Teachers' pay not the place to find more money
Deficits are resolved in one of two ways: Increase the inflow of revenues, or decrease the outflow of revenues. How that resolution is accomplished is left to the creativity of the public officials.
Taxes are not the only source of revenues, but they are the focus when discussing deficit reduction. Salaries are a major component of revenue outflow, and become the focus of cost-savings schemes when such schemes are brought to the forefront of public debate.
I agree with the basic premise of Xon Hostetter's April 30 commentary ("Teacher: Time to support pay cuts over higher taxes") regarding cost savings in the public sector. I have a problem with his premise regarding teachers' salaries.
As a substitute teacher (formerly in New Jersey and currently in Fayette County), I have seen for myself what teachers have to confront every day.
I have come to the conclusion that whatever teachers are being paid, it's not enough.
I don't know of anyone who entered the teaching profession to get rich. Teachers are committed to their craft, and any monetary incentive, be it salary or any kind of bonus, falls way behind that commitment.
To ask teachers to take less for what is already an underpaid profession borders on insulting.
Salaries are one piece of the puzzle, albeit the biggest piece. I'll wager that there are cost savings to be realized among those smaller puzzle pieces, perhaps enough to bring the deficit noticeably down.
Eugene A. Apicella
Tax private sector
There is so much wrong with Xon Hostetter's commentary on cost savings that the analysis would take a full newspaper, not simply a couple of column inches.
Like the right-wing nuts on radio (who dispense misinformation and lies like rugs), his simplistic solution to a complex problem — cutting public-sector salaries — defies a brief answer.
So let me just propose a different solution to the problem of how to ameliorate the financial difficulty in which we find ourselves.
I suggest that rather than cut the already low salaries of teachers (as Kentucky just did by chopping about $500 out of each teacher's salary, thus reducing educational productivity and damaging the progress and future of our children), we should tax the stew out of those immensely overpaid private-sector players (some of the bankers) who got us into this bind to begin with, in hopes that we can reduce their productivity.
It was nice of the writer to volunteer a portion of his salary (I don't know what his level of productivity is; if it's low enough, it is possible he could reasonably contribute his entire income) to go toward the state's fiscal problems.
However, he doesn't need the government to reduce his wages. He can simply contribute directly to the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet.
Fox critic out of line
Ron Formisano, in his rant against Fox News and those who watch it, attacks those who don't follow the heavily liberal-biased media.
He does understand the difference between hard news and opinion. But maybe too much time watching Chris Matthews' leg tingle or Rachel Maddow smiling at how smart she thinks she is has numbed his ability to tell the difference.
As evidence of the bias, just look at the Herald-Leader. When was the last time it published a Joel Pett cartoon or an editorial supporting a conservative view?
He talks critically about Fox personalities campaigning for the GOP, but let me ask him this: Should anyone from The New York Times, Newsweek or whatever be allowed to speak at a Democratic or any other liberal function?
I'm not asking him to quit watching MSNBC because that would probably cut its ratings by 50 percent. But he should realize that the media isn't a complete voice for those of the good professor's ilk as it was for the last two generations.
I just read the May 4 commentary in the Herald-Leader written by Ron Formisano, the history professor at University of Kentucky.
This seems to be the message of all his columns: People are just so misinformed. They even like to watch Fox News, you know.
Why can't these stupid people learn to like Rachel Maddow and those other announcers? After all, "really, we know what's best" and "we'll take care of you from cradle to grave if you'll just do it the right way — that is, my way."
Even with promises of all these good things, people still wouldn't listen to Air America and won't watch MSNBC. It's amazing; people are just so stupid.
Why in the world would people want to watch Fox? People would be so much more satisfied if they would watch our stuff so we can tell them how to do it, rather than how it's being done.
I just can't quite figure out how the writer knows everything that's on Fox and everything it's doing. It must work like this:
Watch MSNBC and hear its announcers complain about all the bad things Fox is doing. Watch Fox, which just concentrates on its ideas so people can make a choice.
Maybe I'm wrong here, misinformed as I am, but one set of ideas seems to be winning.
Boost dropout age
I cannot agree more with the April 13 editorial, "Raise dropout age to 18".
In some countries, governmental officials showing such incompetence as is now in evidence in the state Senate would be taken out, put up against a wall and summarily shot as a danger to the state.
While not advocating such drastic measures in this case, it is time for the educated people of Kentucky to stand up, open their windows as in the film Network, and shout: "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
Kentucky is a wonderful commonwealth. I came here in 1965 from New Jersey to attend college and worked as an instrumental music director and teacher, in newspaper publishing, constitutional politics and finally for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
I've been all over Kentucky, and I've seen the results of where education resides and where it does not. To let a child make an adult decision at the age of 16 is criminal, in my opinion.
