- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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August 2

Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on ark park:

When Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” was theatrically released earlier this year, the people who are trying to build the Ark Encounter theme park in Northern Kentucky were not on board.

In a March 29 online dissection of the movie, Roger Patterson and Tim Chaffey, writing on the answersingenesis.org website, offered “counsel” on the story as told by the filmmakers. Among other criticisms, the Answers spokesmen labeled it “unbiblical,” and assailed what they called its inaccuracies and its misrepresentation of God. (The film scored slightly higher on the secular rottentomatoes.com review aggregator, with 76 percent from top critics.)

It’s not that the writers had problems in general with artistic license - “We used artistic license, for example, in portraying Noah at the Creation Museum, and we will be doing the same at the Ark Encounter,” they wrote. “We don’t know what Noah looked like, what he wore, how he spoke, etc.” - apparently it just depends on who’s the artist and how the license is being used.

This is the same problem some people have with Answers in Genesis receiving the preliminary OK from Kentucky for tax incentives to start building that Ark Encounter in Grant County.

The group’s fundamentalist “artistic license” and literal reading of Genesis flies in the face of mainstream science. And peddling their story that the Earth is only 6,000 years old in the name of tourism and with the state’s help produces blurred lines that have drawn the concern of citizens and groups such as Americans United for the Separation of Church and State alike.

Beyond the legal aspects surrounding this theme park - state officials have long insisted it passes constitutional muster, but court challenges could and should await - are the implications of what its cozy berth in and with Kentucky (along with a Creation Museum in Boone County) means to the state’s national profile.

Online:

http://www.courier-journal.com

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August 3

Herald-Leader, Lexington, Kentucky, on tax giveaways:

Our state policy of giving away revenue to attract or retain almost any form of economic activity is magical thinking: Maybe if we just throw enough money at the economy, one day prosperity will miraculously appear.

It’s akin to a family spending money on a glitzy car over, say, college tuition, figuring the emotional bump from riding around in luxury could somehow lead to economic security.

And, when that doesn’t work, double down with a home entertainment system.

Of course, it never works.

Pick almost any set of economic indicators and this is clear. However, a recent analysis by economist Paul Coomes for the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is particularly illuminating.

He found average pay per job in Kentucky last year was $46,400, or 83.6 percent of the U.S. average of $55,600. Go back a generation to 1993 and Kentucky’s average was 84 percent of the national average, according to Coomes’ calculations.

Coomes’ findings about Kentucky’s post-recession job production point to even worse times ahead. By far the biggest growth has been in a sector called “employment services,” mostly temporary workers with low pay and few benefits.

No wonder 56 percent of Kentucky voters ranked “economy and jobs” as the most pressing priority in the recent Bluegrass Poll, ahead of second place “immigration” with 10 percent.

But there’s little hope of economic advancement while stagnant revenue keeps us in a cycle of shortchanging education and patching up crumbling infrastructure.

Still, governors and lawmakers find new ways to rob the treasury each year with the fantastical premise of improving our lot.

This has become so pervasive that now our state forgoes collecting about $10 billion in taxes each year, almost equal to what’s spent out of the general fund.

There are now almost 300 of these exemptions - called “tax expenditures” in state budget parlance.

So, perhaps it’s time to put them on an equal footing.

For starters, the General Assembly should incorporate the tax expenditure analysis into its budgeting process.

And, each tax break should include a sunset provision so the legislature would be compelled to review the effectiveness before voting to keep it.

Online:

http://www.kentucky.com

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August 2

The Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on Ukraine:

The situation in Ukraine is getting worse every day.

Pro-Russian rebels are destabilizing that country, and the latest reports are that the Russian military is sending in heavy military hardware such as heavy machine guns, tanks and anti-aircraft guns.

Russian officials deny they are backing pro-Russian rebels, but it is quite obvious from information on the ground that they are not being truthful.

The Russians have a lot of blood on their hands. While it has not been 100 percent confirmed, it is known that a Malaysian passenger plane shot down a few weeks ago by a surface-to-air missile was launched from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine. The death toll from the incident is 289.

Some Ukrainian soldiers have been killed by these pro-Russian rebels as well.

The bottom line is the people of Ukraine need help. They are literally fighting for the survival of their country.

The government in Ukraine has asked for help and indicated it needs heavy weaponry to try to fend off pro-Russian rebels.

The U.S. has just given them meals ready to eat, or MREs, night vision goggles, canteens and bullet proof vests. This is a nice gesture, but these are things that aren’t really going to turn the tide on the battlefield.

We agree with President Barack Obama and other leaders that there should be no American boots on the ground in Ukraine, but we could give that nation such things as anti-aircraft guns, anti-tank weapons, heavy machine guns and artillery, ammunition, tanks and other types of hardware they need.

By doing so, we would be keeping boots off the ground, protecting an ally and showing Russia we will not tolerate its aggression on a sovereign nation.

We would also be giving the Ukrainian military a lifeline where it could prevail.

They deserve a chance to defend themselves, but they need the necessary military hardware.

Online:

http://www.bgdailynews.com

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