Celebrate end of school year wisely, soberly
"You don't have to have a drink to have a party," read signs posted by youth at local high schools — a timely reminder that even though many teens choose not to use alcohol, prom and graduation celebrations are sometimes associated with underage drinking.
May 21—25 is National Prevention Week, a time for our community to unite with high expectations for our youth. Prevention works if we work at it.
Parents, don't be a party to underage drinking. It's illegal, it's not healthy and it's not worth the risk. Underage drinking is not a rite of passage. It can damage a teen's developing brain and people who drink before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependency.
Studies show that when minors drink, they often binge. Such behavior can easily lead to alcohol poisoning, serious health problems and even death. And every year we read about teens whose lives are cut short by a drunken driver.
So, remember, if you are an adult and you want to help your friend or family member celebrate the end of the school year, don't do so by purchasing alcohol.
Think of healthy, positive ways to congratulate them on a job well done, so they can stay safe and remain able to reach new goals.
Drug Free Communities coordinatorFayette County Mayor's Alliance on Substance Abuse
Redistricting not hard
I enjoyed reading the "Fairer way to redistrict" letter to the editor. It was a refreshing reminder that we have sufficient technology at our disposal to maintain a fair and representative government consistent with population shifts.
The Kentucky legislature's redistricting plan, which split multiple counties between districts, was unquestionably a reflection of partisan politics. The Kentucky Supreme Court found the redistricting plan unconstitutional because it excessively shifted populations from existing districts and split counties between districts.
As the letter pointed out, it really would not have been that difficult for the legislature to have formulated a fair redistricting plan that accurately reflected the state's population growth and shift from rural to urban areas during the decade between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.
An objective algorithm could factor in existing county lines, thereby preserving county integrity, and would result in a plan that achieved population equality.
Let's hope the legislature on its next attempt will stop wasting taxpayer dollars and develop a fair and representative redistricting plan.
Independents on rise
Most voters registered as independents are independent in thought and don't feel a need to be represented by career politicians motivated only by narrow, rigid self-interests.
Independents typically believe that only they know what's important regarding their own needs and can sort it all out for themselves, thank you. Staunch Republicans and Democrats believe candidates and party members should simply adhere rigidly to party lines, no matter one's own beliefs. Don't try to think too much; believe only what party zealots tell you and, above all, vote the party line when told.
According to a Gallup poll, independents in 2011 had a greater percentage of voters than Republicans or Democrats. I believe this is a growing protest movement with voters saying: "We, the voters, will position ourselves in a way that will eventually control outcomes of all elections, and you will be wise to give serious consideration to our moderate views and opinions."
It's also protesting the stalemate between two parties comprised of pompous ideologues having combative attitudes that consider sinking the other party more important than moving the country ahead.
Today's politics brings to mind a cartoon printed years ago wherein a lifeboat was shown loaded with shipwreck survivors. Passengers on one end of the boat gleefully laughed as a huge leak gushed high into the air on the other end. Passengers on the "safe end" shouted happily, "Look! Look! Their end is going to sink."
Our leaders seem to be of similar, simplistic mind-set.
I just read John Clay's column on the state of horse racing. I agree with him that horse racing needs to be governed by a national commission rather than state by state as it stands now.
Kentucky thinks it's so great when it comes to the history of the horse, but on my last trip to your state I saw an owner trying to dye a horse's tail blue before a big race.
That's not respecting the animal. I think it goes back to the Lexington tourism board who disgraced an amazing Edward Troye print by allowing it to be turned blue for an ad campaign.
When I was driving by the great Woodburn farm, I turned down a small road and was looking up to see the 1830s house Troye had once lived in. To my dismay, the whole thing had been turned into rubble by the blade of the new owner's bulldozer. What a shame.
I guess in Lexington they don't even know who Edward Troye is. I can tell you he doesn't play basketball.
Spanish Fort, Ala.
Degrees of demand
Young Americans surely need to know that college can't guarantee a certain quality of life, but presenting this truism as a problem to be solved implies that such a guarantee once existed ("College a luxury item but payback uncertain," May 6).
It didn't. When the economic boom that followed World War II placed a premium on higher education, only one in 20 American adults had a college degree.
Now the ratio is closer to one in three. Far from performing miracles defying basic economics, education for the masses followed the laws of supply and demand to the letter, and continues to do so today.
President Jimmy Carter promised to give us a government as good as the people it serves. For that, all we need do is pick at random anyone off the street and send them to Congress for a term.
The writers of the Constitution envisioned a bit more than that. They sought to govern with men (and now women, too) of exemplary character and superior wisdom disinterestedly seeking the "common good" called for by the preamble.
Instead we have a Congress funded by special interests to make the national bounty work for them, even at the expense of the common good.
For example, a congressman votes against health care coverage to all Americans, including many of his needy constituents, because it does not compensate local hospitals "adequately."
In short, the few are favored over the many because the few make much larger contributions than the financially challenged many.
We do not make judges (at least on the federal level) civil servants or our professional military pony up large sums before they can enter public service.
Yet in effect we ensure that candidates for Congress must pay a hefty admission fee in order to legislate "for the common defense" and to "promote the general welfare."
When candidates for Congress no longer have to rely on well-heeled backers to attain public office, we might actually get not just a government as good as its people but one slightly better.