UK president search can be confidential but not secretive
The Nov. 18 editorial regarding the search for the next president of the University of Kentucky used the word "secrecy" to describe a process where the names of the candidates are not revealed.
As one whose vocation is involved with such searches, I would like to suggest that a period of confidentiality (quite different from secrecy) is a standard part of transparent search processes.
Transparency is maintained by involvement of the constituency to establish goals and challenges that resonate beyond a small inner circle, and by regular communication about progress in the process itself.
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From the time names are received, confidentiality regarding names, locations and other information is normal. Openness and widespread involvement that lead to trust can be established and maintained in such a process, while maintaining appropriate confidentiality that will allow the consideration of the best possible candidates.
The choice of a widely respected chairperson, Jim Stuckert, is a good beginning to such a process and gives me every reason to put my full support behind this search.
Kay Collier McLaughlin
Thank you for the wonderful coverage of the new Kentucky Equine Network Association, highlighting the large segment of Kentucky horse professionals who are not involved in the racing industry.
There was one major omission I would like to correct: The University of Kentucky Equine Initiative has played a key role, along with the Kentucky Horse Council, in establishing this new group. UK is committed to reaching out to all horse owners and professionals, and has dedicated resources to assist in this successful venture.
It is important to recognize UK's involvement as a key component in the group's continued success. The Kentucky Horse Council looks forward to continuing this partnership.
Executive director, Kentucky Horse Council
No whining about security
Here's a great idea: All the people who are whining about airport security pat-downs and full-body scans can ride together on separate planes than those of us who appreciate all the measures taken for our safety.
Remember one thing, whiners: Terrorists don't care if they die. Do you really want to be on a plane with someone who has not been checked out? These people are devious enough to use their children or grandmothers to carry explosives.
Quit your whining. We should all be saying thank you to airport security workers instead of making them dread going to work every day.
Andrea Fraley Reed
Democrats must stand firm
In the wake of the recent elections, Democrats must learn not to alienate their base because they will need an energized base in 2012.
They must stand up for Democratic principles rather than act more like Republicans. Electoral defeat doesn't demand retreat.
Some compromise is necessary, but Democrats would be remiss to disregard values that represent the interests of America's middle class and those not fortunate enough to be millionaires.
Nancy Pelosi's re-election as Democratic minority leader is a wise choice because she is a tough, proven leader who will not retreat.
Pelosi should lead Democrats to prevent the dismantling of health care reform that stands to benefit millions of Americans and that will be wildly popular when fully explained and in effect.
The deficit is a problem and spending must be curbed, but tax cuts play into this argument.
The extension of all Bush tax cuts equates to a spending measure because the government must borrow money to provide them. A recent poll showed 49 percent of Americans support extending tax cuts only to those making less than $250,000 annually.
Tax cuts have been proven most stimulative to the economy when given to the middle class. Democrats should push for cuts only at these levels to save further deficit spending.
If Republicans refuse to pass tax cuts that don't include cuts for the wealthy, Democrats should vote "no" to show that Republican willingness to control spending falters if it means no tax cuts for their political allies.
Too late to complain
Judging from the letters to the editor in the Nov. 21 edition, all the left-wing liberals are finally coming out from under their rocks after the drubbing they got in the Nov. 2 election.
They should go back under the rock and stay there for good.
Reverse UK smoking ban
The smoking ban at the University of Kentucky should be reversed.
Whenever I say something about the matter, I hear "UK makes its own laws. It can do whatever it wants."
But there has to be something someone can do about it. Students in college are mostly of legal age to smoke cigarettes. College also can be very stressful at times, and those students who do smoke have to go farther than they should just to do so. This would be an even bigger irritation during the winter.
The same goes for professors and employees of UK. When they have a short break, they can't simply go to a smoking section. I understand it's an annoyance to people who do not smoke, but they can avoid the smoking sections if they really want to.
The smoking ban needs to be reversed in respect to the students and employees of UK, who would respect those who don't smoke by smoking only in designated areas.
Better health care reform
Regarding the Nov. 7 commentary, "Health care reform will survive," by Lawrence R. Jacobs and Theda Skocpol: While I understand the angst that discussions of repealing "Obamacare" causes, I think the big picture here is being completely missed.
Jacobs and Skocpol suggest that Republicans will want to return to the 2009 version of health care. That is hardly the case.
Republicans want private industry solutions to the problems facing our health care system, rather than further government bureaucracy and regulations that hurt the majority and end up costing the taxpayers enormously.
If we started over, Republicans and Democrats together can agree on a number of issues, including putting young adults on family plans and coverage for pre-existing conditions. Why not allow insurance companies to sell health insurance over state lines, to encourage competitive pricing? And certainly we can consider tort reform.
We have, undoubtedly, the best health care system in the world. Rather than change the way it works from the bottom up, why not just work together to fix the problems we see in an otherwise great system?
That is the view of Republicans, and I applaud them for challenging this misguided legislation at every turn. I believe it would be bad for Kentucky and most certainly bad for the nation.
Ready to be inspired
I made a decision to not vote in this midterm election, a first since I started voting almost 40 years ago. The reason was the myriad negative ads widely used at all levels of government.
It seems the most accepted way to promote yourself is to show how bad the other candidates are. The sad part is that, in too many instances, we buy it. This isn't a new approach to campaigning, but it reached a heightened level of use in this election.
I want candidates who inspire. Show me a track record that reflects commitment of service to others. Then, share views and how you will try to bringing about positive change. Show a willingness to work with others, not only those who share the views of your party.
As the people candidates are expected to serve, we have a tremendous role to play in the success of our democracy. It goes far beyond the voting booth.
We must be willing to provide ongoing support to elected officials. If we don't agree with them on specific issues we have a responsibility to share our opinions and still be supportive. We have to be realistic about how fast things can be done. Meaningful change takes time, and we must be patient enough to accept that.
In two years, I will have to make my decision again on whether to vote. My hope is that some individuals will come forward and inspire me to believe things can change for the better.
What 'pro-life' means
I wanted a chance to clarify the beliefs and practices of those of us who call ourselves pro-life. Pro-life is not just anti-abortion; it works for life, from the pre-born, the newborn, growing children, teenagers, adults, the aged, the sick, the dying.
The work is on-going — not just hoping and praying that people are allowed to be born but really helping people to be and to have all that they deserve from that gift of life.
As citizens of these United States, we are all guaranteed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What has happened to that promise — the most basic of which is the right to life itself? That denial has always shocked and baffled me, in all those years since 1973.
Barbara Bellinger McClellan