click to enlarge Anita Bedell leads the nonprofit Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, which began as a prohibition group in the 1800s. Illinois Times reprinted an article by Daisy Contreras that originally appeared in Illinois Issues, an online publication of NPR Illinois. - PHOTO BY DAISY CONTRERAS / NPR ILLINOIS
Photo by Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois
Anita Bedell leads the nonprofit Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems, which began as a prohibition group in the 1800s. Illinois Times reprinted an article by Daisy Contreras that originally appeared in Illinois Issues, an online publication of NPR Illinois.

GAMBLING, WEED HAVE CONSEQUENCES

Thanks to Daisy Contreras and IT for your supportive article about anti-gambling activist Anita Bedell ("State's anti-gambling lobbyist is one tough 'Church Lady,'" Nov. 21). The massive expansion of gambling to support our state's finances in lieu of traditional tax revenues also set off alarm bells for me in recent years.

The very scale of the gambling that has been going on – I believe $30 million in annual video gaming losses just in Springfield – cannot possibly signify a third or even half of us losing an occasional game of chance. And so, Ms. Bedell is not just a voice of conscience, but of prophetic truth in warning us that unsustainable losses like these cannot continue without hollowing out our own communities.

It follows that any state that sustains itself on the unsustainable losses of its own citizens is cannibalizing itself. The only question then becomes, where will the massive new public costs emerge from these massive private gambling losses, if they haven't already?

I have similar concerns about the state now preparing to feed off the spread of youthful marijuana abuse that will inevitably result from the widespread retail sale of cannabis candies. Surely we could have decriminalized what has long been underground, illegal smoking of weed, without catalyzing the retailing of attractive, new flavored consumables that will be just like all the flavored vaping products that have boosted youthful addiction to nicotine.   

Sandy Baksys
Springfield

ALAN LOWE DESTROYED ALPLM

Yes, Bruce Rushton was ahead of the curve on the loan of the Gettysburg, but not so much on other important issues with Alan Lowe at the library ("The truth outs: ALPLM in disarray," Nov. 28). I wrote a letter about this over two years ago – the real heart of the library was destroyed by Lowe, who used a bureaucrat's handbook on how to run federal archives to restructure the ALPLM.

He prohibited certain people who had offended him from speaking in the ALPLM. He was intolerant and verbally abusive with his staff in a number of instances. He fired James Cornelius, one of the best Lincoln scholars around.

Lowe is now rear view mirror stuff. I look to the future, and we should all be on top of the committee appointed to select the next director.

Richard E. Hart
St. Charles
Via illinoistimes.com

RUSSIA, NOT UKRAINE

It has been clear during the impeachment hearings that many Republicans have become enamored with a cockamamie conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine that interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections.

Why are Republicans in Congress eagerly parroting this absurd conspiracy theory promoted by Putin and Russians? Why have Republicans surrendered U.S. democracy, our elections and U.S. foreign policy to the Russians? Of course, the Ukrainian fiasco is only one of many crimes Trump should be impeached for.

Will Representatives Rodney Davis and Darin LaHood vote to end democracy as we have known it in the United States? Will the American people allow this criminal activity and Republican complicity to continue?

Richard Leary
Springfield

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