Coal industry no friend to Kentuckians
The people in Kentucky need to know this about coal.
The coal industry tells them it is keeping electric bills from going up.
But the truth is, the coal industry is going to make bills go up.
If Kentucky doesn't find another way to generate electricity, the generating plants that burn coal will have to pay a monetary penalty for the dangerous pollution they belch out.
And then, electric bills will really go up.
The coal industry tells people that it is defending the jobs of coal miners.
But the truth is, strip mining and mountaintop destruction have eliminated most of those jobs.
The coal miners who are left get on buses and say what the coal bosses tell them to say.
But the truth is, there are fewer than half as many coal miners as there used to be.
The coal bosses say that they represent Kentucky. They put their names on buildings.
But the truth is, the coal and the land and the leases belong to high-flying investors in New York and overseas.
The coal industry knows that Kentucky could make a lot of money by building dams and developing hydroelectric power — clean, renewable water power — and other kinds of energy.
There's not one lump of coal in the ground today that won't be worth twice as much tomorrow.
But the coal industry doesn't want Kentucky to be a winner in the future of energy.
It wants other states to win. It always has.
It's the truth.
Snow in paradise
A Feb. 13 Associated Press article about record snowstorms contains this statement: "More than two-thirds of the nation's land mass had snow on the ground" with a slight snow in Florida making the total "49 states out of 50."
The supposed exception is the island paradise of Hawaii. The article quotes a meteorologist as saying that there was no trace of snow on the Mauna Kea volcano.
However, Hawaii usually has snow on the ground all year round, on the peaks of the Big Island's two extinct volcanoes: Mauna Kea (elevation 13,796 feet) and Mauna Loa (elevation 13,679 feet).
James C. Wright
Gore full of hot air
Syndicated writer Clarence Page recently wrote a good column on climate change and the possibility of weather extremes as a result of global warming.
However, one thing he touched on that needs more attention is the fact that former Vice President Al Gore's entire theory of global warming has been proven wrong.
Gore's argument was based on the cyclical patterns of a warming of the Earth and a corresponding increase in carbon in the atmosphere.
Gore's theory stated that an increase in carbon led to an increase in temperature, and he made grand gestures toward a chart that showed the spikes correlating over a period of 20,000 years.
Closer study has revealed that the increases in carbon actually occurred hundreds of years after the temperature increase.
This is one of the facts that get pushed under the rug by environmental zealots and the press.
Al Gore was not the role model for the hero in Love Story, Al Gore did not invent the internet, and Al Gore is totally wrong on climate change.
There does seem to be a pattern here about Al Gore, though.
David N. Bradley
In December, Herald-Leader columnist Tom Eblen wrote that the world was finally poised to take global warming seriously.
Months after the Copenhagen Climate Conference, however, the United States is poised to consider a measure that would take us a huge step backward by undermining the Clean Air Act.
The Clean Air Act has been one of the most successful and pragmatic public policy tools in our country's history.
It is a law with a nearly 40-year track record of cutting pollution and protecting Americans' health in a cost-effective manner.
Now, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and her friends in the oil and coal industries are working to block long-overdue actions to require that the biggest polluters clean up their act.
Their actions would keep America dependent on oil and other dirty energy sources and cost us new clean energy jobs.
I am extremely disappointed, but not surprised, that Kentucky Sens. Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell are supporting this attack on the Clean Air Act.
Our lawmakers should act to protect the public and allow America to compete economically in coming decades, not allow big polluting industries to call the shots.
Let's hope whoever fills Bunning's seat next year will show more foresight.
On the one hand, Republican lawmakers beat their chests and bragged about voting against what they called the stimulus bill's "wasteful spending."
On the other hand, they want to be sure they get their share and receive all the credit for delivering thousands of jobs to their home districts.
I think the name for this is hypocrisy.
Palin can't cut it
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's performance amid standing ovations from the adoring Tea Party national convention may have validated the political pundits' anointing of her as a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
But any objective analysis of her performance would lead to the conclusion that she is not up to the job.
While it is true she can deliver a speech well and rouse a crowd, her performance at the friendly venue with a friendly interviewer revealed her insecurity about speaking extemporaneously and her inability to marshal the points she wanted to discuss without the aid of a "cheat sheet" written on the palm of her hand.
Can you really imagine "President Palin" putting on her lipstick and "pit-bulling" it up with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the Iranians and the Chinese?
The philosopher Ayn Rand, a favorite of many conservatives, has written that things are what they are; just because you may perceive them differently, it doesn't change what they are.
You may perceive something as a graceful swan, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, even if you see a swan, it's still a duck. Rand's philosophy states that reason is one's only source of knowledge, one's only judge of value and one's only guide to action.
Any reasonable person would have to conclude that the Oval Office is no place for Palin — an empty suit, even if it is from Neiman Marcus.
L. Wayne Scott