Letters to the editor: Feb. 8

February 8, 2014 

  • New election-year rules

    Letters about candidates in 2014 political races are limited to 150 words. No commentary from candidates will be published. Candidates may respond, every 30 days, in 250-word letters to editorials, news articles and columns in which they are the primary focus.

More language education, not more computers

The Kentucky Senate just passed SB 16, which would allow computer programming to replace foreign languages in the state curriculum. This bill could result in a disaster for college-bound students.

I urge readers to contact their representatives and our governor and ask that this part of the bill be removed.

It is certainly true that computer programming could lead to a useful career. But it should be linked with other programs in technology and science, not with languages.

Learning other languages brings students into contact with the cultures of the speakers and contributes to the global understanding so necessary in today's world.

It broadens the horizons of the learners and leads them out of their experiences, which might be limited. We should be proposing more courses in the greatest variety of languages and cultures possible.

The creators of the bill argue that computer programming might lead to careers. This is even more true of language studies. Kentucky is heavily invested in the global economy; failing to understand that leads to failure to participate in that economy.

A recent study of world languages used in commercial areas shows that the top three are English, Mandarin and French. Spanish, Japanese, German, and Arabic are obvious useful choices as well.

One of the strongest reasons not to exempt students from foreign language study is that they need a language requirement to enter a university. Do we want our young people to find that they are not qualified to enter?

Dorothy Carter


Road to rue

Gov. Steve Beshear wants to spend $753 million to extend the Mountain Parkway and expand the existing two-lane road connecting Salyersville (population 1,800) to Prestonsburg (population 3,200) into a four-lane superhighway.


Even if all 5,000 people in both cities decided to flood the highway at one time -- say, to protest wasting so much money on such a ridiculous project -- would anyone notice? After all, that's not many cars for 21 miles of road.

Is the rush hour in Campton (population 424) so bad that we need four lanes to handle it?

No offense to the residents of the greater Pikeville area (population 8,600), but there's not a whole lot on the other side of Prestonsburg. I suspect two lanes can handle it if they're well maintained.

Beshear claims it would attract jobs and visitors, but how can a rational individual see this as anything other than an attempt to buy the votes of Eastern Kentucky with taxpayer money?

Unless he's invented some way for the state to spend its way into prosperity, this is just another wealth-destroying boondoggle disguised as a highway project, which makes me wonder which of Beshear's cronies expects to get rich off the construction contract.

Dan Ewing


One and dumb

Since 2009, when John Calipari took the reins as University of Kentucky's head basketball coach, he has turned UK into the University of One and Done.

It's not been nearly as fun to watch UK players mature and grow as individuals and as a team as it was to watch past teams.

Calipari's first two signees were John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, ranked then as the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the NBA mock draft. What happened? They were taken first and second in the NBA draft. So how did he elevate their stock? He didn't. And the same goes for many other players during his regime.

And it took a literal "freak of nature" for UK to win the 2012 national title.

Yes I am referring to Anthony Davis, a 6-foot-3 inch guard in his sophomore year who grew eight inches before he graduated from high school and was also picked to go first in the mock draft.

And Davis has gone on to become such a better NBA player than what we saw at UK. No thanks to Calpari.

Last but not least, recently Calipari was quoted as saying "If I had junior and senior players we could go nine or 10 deep (in rotation)."

But that is his fault because of the "one and dumb" way he recruits. Out of seven McDonald's All-American freshmen in the current class, likely only Julius Randle will get drafted. Unless of course the Harrison twins want to settle for the D-League.

Darrell G. Gross


Channel serpent

In the article about 'Turtleman' facing scrutiny over animal welfare, Animal Planet spokeswoman Patricia Kollappallil told the paper that the safety of the animals is the channel's top priority. That is a lie.

If Animal Planet cared about the safety and welfare of animals, the network would not produce and air shows like this, or other tasteless shows, such as River Monsters, Fatal Attractions, Hillbilly Handfishin', etc.

About an episode where Animal Planet put a poisonous non-native snake into a city swimming pool, Kollappallil said, "We're clear we do dramatizations." To remove wild animals from their natural habitat and put them in artificial settings for entertainment is dangerous to the animals and definitely doesn't have their best interests in mind.

Whether it's animal experimentation, factory farming, breeding, horse/dog racing, etc., if an industry makes a profit off of animals, their welfare is never a priority.

Jodie Wiederkehr


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