Grimes: I am paying costs for mailing certificates
Assisting in overseeing the issuance of Kentucky Colonel certificates is an important responsibility of my office that I hold in high regard. Every recommendation that I have made for a colonel commission is in keeping with the principles established by Gov. Isaac Shelby and formalized in 1932.
As the commonwealth's chief advocate for civic engagement, I believe the colonel program plays a vital role in the civic health of Kentucky by recognizing outstanding citizens who serve our community, state or nation and connecting them with a non-profit organization that performs charitable work throughout our state and beyond.
My faith in this program and its relationship to the civic mission of my office is so strong that I have paid for and, until the General Assembly finalizes the budget, will continue to personally bear the expense for mailing certificates to the colonels who I recommend.
I am excited to unite such outstanding citizens who I have met across the state or seen in my office or have been recommended by other elected officials to this charitable organization and will continue to exercise this responsibility for the good of the order.
I am honored to serve as Kentucky's 76th Secretary of State and humbled to represent all Kentuckians. I take the opportunity to express this gratitude as often as I can, to as many Kentuckians as I can. It is unfortunate that a sentence in a cover letter has been taken out of context. Such misinterpretation simply is not in keeping with my intent.
Alison Lundergan Grimes
Kentucky secretary of state
Wary of war talk
As we have withdrawn our soldiers from Iraq, we leave a country still rife with death and civil war-like factions. In Afghanistan, the same scenario seems to be in progress.
Those of us who opposed these military actions from the start are now saddened to see, once again, those who would beat the drums of war — this time against Iran.
Lexington Friends Meeting (Quakers) invites all local faith communities and all who care about peace in the world to be a voice against those who advocate aggression against another country because of a perceived threat.
Instead, we must insist that the United Nations be involved in monitoring Iran's nuclear program and that any action against Iran be developed from an international consensus. If intelligence uncovers a legitimate threat, it should be vetted in the international arena. To act unilaterally would otherwise take us down the same path, over and over again.
Quakers believe that finding common ground with an enemy is the best way to defeat them; they become your friend. Many may find this naive and unrealistic; we might, too, except that it is what Jesus commands us to do.
Tom Marco and Claire Carpenter
Friends Meeting co-clerks
Rising tuition feared
As a first-generation college student at the University of Kentucky, I was vaguely aware of the expenses I would face in order to complete my four-year degree.
With a generous scholarship from a foundation and my Pell Grant money, I had very few loans to take out in order to make it by.
It looks like this could change very soon. With the $19.4 million proposed cut to UK's operating budget, I fear my tuition bills over the coming years. Tuition has increased 130 percent in the past decade at UK. Along with attempts to cut Pell Grant funds and other aid around the nation, more students are going to suffer the stress of college debt.
RTW laws not to blame
In response to Richard F. Dawahare's commentary, "Right-to-work laws would hurt Kentucky economy" (Feb. 3), I propose we look at the real issue — the negative effects that unions and states have on business growth and development.
Since companies are focused on cost containment, moving across state lines to find a more suitable business climate is commonplace. Taxation is one reason for moving a business. Raw materials, a skilled labor force, right to work laws (RTW), transportation logistics and infrastructure are some others.
Why did Oklahoma lose one-third of its manufacturing jobs? The corporate tax structure for Oklahoma grew at an annual rate of 6 percent from 2000 through 2008 during one of the worst economic periods for the country as a whole.
State lawmakers should be wary of lucrative tax incentives and tax subsidies. In 2005, Dell Computers took advantage of North Carolina's $240 million worth of incentives to lure the company to the state. After four years, Dell closed shop and left North Carolina.
Dawahare states that RTW reduces wages by $1,500 for both union and non-union labor. What he is obscuring is the fact that the largest wealth reduction by RTW will be in the union coffers and the union leadership's' pockets.
Business 101 states that the highest and most controllable cost of a product or service is labor.
If RTW reduces wages by $1,500, would that not be an incentive for companies to relocate to Kentucky? More companies mean more jobs. Coupled with a robust pro-business climate, $1,500 would seem a small price to pay.
Tax reform would help
I am a student at the University of Kentucky, and I want to be able to attend a university that can compete in a tough higher-education market. But if Gov. Steve Beshear's inadequate budget passes, next year UK will lose millions of dollars in state financing. I know that losing this money will mean a significant loss of quality in my education.
In addition, tuition has increased 130 percent in 10 years, and the university will be compelled to do so again if nothing is done.
There is a solution, though. If our state legislators in session can find the courage to pass House Bill 127, we can raise enough revenue to stop tuition hikes and pay for the kind of educations Kentuckians deserve. As a student at the flagship university of the state, I appeal to our government to pass fair tax reforms, and to take our budget something closer to adequacy.
I read with interest the letter, "God, science apart." The writer's premise was, "religion has nothing to say to science."
The author stated, "Polls confirm that scientists have a higher rate of atheism than the general public." I ask, What polls? Polls done by which prominent pollsters? And how many people of the world's population were polled?
The writer's settled opinion on this subject was put this way:
"But religion, with its emphasis on faith and myths, has nothing to offer science."
Really? Well, here's a quote to challenge that notion: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." Whose conviction was that? That was Albert Einstein's.
Scientists, as scientists, can neither confirm nor debunk the existence of God. Science, as science, offers no moral guidance for how scientific knowledge should, or should not, be used.
Here's another quote from Einstein: with the splitting of the atom everything has changed, save our mode of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled disaster.
God and science apart? Will you make an informed call on that?