Face reality and help horse industry recover
The horse industry in Central Kentucky is in trouble.
I have provided hay and straw to small- and medium-size farms in and around Fayette County since the late 1970s, and I have never seen so many farms for sale, or going bankrupt or just trying to survive.
Kentucky's plan of action to correct this seems to be one of no action. Louisiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and especially Indiana have taken action to promote the horse industry in their states through expanded gambling.
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Kentuckians seem to spend their time infighting or squabbling over the morality of expanded gambling.
Gradually we are losing our industry to other states that see the value of larger purses at the racetrack and breeder incentives made available by expanded gambling at the racetrack.
Have you noticed lately that the beautiful farms are still here, but many of them have fewer or no horses in the fields?
So while many are happy to continue to call Lexington the Horse Capital of the World and talk about horses that were famous 30 or more years ago, the reality of today is happening right before our eyes, and many seem oblivious to it.
I ask all Kentuckians to ask themselves, "What can I do to help this industry?"
An industry that has been so good to us for more than 100 years and employs tens of thousands of people.
I think we've wasted enough time. It's time to act to preserve our heritage.
Charles W. Adams
For decades, The Democratic Party has been taunted by Republican members of Congress who say "Democrat Party" and then act as though it is an innocent error and not an insult.
Now with the Republicans' new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, it would be equally innocent for one to assume that his last name should be pronounced as a word describing an ignorant mistake.
Since turnabout is only fair, Democrats should oppose the Republicans' "Boner agenda" and have fun at the same time by taunting Boehner right back — and often.
Douglas S. Andersen
Mountains better flat
It is pretty plain that the Herald-Leader does not favor coal and the people who mine it. A perfect example is the coverage of the rally in Washington recently and the rallies held in Knott County.
The Washington event was against coal, and the ones in Knott County were for coal. Washington got big coverage, and Knott County got a slight mention.
There have been numerous articles about the many benefits offered to the state and nation from mountaintop mining.
My old buddy Claude, who passed away a couple of years ago, said it best, "If you can't stand up on it, it ain't worth having."
The young activist who wrote a column about the Washington rally pointed out Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms that everyone should enjoy.
They are sound ideas, and every American can enjoy them if they prefer. But there is another freedom. That freedom is the right to do whatever you please with something you own.
No mountain is removed without someone giving the coal company the right to do so.
Within 5 miles of my home are three herds of cattle grazing on lush grasslands that exist because meadows have been created by coal companies. Our creeks are running cleaner than they ever ran in my 70-plus years on this planet.
Coal is dirty and is not a perfect fuel, but it is keeping our lights on. And until we develop other sources of energy, we have no alternative but to mine coal.
Willard Ashworth Jr.
Our culture hurting kids
We need to change the way we raise the next generation. If I see it at 21, then why aren't my elders freaking out about it?
What I see today in this world outrages me. Children are impressionable; we seem to have forgotten this or, worse, we've ignored it.
The lifestyles we set in place have an immeasurable effect on the children we are rearing, from the values they learn in the home, to what happens at school. This includes physical and social bullying in school.
I have heard cuss words out of the mouths of 4-year-olds. Where did they learn that? Also, the fast food we are feeding children is having devastating effects on their health. We are addicting them to greasy, unhealthy food.
When was the last time your family had a dinner together and played a game afterward or did something together?
And did you know, even the religion you profess, or no religion at all, will most likely be what they will follow, and with the same amount of devotion you give it?
Their future in this world is in our capable hands.
Gray sows distrust
Lexington Mayor-elect Jim Gray's Fresh Start booklet says, "In asking people to vote for me as mayor, I'm asking them to trust me. As mayor, I won't forget that citizens have an absolute right to know what their government is doing."
Yet his very expensive campaign ad accusing Mayor Jim Newberry of mismanagement and cronyism of the South Limestone reconstruction project was a fabrication.
I know for an absolute fact that the low bidder withdrew because it could not meet the deadlines in the contract. That left only one qualified contractor to do the work.
South Limestone, one of the oldest streets in Lexington, had infrastructure that had been ignored for the past four decades. It had to be rebuilt, not just paved over. Gray owes Newberry and the citizens of Fayette County an apology — if he wants our respect and trust.
War on drugs fails
The United States government's War on Drugs is a failure to me. The government's purpose is to reduce the illegal drug trade.
The term War on Drugs was first used by Richard Nixon in 1971. This war has lasted 39 years with no end in sight.
This year, the Obama administration said it would stop using the term "war on drugs" because it was "counterproductive." Why hasn't federal policy changed?
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Why? Just in 2008, 1.5 million people were arrested, and a half million were incarcerated in the United States because of drug-related crimes.
This is too much tax money spent on housing people who mostly commit non-violent crimes.
I think we need a policy change to try to spend money more efficiently, to help people rather than locking them up and making them unproductive to our society.
Our government even goes so far as sponsoring the spraying of large amounts of herbicides over jungles in Central and South America to try to eradicate drugs. How do you think this affects the people living there?
A poll said that three out of four Americans think the War on Drugs is failing. We need to change the direction of our drug policies.