in the June 29 issue of the Commonwealth Journal.
When the results of the local option election were announced on June 26 both sides of the issue were represented at the courthouse. I was pleased with how civilized both sides were in their reaction to the outcome. David Carr and I stood with Pastor Ed Amundson, spokesperson for K.I.D.S., as he was interviewed by CJ reporter Chris Harris.
Bro. Amundson was very conciliatory in his response to all questions.
In conversation with Mr. Harris after the interview Bro. Amundson was very careful to make sure there were no hard feelings remaining from the election in which passions ran very high on both sides of the issue.
We had said we would and we did accept the result of a fair democratic process. My FB posts that night and the following day thanked those with whom I had labored in the process. I stated that I would pastor in a new Somerset with the same passion I have had since I came to Somerset almost 16 years ago. The city of Somerset had spoken loudly and I accepted the result.
Mr. Weddle with Progress Somerset has been very gracious in his comments. As I stated earlier when the result was announced both sides conducted themselves in a very civil manner. The election was over so let’s move on. Then the editorial board of the CJ decides to rub a little salt in the wound.
On Friday as I read the editorial page I found this very distasteful cartoon with the heading “Caution ‘Wet’
Paint.” I must assume by this they are ready to paint the town, a term that I, in my mind, associate with drunken revelry. The first cartoon made light of the fact that we deemed the consequences of this vote serious enough that we would pray about it. The second cartoon seemed to insinuate that the only way we could handle defeat is to drown our sorrows in a very dry martini.
Why would the CJ, which should have had a primarily journalistic interest in the Local Option Election, be taking a victory lap?
Why belittle a group of people who simply had strong reservations about the benefit of legalized alcohol sales?
Why make light of people who believe in prayer and of the God to whom they pray?
What is the purpose?
Does the CJ have more interest in stirring the caldron of division in our community than being responsible and fair reporters of the events that affect the everyday lives of all of our citizens?
Could it be that the CJ has cast off the restraint of journalistic integrity and objectivity to we are not just happy to report the results but we are also happy with the results?
By this very action the CJ has said that people who believe in God, people who pray and people who were against the legalization of alcohol in Somerset are worthy only of our ridicule and nothing more.
It is very true that we, who were on the No side, were soundly defeated and I tip, not my glass, but my hat to you on the other side of the argument for the effectiveness of your campaign.
To the CJ I say if your actions with these distasteful cartoons are a reflection of your excitement about the final tally or an attempt to make those of us on the No side irrelevant, I leave you with this: We are still here, not just sober and praying, but soberly praying, for the city we love and call home. 2,167 Yes, 1,464 No is the reality of June 26, but only history can reveal the true winners and losers on that day.
Johnny M. Dunbar
Somerset, KY 42502
Group opposed to alcohol at Eagle’s Nest
K.I.D.S. (Keep It Dry and Safe) of Somerset and Pulaski County is opposed to the sale of alcohol at the Eagle’s Nest Golf Course in the Caney Fork Precinct of Pulaski County, Ky.
The Perils of Alcohol
The Feb. 1, 2012, front page news of the Commonwealth Journal, read in big, bold letters, ALCOHOL at Eagle’s Nest.
Reenactment Poorly Planned
In response to the article by staff writer Chris Harris concerning the Battle of Mill Springs recently held in your county. I have concerns over the objectivity of the content, particularly with Bill Neikirk’s comments.
I am a living historian and travel from Florida to Virginia taking part in approximately 30 events per year; thus, I do know something of which I speak.
Rockcastle Hospital responds to article
This letter is in response to the article printed January 31, 2012, in the Commonwealth Journal titled “Local Nursing Homes on par with rest of nation.” The article incorrectly noted that the only Kentucky nursing home with zero deficiencies was the Nursing Facility of Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown. I would kindly ask you to correct the information to include our facility.
Western Pulaski Water could communicate better
Last weekend, residents of Pulaski County who have “city water” were affected by the countywide boil water advisory. This was the first time I can remember the entire county being under such an advisory. When the accident occurred at the City Water plant last Thursday afternoon, print and broadcast media serving Pulaski County were advised.
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