Thorns & Roses: The Worst, Best & Most Absurd (5/15)

Castleman put in his place  |  Rose

Mayor Greg Fischer and the Landmarks Commission get a rose for pushing to remove the John. B. Castleman statue and succeeding. He was a Confederate. His statue offends members of our community. Those who truly miss seeing the bronze can visit it at its new home in Cave Hill Cemetery.

At least someone cares about uofl students  |  Thorn & Rose 

First, a rose goes to Uofl President Neeli Bendapudi for pledging to donate her $95,000-a-year raise to the school. “In honor of the Cards, who are graduating this weekend, it is my honor to donate the raise to UofL.” But a thorn goes to the trustees for giving her the raise in the first place and considering whether to boost student tuition and fees by 2.5%. Last summer, they approved a 4% tuition increase for the 2018-19 fiscal year. They are not entirely to blame for that: per-student spending by the state fell 27.2% from 2008 to 2018.

The mayor’s bad derby bet  |  Thorn 

The city spent $115,787 to bourbon and dine prospective businesses during Derby, according to the Courier Journal. Maybe it was a wise investment. Maybe it looks bad to do that as the city cuts its budget. But it certainly smells bad that the Mayor’s Office allowed a law firm, two financial firms and a liquor company to kick in $26,000 as sponsors. Is that the going rate for access to the mayor and his minions?

Uofl doctor, cj blow smoke  |  Thorn 

In a CJ op-ed, a UofL doctor defends vaping as “an innovative, satisfying and vastly safer cigarette substitute.” What?! He says: “ … health officials at all levels of government are misinforming Americans that e-cigarettes are as dangerous as cigarettes and pose an existential threat to their children.” He claims “the FDA has exaggerated the teen vaping problem by manipulating data and incorrectly blaming retailers to justify onerous regulations that will give consumers fewer healthier choices.” Dr. Brad Rodu holds an endowed chair in Tobacco Harm Reduction Research at UofL. The CJ op-ed does not explain that the chair and research are paid for with more than $3 million from Swedish Match North America, Inc., a chewing tobacco maker, and the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., part of Altria, which owns a $12.8 billion stake in vaping giant Juul.