Federal arts funding serves Kentucky well
Continued federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts is important to the people of Kentucky.
More than 24,170 people are employed in arts-related jobs in Kentucky, according to the 2010 Creative Industries survey by Americans for the Arts.
These arts-related businesses, which are mostly small businesses, help support our $11 billion tourism industry by attracting visitors to our state.
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These 5,760 businesses provide substantial and tangible forms of economic development in our communities.
The NEA, through direct grants and through its support of the Kentucky Arts Council, distributed nearly $1.4 million in Kentucky in 2010, including a $35,000 grant to Actors Theatre of Louisville to support its world-renowned Humana Festival of New American Plays.
The University of Kentucky Research Foundation received a $15,000 grant to support its ground-breaking multimedia approach to set design used in UK Opera's recent and highly acclaimed production of Porgy and Bess.
Other Kentucky recipients of NEA money last year include the Estill County Board of Education for its K-8 students to participate in a series of workshops with Appalachian writers, musicians and visual artists; Appalshop for its celebration of writer James Still, and to the Horse Cave Development Corp. to support development of a Web site and a cell phone tour for tourists.
NEA projects are not obscure or foreign to us in Kentucky. These grants help support jobs and local small businesses, as well as tourism, education and our state's cultural identity. These cuts would be felt throughout the state.
Jayne Moore Waldrop
Testing his mettle
Does anyone else find it ironic that the tangible National Humanities Medal author and activist Wendell Berry willingly accepted at the White House consisted of metals that were mined?
Perhaps he would have better supported his argument against the University of Kentucky and coal mining by rejecting the National Humanities Medal altogether.
Why chamber funding?
Why did former Mayor Jim Newberry delegate the responsibility of the city's economic development strategy to a private entity?
With budget constraints, the city's deteriorating roads and other infrastructure needs, the council approved paying Commerce Lexington $509,070 for fiscal 2010 and budgeted another $508,000 for fiscal 2011.
Yet Commerce Lexington considers itself private and does not disclose its finances publicly.
Is this just another level of bureaucracy and further waste of taxpayer money without prudent oversight?
One has to ponder what exactly is the role of city's elected officials for which they are compensated.
I am sorry to see former Gov, Brereton Jones step down from the leadership of the Kentucky Equine Education Project, but I totally understand. He has given a great deal of time and assistance to this great industry.
I have never owned a horse, but I have always appreciated the historical value of the industry. Kentucky was given the gifts of wisdom, knowledge and love from the late Dr. Thomas Clark who was born in Mississippi and from Jones, who was born in Virginia.
We would do well to support the equine industry, for it is one of our greatest inducements for tourism. Having traveled to all 120 counties and filmed the history of each, I have found we have such diverse lands and even more so people.
We are unique and we should take interest in providing for the growth and development in the horse industry.
I have a friend and fellow classmate who takes his horse with him like some folks would take their hound dogs.
The bond between horses and humans is unquestioned. I can think of no visit that meant more to me as a young boy than to visit the great farms in Kentucky.
True, the role for the horse has changed drastically, but every time I see a young colt dash across the meadows I cannot help but dream of riding him to glory land.
Help the middle class
How is it in the best interests of anyone, if the middle class continues its trajectory towards less and less income?
Business loses because consumers have less to spend. Society loses because average people worry, fight and agonize over money month after month.
I saw FOX News commentators and their guests say that $71,000 in teacher pay and benefits was too much. Multi-millions for executives is not?
They also say tax cuts for those making $500,000 or more stimulate job creation. They initially received their cuts in 2002. When does that start?
The average American has lost so much ground to stagnant wages coupled with rising costs in the insurance, health care, food and oil sectors, there is not any left for discretionary spending or investing.
When you and I make a decent wage, everyone benefits — including the rich.
As for my tax dollars, please spend them on road maintenance, food safety, teachers, firemen, police, soldiers, parks, our criminal-justice system and a thousand other areas where my money, pooled with others', makes my America a better place to live and work.
Without an organized society, I cannot make a living.
Government is not the fools and country-club crowd in Washington. "The government" is people like you and me.
They are your neighbors and your friends. They are taxpayers and consumers. They are not the cause of our current financial problems. They are the remedy.
Don't listen to those who would divide us. We need unity. We are competing with the entire world.
LexingtonBig 3 shares blame
In a recent commentary Andy Hightower of the Kentucky Club for Growth seems to lay the blame for the demise of the auto industry solely at the feet of the United Autoworkers.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Bloated executive salaries and perks, extremely poor business decisions on the part of management and a complacent, antiquated corporate culture had more to do with Detroit's self destruction than did the unions.
Granted, unions did play a part, but not on the scale Hightower and other ultra-capitalists (as well as Wisconsin governors) would have us believe.
