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To the Editor:
I have not personally ever gambled. I have never purchased a lottery ticket, nor have I ever placed a bet on my favorite horse come Derby Day. It’s not because I think it’s morally wrong; I simply have not had a desire to do so. With all the public commotion being generated by Christians in our city in their opposition to casino gambling, it has prompted me to give it some thought.
As a former baseball booster at Western Hills, many evenings I worked Bingo with all the booster faithful, though I sometimes questioned that method of raising money. I’m still not sure what I think about the morality of gambling and what forms should be banned or legalized.
What I find interesting and to some degree disheartening is how so many Christians, who otherwise would never fellowship with one another, can come together through the power of oppositional energy. For example, Rev. York, who is calling for Christians, both conservative and liberal, to unite in their opposition to casino gambling, led the charge to de-fellowship the church I pastor from the local Baptist Association several years ago. It would seem that for some Christians, hate is a much greater unifying factor than love.
It’s also discouraging to observe how many Christians get all worked up over hot button issues that Jesus never once talked about, like abortion or homosexuality, but they hardly ever mention, let alone critique, our seemingly constant propensity toward greed and violence – topics Jesus frequently spoke about.
I’ve never been one to rally troops; I’m much more of a teacher than a prophet. But how I wish more Christians, especially those who are publicly vocal, would challenge us to actually be about what Jesus was about: justice for the poor, liberation for the oppressed, and proclamation of the radical grace of God (Luke 4:16-30).
The Ledyard Patch reported on what happens to a small town when a casino is built. Ledyard, Conn., is a town of 15,000. Among the many social and other ills is the increase in crime, although casino supporters say the growth of crime is highly exaggerated.
The crime rate in Ledyard went up by 300 percent when expanded gambling came to town.
The Patch quoted from a report by Ledyard Mayor Wesley J. Johnson Sr., issued nine years after the Foxwoods Casino opened:
“There was a 200 percent increase in traffic volumes. Ledyard’s DWI/DUI rate became the highest in the state. Jobs were created, but they were low-paying jobs, most between $15,000 and $25,000 per year.”
The report concludes with “the social cost of problem gambling, inability to regulate land use and uncertainty about where and how future development will occur, will continue to affect the financial stability, rural character and quality of life in our town.”
This could not happen in a town like Lexington, Ky., could it?
Jim Anderson Stivers
To the Editor:
Kentucky voters, put on your game face: we have one of the best seats at the gambling tables in Frankfort.
Don’t waste this opportunity. The last thing politicians want is voter power with good chances of winning against the house.
A state constitutional amendment for casinos had the bipartisan help of Gov. Beshear and Sen. Thayer of Georgetown.
Thayer becomes a “person of interest” as its sponsor turning his back on his mentor, David Williams. Politician Thayer distanced himself when polls revealed voters wanted casinos. No one blames Thayer for his reelection redo. The “I was against it before I was for it” tune heard again.
Voters who love Kentucky have two very important cards in their hand. Stream Saver House Bill HB 231 and Clean Energy House Bill HB 167 have been waiting to be played for years. Rep. Mary Lou Marzian would love getting committee action on them as written, no carve-outs for special interests, and “ZIP LINE” them to the Senate where Sen. Stein could call for legislative votes.
The only agenda Frankfort has “ZIP LINED”: “SAVE MY JOB” redistricting and casinos’ “SAVE OUR UNBRIDLED SPIRIT.” We applaud both.
Beshear and Company need our casino votes. We want their cards on the table first this time: laws protecting the future of Kentuckians.
It’s Kentucky style voter poker warning Beshear, “We don’t blink because we don’t bluff.”
Damon Thayer? We’ll save him for another day.
Big Coal is
hard to fight
To the Editor:
On Valentine’s Day, I attended I Love Mountains Day 2012 organized by the Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC). Thousands of people including environmental groups, church groups of every denomination, and Footprints for Peace walkers who journeyed from Prestonsburg to rally in front of the Capitol in opposition to mountain top removal. What did this accomplish? Not enough, but it hopefully might have raised awareness.
