E. Ky. needs better leadership rather than scholarships
The succeeding efforts of former Gov. Paul Patton to somehow bring Pikeville University to the public trough for financial support seems to be a never-ending story. We are told by some that college education for residents in Eastern Kentucky will improve the quality of life and promote prosperity in the area.
Others, such as the Herald-Leader, say tax money for higher education of coalfield residents is OK, but there should be requirements for collage aid recipients to stay in the area for some period of time.
I believe these are patently ridiculous notions. No pun intended.
Most of us Eastern Kentuckians love where we are from. Thousands of us have managed to get a college education but did not return home. This was not because we saw the bright lights of Richmond, Morehead or even Lexington.
It was because there were no jobs. Officials in the coal-severance-tax counties need to stop spending money on frivolous projects and come together in a cooperative way to plan for industrial development.
Create the jobs and educated Kentuckians will come home to fill them, but developing a pool of indentured college graduates to work in menial jobs or be supported by the welfare system is not in the best interest of the commonwealth. We don't need more state universities or tax money for scholarships.
What we do need is strong leadership at state and county levels to direct the use of coal severance tax money for development of job producing commercial activities.
Jimmy D. Helton
Jobs not aid the issue
The May 27 editorial "Pay grads to return to coal fields" rationally criticized former Gov. Paul Patton and House Speaker Greg Stumbo for their proposal, approved last week by Gov. Steve Beshear, to provide student loans for only the last two years of college and then only to universities or colleges in the coal-producing counties. It seems they are more interested in endowing their favorite institutions than supporting the students.
It makes far more sense, as the editorial suggested that the loans and scholarships be awarded to students of need for four years and to any accredited college or university that a student may attend.
A student might be enrolled and graduate from the four-year mining engineering program at the University of Kentucky, a program not offered elsewhere in the state. If a job in that field is available in Kentucky coal districts the graduate will be well qualified for it and should be free to accept it with no need to repay the college loan. Or, if none is available, the graduate should be financially unencumbered to seek a position elsewhere.
If young people are compelled to return to a region where there are no jobs that can utilize their college degree, they may be disinclined to even pursue the degree, whether they have a loan or not.
It is foolish to encourage anyone to locate where there are no jobs solely to maintain a population base. To do otherwise only adds to the unemployment problems.
GOP strategist Frank Luntz starts off his May 28 op-ed piece, "Busting biggest myths about conservative voters," by saying, "I study what Americans think and how they communicate." He then cannily proceeds to use what he's learned to spread myths about liberals.
First he starts by addressing his supposedly "conservative" readership with a really softball question about whether they want an efficient and effective government, and lo and behold, they do. (Who doesn't?)
He then continues his fruitless exercise by asking them whether they want to deport millions of people, whether they think Wall Street is blameless in its dealings,, and whether inequality is OK.
And he asks his readers (members of AARP no less, the "R" standing for "retired") whether they want to end Social Security. Again, surprise, surprise, his conservatives say no.
I have news for this person who supposedly has studied what people think. Liberals would answer these dumb questions the same way. However, he wants his readers to conclude the opposite, and once again make "liberals" a dirty word.
Finally he ends his piece with a pointless sound bite. Oh, he knows how Americans think and communicate all right — just like a used car salesman willing to sell junk to as many misguided folks as he can reach.
I read with interest the May 27 column entitled "Busting biggest myths about conservative motives."
I hope author Frank Luntz's data is correct and that conservative voters' opinions are not as extreme as I am sometimes led to believe.
I feel compelled, however, to comment on the position, "Increasing patient choice in Medicare will help save Medicare from bankruptcy. When patients can shop for better care ... it will force insurance companies to compete against each other, which lowers costs and increases care."
That statement may be true, but the current state of Medicare insurance choices is overwhelming. Since the first introduction of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug insurance and Medicare Part C Advantage Health plans in 2006, I have helped scores of seniors try to make good decisions.
For Part D, each of the dozens of plans available has its own set of options that are so complex it takes a computer and someone knowledgeable about plan costs, benefit levels, formularies and drug restrictions to make truly informed choices.
Medicare Part C plans also are not standardized.
To choose among the plans the senior must compare different provider networks, co-payment structures, and optional benefits.
Not only that, but the rules and options of the many Medicare D and C plans change every year.
Yes, competition can help lower costs, but there must be a better way than to expect those in their golden years to wrestle with decisions that are anything but plain and simple.
Learning from animals
This is in response to the May 27 letter, "Cute photos but no Mother's Day tribute," in which the letter writer objected to the Mother's Day edition of the Herald-Leader featuring Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra.
I am absolutely certain that if all human mothers took as good care of their babies as animals do, the children of this world would all be much better off.
Watch our animal friends; they have a lot to teach us "higher intelligence" people.
Kim L. Curtsinger