Wealthy work hard, give to the community
In his Dec. 22 commentary, Brian Cooney asks, "Do the rich deserve their wealth?"
I would agree brokers who earn millions of dollars for putting deals together receive an absurd salary, but there are very few of these individuals.
It is the small businessperson who is responsible for a great percentage of employment. Some of these business owners are wealthy, but others are not.
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Most of the wealthy that I know are very generous with gifts to less fortunate, particularly this time of year. I believe that if Cooney would look deeper, he would find that many social and economic functions of many charities are funded by the wealthy.
Some of the wealthy inherit it. But the vast majority work for it. They work 60-80 hours per week for many years.
They create their own luck. Adolph Rupp once said that winning a basketball game was a matter of luck, but hard work provided the luck. Some of the wealthy have attained this status by luck, but there was also a great deal of risk involved.
In the beginning, everyone has the same chance, although there are ones who are luckier through circumstances, but to say luck, politics and other outside forces are a curse created by the wealthy is inappropriate and untrue.
For the most part, these individuals are hard workers, educated, and have a bit of luck. They have made sacrifices to achieve their goals.
Ben C. Kaufmann
Support ark park
Dec. 22's negative editorial and Dec. 18's non-story about the Ark Encounter were part of the Herald-Leader's latest onslaught against a project which would add several thousand jobs and much-needed dollars to our state in a difficult economy.
The paper quoted a Bluegrass Institute spokesperson who got it wrong on two counts. He declared that it is "outrageous" that there are government officials "making state economic development decisions without actually seeing the numbers."
But no decision has been made; the application was just filed and another theme park feasibility study is still to be conducted.
Furthermore, this person contended that Kentucky taxpayers will pick up the tab to build the park. However, no money will be taken out of the state budget.
It will be the future park visitors who pay the taxes. They will pay sales taxes at the attraction, and a portion of the sales tax collected there would be given as a rebate to the Ark Encounter. That is all.
As someone who lives a few miles from the theme park's intended location, I welcome a family-friendly project that will produce thousands of new jobs and add millions of dollars to the state economy. The operators of the successful Creation Museum are partners in the Ark Encounter, and they have a proven track record of attracting visitors and tourism dollars.
In this economy, the Herald-Leader should be welcoming this initiative and hoping that the Ark Encounter will not end up in another state because of opposition here.
During the fall elections there was much hype over legalizing marijuana in California, which did not pass. Here in Kentucky, this is still important because, without reviewing both sides of the issue, myths can easily replace facts.
Research shows the harmful effects of marijuana, including paranoia, panic attacks, lung damage and risk of dependency. Smoking pot impairs motor skills, leading to injury or even death,
Users say that marijuana relieves stress, but actually it reduces one's skills for dealing with stress down to one single tool — smoking pot.
Some claim that marijuana is not addictive, but that goes against the research. Is it logical that someone would willingly choose to forgo college scholarships or future job security just to smoke pot? Of course not. The truth is that using marijuana will eventually become an addictive compulsion, overtaking one's decision-making skills until they are no longer capable of making wise choices about their own future.
Surveys of Fayette County youth indicate that marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug. A young person's brain is still developing until their early 20s. Studies indicate that young people who used marijuana before the age of 17 had significantly lower verbal IQ scores, along with an inability to think with words and process verbal information.
It is up to every parent, every adult in our community, to guide and protect our youth. Marijuana is harmful, both in the short term and long term. We must continue speaking that truth in this community.
Chairman, Marijuana Committee
Drug Free Communities project coordinator
Congress too cheap
I am sure most have heard of the brewing scandal in Washington concerning possible payoffs to senators for votes favoring the financial industry this past June.
At first I was angry that members of Congress appeared to be taking bribes for votes favoring the financial industry. Then I heard the amounts involved and I feel nothing but shame, absolute shame.
How can our representatives' votes be bought so cheaply? The payoff amounts were in the neighborhood of $5,000 to $10,000 or so per senator. That is outrageous.
I always imagined that buying off a senator would cost millions of dollars; now I find out that back when I had a little money I could have bought a few dozen senators.
I'm an idiot. By now the Charles A. Bowsher Center for (fill in the blank) would have been completed.
Oh, the cruelty of hindsight, the absolute cruelty of hindsight!
Charles A. Bowsher
In reference to the Dec. 28 letter, "Generous support," by Porter Peel of Lexington about the Salvation Army volunteer working by the bars in Lexington:
I was a student nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital during the 1940s and then, as now, I never walked past a kettle without giving. I remember the lady as he described her. The Golden Horseshoe, Joyland and Green Dome — the letter really took me back in time. Good times, concerned times and prayers for our soldiers and finally the end of World War II.
Early on, there were few men on the University of Kentucky campus and suddenly the place was like a flood: men everywhere.
I wonder if Peel remembers The Tavern on South Lime and the owners, Al and Louis Ginnochio. That place would become so crowded they would lock the door; so we would pull the guys in through the back window.
I proposed marriage to the ex-Navy man who worked the sandwich bar for Al and Louis. He accepted. From that union was born three fine sons.
Peel's letter caused me to really go back in time. Thank you.
Kathleen (Crabtree) Marnhout-Foley