July 3, 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.Outside the FireI have been impressed with the objectivity LEO has demonstrated in recent coverage of the Metro Council’s smoking ban, especially after an editorial last year referred to it as “bullshit.” The long-awaited Freedom to Breathe Act is good for the economic viability of the community and will allow Louisville to move into the 21st century. My work has put me in the company of both college students and conventioneers visiting Louisville who have expressed shock and dismay that Louisville does not already have a smoking ban. During a recent conversation, a Lexington resident asked: “You mean they let people smoke in bars? Ugh, I would never go out.” To which a Bloomington resident responded: “Yeah, going to clubs in Louisville is like going back in time.”The argument has been made that the government shouldn’t infringe on the rights of business owners to make their own policies regarding legal products. But there are numerous laws to protect the public in privately owned businesses such as fire safety regulations, child labor laws, electrical codes, lead and asbestos contamination, liquor licenses, health inspections and so on. Fireworks and motorcycles are legal products, but they are not allowed to emit smoke and gas indoors either.While I agree in principle with the position of the Metro Louisville Hospitality Coalition that exempting Churchill Downs is unfair, the racetrack is already exempt from the state’s anti-gambling laws and no one is suing over that exception to the rule. Obviously the members of the MLHC were playing the discrimination card as a smokescreen to stop the ban. Sadly, these business owners missed out on a great opportunity. All the non-smokers in Louisville who have wine parties at home, play billiards in the basement and listen to “live music” on TV will now venture out to clubs. Every other city in the country that has passed a smoking ban has seen an increase in revenue, employment, liquor license applications and attendance.Bars and club owners who wasted time and money opposing the ban now have the opportunity to turn a “Corner” and rise like a “Phoenix” out of the ashtray to open the “Door” to new customers who have been avoiding their polluted establishments for years. Or as Elmo of Elmo’s Martini Lounge said: “Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a lawsuit, I spent a thousand dollars building a patio.”Jacob Zimmer, Louisville Eyesore-64 When I heard I-64 would be temporarily shut down from Preston Street to the Sherman Minton Bridge, my first thought was, “Yikes!”Perhaps The Courier-Journal would provide perspective. A June 10 editorial asserted, “The planners say rush-hour commutes could be double …” and concluded with an us-vs.-them “Remember, at least you’re not one of the salesmen for 8664, who are stuck with explaining why their plan to tear down this same stretch of I-64 for good and live this way forever is the path to blissful urban enlightenment.” However, the very same day, a C-J headline ran: “So far, so good as I-64 closing is hassle-free — Business drivers pleasantly surprised.”Granted, the story concerned weekend traffic. Nonetheless, the facts undermined the editorial. Some perspective. Now I have a second thought. We have been presented with an opportunity to begin an objective analysis of how much we actually need I-64, which all admit is an eyesore. Let the chips fall where they may.Scott Varland, LouisvilleEditor’s note: LEO referenced this perspective in “Clear and present danger,” in the June 13 issue.Define Your DefenseDear Ms. Lucinda Marshall: I wrote to Erosia in response to your earlier column and had no intention of defending militarism when I did so. However, after reading your latest musings (LEO, June 20), I find it difficult to respond to you since you have engaged in one of the oldest and cheapest tricks in philosophical debate. You argue against something without defining its meaning, making it impossible for anyone to dispute your argument since you can change the meaning of the term at whim. Since at least Plato, it has been a basic tenet of debate to define one’s terms. What do you mean by militarism? Do you mean the system in pre-WWII Japan where the military essentially ran the government or the case in many third-world countries where the military is the government or something different? I am sure you could find some people to whom the very existence of the military is militarism. So I suggest you say what you mean by the term unless you are scared to debate the issue. I personally do not think having military planes as part of Thunder is militarism. I think it is a way to recognize those sworn to defend this country and those who have done so in the past even at the costs of their lives. I think the real answer is that Peaceful Skies drew 300 people while Thunder attendance was in the 100,000s. In many cases, people just enjoy seeing fast planes doing tricks. Next time I think you should define the meaning of the term you wish to argue over — at least as to what it means to you. One other point, you suggest celebrating Interdependence Day as opposed to Independence Day on July 4. My question to you is how does one celebrate interdependence with those whose stated goal is the destruction of your country and its way of life. That sounds like suggesting that German Jews should have invited Nazis to join them in celebrating Yom Kippur. Kent O. Sublett, LouisvilleDarwin PrayedIronically, the sundry atheist and “secular coalition” groups protesting at the Creation Museum may actually be as much off Darwin’s mark as the creationists themselves. In no fashion was Darwin an atheist, nor were his brilliant observations and subsequent theories in any way, shape or form based on atheism. As with many scientists and thinkers of that (or any) time, he deeply questioned religious dogma. But at the time of writing “The Origin of Species,” he reportedly remained convinced of the existence of God.For atheists and secular humanists to conclude otherwise, and then try to draw Darwinism into their ideology, is as much a sham(e) as the $27 million museum itself. To get this thing ironed out, we’re going to need much more of the likes of the Rev. Mendle Adams, pastor of the United Church of Christ in Cincinnati, and much, much less of the likes of Edward Kagin of American Atheists Inc.John S. Krueger, Louisville