copyright Bill Widener 2000

Dear Editor,

I feel compelled to respond to the article, "Publish or Perish" [August 24] that you printed several weeks ago about the University of Kentucky. Your reporter posited a dichotomy between the teaching and research missions of the University that simply does not exist. Students are attracted to a Research I university like UK because the faculty are engaged in research at the cutting edge of their disciplines. Both graduate and undergraduate students at UK learn what is important today, not what was important twenty years ago, precisely because UK faculty are carrying out modern research in their own laboratories and are therefore compelled to keep up with the latest developments in their fields. Moreover, one of the most important ways we teach students at UK is to have them carry out their own research projects. Research experience prepares undergraduates for real-world jobs, and the quality of a graduate student's research product (thesis and publications) is by far the most important measure of the extent of his or her mastery of the field. In other words, research IS teaching. If an assistant professor's research program "sucks" then he or she is failing to teach the undergraduate and graduate students that work in his or her laboratory, and tenure is not deserved.


Robert B. Grossman

And last word on THIS

Please allow me to respond to Mr. Cobb (letters-9/28) and others who may be misinformed.

I do not now nor have I ever had any professional relationship with WRVG in any context. I am merely a fervent fan and took great umbrage at the omission in the article in question (InMediaRes, 8/31) of the best morning DJ in the Lexington market, Tom Martin and 'Early World'...

My only connection to WRVG is through the time I donate during the plege drives and the one time I was allowed to cash in my two free hours of on-air time.

So, Mr. Cobb needs to do a bit more investigating before he makes such accusations. If he would like to confirm my current employment, please have him call UK... They would be happy to tell him I work there.

Melinda Belleville

Foul Hall?

I just returned from a jaunt to FLUCG's annual Fall Haul - a.k.a. Hazardous Waste Disposal Day - the one chance a year Lexingtonians have to dispose of car fluids, dead appliances, pesticides, paint cans, all those nasty things piled up in garages and basements all over town. Having been a rural Madison County resident - and ardent recycler - where a 15 mile round trek is necessary for any type of recycling, I looked forward to a quick trip to Mercer Rd. Oops! The response to this Fall Haul was overwhelming - so overwhelming that the Henry Clay site apparently shut down early and sent everyone to Mercer - and I found myself in a double line of traffic for 40 minutes.

I only had a few cans of inherited paint but some trucks were laden with every type of haz. mat. imaginable - short of nuclear waste and I'm not totally sure of that - and there were swarms of white and blue suited men and women busting to get every vehicle emptied and out of there as fast as possible.

While it was heartening to see such response to this program, it was discouraging that the City - once again - can't seem to get it right.

Most people probably do want to be responsible when it comes to environmental issues, and welcome the opportunity - so, why only offer it once a year, at two inconvenient sites?

I've missed a couple Fall Hauls because I was working, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who's had difficulties making the 5-hour, once-a-year window. I think the LFUCG would do well to consider 2 or 3 hauls a year, at 5 or six relatively convenient drop-off centers city-wide, for 8 hours. Might just cut down on all of those dead microwaves by the sides of the roads.

Again, I'm thankful for the opportunity to responsibly dispose of household waste, but I do think a more frequent and broad-reaching program would better serve the needs of this community.

Mary Cain

via email

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Mail: 486 West Second St , Lexington, Ky 40507



If you could tear yourself away from the presidential and vice presidential debates, the fall TV season rolled out this week, bringing with it the alleged heir to Lou Grant, in the form of the Oliver Platt vehicle, Deadline.

In the first episode, we learn that he's a columnist, a journalism teacher, a Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist (who earns $300k/year), and he solves crimes in his spare time.

Unfortunately, the show is framed up with typically neatly-resolved Law & Order meditations on crime and justice (the show is produced by Dick Wolfe).

In this week's episode, we learn the following (in the broadest, most stereotypical strokes possible):

1. The death penalty is bad.

2. Poor minorities are executed more frequently than rich white people.

3. Eyewitness testimony is unreliable, although death sentences are sometimes based on it.

4. Political correctness is bad.

Platt, that rascal, insists on using the term "black," and a grad student suggests African-American is more appropriate. Platt's rebuttal is that "we eat in Chinese restaurants. Not Chinese-American restaurants." Isn't that just the sort of crusty orneriness a Pulitzer committee would love? Such wit!

His argument seemed a little passé, but just last month, a group of alt-weekly editors traded (what seemed like) 432 emails within the AAN newsgroup on the subject of whether or not African-American should be hyphenated or not. The entire exchange mostly seemed like a mutually masturbatory exercise where everyone back-slapped everyone else over how many editors had gotten a byline from a real life "African hyphen American," augmented by a few schoolmarms who helpfully dragged their style manuals to the electronic table. This, when they clearly COULD have been out solving crimes.

5. Liberal guilt is also bad. A black bartender at a catered ACLU affair tells Platt, who's trying to free a couple death-row inmates he now believes to be innocent, "maybe if they get out you can co-sign papers for their government cheese, too."

6. Legal aid and public defenders are not equipped to handle death penalty cases.

Shockingly, there just might be more to this issue than can be resolved in a conventional one-hour drama. But in an election year, every little bit counts. (Visit the Texas Civil Rights Project: at Penalty_ Report/deathpenaltyreport. htm.)

When Clinton was governor, he infamously flew back to Arkansas to preside over the execution of a retarded man to ensure his reputation as "tough on crime."

The U.S. currently leads the world in executing children -160 sentenced to death since 1973, and two out of three are minorities. (Executing people for crimes committed as children puts us in the same company as Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Iran.)

And according to the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, nearly 90 percent of persons executed were convicted of killing whites, although minorities make up over half of all homicide victims in the United States.

For a distinctly odd take on this debate, visit the Kentucky death row pen pal site at

One inmate writes, "I enjoy, Basketball, Wrestling, Rock and Roll music and NFL football. Below is my address, and a picture of me holding 'The World's Largest Game Cock' (Rooster) at Busch Gardens a year before my arrest. Hope to hear from you soonest." [The inmate added the Rooster parenthetical; we didn't.]

Another pleads for donations, "I need your help so I can hire me an appeal attorney. I pray to you to ADOPT ME as a Christian Brother and give me any amount of donations that you can afford, so I can hire me an appeal attorney. I will send you a signed picture of me taken here on Death Row. I get 25.00 per month as the Death Row Barber, and I use that for stamps, envelopes, and pictures."

"Death Row Barber." Almost inevitably coming soon to Must See TV.