On Syria, there is also a cost to U.S. inaction
It seems like the most popular story in the news right now is whether or not to strike the Assad regime in Syria after its use of chemical weapons, killing more than 1,400 including more than 400 children, and crossing President Barack Obama's red line.
I have noticed many negative comments that show hate and bigotry, which is very unfortunate. This is not about a religion or about a certain group of people; this is about humanity. It is about doing the right thing.
While most Americans are tired of war, one must reflect and understand what could happen if America does nothing.
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If we do not react and punish President Bashar Assad after gassing his own people, it's like giving a blank pass to all of the evil dictators and terrorists around the world who would consider an attack like this against anyone, anywhere.
Obama must follow through on his warning to keep the legitimacy of this country. Weapons of mass destruction have been outlawed by the world for almost a century, and for that a strong stand must be taken.
When those helpless Syrians got attacked with sarin gas on Aug. 21, 2013, the death and suffering was very painful to watch. No human being should ever have to suffer and die a death like that.
That is why I, a Syrian American, stand with the U.S. plans to strike the Assad regime, so no other Syrian child, or any child, should suffer in that way ever again.
We are all connected
Not being privy to all the detail, I can recommend little. The world is more complex and more interconnected than ever and likely to become more so.
"For evil to succeed good men need only to do nothing." History is filled with horrific examples that moral hindsight would ask why no one responded. The most recent failure in my memory was Rwanda.
Hypocrisy on wages
Mitch McConnell's salary as Kentucky's senator has been raised 17 times in his 28 years in office, from $75,000 in 1985 to $174,000 today. Kentucky's poverty rate is among the highest at nearly 17 percent. McConnell has voted several times against raising the minimum wage. Why would a senator from one of the poorest states vote against increasing the income of his own constituents just as he has enjoyed?
Weak science-ed plan
On Sept. 11, the Kentucky Legislature's Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee will take a crucial vote on a regulation that makes the deficient Next Generation Science Standards the only set of science standards for every public school.
Adopting these standards could deny thousands of students a complete and adequate science education, destroying opportunities to advance into high-paying careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.
The science standards comply with neither the letter of the law nor the intentions of lawmakers when they passed Senate Bill 1 in 2009. That law says revisions to the commonwealth's academic standards will "ensure that the standards are aligned from elementary to high school to postsecondary education so that students can be successful at each education level."
The standards should ensure the student is adequately prepared to follow the career path of his or her choice, whether as a clerk or a program engineer.
According to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute's "Final Evaluation of the Next Generation Science Standards," the advanced work includes much of what students should receive in standard high school chemistry or physics courses. The standards largely ignore the last two years of high school science. One Kentucky physics professor lamented that around 30 school districts in the state don't even offer a high school physics course.
If the subcommittee does not make the right — and obvious — decision to rule the proposed regulation deficient and send it back to the Board of Education to address those deficiencies, current inequities in opportunity for Kentucky's students to go into STEM careers could substantially worsen.
Richard G. Innes
Staff education analyst, Bluegrass Institute
Help school fundraisers
As school districts are forced to slash budgets, fundraising efforts are more important than ever. Schools cannot afford to provide funding for all sports, clubs, organizations and music programs. Fundraisers can offset the cost of equipment, uniforms, travel and tournament costs.
Without such support, some students would be denied the opportunity to meet new friends, develop life skills, build self-esteem or potentially continue with their activity in college.
For students, fundraising serves as a means to form plans, work together, reach goals and celebrate accomplishments. It also adds to greater awareness of real-world expenses. While speaking at a recent meeting with the 220-member Lafayette High School Band, I asked the students to guess how much their participation actually cost. When told the answer, the surprised looks on their faces spoke volumes.
The more I talked to them about the financial challenges of running our program, the greater I sensed their eagerness to help offset some of the expenses. This particular group of students' dedication and preparation for the 2013 Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, Calif., resulted in a super performance and a lifetime of memories.
When a student comes to your door or workplace, please give them some of your time. Remember they are not only asking for your support, but they are also developing valuable social and marketing skills. By offering encouragement and financial support, you will feel good about yourself and feel proud of the young men and women when you see what can be accomplished. Everybody benefits.
Carole E. Howell
Lafayette Band Association
No council windfall
If there is one thread of common sense left in the Urban County Council, I hope the member who introduced an idea to give each a $250,000 windfall to spend will graciously offer a motion to withdraw the suggestion and it will pass unanimously. Grrrrr.
Ky. right on marriage
In an Aug. 6 letter about the Kentucky definition of marriage as "one man and one woman," the writer asks, "Must we wait for tradition to die?"
There's nothing complicated, or deceptive, and there's no trickery about the definition of marriage either, as one man and one female joined together in holy matrimony.
As a matter of fact, a marriage between a male and female is customary. It is also customary for stable families to adhere to tradition because that is a part of our rich culture in America and we pass it on to our fledglings.
But it befuddles me why the newspapers print such adversity about Kentuckians.
Should we overturn Kentucky's ban on gay marriage just to appease the minority? I think this, too, shall pass because there's more of us than there are of them.
Ellouise Stephens Shepherd