I can’t help but feel that these efforts fell on deaf ears and blind eyes. Thousands of people are impressive, but will be ignored by the political leadership in Frankfort. I’m not sure 10,000 would have gotten their attention, because of the money that the coal industry pours into our state legislature. The only way to combat the coal interests is at the voting booth, but even that is difficult when they finance both parties here. One of the purposes of this KFTC event was to try to garner support for House Bill 167, or the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, a bill that will create more jobs in the Commonwealth than Big Coal does. Coal company lobbyists and promoters often cite jobs as one of the benefits of the coal industry. Yet the extreme form of strip mining is so highly mechanized today that it requires fewer workers to produce much higher volumes of coal than ever before. But because the coal industry has historically been such a large employer in the coal producing regions, the people who have lived there their whole lives have become comfortable with this assault on our environment. Many remain loyal to the industry despite the lower employment figures out of fear that if it weren’t for coal there would be no jobs. This is a lie that benefits the industry politically in addition to the large sums they spend on politicians.
The coal industry continues to say that money spent on renewable energy is a waste. Why are energy industries so adamantly against renewable energy sources? It’s pretty simple really: they are unable to commoditize it to make the kind of profits they can from fossil fuels.
The coal industry uses the mantra of jobs as one its strong defenses, but in a time of high unemployment, an infrastructure upgrade of our power grid and development of renewable energy industries on a national scale would create more jobs than the coal industry could ever hope to generate. This will require an investment by both the government and the private sector. The government can incentivize this investment, which is part of the idea behind Kentucky HB 167. Kentucky could lead the way into a new energy future, as well as save our land and our people. But I fear this may require a political will that is lacking at both the state and the national level because of financial power of the coal industry. We need to start down this path now if we want to save this land and this country for our children and their children.
David T. Whealdon Jr.
to own women
To the Editor:
Women are the property of men; in the world of the male Republican religious right, that is. That’s what the birth-control debate instigated by the celibate male leaders of the Catholic Church reminds us of. As most have already heard, the big shot men leaders of the “clothed in robes and high hats” brigade of the Catholic Church vehemently objected to the possibility that health care providers of their businesses might be required to pay for birth control pills for women employees. And now Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s big mega-donor supporter Foster Friess has joined the Catholic male hierarchy in reminding women that they are under the control of men in regard to their reproductive rights. Mr. Republican Billionaire Friess recently made an archaic statement of unbelievably preposterous proportion to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Rick Santorum’s own “Super Pac” billionaire said, “On this contraceptive thing, my gosh it’s inexpensive.” He added. “You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”
As I write this we are still waiting for Republican Rick Santorum to make some sort of statement regarding the ludicrous talk coming out of his billionaire’s mouth.
It may be that Santorum was too busy watching the Republican majority-created House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing titled “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” The Republican-created committee is pursuing the radical male Republican religious right’s agenda of taking away women’s birth-control pills. The first panel of witnesses to testify before the “committee to oppress women” of course included no women! The Democrats on the panel were told by the Republican men that they would only be allowed one witness. They selected a woman, thus she was rejected by the Republican men for being unqualified. Thankfully the Democratic women on the committee walked out in a justified protest of the nonsensical proceedings.
May I pose a relevant question? What century is the religious right-controlled Republican Party of 2012 living in? Their calendars may say 2012 but their minds are in a time-warp first-century world. The Apostle Paul of the first century wrote in a letter to his young protégé Timothy regarding male ownership of women in church. From the New Testament of the Christian Bible, Paul wrote:
“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.”
One has to wonder if the biblical passage has become the mantra of the 2012 Republican Party. Are there enough Republican male voters out there to elect a Republican president in 2012? The reason I ask is because I can’t imagine any self-respecting Republican woman voting for any Republican man in the upcoming election.