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July 3, 2006

Erosia (Letters to the Editor)

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.Warming DebateIn his review of “An Inconvenient Truth” (June 21 LEO), Paul Kopasz says there is debate about the causes of global warming. There is not. The U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change issued a report in 2001 that declared climate change is most likely due to human use of fossil fuels. This statement has been endorsed by the National Academies of Science of Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Russia, the U.S., Australia and more.In addition, NASA’s Goddard Institute, NOAA, the National Academy of Sciences, the EPA, the State of the Canadian Cryosphere (SOCC), the Royal Society of the United Kingdom (RS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society have all published endorsements of this statement.If you need further proof, in 2004 Professor Naomi Oreskes conducted a study of 928 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles dealing with climate change. She found that none of the articles disagreed with the consensus. The only “controversy” about the causes of global warming is occurring on newspaper op-ed pages. It is fueled by conservative think tanks, most of which are funded by ExxonMobil.William WilsonIgnored the TruthAttn: Paul Kopasz:I read your review of “An Inconvenient Truth” with interest — as I do most of your movie reviews — but you appear not to have been paying attention to Al Gore’s documentary. You write that scientists have not been able to separate the effects of natural warming cycles from man-made causes. This is simply untrue. The scientific community has shown irrefutable evidence that mankind is causing climate change with the use of fossil fuels.Don’t listen to the oil companies who are spending millions of dollars trying to persuade the public there was still a debate to be had. The debate is over, as Gore demonstrates so effectively in his movie.You may not be one of the hardcore Bush Republicans, as you mentioned in your review, who wouldn’t be caught dead attending the film, but you appear to be one of many global-warming deniers — you know, the sort of people who believed the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona or that the earth is still flat. The only conclusion to take from reading your review is that you ignored “An Inconvenient Truth.”Sean ByrneGlobal ScratchingPaul Kopasz’s review of “An Inconvenient Truth” seemed oddly harsh to me. His claim that the movie would “preach to the converted” is unfair and beside the point. For one thing, while a movie made by Al Gore probably won’t be viewed by many hardcore right-wingers, it could be seen by people who aren’t aware of quite how serious the issue of global warming really is. Also, going in as one of the “converted,” I have to say I learned a lot more than I knew about the issue. Kopasz’s claims regarding the accuracy of the data left me scratching my head because he neither cited any sources to contradict the film’s claims, nor did he explain why a film critic is in any way qualified to judge the validity of such claims.Jonathan SmithClinton No SaintCary Stemle’s article praising Bill Clinton (June 28 LEO) is similar to those moronic “W” stickers we see on SUVs. It is easy, I suppose, in light of the extreme depravity and treachery of the George W. Bush Administration to forget that Bill Clinton’s Administration also did much to advance the cause of fascism and tyranny in America.Bill Clinton passed NAFTA.Bill Clinton oversaw the greatest increase in the U.S. prison population in modern history, mostly private prisons and mostly nonviolent people of color.Bill Clinton has invested in and spoken on behalf of Barrick Gold of Canada, which murdered Tanzanians in order to steal their gold plots.Bill Clinton refused Sudan’s offer to extradite bin Laden and blew up their pharmaceutical plant.Bill Clinton assisted the FBI in covering up their role in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the massacre at Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing.Bill Clinton ordered the bombing (with DU) and starving (via sanctions) of the Iraqi population, killing innocent men, women and children.Bill Clinton is very friendly with the Bushes, particularly George H.W. Bush. Clinton stayed with the Bushes in Kennebunkport last year while on his book tour.Bill Clinton was hated by many in Arkansas while governor for allowing Tyson chicken to destroy the ecosystem by dumping chicken manure in rivers, for his allowing the Reagan and Bush administrations to operate a Contra training base in Mena, and the subsequent drug dealing and political murders that followed the Contra operation wherever it went.Abel AshesJCPS is Half-BakedThe ’50s are gone and Brown vs. the Board is no longer relevant. Betty Baye and Michael Lindenberger miss the point. Judges should compel schools and their administrators to actually provide a nearly equal education, not arbitrate who has to attend the bad ones. Black students are not getting the education they need. Neither are Hispanic students. Mere access to the unsatisfactory education white students have is not enough. “School choice” is a thin icing on an ugly misshapen cake with layers that don’t match. Inexperienced cake decorators like Judge Heyburn provided additional destabilizing force by declaring most JCPS schools “fungible,” i.e. one as good as another. If that were only true. After 50 years, equity in education is still sticking to the pan.Hopefully the Supreme Court will find what parents already know: Most schools provide benefits available to only some students. Public schools are unequally able and unequally willing to meet student needs. Significant performance gaps among schools and groups of students within individual schools leave the non-elite scrambling to get into the public schools that appear better poised to yield results. Unfortunately, schools don’t diagnose their learners very well, and even a “good” school may not yield appropriate results even for “good” students. Meanwhile, unfloured high school students pass the CATS test but are not ready for the ACT or SAT or college-level work. Middle and high school detentions and ISAPs still seem determined to whip a batter for black males to fill predictable muffin-tin roles behind bars or the wrong end of a gun. Far too many students leave elementary school half-baked, unable even to read on grade level. Administrators blame bad parents, bad students and bad teachers for these results, not their mismarked measuring cups, poorly controlled ovens or bad recipes. This “let them eat cake” approach is appalling.Solutions: We need less testing and more authentic diagnosis of learning. We need to look in the dumpsters behind these confectionaries, not the few cakes on display in the windows. We need less school choice for teachers and students, more K-12 schools, a better minimum quality of work life for teachers and, therefore, more reliable outcomes for students. Principals need to better engage parents and students or leave to sell Avon and/or run for office — whichever smells better. Using race as a criterion should not be allowed, and the federal government should enforce fungibilty instead of merely allocating the scarcity of good schooling. Meanwhile, I can only wish Julian Carroll were here to call out the National Guard. That would get obstructionist school administrators moving. That very well may be needed to scrape the Ingwerson leftovers from the bowl after Daeschner leaves.Doug LowryWho’s on Classics?This summer, Clark (Kent) and Jack (Sparrow) are back, but so are Bud and Lou. The updated returns of a superman and Caribbean pirate share the local film season with original classic comedies via “The Best of (Bud) Abbott & (Lou) Costello Movie Series.” Running weekends through July at the Louisville Palace, many of the comedy team’s top 1940s efforts return to the big screen.The series makes available these classic features to old and new fans in a movie-going setting. Besides this annual series, such older films don’t get much exposure. Those unfamiliar with A&C need to catch up to this timeless heritage of comedy — from Costello’s great physical shtick and Abbott’s classic straight-man setups to both men’s honed wordplay. Ever hear of “Who’s on First?” That classic routine can be seen in the 1946 A&C film “The Naughty Nineties.”Don’t think A&C are just for older men. A Baby Boomer friend, who’s very particular about the entertainment his adolescent children experience, got them interested in the team’s films a few years ago on video/DVD. And his daughters have been big fans ever since.Brad Farb