State hypocritical for prohibiting expanded gambling
The PBS documentary, Prohibition, reminded me of the early 1980s when the right to sell alcohol came up for a vote in Morehead. The local paper was filled with ads extolling the evils of alcohol. The ministerial association and bootleggers formed a holy phalanx; saying, in effect, any enemy of legalized alcohol is a friend of mine.
Legalized alcohol passed in Morehead. After an initial period of anxiety, during which even octogenarians were carded, it became obvious that little had changed. People who desired to drink alcohol continued to do so, while people who chose not to imbibe continued their way of life.
A similar issue has faced Kentucky for years. Will the commonwealth finally allow expanded gambling at racetracks? We know the majority of Kentuckians favor it. The horse industry has been severely damaged by competition from other jurisdictions that allowed it. We know the hypocrisy of Kentucky's promotion of lottery initiatives when the chances of winning are almost nil. We have a major opponent of expanded gambling running for governor, although he has crossed the Ohio River to gamble in Indiana. And we know of the alliance between conservative churches and politicians who oppose expanded gambling.
I respect people who are against gambling on philosophical grounds. The politicians, however, are merely playing on the fears of a segment of the population while being hypocritical in their own behavior.
Very little will change if expanded gambling is allowed at the racetracks, other than boosting Kentucky's horse racing industry.
I read a plea from the American Family Association for folks in Elizabethtown, Radcliff and Vine Grove to vote "No" in last week's wet/dry election, which approved alcohol sales.
Sometimes the best of intentions create bad, unintended consequences. There is more drunken driving when people are forced to drive out of county to bars and restaurants than when they can purchase spirits at a local restaurant or liquor store. And, because the market always finds a way to serve a need, dry counties breed bootleggers who often sell to underage drinkers.
I grew up in Fayette County about a mile from the Scott County line back when Scott County was dry. You should have seen the stream of non-stop traffic flowing from Lexington back to Georgetown late every Friday and Saturday night because everyone had to drive 20-plus miles round trip so they could have a drink with their dinner.
Local liquor stores help ensure those who want to drink responsibly can conveniently do so in the safety of their own homes or in establishments convenient to getting them home safely.
Not only was the driving dangerous, but my teenage friends all knew where to find the local bootlegger just a mile down the road. Unlike the liquor stores, he did not check ID and had nothing to lose since he was operating outside the bounds of the law anyway.
If you've never heard of the "bootleggers and Baptists" syndrome, think about who keeps whom in business.
Webster's minstrel show
Embarrassingly, there was an era when African-Americans and other ethnic actors had to reinforce a stereotype to get work in movies, television or on stage.
Thankfully society became more enlightened, less tolerant of bigots attempting to broad brush a culture, a people.
Except when it comes to Eastern Kentuckians where this paper perpetuates the stereotype via Larry Webster's columns.
Webster consistently falls over the fine line of satire to mean-spiritedness. His frivolous perception of the Jenny Wiley Theater relocating was cruel to disabled children, homophobic and insulting in failing to give a modicum of acknowledgement to the rejuvenation for one of the state's few successful arts ventures.
But as long as he takes the perfunctory slaps at coal, accents and customs, the Herald-Leader will give space to its supposedly hayseed Dave Barry. He is this paper's Appalachian Stepin Fetchit.
Don't blame capitalism
The protests against Wall Street have irony written all over them. One of the signs being held by a protester said, "Capitalism fails." The fact that these folks are able to protest is a direct result of freedoms granted to us by our Constitution, just like capitalism and all the other arms of the organism of freedom.
The price of freedom is the inevitable misuse of it by its imperfect constituents. The realities of greed and any other form of malfeasance are concurrent with a free society inhabited by imperfect people. What we are witnessing on Wall Street and many other platforms of our society is what happens every day on a small scale with individuals left to explore freedom.
For instance, your boss leaves for a week and you are the only one left in the office. In some cases, a person with that freedom will engage in all sorts of unsavory behaviors they would not otherwise do when that total freedom is truncated by the presence of the boss.
What would you rather have: the option to be greedy or the tyrannical authority that would hand out severe punishments for even bringing the thought to mind?
Everything that is wrong with our country has more to do with individuals making bad choices rather than the system in which they make them. We have seen all the other forms of government and economies fail. Nothing is free, including freedom. There is always a price to pay.
As a lifelong Lexingtonian, I feel like I know a lot about things to do around here. Sometimes I learn that maybe I don't really know as much as I think I do.
I recently attended a Girl Scout-endorsed trip to the Kentucky Horse Park which included the updated movie, a carriage ride, the Hall of Champions, the Parade of Breeds, a Pony Ride and a tour of the newly remodeled museum.
My favorite part was the Calumet Trophy collection. It is breathtaking and even included three Triple Crown trophies. This display is there due to the time and effort of former Keeneland chief Ted Bassett and local contributors who saved the trophies from going to auction.
Last year's Alltech-FEI World Equestrian Games were terrific, they dramatically enhanced the infrastructure and facilities and continue to benefit the park. But I admit that I am amazed that we have this first-class, professionally staffed, terrific asset right in our backyard. It is highly educational for children of all ages, as well as for adults. I am also excited about the upcoming exhibit at the park, "The Horse," which begins mid-month.
I spent 31/2 hours at the park and I came away very impressed. This facility is not just for out-of-town tourists, it is a worthwhile excursion for locals and their families.
End negative ads
The Franciscan Peace Center is encouraging citizens to request that candidates run ads explaining what they believe in and will do rather than ads attacking their opponents.
This peace is difficult to find in our world today with all the violence and negativity that surround us. It seems our freedom of speech has been confused with a lack of respect. This is evident in many things we hear and see on television but most definitely during our election years.
During election times, we find ourselves muting all campaign ads because we do not want to hear someone pointing fingers and scandalously beating down another human being with their mostly false statements. Candidates rarely take time to tell us what they themselves will do to make the lives of American people better. It is no wonder that when they get elected they are not willing to work together.
It seems that their desire for power has overshadowed the needs of the American people, especially the poor and marginalized.
We would like to challenge at least one, if not all, candidates to take a risk and stand for what is best for the majority of American people. Speak to us about what they will do to make our life better and at the same time show respect for candidates who have a different way of meeting our needs. We further challenge them to do away with negative ad campaigns that focus on the falsehoods and shortcomings of the other candidates.
Patricia A. Griffin
Community liaison, Franciscan Peace Center
(This letter was signed by six others.)
Fight dreaded disease
I am only one voice against Alzheimer's, but in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's on Sept. 18, there were hundreds of voices just like mine. We are working together to raise awareness and funds for the fight against this dreaded disease that affects every family in Kentucky, either personally or with relatives.
The annual Memory Walk was very successful with probably the largest crowd we have ever had. This year, the event was held downtown at the Fifth Third Pavilion which provided the perfect gathering place.
It was a festive atmosphere with greetings and support from Mayor Jim Gray, local TV personality Barbara Bailey as emcee and a lively band appropriately named "Stardust Memories." Kudos go to this band because they perform frequently at nursing homes with dementia units.
We are asking the public to make a donation and asking our congressional delegation to sponsor legislation that will fund research and ensure diagnosis and adequate care for people with this disease.
Together, we can create a world without Alzheimer's. For further information visit the Web site: www.alz.org/kyin.