Columnist ignores science, consensus on climate change
Thank you for printing the column entitled "Apocalypse not: Dire predictions fizzled." I've long been puzzled by why someone as insightful as syndicated columnist George Will is skeptical of human-induced climate change. Now at least I understand his thinking better.
But there are one flaw and one error in his column.
The flaw is that he compares the warnings of a single book by MIT authors to the consensus concerns of communities of thousands of climate scientists, geoscientists, and paleoclimatologists spanning well over a decade.
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The error is that to him acceptance of human-induced climate change requires "reverential suspension of skepticism." This statement reveals Will's profound ignorance of the practice of science — including climate science — as well as the history of scientific study of climate change. In any scientific discipline, as scientific consensus emerges about key points, the scientific debate moves forward to other uncertainties. Would a scientist who challenges the link between smoking and health problems rightly be called a "skeptic" or a "denialist"?
Will's confidence in technological solutions to climate change may be well-founded. Most scientists well informed on climate change understand that decisions on which policy solutions to implement are not, at their core, scientific questions. Therefore, many of us refrain from promoting particular solutions to climate change. All we wish for is a society-wide awareness of the need for ongoing discussions on climate change that are based on mainstream science.
Shine light on pensions
Regarding your Aug. 19 editorial, "Open books first step in pension fix," I fully agree that there needs to be much more transparency on all forms of pension plans — those administered by public and private entities.
Whenever the lights are turned off, the roaches and rats come out.
I strongly believe that an even greater threat to pensions and any retirement system are the immoral and illegal acts by government bodies (president, governors, mayors, Congress, judges, state legislators and municipal commissioners) and private groups (boards of directors and senior executives).
A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care at either equity or law. A fiduciary is expected to be extremely loyal to the person to whom he owes the duty. He must not put his personal interests before the duty, and must not profit from his position as a fiduciary, unless the principal consents."
I fail to see such a duty being performed in the majority of handling of some pensions. Where can there be trust in the alleged administrators when a common thief may show more honesty than retirement system administrators?
Maybe we need to hold the public and private entity criminals to the standards that they are supposed to follow.
James E. Seymour Jr.
Selective use of facts
I was thoroughly disgusted at the misuse and omission of facts in the Aug. 19 op-ed piece, "When Bain bought a steel mill" by William D. Cohan. Cohan, a former investment banker, tries to pin much of the blame for the closure of the Kansas City steel firm GSI, its loss of 750 jobs and the ultimate death of company employee Joe Soptic's wife on Bain Capital, under the direction of Mitt Romney.
There are several important facts that Cohan failed to include. First of all, Romney gave up all day-to-day control of Bain in 1999, two years before GSI was shuttered. The man in charge of Bain at the time of GSI's closure was actually top Obama bundler, Jonathan Levine.
Soptic's wife left her job because of an injury in 2002. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, five years after GSI closed and seven years after Romney gave up operational control of Bain Capital.
Let's also understand what a venture capital company does. It invests in fledgling companies with the idea of pumping new life into them, and, yes, make a profit. Staples and Sports Authority are two good examples of Bain's work in this arena.
During his time at Bain, Romney helped create about 260,000 new U.S. jobs. GSI was in trouble before Bain showed up and without its investment likely would have gone under much sooner.
I understand Cohan is an award-winning journalist. In what category? Most creative use of the facts?
Don't pave over beauty
I couldn't agree more with those who oppose the Nicholasville-I75 connector road in the Aug. 12 article, "Some Jessamine residents fear side effects of proposed I-75 connector."
I grew up in the greater Los Angeles area, a place where you have to drive hours on a freeway to enjoy the beauty and solitude of nature. One of the things I like best about Kentucky and the Bluegrass is the blessing of enjoying this beauty on a daily basis, and the pleasure of that solitude only minutes away.
If we continue to pave and develop our home, we will quickly lose this asset. I understand that an area must be economically vital, but I also believe there is a place for everything, and the Kentucky River Palisades is not a place for a truck route. While a few businesses and transportation companies may profit from such a venture, we taxpayers and those who live close to it will lose.
We are not just a few farmers and hikers who can be ignored; we're families and people who value this area and what it has to offer.
Merlene Davis' column on the Rev. Esther Hurlbur's new group home, the Legacy Home, was an encouraging promise for ensuring quality of life, despite hard economic times. The home offers a sustainable solution for low-income housing and addresses the problems of isolation as well.
I hope this model inspires those searching for ways to provide quality affordable housing to low-income adults with children. Living in a community such as this might ensure children are consistently supervised, guided and generally cared for — especially when a single parent or both parents are struggling with late hours and other stressors associated with poverty.
Moving away from the assumptions that quality of housing implies single-family units, and moving toward the idea that shared space (kitchens, laundry areas, living rooms, porches and gardens) along with ample private space (bedroom and bath areas) may allow many low-income people to rediscover what Hurlburt says is true, "It is about community; I think that is the way we are going to survive."
I believe the women in the home will find their community allows them to not only survive but to find greater life satisfaction in sharing day-to-day events with others.
Disparaging to poultry workers
Joel Pett's Aug. 5 cartoon is so far off base it really is a joke itself. In Kentucky, we have many families that work hard seven days a week to make a living in the poultry industry. Our largest private employer in my county is the Equity Group, a poultry processor.
If he ever visited one of these operations, he would quickly see how much diligence, commitment and animal husbandry is required by these producers.
Maybe to Pett's surprise, the days are long gone of catching a hen, chopping off its head with a hatchet and dipping it in boiling water to get the feathers off. This is how my grandmother used to prepare a hen when we were growing up on the farm in Bracken County.
My grandmother also said if you can't say anything good about something, don't say anything at all.