A novel approach to reforming election finance
Every once in a while someone comes up with an idea to reform our money-laden elections that's a real show-stopper.
Such is the proposal made by Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig in his recent book Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress — and a Plan to Stop It. The proposal: give every voter a $50 voucher which can be donated to any candidate running for national office in their state. To qualify for the donation, candidates must agree to accept donations of $100 or less and only from residents of the state.
In a stroke this frees candidates for Congress from mortgaging their incumbencies to special interests and forces them to pay closer attention to the wishes of voters of modest income. Recent studies have shown that congressmen pay little or no attention to voters whose incomes are below $100,000.
For the price of a $50 voucher per voter we can reduce the baleful influence of big money on our elections and enable the voices of all voters to be heard more clearly.
Isn't it time for all of us to pick up our pens and write to our representatives and senators demanding support for this grand idea?
Supposing an ease in reassuring the common folk that evolution is occurring, the chair of the Biology Department at the University of Kentucky reminds us of gravity and that Earth does revolve around the sun. Reporting science, the chair states all living primates share up to 99 percent of genetic sequencing. A fact, but for the chair compelling proof substantiating the astounding doctrine that evolution is responsible first for making a common ancestor, and has since been busy making man and the other primates. However, prudence admits that God calculated the core genetic code underlying all the primates.
Named for human bones found in Germany's Neander Valley, the popular image of an extinct caveman suggested by Neanderthal is a distortion. Recent DNA analysis indicates that modern man interbred with Neanderthal, an act of compatibility satisfying a requirement for individuals to be of the same species. Theories arguing for a separate species of Neanderthal have not categorically eliminated the rationale that their distinguishing features were traits of a distinct race within our species, or that their loss was due to absorption into dominant cultures.
Composed of books and letters over a 1,500-year period in places as culturally diverse as Babylon and Rome, the Bible is a unique library that remarkably sustains a unity of theme throughout its pages. For some, the Bible is offensive and scorned through cynical criticism of its authorship by man, who apparently they think foolish. Guess who is writing the book on evolution? Evolution — forget about it.
Evidence for evolution
Each time I read a discussion about evolution I see opponents cite the same incorrect argument. Many people believe that once a theory has been proven it becomes a law. This is absolutely and completely incorrect.
Scientific laws are always descriptive and usually predictive while scientific theories are explanatory. For instance, Newton's law of gravitation provides a means to predict what will happen when you throw a ball out of a window. It does absolutely nothing to tell why it happens. Gravitational theories are in development and still controversial. Despite the controversy, gravity continues to do its job.
Laws are valued because they are simple and useful, not necessarily accurate. Laws that were shown to be ineffective at the quantum level were revised to be classical physics only. Other laws are vague. Moore's law states the number of transistors that can be inexpensively placed on a circuit doubles approximately every two years. Words like inexpensive and approximate defy accurate measurement.
Finally, the amount of data that supports evolution is overwhelming and reaches even unreasonable standards of proof. Every time a farmer switches pesticide because the old one is no longer effective he adds to that evidence. At this point most of the debate in evolution revolves around the mechanics. Opponents key in on this as proof against evolution. This would be akin to asking directions to Chicago and, after receiving two different routes, concluding there is no Chicago, since we can't agree on the best way to get there.
No threat to God
Is the theory of evolution a threat to the Jewish-Christian-Islamic religions as some believe?
We all know that science is based on observation and experiment. When a vast number of observations and experimental results are explained by a theory, that theory is enthusiastically accepted by the worldwide community of science. So it is with evolution.
Do we not know from personal experience that no living system comes into existence all at once? Each of us began as a minute cell that over many years grew into adulthood. The University of Kentucky did not suddenly come into being. It started as an idea. It is still growing and maturing. So is every form of life.
In the Bible, Genesis relates life in the universe arose and matured. First there was no life, then vegetation, then other successive levels of life, finally the human being.
All of creation is orderly being based on cosmic, universal laws. The universe's creative force is not a builder working in a dusty garage who constructs every living thing from scratch. No, this force is infinitely clever and subtle.
Like all other forms of life, we arose from previously existing forms of life. Perhaps a chimpanzee was our predecessor from which, via a few subtle and clever changes, humanity came into being.
Bible Belters, yes, evolution should be taught in science courses in our schools. This theory, supported by a vast array of facts, speaks to and in no way diminishes the glory of God.
I read with great disappointment the Dec. 20 article by your Frankfort reporter on a well-financed, national lobbying effort against a pension system for government employees.
This reporter was just yards away from a real, ongoing protest of mountaintop removal by Kentuckians.
Led by the novel appearance of Santa Claus bringing coal and switches for the governor and legislative leaders throughout Kentucky, the group sang carols at the governor's office and in the other capital buildings.
"Oh Holy Night, the blasting rocks my windows! It is the night that they've destroyed one more hill.
"Gone are the trees and land for growing grasses. My animals lack any land now to live."
Sit-In For The Mountains has been protesting mountaintop removal outside the governor's office on Thursdays for more than 34 weeks.
We oppose the pollution mountaintop removal is causing to our land, air and water.
We wish to leave the sacred gift of conservation, not consumption or abuse, of our land and people.
We firmly believed in peace for, with and to the Earth as a priority this holiday season and, even more so, a necessity from this day forward for our children.
Please, don't ignore us. Join us.