Taxpayers on hook for kids to 'find themselves'

To the editor:

In response to Steve Sebelius' Wednesday column, "'State's economic development plan falls short on education":

Mr. Sebelius offers nothing more than intellectual drivel. He parrots the plan and proposes more taxpayer money be spent on students from K-12 through the university system.

But he goes on to assert that an education "where we train future cogs in the machines of commerce" is "a shortsighted and even vulgar approach to education." He says, "In the ideal, education exists to awaken the minds of students to the world around them" and to help them "find themselves and decide what it is they want to do with their lives."

How high-minded of him. But let's look at a few facts about how our higher education monies are actually (mis)spent.

About 50 percent of students entering UNLV in any given year actually graduate within a six-year period. How much taxpayer money is spent on those myriad deadbeats? In a recent survey of those who made the effort to graduate from UNLV, fully 60 percent have firm plans to leave Nevada upon their graduation. Want to bet on how many of the remaining 40 percent will actually find a job here?

My preference is to ration scarce public money to needy, high-achieving students studying for any of the hard sciences. Why would any sane person waste taxpayer money on people who will never add to the betterment of our nation? And don't try that line about "there are intangible benefits to a general education." It is not my responsibility to fund anybody's extension of their care-free high school years.

Achieving '"personal enlightenment" or expanding one's "awareness" is not the responsibility of the average taxpayer. Ask your parents or get a job to pay for your mental meanderings.

Dave Fair

Las Vegas

Police themselves

To the editor:

Outgoing Henderson Police Chief Jutta Chambers and the Henderson Police Department should have their feet held to the fire by the citizens of Clark County for the disgusting beating by Henderson police officers of Adam Greene.

First, we citizens pay their salaries. All the officers involved in the assault on Mr. Greene should be earning "zero" now and in the unemployment line. And yet Ms. Chambers refuses to comment or give an interview.

Even if Mr. Greene was a drunken driver, rather than somebody experiencing a medical incident, no individual who was not resisting officers should be dragged from his vehicle, flopped to the ground and beaten on and kicked repeatedly, resulting in broken bones.

The Henderson Police Department and other local departments have no credibility, in my eyes. The only thing that would restore that credibility is for the Police Department to fire the cowardly officers instead of protecting them and their jobs. If the departments would police their own and get rid of the bad apples within their ranks, people would have more respect for them.

Brad Evans

Las Vegas

Pay up

To the editor:

Women have the freedom to choose. To have sex when they choose. To have abortions when they choose. So why don't they choose to pay for their own birth control?

Women say they don't want the government or anyone else to tell them what they can do with their body or in the bedroom. Then they should stop asking for other people or organizations to pay for their birth control and abortions.

It is wrong for the government or anyone else to pay for anything that has to do with your sexual pleasures. So, women, pay your own way or learn to say no to Joe.

Ellene Hohmann

Las Vegas

High voltage

To the editor:

President Barack Obama recently released his "budget," which called for another massive deficit of $1.3 trillion. We were told that a key element in getting our fiscal house in order is to stop subsidizing the "rich" and make them pay their "fair share."

But then the budget was released, and a curious item was detected. It seems that the president has increased the subsidy for buying Chevy Volts from $7,500 to $10,000. That means that every Volt purchaser gets an extra $2,500 compliments of President Obama. Why is this odd?

The average income of a person purchasing a Chevy Volt is $175,000 per year. That means many of the buyers of Volts are the very people the president has decided aren't paying their "fair share" -- yet they will now get a subsidy from Mr. Obama for buying his favorite car.

This is something every American should be looking at closely. Follow my ideology, says the president, and I'll give you some government goodies. Don't follow my ideology, like the Catholic Church, and I'll fine you, using the government as the hammer.

Is this what freedom is all about? Not in my America.

Joseph Schillmoeller

Las Vegas

Warmed up

To the editor:

Global warming is back in the news for the wrong reasons, as apparently leaked documents from the Heartland Institute describe a plan to attack the teaching of climate science, and to sow uncertainty about the state of climate science where none exists.

To be clear with the facts: There is no uncertainty about global warming.

The Earth's atmosphere and oceans are warming, ice cover is decreasing, and sea level is rising. It is completely certain that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are rising because of fossil fuel combustion. This also is certain: The trapping of heat in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases is a physical fact, and increasing gas concentrations are a primary driver of the Earth's rising temperatures.

Despite claims by non-experts about uncertainty, publishing climate scientists have near unanimous consensus (97 percent) that human activities are responsible for global warming, as shown by position statements by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and many other distinguished and qualified scientific organizations. It is time for society, and the media, to switch the attention back to where it belongs: what to do about global warming.

Matthew S. Lachniet

Las Vegas

The writer is an associate professor of geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.