UK leadership lacking in ignoring nepotism issue"Well, isn't that special?"
That comedic line comes to mind in reading the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees' decision to allow the hiring of Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart's daughter as a paid graduate assistant in the athletics department.
At issue here is not the young woman's credentials. Board Chairman Britt Brockman, UK President Eli Capilouto, and administrator/parent Barnhart should be reprimanded by the faculty via the Faculty Senate for placing a student in a situation of probable nepotism.
The chairman's meeting agenda resembles a "rope-a-dope-vote" as "Barnhart, present for most of the meeting, received praise from Capilouto," according to the news report, before the decision is made about his daughter.
There was not enough time left for board members to discuss the nepotism question, purportedly the reason the item was on the agenda.
At least one of the eight board members against the appointment had voted "with great regret" because "I do not want to cast an aspersion on this fine young lady."
Given Brockman's proclivity for secrecy in decision-making, demonstrated in the naming of an athletics dorm and during the search for the UK president, he must have had prior confidence in the voice vote (instead of a show of hands) in the brief one-and-done moment of "transparency."
One of the three top UK officials, including the father, instead might have suggested an unpaid graduate internship, under supervision of an appropriate academic department graduate adviser.
Adaptation is natural
A Sept. 23 letter used the example of germs developing resistance to antibiotics as proof of natural selection, thus demonstrating the process of evolution.
In agriculture, one often witnesses species adapting to harsh or detrimental conditions. Livestock have developed traits needed to survive in their surroundings, varieties of grain crops can possess resistance to various blights that afflict them, and even weeds condition themselves to resist the effects of man-made herbicides. Yet at no time does one see any of these evolving into another life form.
While I am neither biologist nor theologian, I contend that a species' ability to adapt and survive through the ages could just as readily be attributed to a resourceful creator who instilled these qualities.
Perhaps natural selection could more accurately be referred to as intelligent design.
A good spanking
While I agree that adults have failed when hundreds of Kentucky children ages 10 and younger are being charged with crimes, I think it has something to do with other adults who have taken away discipline from schools and made parents afraid to discipline their children with a good spanking.
It didn't hurt past generations, and it wouldn't hurt children of today. They need to know that there are consequences. A little healthy fear will find them showing respect for teachers and parents. Let's face it, these days kids have no respect for anyone.
I don't mean children should be abused; I don't consider spanking abuse. When it comes to parents who abuse their children there should be some heavy consequences.
Also, I don't think teens should be put in jails. I think we should open up a military facility with some good drill sergeants and drill these teens just like army cadets and make them iron their uniforms, take pride in themselves and their appearance.
Break them down then build them up to feel proud of who they are and show them their full potential. These days they have it too easy. They think they have the right to do as they please and there is no one to answer to.
We always need to look out for those kids who fall through the cracks, and that's where social workers need to be. It seems to me an awful lot of really abused kids are never found until it's too late.
Tougher times ahead
The president's latest plan to lower unemployment calls for more government spending, raising taxes on businesses and pushing regulation that will have us all paying more for energy. I look for tougher times ahead.
Kentuckians know about tough times. Our state has the sixth-highest poverty rate in the nation and unemployment stands at 9.5 percent.
That doesn't mean we don't work hard when we can, but our regional economy depends heavily on coal production, and the energy industry is now in the crosshairs of the administration and federal regulators.
The president and his allies in Congress want to raise taxes on oil and natural gas companies even though these businesses support millions of family-wage jobs.
And while it may have retrenched on some proposals to regulate air and water quality, the Environmental Protection Agency is moving ahead with major new policy rules for coal-fired power plants.
These operations generate nearly all the electricity used by Kentucky businesses and families. New regulation will not only make it more expensive to throw the light switch, it could threaten power reliability in some regions as well.
Maybe state Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, has the right idea. He wants to designate Kentucky as a "sanctuary state" declared free of the EPA. As an option it's probably lacking no more in common sense than the government raising taxes on job-creating businesses and over-regulating U.S. industries into a standstill.
There them darn Republicans go lying again about being fiscal conservatives. They offered a plan that anticipates adding $4 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years. Seems they cannot get over the ruinous habit of borrowing and spending.
Republican Social Darwinism, over the last 30 years, has accelerated the rich becoming richer while the middle class stagnates. Refusal to raise taxes on the wealthy means that the middle class is left paying the tab (class warfare?).
Average Americans already pay for roads, schools, universities and Social Security with their taxes. Apologists for the wealthy fail to mention that the wealthiest and large corporations enjoy millions and even billions of dollars in annual subsidies from our government and average citizens.
Fiscal health can be restored with two taxes. First would be a minimum alternative tax of 10 percent on all profitable corporations. If the working poor can pay taxes, why not profitable corporations?
Second would be a 10 percent dedicated surcharge tax on the income of the 10 percent of wealthiest citizens to pay down the national debt of $14 trillion to a manageable $2 trillion.
This would save over $600 billion per year currently being wasted on interest payments. It would also compel Congress to balance the budget immediately, as is already within their powers. All segments of society would take hits, but fiscal solvency would be restored and Social Security saved.
Who is recklessly gambling with the future prosperity and stability of America? The arrogant Republicans.
Allen T. Kelley