Letters to the editor: March 24

March 24, 2013 

Pick the best candidate for UK provost job

Another example of political correctness run amok. The University of Kentucky is searching for a provost, the chief academic officer on campus. A front-page article in the March 17 Herald-Leader points out in great detail how the senior leadership at the university is basically white males.

So what? When searching for a person to fill this extremely important position, only one thing should be considered and that is the academic qualifications of the individual.

The race, gender, sexual preference, religion, height and other personal attributes are about as important as the size of the shoe the applicant wears. It is all about the academic qualifications of the individual, period.

One way to be completely fair and objective is to collect all the folders of the applicants and remove all identifying and personal information. Pass these sanitized folders to the search committee and let them rank the folders according to their academic qualifications. The top three could then be invited to the university for face-to-face evaluations.

If this system over time produces all females, all Chinese or all blacks, so be it. At least it is completely fair and objective.

Denny Harris


Sports a twisted priority

A March 17 story reported that the new University of Kentucky football coach brought a guy with him from Florida State University to monitor the daily nutrition habits and mental habits of the team.

UK is paying this guy $210,000 a year. The strength coach is making $150,000 and a full-time "sports science director" makes a mere $50,000.

I assume that these three will bring great glory to a football program that has been horrid for the past 60 years, minus a few decent seasons.

With all the funding cuts for the regular students, the football program is investing $410,000 a year in these three to train up about 80 football players.

This is absolutely pathetic and a sad state of affairs for our flagship university. Where are the university's priorities?

Terry W. Mullins


Columnist wrong on marriage

Regarding syndicated writer Cal Thomas' March 14 column on gay marriage: What utter drivel. Pure bigotry disguised as a reasoned op-ed.

Of course standards change with time, otherwise we would have never gotten rid of Jim Crow or barriers against interracial marriage. It took federal civil rights legislation and Virginia v. Loving to overcome those injustices. Left to states, those laws would have been in the books for several more years when one more day of that tyranny would have been unjust.

As a married person, I enjoy several benefits from the federal government that single people do not and thus equality is not served. Homosexuality today is not considered a mental disorder, which has fallen into the wastebasket of inaccurate diagnoses such as female hysteria from the past.

So being part of normal sexuality, the opportunity to marry should also be a right. The slippery slope argument by Thomas has been used to justify many of the past ills and truly is a lazy way out. If the religious argument is the cornerstone of the vitriol, I only have to point to the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

Dr. Ari Padmanabhan


Gay marriage sinful

I applaud the Cal Thomas column addressing the Defense of Marriage Act. Those for same-sex marriage are clearly those political factions who want to save their careers while relishing their sinful nature or sinful minds. We can pray that the Supreme Court will have a Christian outlook on this important subject.

I was a human resources professional for over 20 years, while diversity became an updated name for those failing to treat people and cultures equally and with respect.

There's no inequality for "female and female" or "male and male" as most organizations provided benefits for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, etc.

The problem became so because people created ungodly circumstances for themselves and their children.

Even today, single unmarried men and women have rights and benefits for children — with fornication overlooked. So making a damning, hell-bound decision to cover homosexuals differently looks as if it gives them a preferred status.

Every person has to answer to someone other than the president, pope or any worldly political faction.

Is the Supreme Court willing to support another Sodom and Gomorrah? Is it willing to support the No. 1 right of freedom of religion? How do we, a small voice in the wilderness, make a difference?

Liz Barry


The public trough

We should not judge state Senate President Robert Stivers too harshly for treating all of our senators to a dinner at taxpayer expense. After all, he is a politician and probably viewed the expenditure as a way of stimulating the economy in Frankfort.

However, regardless of his good intentions, our state legislators, the elected pillars of our political system, are actually paid a very generous allowance for the food they consume while performing their duties.

They are also given a rather handsome salary and benefits package for the minute amount of work they accomplish. Those who benefitted from Stivers' ingratiating yet inappropriate gesture should immediately reimburse the commonwealth for the meal.

