May 29, 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. Photo by Leslie Marlin: Patterson (left), a Paws With Purpose Service Dog in Training, meets his hero Jake the Diamond Dog.-->  Photo by Leslie Marlin: Patterson (left), a Paws With Purpose Service Dog in Training, meets his hero Jake the Diamond Dog.-->  From the Dog’s Mouth I loved your May 23 cover and the big story about Jake the Diamond Dog. You should have more stories about dogs, with lots of pictures. I’m a service dog in training, so I get to go to the ballgame whenever I want, even when other dogs don’t get to come in. Jake is one of my dog idols. His picture hangs on the door of my mom’s office where I go to work with her every day. Last summer I had the great pleasure of meeting Jake in person (see photo of me asking my mom if I can go play with Jake — she said no). I sure will miss the old Jake, but I’ll bet the new one does a great job, too, and I can’t wait to meet him. Patterson, Paws With Purpose, Service Dog in Training Photo by Leslie Marlin: Patterson (left), a Paws With Purpose Service Dog in Training, meets his hero Jake the Diamond Dog.-->  LEO Mascot Goes Home That is the cutest canine I’ve seen in a long time (on the cover of the May 23 LEO)! Please make sure whoever claims her is REALLY her owner. If she’s not claimed, will you make her the LEO mascot? Thank you for taking her in and keeping her from harm. It’s good to see there are still compassionate people around. Thanks again. Bobbie Cornett Editor’s note: About an hour after LEO hit the streets on Wednesday, Rufferford B. Hayes’ (a.k.a. Sox) owner called in to claim her missing pup. She sent us a photo of them together, which seemed like ample proof, and also reimbursed us for expenses we incurred. Happily, they were reunited that afternoon. Photo by Leslie Marlin: Patterson (left), a Paws With Purpose Service Dog in Training, meets his hero Jake the Diamond Dog.-->  Not Too Shabby Let me first say — I detest amateur theater. Typically, I find it pretentious and tedious. Imagine my dismay when, while visiting family in Louisville, I was informed I would be attending a performance of “Macbeth” — in a warehouse — performed by an “alternative theater” company. To make matters worse, I had read the review by Sherry Deatrick (LEO, May 16) and expected the worst. I hadn’t read that many negative adjectives since the crash of the Hindenburg. My jaw was clenched, my face was all scowl. I was ready. Deatrick was right. The area was unpleasant and the seats were hard (but clean). I remembered, though, at the Globe in London I sat on hard benches. This wasn’t the Globe for sure, but it was grungy and the set and surroundings were made of found objects. This is theater on a shoestring, but a very clever one. Deatrick missed one central element — the passion and skill of the actors. These weren’t amateurs. Maybe they aren’t paid much, or not at all, but they were pros. And as far as “no Scottish accents,” I say thank God. Apparently the production didn’t meet LEO’s exacting criteria for alternative productions. I am surprised, as the actors carried knives and guns, one woman played a man and they all wore black. I guess Deatrick had eaten bad Haggis prior to the performance. I, on the other hand, was hungry, and I loved this play and the players.  I understand the company had performed in elevators and now decrepit factories. What’s next? Here’s a tip — think “beer cave.” Tim Franklin, Carmel, California Protection First Quick comment: We don’t have the Second Amendment to “rustle up some squirrel pâté” (as Jim Welp stated in his May 16 column). We have it to protect ourselves from our very own government. Think about that. And while you’re at it, why would the Brady recommendation stop Virginia Tech? Wasn’t murder illegal already? That didn’t stop him. He would’ve gotten a gun another way or killed another way. Think about that, too. With freedom comes risk. With greater freedom comes greater risk. “If” this nation went back to its roots and followed the moral code it was founded on, we’d not be having this conversation. Bob Hohmeier Welp’s Anatomy As someone who is new to sport shooting, as well as someone who leans more than a little left of center politically, I can appreciate Jim Welp’s desire to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people. Allowing the mentally deranged access to guns reflects badly on my newfound hobby and is socially irresponsible. I can also appreciate a need for gray. There is neither reason to ban all guns nor reason to arm every able-bodied citizen. Regardless, I can’t help but think that Jim’s gray area for gun control misses the mark a little (pun intended). Restricting the purchase of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines will not reduce the amount of gun violence in America. If you’ll recall, the crazy that carried out the Virginia Tech shootings that this article is reacting to used handguns that held no more than 15 rounds. We shouldn’t arm every citizen in the United States, but we also shouldn’t take away the ability to have harmless fun at the firing range with big, loud guns. Other than these two points of contention, I applaud Mr. Welp’s gray. Brad Luyster Photo by Leslie Marlin: Patterson (left), a Paws With Purpose Service Dog in Training, meets his hero Jake the Diamond Dog.