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September 5, 2006

City Strobe

Strange bedfellows don’t mind sharing the remoteMark McKinley: of the Save the Internet Coalition speaks during last Thursday’s event in front of the Mazzoli Federal Building in Louisville, where he was joined by about 20 other supporters and small business-owners from Kentucky. They were there to urge U.S. Sen. MitcMembers of the Save the Internet Coalition gathered in front of the Romano L. Mazzoli Federal Building last Thursday to present U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell with a petition signed by more than 5,000 Kentuckians, urging the senator to oppose the Communication Opportunity, Promotion Enhancement (COPE) Act. Thus far, McConnell has been mum about his intentions on the so-called “Net neutrality” bill.The bill is part of a large-scale effort to retool the Telecommunications Act, and it has faced fierce opposition since it passed Congress in June, largely because it includes no language providing for Net neutrality. The nationwide Coalition consists of several disparate groups of activists and politicians and many others who may not normally associate with one another but who’ve put political differences aside to fight for a common cause.Critics of the bill say it favors the larger Internet and telecommunications companies, which they believe will squelch competition and make the Internet more expensive for average users.McConnell has not taken a public stand on the issue. His press secretary did not return phone calls to his Washington, D.C., office on Tuesday.For more information about the coalition and Net neutrality, go to www.savetheinternet.org. —Nathan ThacherYou’re an American. Now eat!With the entire world hating Merka’s guts and an obesity pandemic sweeping the land, the long Labor Day weekend proved the perfect time to come together, strap on the old feed bag and celebrate our international community. And so it was at WorldFest, a city-sponsored festival of food, dancing, food, music, food, drinking, food, crafts and food. The festival on the Belvedere celebrated Louisville’s ethnic diversity and international heritage and was a pleasant contrast to all those red- and blue-necks drunkenly calling each other out over at the Pizza Bowl. Adding to the magic of the event were 374 of the United States’ newest citizens, who took a group oath of citizenship in what officials called the largest naturalization ceremony in Kentucky history. All told, the immigrants represented 73 countries, including some that don’t even have ready access to KFC. Upon being sworn in, the new citizens expressed joy and optimism about their new country and went off to live the American Dream, which presumably includes watching reality TV, eating Krispy Kreme crullers, keeping a close eye on Paris Hilton, forgetting to vote and rooting maniacally for their local sports team. —Jim WelpChanges at LEOBecause of a reallocation of resources, Billy Reed is no longer on the LEO staff. Reed joined LEO as a senior editor in January; his final staff-written column appears today.“Please join me in thanking Billy for his strong contribution to LEO’s editorial voice over the past eight months,” editor Cary Stemle said to LEO staff in an office-wide e-mail announcing the change. “Working with a longtime professional writer has been profoundly inspiring for me, and I’ll miss him greatly.”Reed has been offered the chance to write for the paper on a free-lance basis but indicated he probably will decline that offer. —StaffCampaign modeNow that Labor Day has come and gone, political observers expect election season to heat up. Rep. Anne Northup, who is still dealing with the sudden death of her son Joshua in July, will begin her public campaign within 10 days, spokesman Patrick Neely said Tuesday. He declined to say when Northup campaign ads will begin airing.Congress reconvenes today and will meet through mid-October. Neely said Northup will generally be in Washington during the week and in the 3rd District on weekends.He said she is still weighing the offer to write for LEO through the election. That offer was made after Northup held a press conference in front of the LEO office, protesting what she said was Democratic opponent John Yarmuth’s unwillingness to help her locate the columns he has written for LEO over the years. During the Democratic primary, Yarmuth had said he’d stand behind anything he’s written if Northup would stand behind all of her Congressional votes.Because there are no complete archives of LEO beyond office copies, the newspaper agreed to loan back issues to a Northup staffer who was accompanied by a security guard, paid for by the Northup campaign. Photocopies were made over nine days from July 10-25, according to LEO business manager Darrell Sharp, and cost $918 (51 hours at $18 an hour). —Cary Stemle