Horse industry solution: Pay workers better
The Jan. 16 feature story on illegals working in the horse industry is just one more fictionally insoluble tale concocted to mask the fact that laws are being broken in America to save a buck.
The problems really aren't so hard to face and fix: Employers can determine the legal status of employees, and if there aren't enough Americans or legal aliens to get the job done, higher wages will do the trick. As high as necessary. Supply and demand, right?
We Americans are always being told that various complex and insoluble difficulties are in the way of creating more jobs with higher rates of pay.
The truth is the folks who want the work done won't pay any more than they can get away with, they've bought off government so they can get away with it and the corporatist media cooperates by presenting supporting propaganda.
In this, the Herald-Leader story did not disappoint.
James E. Holbert
The Jan. 16 article on illegal immigrants in the horse industry presented several aspects of H-2B visas, except the "elephant in the room." H-2B visas and the employees they would cover cost more to the owners and trainers.
H-2B visas require that the employer provide benefits and prevailing wages (which presumes minimum wage would probably be adequate), also accompanied by fees for the H-2B process.
However, the casual observer would suspect that illegal immigrants take less and are satisfied with cash, while minimizing the paperwork of H-2B visas.
It seems strange that, with unemployment in Kentucky approaching 10 percent, locals can not be obtained for such seasonal work.
Ronald B. Blackburn
The Kentucky Legislative Research Commission estimates that undocumented immigrants make up 1.15 percent of Kentucky's population.
To address this "problem," the Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 6. The only estimate of cost impact was from the Department of Corrections. Public comment was restricted to 45 minutes. The Senate passed the bill without public comment or discussion.
There are significant problems with the bill and significant cost impacts beyond corrections. But my greatest concern is the new crime of "assisting an unauthorized immigrant." Our intention to criminalize acts of compassion is most disheartening.
While one hand is trying to reduce our prison and jail populations, the other hand is working to put behind bars pastors, church officials, first responders, compassionate neighbors, social workers and others moved by faith or personal conviction to help those in need, regardless of immigration status.
What are we thinking?
Marilyn S. Daniel
Invasion of privacy
State House Speaker Greg Stumbo is trying to pass a bill to make it illegal to smoke in one's car if a minor is present. Are they going to follow people home to see if they are smoking?
This has nothing to do with tobacco products. It has plenty to do with infringing once more on a citizen's privacy and edging even closer to Gestapo society. Stumbo should be more concerned with other issues, such as where Kentucky ranks on child poverty and hunger. The child might starve before the cigarettes get him.
Don't tell me what to do in my own car unless you want to pay the insurance, payments and upkeep. Our legal system gets the cart before the horse.
I am awed at how our society sets priorities. Perhaps Stumbo was just bored that day.
Shirley G. Kelly
I would like to point out an omission from Jerry Tipton's Jan. 16 UK basketball notebook. National Collegiate Athletics Association president Mark Emmert's is quoted saying there were very few schools recruiting Enes Kanter due to the probability of Kanter being deemed ineligible.
A balanced article would have pointed out the obvious potential conflict of interest — that Emmert was president of the University of Washington until October of 2010.
It just happens that Kanter was committed to that university until he changed his mind and signed with Kentucky. So Emmert's own college was one of the very few schools recruiting Kanter. Conflict? You decide.
Keeling circular logic
Let's see if I've got Larry Keeling's reasoning on the Senate bills introduced by Republicans correct. And let me state: I wouldn't vote for the David Williams and Richie Farmer ticket if they were running against my dogs.
Keeling says Senate Bill 1 is a bad idea because reforming taxes is the responsibility of the legislature.
Just think about these two words "legislature" and "responsibility." That's as bad as the old line we used in the military during the 1960s about "military" and "intelligence."
Second, his thoughts on SB 2, to reform the pension of legislators, are a little more complicated: It was a bad idea when Republicans passed the law a few years ago, and now it's bad Republicans want to repeal it. Because, well, you know, the Democrats were against it then, but they'll vote for it now.
It takes a special mind to follow all of this. If we could all get together and start thinking in circles, like Keeling, we could probably revolutionize philosophy.
And finally, he uses the thought of not doing something good and moral because someone else will just do the opposite, and the idea will go nowhere. This is the poorest excuse for inaction ever exercised by mankind.
Why don't both parties just stop doing what's best for them, do what's best for the state and we can all stop saying "Thank God for Arkansas," or whatever state is lower than our No. 49 in the ranking we happen to be reviewing.
Ph.D. not infallible
I did not take offense at the personal attacks directed at me by the Answers in Genesis scientists who rebutted my essay proposing an evolution museum. I am concerned about the appeal to authority, which has become rampant in our society.
Having a doctorate does not guarantee being right. Consider these examples made by academics with doctorates:
■ Henry Morris, father of modern creationism theory, claimed the craters on the moon were caused by battles between angels and demons.
■ William Schockley, Nobel Prize winner for inventing the transistor, wrote an essay claiming non-Caucasian races are intellectually inferior to the white race.
■ Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons claimed to have developed cold fusion in 1989.
■ Richard Hermstein of Harvard University co-authored The Bell Curve which attributed intellectual differences between races to a genetic component.
Appealing to authority is no substitute for clear critical thinking. Expecting religion to answer scientific questions is foolhardy as was illustrated by the Catholic Church's censorship of Galileo for supporting a heliocentric universe.
When the church rescinded its censorship centuries later, only the interpretation of scripture had changed, not the structure of the universe.
The Ark Park will generate a few low-paying jobs, but it will scare away scientifically based firms with higher-paying jobs because it feeds our image as a bunch of illiterate Bible-thumpers.
I do acknowledge a point of grammar the authors pointed out in their rebuttal when I referred to "serious scientists." I should have said "scientists who want to be taken seriously."
Disrespectful of grieving family
I just wanted to express my concern over the Jan. 16 political cartoon by Joel Pett in your Sunday edition. I completely understand the context of the message that Pett is trying to portray, however I feel that it was done in extremely poor taste.
Portraying the pointless murder of an innocent 9-year old girl is outside the realm of my understanding as to how it could possibly further enhance the point the artist is trying to illustrate. I cannot fathom what the parents of Christina Taylor Green would think were they to see this cartoon.