-->  Wrong Rail I am continually amazed at how statements like, “Most big cities, and every ‘progressive’ or forward-thinking city in the world, have rail-based public transit” (LEO, May 16), are tossed out without any serious, intelligent consideration of the facts and costs. True, light or “urban” rail-based transportation systems are cost-effective solutions for high density, highly centralized cities like New York, Boston, London, Paris and Hong Kong. Louisville is neither high density nor highly centralized. The typical route suggested for Louisville is the I-65 corridor from the airport to downtown, encompassing U of L and Churchill Downs along the way. Considering that commuter traffic comes into the city via five different interstate highway routes and numerous other spokes in our wheel of roads, spending millions (billions?) for a train route that would only serve one major commuter corridor would be a tremendous waste of public funds. Furthermore, according to the Federal Transit Administration, as of 2000, the average cost per new passenger trip for all light rail projects currently in the preliminary engineering or final design stages across the country is $17.86 for a single trip. Assuming an average of 450 trips per commuter per year (225 work days, two trips per day), the total annual cost per commuter is more than $8,000 per year! And, these are averages, in 2000 numbers, and include projects that could serve a much greater proportion of commuters in cities that are much more dense and centralized than Louisville. Surely there have to be much more efficient and effective ways to make our city green. Russ Maney Photo by Leslie Marlin: Patterson (left), a Paws With Purpose Service Dog in Training, meets his hero Jake the Diamond Dog.-->  BBQ Tofu There is one thing I might add in regard to last week’s cover story (LEO, “Share the Road,” May 16). It takes about 10 times as much fossil fuel to produce a pound of animal protein as it does vegetable protein. And barbequed tofu is pretty good, I think. John Burgard Photo by Leslie Marlin: Patterson (left), a Paws With Purpose Service Dog in Training, meets his hero Jake the Diamond Dog.-->  Cable’s Buddy System Common Cause Kentucky and Tom Louderback’s confusion regarding our ethics complaint involving the cable company and the “bullying” needs the following info: Reba Doutrick is presently chief public director at Insight Cable. She was formally appointed by the mayor to the Louisville MSD board and is currently the mayor’s appointee to the arena committee. This is a present/former relationship with the mayor in government ethics terms. Insight’s (Doutrick) major breach of their city franchise ordinance agreement was swept aside by the mayor recently when he recommended Metro Council to withhold any accountability for poor little Insight’s breach. If the mayor had considered the best interests of the community, he should have taken the opportunity after the breach and “tweaked” the contract as he was allowed to do by law. This could have included in the new ordinance agreement to require Insight to finish hooking up the few remaining county areas that have, supposedly, merged with the city, hence we’d get cable. Was the mayor’s decision an unwarranted privilege to his associate or “other,” as it’s referred in the vague ethics guidelines? The idiocy is that we are asking an ethics commission appointed by the very metro officer in question! Regardless of whether they find an ethics violation or not will not change their engrained buddy system, all things considered. Maggie and Dennis Martin Photo by Leslie Marlin: Patterson (left), a Paws With Purpose Service Dog in Training, meets his hero Jake the Diamond Dog.