How long are educated Kentuckians going to put up with this government nonsense?
How long must their beautiful commonwealth have to remain the butt of jokes?
If we can produce the Kentucky Derby, the Louisville Orchestra, the Lexington Philharmonic and ballets and a host of other fine offerings, why then can't we produce at least the minimum of educational standards?
That is: "Stay in school, dummy — you'll find out in a few years why it's so important. For now, just take our word for it."
It's time to get moving, Kentucky.
'No' not enough
Reading the Chicago Tribune editorial about retiring Ronald McDonald, I had to wonder if any of those writers are parents of children.
I agree that parents should guide their kids' eating habits, but the "just say no" oversimplification puts all the blame on parents for not fending off the impact of $1.6 billion spent to drive a wedge into that relationship.
When 16 percent of U.S. children are obese, it is much more than an individual or family problem. Michelle Obama pointed out where the responsibility lies when she kicked off the "Let's Move" campaign.It lies with all of us, from parents to teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members and, yes, even those in the fast-food industry.
How can we put all the blame on parents when fast-food companies target advertising to children and use corporate mascots to get around "gatekeepers", the term executives use to describe parents intent on making healthy choices for their kids?
As one of those gatekeepers, I am well-practiced at saying no when my children request things that are not in their best interest and work hard to instill in my kids good eating habits. It's an uphill battle when fast-food marketing is everywhere and is aimed at undermining my parental authority.
Unlike television spots, parents can't turn off the ads in schools. I'm in the trenches and need support to fight the good fight for my children's health, not friendly fire in the form of "just say no."
Robert M. McDowell, a member of the Federal Communications Commission, opines in an April 16 commentary that despite a recent federal appeals court ruling against the FCC, other members of the FCC may still try to regulate Internet traffic in a manner that is bad for America.
He writes that "The Web's free and open marketplace is thriving" and credits the FCC for this successful marketplace when, starting in 2002, the FCC formally insulated the Internet from regulation.
Here, we have a red herring. The FCC's lack of regulation of broadband services increased accessibility to the Internet; the overturned FCC regulation would have assured continued accessibility to content on the Internet to everyone.
It is the content that is at the heart of the "Web's free and open marketplace."
The appeals court ruling overturns a 2008 FCC ruling that said Comcast, a cable operator, didn't tell subscribers it was blocking their access to a file-sharing process, lied about it and intended to cripple online video sites competing with Comcast's on-demand service.
The appeals court overturned the 2008 ruling not because it was flawed, but because FCC policies didn't give it the authority to take the action.
McDowell is correct to state that "... the distinction between network operators and application developers" is blurry. It is precisely for this reason that rules are needed to prevent Internet-access providers from limiting access to any legal content, especially where that content may compete with a provider's own content.
Eric R. Portzline
New rules cost us
A report regarding the head of the Federal Communications Commission pledging to apply new regulations to high-speed Internet access missed some important facts.
The FCC already has "open Internet" rules by which broadband providers such as AT&T and Verizon abide.
Any consumer can visit any Web site or use any legal application or service without any interference from their broadband provider.
There have been no more than four alleged violations of these rules in the past five years and, in each case, the alleged violation was fixed shortly after it was discovered.
Apart from the issue of whether a federal agency should wield regulatory authority never granted it, the proposed "net neutrality" rules are really wolves in sheep's clothing.
For these rules are not about protecting the already protected open Internet, but rather they are about shielding companies in Silicon Valley from having to pay for the broadband network upgrades it will take to deliver faster movie downloads, online television and YouTube videos.
Effectively, the rules would bar broadband providers from charging any of these wealthy special interests for building faster networks that are so critical to the profit margins of those very same special interests.
Broadband providers don't just have pots of money sitting around for these massive upgrades.
That means consumers will be funding these fiber infrastructures through higher monthly bills.
An open Internet? Yes! A gravy train for Silicon Valley Internet companies imposed by five appointed regulators who lack specific congressional authority? That's not the change I voted for.
National president/CEO, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association
On wrong path
An April 8 editorial applauded Western Kentucky University's partner benefit package.
It is a law of our nature that we are molded in our moral feelings by the persons with whom we associate. We fall into the customs of those with whom we have daily conversation and whom we make our companions and friends. Our own sentiments undergo a gradual change.
It is the way by which men become corrupted in their sentiments and feeling. Yes we have come a long way, but, unfortunately, not in the right direction.
Phillip M. Ellis