Task force on college access would be good start
Fundamental problems related to college access and affordability in Kentucky are missing in news coverage of the 2013 General Assembly, such as:
■ Declining state support for the state's public colleges.
■ Unrelenting tuition increases at public colleges and universities.
■ Inadequate funding for state need-based student aid, the College Access Program and Kentucky Tuition Grants, while preserving the valuable incentives provided by Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarships.
These and other factors place an increasing burden on families and students attempting to pursue their education beyond high school.
State Rep. Carl Rollins, chairman of the House Education Committee, has introduced a resolution to create a task force to consider these and related issues and report conclusions to the General Assembly by November.
This is a step in the right direction and should be supported by all legislators and the public.
State support for higher education in Kentucky has lessened over the years, and college tuition at public universities has gradually increased every year since passage of the 1998 higher education reforms.
Funding student aid programs (CAP, KTG and KEES) solely with lottery revenues has failed to even come close to fully meeting the financial needs of students and families served by these programs.
Serious discussion is needed now in the Kentucky General Assembly on how to reverse this trend, and Rollins' resolution provides a useful starting point.
Joe L. McCormick
So let's get this straight. After what this nation is still reeling from the 20 innocent children slaughtered at a school, a man can walk into a private school in Lexington and say he's here to fix faulty lighting in the boys' locker room and is given immediate access to such?
Really? A man wanting into a boys' locker room? (Penn State, anybody?) How many people were aware this was going on? Who checked his credentials? And who let him go alone into this private school's locker room?
I think some people need to accept responsibility and be reprimanded at least. Did he carry a toolbox? Was it checked thoroughly? If not, why not?
I think we all need to thank a higher power that this individual did not wish to carry out a bigger threat to these kids. What if he had a gun, small detonation device or simply wished access to the boys' shower? Crimes will continue to happen even to innocent children as long as we allow them.
In the great words of Earl Pitts, wake up, America.
Focus on mental health
I've dealt with a family member who has serious mental problems. A lot of people think they are faking it to get a check from the government. Seriously, you know who you are.
When someone hears voices and talks of killing, that is a problem. I thank God my brother hasn't killed anyone. Guns are not the problem. It's the person behind the gun.
The money spent on the military, sending people to become mentally ill, is huge. The money to help those people is nothing.
You are going to get what you live by — or buy. Why don't we look at the whole picture, and not ignore it or act like it doesn't exist?
We did that with global warming. I think this year the planet will burn. Maybe we can fix it then.
Fire corporate GOP
In 1977, 81 percent of both houses of Congress were veterans. This new Congress is 19 percent veterans. This is reflected in their attitude and behavior as public/self servants.
The Republican Party treats government as a private business venture for corporations and wealthy individuals. U.S. Rep Darrell Issa views the U.S. Postal Service as a "government-sponsored enterprise." USPS management calls it "the company" and the postmaster general now calls himself "postmaster general/CEO" as it has already been privatized.
The president of the United States can also call himself CEO or commander in chief; but what's the point? The Republican Party has corporatized/privatized and turned our government in to a for-profit venture for a few wealthy individuals, like Dick Cheney, who hand themselves lucrative defense contracts and profit from the sacrifice of others who fight for and defend us.
The USPS was long the largest employer of veterans. Today, because the Republican Party says the USPS has to make a profit, the only jobs left for veterans are low-wage, non-career jobs. Meanwhile, unemployment for veterans 18-24 years old is 21 percent.
The U.S. Constitution says Congress has to build post offices and roads to transport the mail. This Republican Congress tears down post offices and lets the roads and bridges fall apart.
Let's fire this corporate-owned Congress and put them in the private sector where they belong with their smart-businessman buddies who bankrupted the nation and had to be bailed out by we poor, dumb taxpaying saps and our evil government.
Mark S. Benchoff
Regarding the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame, the first six members picked would not be my first choices, except for Robert Penn Warren.
Other finalists, in particular Guy Davenport, Jesse Stuart and John Fox Jr., would have been my preferences for first choice.
I hope they will be included next time around.
Media spotlight amiss
I am overwhelmed at the attention paid to the Notre Dame linebacker's problems with his social life, but I do recognize this as a non-issue that will not affect my life in any way.
This is true of all sports. The real issues are crooked and evil politicians holding office in our nation, state and city.
They have declared God dead but he is the only true God as revealed to us through his only true son, Jesus Christ.
The only way to God is through our relationship with Jesus Christ, who is very much alive and active in the lives of true believers.
Donald R. Fugette
In response to Tom Eblen's Jan. 20 column, "Peek into the future," I wonder how he can remember so vividly what happened when he was a child.
I was not a child and what I remember shortly after Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech was increased lawlessness within the black community. Burning, rioting and looting were commonplace.
The civil rights struggle is between humans; both black and white are guilty. However, what Eblen did when he included gay rights was step on some very thin ice. Any nation or person who attempts to elevate himself or herself as king of the hill and defy God's plan will eventually answer to God. Such people may have their way for a time, but their actions will come to no good end.
Phillip M. Ellis