As an alternative, it would be perfectly acceptable, as suggested by Stivers, for him to reimburse the state for the inappropriate expenditure he approved. I'm sure he could find a way to handle that.

Jimmy D. Helton


Chris Ware a treasure

What a treasure the Herald-Leader has with talented artist Chris Ware. His drawing of the University of Kentucky Wildcat looking in the gym door was priceless.

For years, we have enjoyed his work and absolutely love his whimsical style. Lexington is very fortunate to see and enjoy his work.

Bill and Janice Pieratt


Beverage industry (red) bull

The March 17 letter from the head of the Kentucky Beverage Association carries on the sordid tradition of beverage advocates defending energy drinks, an indefensible product.

The writer listed the the typical range of caffeine for a 16-ounce coffee as 300 to 330 mg. A quick Google search showed a McDonalds 16oz. cup of coffee has 133 mg of caffeine.

So let's tell it like it really is. Depending on the energy drink one is consuming, it may contain almost double the caffeine of a cup of coffee at McDonalds.

But let's talk about what the letter conveniently did not address: sugar. Coffee has no sugar unless one chooses to add it. However, beverage companies happily take care of that small inconvenience for us, for they know that sugar is addictive.

It is no mistake that the first three ingredients in a Monster drink are water, sucrose and glucose. So let's call it what it is: highly caffeinated sugar water.

Sugar and caffeine are two of the most addictive substances known to man. Put them together in a pretty can, have famous people endorse it, insert some B vitamins so you can make claims of health, and you create a perception that energy drinks are safe and healthy. They aren't.

The American Dietetic Association reports that the amount of caffeinated drinks consumed by teenagers has tripled since the 1970s. Be informed and make good choices.

Steven Smith


Like 'Grumpy Old Men'

Sen. Mitch McConnell has every right to be upset over that tweet made by Kentucky Progress, but if he is so upset that it warrants a TV ad, I must ask why he made an obvious reference to Hillary Clinton in this manner at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference:

"Don't tell me the Democrats are the party of the future, when their presidential ticket for 2016 is shaping up to look like a rerun of The Golden Girls."

Isn't an ad hominem attack based on age just as reprehensible as one on ethnicity? If you are so willing to engage in this kind of rhetoric, why should we believe this faux outrage of McConnell's?

This is nothing more than an attempt to change the subject so he won't have to defend his record. He has consistently voted to protect his party's interests and protect the rich and powerful and not Kentucky.

One only has to look at the economic crash in 2008. He voted for the bailout of Wall Street and against aid to states when President Barack Obama submitted his stimulus bill in 2009.

The list goes on and on when the Senator voted against Kentucky's interests. He's only interested in us every six years when he needs our votes. After that he represents "We the wealthy."

Senator, it's time to retire, become a lobbyist and collect your 30 pieces of silver. (This is as much a "joke" as his reference to Clintion.)

Dave Midgett


Mine safety performance

Assistant Secretary for the Mine Safety and Health Administration Joe Main's March 10 column, "Mine safety agency at 35: Making sure miners return home," gives justifiable credit to the importance of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, in reducing mining fatalities and accidents.

But contrary to his claim, the act and MSHA are not solely responsible for the decline in mining fatalities and accidents.

Over the 35 years since passage of the act, U.S. mining has become far more technologically advanced, requiring the collective efforts of mine operators and miners, together with government regulators, to improve mine safety.

Safety procedures that go beyond baseline requirements of the law are now viewed by the best performing operators as essential to driving continuous improvements. That is why the National Mining Association has endorsed a comprehensive systems approach to improve safety performance.

The approach assumes compliance with U.S. mine safety laws and regulations, but goes beyond them to prevent accidents before they happen.

As U.S. mining moves toward our goal of eliminating fatalities and reducing U.S. mining's injury rate by 50 percent within five years, the cooperation between mine operators and MSHA is more important than ever before.

Bruce Watzman

Senior vice president, regulatory affairs

National Mining Association.

Washington, D.C.

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