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August 12, 2009

Inbox — Aug. 12, 2009

Letters to the Editor

Local Spending

I would like to respond to the July 29 LEO Weekly article “Buy local” by Stacy Mitchell. The article mentions studies showing that if goods and services are purchased from locally owned businesses, then more money stays in the community. To the author, this implies that the community is wealthier. Yet money is not wealth, nor does the location of a particular dollar say anything useful about wealth.

Suppose I go to a furniture store and buy a chair for $200. Am I poorer? If the chair’s usefulness is worth more than $200 to me, I am richer, even though I don’t have dollar bills to show for it.

Local storeowners provide a service to their customers. Often that service involves getting a product from where it was created to Louisville. Some products come from Louisville, but not all of them can (oranges, for example). Chain-store owners provide a similar service.

Buying locally benefits the owner of the particular local business that you patronize, who might be your neighbor. Buying from a chain benefits its owners, some of whom might be your neighbors on the other side, because their mutual-fund retirement account has shares in the company.

I cannot tell anyone the right reason to buy from any particular purveyor. For me, I sometimes buy locally, and sometimes I don’t. I buy Kizito Cookies and I buy Chips Ahoy. My cookie consumption choices do not have any measurable effect on Louisville’s economic wellbeing.

Rich Mills, Shawnee

Out of Touch

The City Strobe article “Auditor in chief” in your Aug. 5 issue raised some red flags that went a long way toward explaining Jerry Abramson’s opposition to ethical oversight in Metro government.

1) With a $20 million budget shortfall, two high-ranking hacks who were at least in part responsible for said shortfall get a juicy undercover bonus while other hardworking city employees are forced to take pay cuts.

2) This bonus in a time of fiscal crisis shows an arrogant contempt for the taxpayers and demonstrates how far out of touch the mayor is with the people.

3) The lack of proper paperwork by professional paper-pushers is just not credible. In the real world of business, this kind of negligence/incompetence would be cause for termination, not a bonus!

We the People cannot afford to allow these mini-Madoffs to continue to pick our already empty pockets.

Joe Thompson, Highlands

Cherry-Pickin’ Religion

Attn: letter-writer Mike Cosper (LEO Weekly, July 22): I should preface my letter by saying that I am an atheist who was raised Catholic, and after being “Born Again” as a teenager, tried almost every Christian denomination (including Southern Baptist) on my own search for truth. I have no hostility or discomfort with religion, unless it takes on a nationalist bent.

Joe Phelps and you seem to be very reasonable, decent people. But to me, of course, you are arguing over whether pixies are blue or green. I understand that your position is that Mr. Phelps is cherry-picking from the Bible whatever suits him. It would be very difficult to do anything else, since the Bible is full of contradictions. Thou shall not kill, but stone your wife to death for serving two dishes of dairy at one time?

While we are on that bothersome “No Killing” commandment, you must not use bug spray or pick flowers? Or drive a car, bicycle or even walk fast? It’s like a holocaust on your windshield! You must also eat kosher? That’s in the Bible. But you still can’t kill anything. So I guess kosher-slaughtered roadkill is OK. Maybe you look for deer that have been struck by lightning? Tomatoes that have fallen from the vine?

I’ve heard the argument that “Thou shall not kill” was misinterpreted and is supposed to be “Thou shall not murder.” But the Bible has been edited and translated thousands of times. Each of those is divinely guided, right? So apparently Jesus meant for the United States to get the “Thou shall not kill” version. That’s the best proof I’ve found yet of God’s existence. Too bad we don’t listen.

I’m having a bit of fun with the concept, but I’m trying to point out that you are probably following the cherry-picked guidelines of your particular sect — which is what you are criticizing Mr. Phelps for.

Rob Crehan, Cherokee Triangle

Northup Nada

Anne Northup’s cronyism appointment to the Product Safety Commission is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse. As a U.S. representative, Northup became a near-total kiss-up to big business, hopped aboard the W. bandwagon early on, bungled evaluating the Iraq war, and chose Mitch McConnell as her mentor. What qualifies her to objectively evaluate and safeguard product safety? McConnell’s power got her this cushy commission job.

Public Citizen and PIRG should be ashamed for their silence. Repeatedly, Northup has devoted herself to McConnell’s career-credo: protect big business and consumers be damned. Back in the 1990s — when Northup could have taken the lead in demanding repetitive-motion safeguards — she instead offered empty empathy of a potato peeler and fretted mightily over restrictions on our fragile corporations. Did Northup sweat over protecting consumers, improving products or demanding better working conditions? Instead, she worried about regulations harming big business. Her callous attitude toward the working class and her don’t-touch-corporations mantra reflect the same warped thinking that brought this country to its wrecked conditions.

Millionaires and billionaires continue to do nicely. Northup’s unquestioned return is a sad indicator of how little we have learned about bringing our fallen country back from the abyss.

Michael Gregoire, Highlands 

Health Care for All

Isn’t the current health care debate really a moral-spiritual-justice issue? For Christians who take the Lord’s Prayer seriously: Is the status quo, for profit, American health care system an example of God’s will being done on Earth as it is in heaven? Could it be a health care system that covers all is more in line with God’s will? Is it really possible to love God and not love our neighbor as we love ourselves? Can we truly love our neighbor and be opposed to universal health care? Do the insurance companies, pharmaceutical firms and politicians who want to maintain the status quo in health care show love of neighbor? Can public health needs be adequately met by private health care greed?

Working to get a health care system that covers everyone is pro-life at its best and offers Americans the opportunity to do just what God requires: to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our creator. If we truly love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we should be willing to pay for health care for all, even if it means raising our taxes. Health care is for people, not profit.

Paul L. Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews