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May 15, 2007

Erosia

LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to leo@leoweekly.com. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity. Ethical Monopoly I enjoyed reading Stephen George’s account of Maggie and Dennis Martin’s complaint against Insight Communications in LEO (May 2 issue), but I have a hunch that he misunderstood the purpose of the Metro Ethics Commission. It appears to me that the focus of this commission is on internal ethical behavior. So, its purpose would be primarily to give advice to Metro employees on ethics, to resolve conflicts among them that involve ethical behavior, and to protect “whistleblowers.” If I’ve got that right, complaints about cable TV (including complaints described as “bullying”) would have to go somewhere else. Where? Presently, I think the only place cable TV complaints can go is Insight’s own consumer relations department. This, obviously, is not an objective process. What I believe the Metro government ought to do about cable TV complaints is establish an independent consumer protection office and require Insight to cover its costs under provisions of their local license. It would be like a public service commission for the local cable-TV monopoly. I’m not an expert in the public regulation field, but I’d bet this has already been done in other cities. Tom Louderback Defending Freedom? I am frustrated by folks like Kent Sublett, Loren Rudd and Telly Sellers (LEO, Erosia. April 25/May 2) who perpetuate the myth that our troops are somehow defending our freedom, or specifically, my freedom to protest. Our military has not been involved in defending our country since World War II (now 62 years ago), the only example Mr. Sublett can squeeze out of “recent” American history. As explained by Marine Gen. Smedley Butler, who spoke of his 33-year military career as a bodyguard for U.S. business interests: “War is a racket. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.” If our military has been defending any Americans’ freedoms since WWII, it’s freedom for the likes of the Cheneys, Halliburtons and Exxons, to profit using U.S. tax dollars and the lives of U.S. soldiers (among many others). The Thunder Over Louisville displays of military might are a tax-sponsored recruitment campaign to show the kiddies how much fun they can have playing billion-dollar “video games” with real-life consequences and real death and destruction. And what of our military heroes and patriots? Do we support the troops by exposing them to deadly poisons like depleted uranium? Or by cutting veterans’ benefits and subjecting them to squalor at Walter Reed hospital? The money squandered on the Iraq war, the military air shows and the parachute landings at local high schools, is money that won’t be spent to help veterans re-integrate into society. It’s money that won’t be spent in training and educating our children so they won’t have the military as their only job option. It’s money that won’t be spent developing clean, alternative energy sources, re-tooling our infrastructure, ensuring healthcare for all, or any other aspect of a civilized society and a sustainable planet. These are the kinds of expenditures that would truly defend our freedom. Mike Perlin Practice, Practice, Practice Following the Virginia Tech massacre, President Bush told the nation, “Schools should be places of safety and sanctuary and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community.” I’d like to remind him our nation’s capital should be a place where truth, honor and justice can be found. When it’s not, the impact is felt in every American home. Bob Moore Smoked Freedom (On July 1), our city will join ranks with Cincinnati, Lexington and countless communities, cities and countries that require smokers to step outside. When you consider the health of those who work in such environments, it’s hard to believe that it was ever allowed indoors at all. Why publish such an inflammatory (commentary) such as Jim Waters’ (LEO, April 11), who resorts to name-calling (smoking nannies) instead of using the space to highlight the positive changes that smoke-free environments offer workers and patrons? Instead, you publish the same tired drivel (“what liberties will they take next?”) from a person who has no understanding of the real issue. Waters assumes that those in favor of clean air are some kind of kooks backed by the government. After having worked with Smoke-Free Louisville for several years, I know this is rubbish. We are a diverse group of every race, age and background. We are people who have lost loved ones due to tobacco. We are musicians who are suffering from cancer and respiratory conditions. We are asthmatics. We are waitresses who have no other source of income. We have emphysema. We have been to other cities and enjoyed the freedom from side-stream smoke. We believe all people should have the absolute right and freedom to work, play and breathe in any establishment. We are also the majority, Mr. Waters. Linda Sparrow Deep Pockets More profound insights from the Fletcher administration, this time from the mouth of Talina Matthews, director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Policy. In contrast to TARC recently reporting that they, as well as other mass transit agencies throughout the United States, are enjoying significant increases in ridership, Matthews proclaims that there is no public demand for public transit. So, that’s it? End of discussion? The governor and Matthews state there is no demand, so it must be true. The Metro Council is responding to renewed calls for light rail, but there is no demand for public transportation. Has this Ph.D. in Economics ever ridden public transportation? Does she know anyone who relies on it as his sole means of transportation or has decided to make the switch in response to increasingly high fuel costs? Has she not considered that perhaps the governor might have a role in inspiring demand for public transportation or encouraging bicycling or walking? Probably not — besides, Tom Owen has those all locked up. Any-hooo, now is definitely not the time for inspiration but for PR. The governor has a GOP nomination to secure. It makes me wonder if and how much ConocoPhillips is donating to the Fletcher campaign. Karen Voyer