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April 14, 2010

Inbox — April 14, 2010

LEO Treasure Trove
I’m an avid reader of LEO and have been as long as I can remember. I just feel compelled to send to you this e-mail. Since I have made a career of working in the advertising/marketing industry for the last 40 years in this community running a design firm, you and your staff need some kind of monumental design award for the March 31 “fake issue” of LEO. Maybe instead of winning a Louie award, they should just give you guys the Louie statue at Sixth and Jefferson. You’ve cracked the code on Louisville humor. Great writing and terrific concepts for the stories. Well done.

As an aside, I consider myself to be an EXTREME Greg Fischer fan and hope he is our new mayor. Yes, he might sometimes truly act like a cyborg. That’s probably what we need. In closing, great job. Don’t let up on this town — we need your gang. You’re a treasure to have.
Dan Stewart, Henryville, Ind.

KISSes to LEO
(Regarding the fake issue story “KISS donates ‘Let’s Put the X in Sex’ royalties to John Timmons,’ March 31.) LOVE IT! Laughed out loud. I happen to think I NEVER looked better! Thanks for the makeover!
John Timmons, owner of ear X-tacy

For A Good Time …
In “The writing on the stall” art review in LEO’s fake issue, the author describes some explicit details of art that can be freely viewed in many public restrooms. He or she also asserts that this art probably doesn’t deserve a second look. But perhaps stall graffiti does merit a more profound analysis as a reflection of the repressed creativity in our culture. This category of public art seems to be a candid (though maybe unconscious) social statement on the lack of creative spice in many people’s daily, mundane routines. Creativity is a natural human impulse, and if it is suppressed, it will rear its head in any way that it can ... even tainted doodles on bathroom walls. We must involve ourselves in entertaining our creative sides, and we must have public outlets to do so. Stall graffiti is just one testimony to the staggering lack of this in our society.

Proposition for curators — acquire some public stall walls and coordinate them in an exhibition based on this theme and how creativity and individuality is downcast through various capitalist institutions.
Douglas Lucas, Highlands

Message Received
Attn: Ricky L. Jones:
President Obama is not black enough. We get it. Next topic please.
Bill Zink, Germantown

Good Times For All
Attn: Joe Manning:

Thank you so much for your “For lovers indeed” column (LEO Weekly, March 24). I might have gotten a tear in my eye whilst reading your thoughtful and beautifully optimistic column. I have only lived here a year and a half, and, while I am not crazy about the side of town I live on or the fact that I am an unemployed (currently underemployed) professional, I still manage to love this city! Good food, good people, good times ... good to be here!
Melinda MacCall, East End

What is Local?
In his March 24 Inbox letter, Gary Kleier makes a couple of fallacious economic arguments for the renovation of older homes. In his third point, Kleier says the fact that renovation of older homes uses 40 percent more labor than new construction is good because the jobs are “local” and will generate more jobs due to wages being spent locally.

He confuses the object with the obstacle. The object is to have a good house for someone to live in. The obstacle is the amount of effort required to produce that house. If there were an easier way of getting good homes, common sense suggests we use that and not a more difficult way. The wealth to be created here is in homes, not wages. And if more labor was really a good idea, why don’t we forgo all of our modern tools for stone axes and adzes? Perhaps this idea could be expanded to other industries, and we could use Stone Age tools for all kinds of construction, manufacturing and communication so as to employ more people.

Secondly, the idea of jobs being local is almost silly. What if a worker commutes to a Louisville job site from another county or from Indiana, is the job still local? Also, what if the worker decides not to spend any money locally, ordering groceries and other needs on the Internet? What is the local benefit then?

For those interested in a more artful illumination of this and similar topics, may I suggest the book “Economics Sophisms” by Frederic Bastiat?
Rich Mills, Shawnee

I Hate Tolls
Here are 10 things I don’t like about the possibility of tolling bridges over the Ohio River:



1) Tolls are a regressive tax — the charge doesn’t vary according to income and thus affects road users on low incomes more than it does those who are better off.



2) Tolls are inefficient — a very large proportion of what is paid in tolls goes into the cost of collecting it and corporate profit.



3) Tolls are wasteful — apart from the cost of a collection and enforcement bureaucracy, authorities who operate tolls tend to be overmanned and looking for ways to use up the money as fast as it comes rolling in.



4) Tolls are unfair — tolls are paid on top of other taxes on road users, so drivers are paying twice.



5) Tolls don’t encourage fuel economy or distinguish between cars with different fuel consumption or using “greener” fuels. They lead to more wasted fuel as drivers detour and take longer routes to avoid tolls. It is better to charge for roads through taxes on fuel, as this helps to conserve fuel supplies and reduce emissions by encouraging drivers to be more careful with their use of fuel and to car share.



6) Tolls cause some drivers to make longer journeys on less suitable roads, which increases congestion and the risk of accidents.



7) Toll collection causes vehicles to slow down or stop. This is annoying for drivers. It also wastes fuel and leads to more accidents as the vehicles approach the tolls trying to get into a lane with the smallest queue and fumbling for cash. Fully electronic tolls reduce these harmful effects but do not remove them. In many cases, there is a mixture of electronic and cash tolls that can cause more delays and accidents as drivers detour to get into the correct lane.



8) Tolls are often privately run, and even where they are not, there is a great temptation to cash in by selling the toll money-making machine. Private operators and their bankers usually make large profits. It is cheaper to pay for roads through either taxes or government borrowings — which are eventually repaid through taxes.



9) If there are two areas, one with tolls and the other without, then businesses, potential employees and tourists will prefer the area without tolls. Tolls reduce beneficial “agglomeration” effects as they divide people and businesses.



10) Tolls, particularly on river crossings, divide communities and create a “wrong side of the tracks.”
Shawn M. Reilly, Highlands

Democratic Fools
If we as Americans have learned anything from the health care debate, it should be that conservatism as an ideology is harmful to our nation, and negotiating with conservatives over legislation that affects the health and welfare of our citizens is not only irrational but endangers people’s lives. Although I support passage of the bill signed by President Obama, it is not at all what I had hoped for and definitely not what I expected considering the Democrats control Congress and the presidency. Everything wrong with this bill comes as a result of negotiating with people who implore an ideology that by definition forces them to stand in the way of progress.

One American dies every 12 minutes, tens of thousands die every year, simply because of a lack of adequate health care. We as a people should be ashamed of this statistic, and Democrats in Congress as well as the president should be ashamed that they negotiated away the idea that health care is a right. They substituted that ideal with what should be called “a right to be forced to have access to a health care pool whereby insurance can be purchased from a for-profit industry that cannot remove you for a pre-existing condition but may, through loopholes, be able to charge whatever they want from their high-risk customers just so long as they are not women seeking a procedure that is constitutionally available to them” bill.

Conservatives are right — this is a bad bill, not because of a lack of bi-partisanship, but because Democrats forgot that on every major issue this country has faced since its founding, conservatism has been on the wrong side of history. They should have known better than to even attempt to get Republican support. As President Bush once said, “Fool me once, shame on, uh ... uh ...”
Nicholas Wohlleb, Highlands