-->  Talking Tolerance Reactions to my Erosia letter (LEO, March 28) have been rather vitriolic ... expected, yet dismaying. To clarify something not clear in my initial letter (as it wasn’t my main point), I strongly disagree with what I understand to be Albert Mohler’s (of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) position regarding fetal eugenics to reverse homosexual tendencies. Whatever treatment (medical, psychological, religious, etc.) someone might avail one’s self to voluntarily, I would support. My letter, however, didn’t even attempt to argue the morality of homosexuality. It addressed what I consider to be a fallacious argument by Carl Brown — a fact lost on most respondents who used it as an opportunity to rebut with the usual ad hominem attacks and Biblical lambasting through very poor exegesis. A fair-minded person can see that I have not resorted to name-calling, slurs or other disparaging comments aimed at another group, their literature, motives, etc. Respondents to me have done so without exception — “lunatic … bigot … fascist … homophobia … religious fanatic,” etc. I think that’s telling. Unfortunately, these types of clichés now end rational and respectful discussion in our society. If one is labeled intolerant, then one’s arguments can be automatically dismissed without consideration. I don’t suppose I would be justified using similarly disparaging terms regarding homosexuals (not that I would). Tolerance, by definition, is being respectful of those with whom you disagree. Indeed, there are some Christians whose attitude toward homosexuals is regrettable and hateful. But similar attitudes can also be found in homosexuals and others politically left toward those with whom they disagree — such as in those who have responded to me. I think it’s time they acknowledge intolerance in themselves, as well. If any of those whose letters LEO has printed would like to dialogue with me directly and respectfully, LEO may forward my e-mail address to them. Ray Rieck Photo by Leslie Marlin: Patterson (left), a Paws With Purpose Service Dog in Training, meets his hero Jake the Diamond Dog.-->  Separation of Opinion I’m writing in regard to the City Strobe item (LEO, April 11) about the Mount Washington Middle School student whose book report on a portion of the Bible led the school’s principal to pull the plug on the planned closed-circuit broadcast of his class’ reports. As a liberal, atheist, ACLU-lovin’, strong supporter of the separation of church and state, I felt compelled to write and say that I think Stephen George got this one wrong; the principal’s decision here constitutes a clear  violation of this student’s rights of free expression. As long as no teacher or school official planned on delivering the report; as long as the student and his message received no special treatment or endorsement from school officials; as long as every other student had equal opportunity to use this assignment to promote their own, contrary beliefs (by delivering laudatory reports on, say, the “Bhagavad Gita,” or Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion”); then I don’t see a constitutional issue in the school’s plans to broadcast his report — along with those of his classmates — to the entire school. The fact that students could be regarded as something of a “captive audience” while at school does not obligate school officials to take extraordinary measures to shield them from the religious (or irreligious) views of their peers; it merely means they may not tip the scales by providing outlets for the expression of one set of views, while censoring others. Moreover, to flippantly suggest (as George did) that a private school might be a more appropriate place for the student in question to express himself is not too far removed from telling opponents of Bush’s war in Iraq that they should “move to France” if they wish to question American foreign policy. The First Amendment codifies the right of public school students to profess their religious beliefs, as much as it does the right of American citizens to criticize their government. As for George’s implied judgment of this particular student’s views, while I’m in complete agreement, of course, I just think it’s kind of lame that a writer of his caliber would devote column space to taking a cheap shot at the sincerely expressed beliefs of a middle-school student. Nick Braden Photo by Leslie Marlin: Patterson (left), a Paws With Purpose Service Dog in Training, meets his hero Jake the Diamond Dog.-->  Breathe Deep Take a deep breath, President Bush. Relax and inhale and do the right thing for our country and the troops. Bring them home and end the war. Do not play politics with these brave men and women. In six months there will be 500 more dead, and in a year 1,100 or so. All for your inability to see the truth. Harold Trainer Photo by Leslie Marlin: Patterson (left), a Paws With Purpose Service Dog in Training, meets his hero Jake the Diamond Dog.--> 

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