Taxpayers deserve answers on eternal war on drugs
Mayor Jim Gray has announced yet another task force against drugs in order to continue cramming our prisons with nonviolent drug offenders.
This time the bogeyman is heroin, last year it was prescription pills and the year before that it was crystal meth. Before that, bath salts; before that synthetic marijuana and so on.
A task force by its very nature is supposed to accomplish its task and then disband. Law-enforcement drug task forces never end and have no way to measure results.
Taxpayers deserve answers to a few questions.
How long will this task take and how much will it cost? Can we measure success, or will this be another eternal anti-drug government program like UNITE or the annual marijuana eradication that never end and cost millions of dollars?
Experts agree that you cannot jail your way out of a drug problem. Why will it be different this time?
Will the accounting and budget for this additional task force be available to the public? When will the fact that the public no longer supports the war on drugs matter to politicians?
And, finally, who can we hold responsible when this jihad against drugs turns into yet another failed multi-million dollar crusade?
Eblen irrational on climate
I was entertained by columnist Tom Eblen's July 14 humor piece on climate change. At no point in his rambling, incoherent response was he even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought.
Everyone who read it is now dumber for having done so. I award him no points, and may God have mercy on his soul.
In all seriousness, he lacked substance. He was vague with broad statements like "scientific consensus" and "studies" without listing results of those studies.
Eblen is on the wrong side of this issue. He plays the severe weather card for the purpose of fear, with zero evidence supporting it. The facts are the Ice Age occurred without any burning of fossil fuels, the worst environmental disaster in world history. The 9th, 10th and 11th centuries all had a higher average global temperatures than the 21st century.
The global temperature is due to one factor — a nuclear fusion reactor that sits in the middle of our solar system called the sun. It doesn't have a set temperature, but I'd like to know what Eblen's opinion is about what it should be. One more thing he fails to mention is that, with coal going out of business, there is a high prospect of energy prices going up.
Energy demand is inelastic, meaning with high demand, the rise in costs will be incurred by the consumer since consumption won't change. Do your job, Eblen, give us the real facts.
Outsiders and E. Kentucky
I read the July 14 Kentucky Voices column by Al Smith and Ron Eller, wherein they had recommendations for Gov. Steve Beshear to help solve the perceived "war on coal" dilemma that we are dealing with in Eastern Kentucky.
Their opinions have merit, particularly when one considers that they both have served as Eastern Kentucky spokespersons as former members of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Appalachian Center.
However, Smith is a native of Sarasota, Fla. and longtime Lexington resident. Eller, a native of Beckley, W.V., is also a longtime resident of Lexington, which is also the home of the Appalachian Center — even thought Fayette County is not an ARC county.
Further investigation revealed that the two present members of the commission are Beshear from Dawson Springs in Hopkins County (not an ARC county) and his alternate, Commissioner for Local Government Tony Wilder from Boyle County (not an ARC county).
Similarly, the present director of the Appalachian Center is a native of Carlisle in Nicholas County, which is not a coal-producing county.
Based upon this information, one can assume that Eastern Kentucky problems could be best solved by residents from the area, not by individuals who have done flyovers.
Genetic roulette revisited
I guess I should be flattered that the world's largest biotech trade industry organization in Washington, D.C. felt the need to rebut my June 23 op-ed, "Sowing Seeds of Genetic Roulette."
In 2012 alone, companies spent over $30 million influencing Congress on agricultural issues, including making sure they did not pass legislation to label GMOs or outlaw them altogether.
The biotech industry's attempts to destroy the credibility of anti-GMO activists, reminds me of when the tobacco companies were telling everybody cigarettes did not cause cancer. Biotechnology Industry Organization's paid spokesperson cited 600 studies claiming the safety of GMOs. Yet these studies are backed by corporate-dominated interests.
So, who better to speak the truth than former pro-GMO scientist Thierry Vrain, a former research scientist for Agriculture Canada? It was Vrain's job to reassure the public that GM crops and foods were safe. He now writes:
"There are no long-term feeding studies performed in these countries (U.S. and Canada) to demonstrate the claims that engineered corn and soya are safe. All we have are scientific studies out of Europe and Russia, showing that rats fed engineered food die prematurely. ... I refute the claims of the biotechnology companies that their engineered crops yield more, that they require less pesticide applications, that they have no impact on the environment and of course that they are safe to eat."
So sorry, Biotechnology Industry Organization, North America is waking up to your subterfuge.
Vice President, Good Foods Market & Café