There seems to be a movement underway to gut the middle and working classes in America and create a corporate autocracy.
The Supreme Court has given this "corpocracy" its blessing by granting freedom of "$peech" to corporations. The oil baron Koch brothers have underwritten conservative politicians as well as political movements to do their bidding. The list goes on.
So my question to the aptly named Hightower is this: How much more money does corporate America and the richest 2 percent need to be happy? Also, when the Gucci-garbed gang has succeeded in eliminating the work force, who's going to clean your pool?
Illogical union busting
I would like to point out a couple of logical fallacies used in the current union-busting effort in Wisconsin.
The argument is that collective bargaining for public-sector employees is different because taxpayer money pays their salaries, which is then used to pay union dues, part of which is used as political donations to help elect people who generally turn out to be Democrats.
This is bad because taxpayers should not have to have their money go to support things they do not believe in (apparently unions and Democrats). If further outrage is needed, it is argued that these outside agents (unions) are using vast sums of money to help get "their people" elected. Once in office, these elected officials then let the people who elected them have undue influence on their legislative agenda.
The first of these points is the easiest to dispense with: Once my employer pays me, it becomes my money. What I spend it on is no one's business but my own. My employer's belief or conviction has no bearing whatsoever.
The second point is simple hypocrisy. If you support the idea that independent groups, corporations and individuals spending unlimited amounts of their own money is a "free speech" issue, as does our Sen. Mitch McConnell, then you have to support that right for all.
You cannot support this right for employers and deny it for employees and still pretend you are making a principled stand. If so, what you really support is a tyranny of the oligarchy.
Prescribe allergy drug
As I heard the discussion about the proposed pseudoephedrine bill, I was mystified. There are several reasons a drug is determined to require a prescription, but it all boils down to whether or not a drug is a danger to the public if misused.
Pseudoephedrine is certainly a drug that is a candidate for misuse.
It is not a cure for disease but simply a decongestant that shrinks the tiny blood vessels in the nose, thus decreasing mucus production.
However, it does have many serious side effects. There are also other drugs for congestion that do not require a prescription.
I understand in the states where a prescription is required for pseudoephedrine there has been a dramatic drop in the number of meth labs.
Let's consider the consequences of methamphetamine. It destroys the user's health. The manufacturer destroys his immediate environment, occupies our law enforcement's time, fills our jails and increases our tax burden. The users are involved in robbery, murder, and tragic accidents.
I am a pharmacist and witness the tragedy of drug misuse daily. I also see the daily reports of drug arrests and other crimes that are spawned from drug misuse.
Passing a pseudoephedrine bill is a no-brainer.
P. Lamar Hamilton
Don't hunt cranes
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is proposing hunting Sandhill Cranes in the 2011-2012 hunting season. Sandhill Cranes are gray birds with white cheeks and red on the top of their heads. They stand 5 feet tall with a wing span of 6 to 7 feet.
Their gurgling "groo" call is one of the most memorable in nature. They have slowly returned after having been hunted almost to extinction in the early 1900s.
They mate for life and have a low reproduction rate with a nesting pair averaging one surviving chick every three years. When a mate is killed, the other mate shows signs of obvious distress.
These migrating cranes have not been hunted in Kentucky for more than 90 years. This first-ever hunting season proposes selling 400 permits, allowing the killing of two cranes per permit.
There is no reason to shoot these birds. There is no evidence of crop depredation, nor is there sufficient data to determine whether hunting will cause reversion to their threatened status. This inspiring species aids an increasingly urbanized world in connecting with the outdoors. Shooting will increase their skittishness, thus hindering enjoyable wildlife viewing.
The loss of related tourism outweighs the increased economic activity of hunting. Hunting-related expenditures in Kentucky totaled $423 million in 2006. Wildlife viewers spent $542 million the same year.
Learn more about the issue at kyc4sandhillcranes.wordpress.com. Mail or call Commissioner John Gassett (800)858-1549 or #1 Sportsman's Lane Frankfort, Ky., 40601 before May 1.
The Sandhill cranes that fly across Kentucky are part of the mass migration that takes place twice a year across this planet.
For many of us, the sight and sound of the cranes is magical. Sad to say, there are a few who only see this miracle of creation as something to strike down and destroy.
What has been lost, though easy to disregard, is a creature's precious, irreplaceable life; and each life is so vulnerable and exists so briefly. In light of this planet's unending struggles and grief let us show compassion to all those we can.
We are all in this together, and what diminishes another diminishes each of us.
Thanks for the smiles
Two things made me smile Tuesday morning.
First, there was state Rep. Rocky Adkins with his Home Alone look of strain, pain and exasperation.
Second there was a cartoon by Joel Pett and he eloquently "cartoonized" the Grand Old Party.
I would have loved to see these two things right beside each other. What a caption Joel could have written. Thanks for my morning.