August 19, 2008

Inbox — Aug. 20, 2008

Letters to the Editor

WELP DONE

I have no idea who Jim Welp is, and in the many years of your paper’s existence I have never had occasion to write in for any reason (indeed, I read it only sporadically since Dave Barry and John Yarmuth departed), but Jim Welp’s “Falls Fountain flashback” (LEO Weekly, Aug. 13) compels me to do so now. Having just finished reading his witty, often hilarious article, I must commend him (and you) on a terrific piece of writing. Welp’s wry, irreverent style was perfect for the subject at hand and captured the mood of the moment — however inglorious it was — perfectly. As one of those unfortunate souls condemned to watch the “innaugural squirt,” I can attest to the fact that it was truly a breathtaking civic belly-flop of unparalleled proportions. Mr. Bingham rolled many strikes in his long and distinguished career, and we all owe him much, but this was a gutter ball from the moment it left his hand.

Yet I digress. The point of this letter is that good writing is a joy to behold, and Welp obviously has a gift for it. I hope you will allow him many more opportunities to share his gift with your audience. I, for one, will certainly look for his byline in the future.

To Mr. Welp, whoever you are: Well done, and please sir, may I have another?

Brad Hume, Louisville

 

VILLAGE PEOPLE

I read the “news” item Phillip M. Bailey wrote in the July 30 LEO Weekly. I have two comments on the article:

Whatever happened at the Braden Center during the Arts & Activism summer camp, involving an Alliance member and a camper, is an internal matter, and I’m sure the Alliance will address the incident in its own way. This matter has no “news” value but resorts to perpetuating gossip. 

However, it does serve to point out the diversity of characters associated with the Alliance. 

The other issue involves the dilemma of when to correct a child. When children are involved in organized activities, parents trust that their children will be given the direction and guidance they need. It is my understanding that a parent was not available to correct a child, and another adult determined that an intervention was needed and made an attempt to do just that. Though the degree of confrontation is debatable, it brings up a dilemma: We talk about it “taking a village to raise a child,” but it seems some are reluctant to relinquish some of their own personal power and let the community help. There are times when I would like to correct some of our youth (especially for atrocious language on the street and public transportation) but know that I’ll probably get a smart retort, be ignored, mocked or otherwise disrespected. Children have not been taught that “the village” can and should participate in their upbringing by correcting them, or offering guidance, as needed.

We must decide if we really want “the village” to help raise our children. If not, our youth will continue with minimal guidance and be less likely to participate in the larger community. If so, then both the children and adults should step up and take some responsibility for the bad behaviors, make corrections as needed and allow our community to thrive. 

If there is one issue that this “village” would change, it would be the young males wearing their pants below their butts, with the crotches drooping down between their knees. I don’t care how cute or stylish or clean the underwear may or may not be; I don’t want to witness it and find it offensive.

Kris Philipp, Louisville

 

LEO LAKE

Thank you, LEO Weekly, for perhaps the most sensational article I’ve read to date in your newspaper. It’s like “The Ricki Lake Show” in print form. Just when the intra-racial “n-word” epithet had begun to lose its oomph, in rolls “… you black bitch … I will kick your black ass” into the limelight. All this racially charged drama you’ve shared with us is juicier than the grapevine! 

Oh yeah, it’s also informative.

Now, had I known before that all I had to do was “approach” an elder community activist, following an offensive comment or behavior toward my child, then leak the story to LEO in order to ostracize and publicly disrobe the activist …

On second thought, it would not have been worth it to me. Especially not if I viewed my antagonist as so-called “damaged goods.” Teaming up and smearing my fellow activist would have been too easy and would have made me feel (and probably look) both petty and malicious. Furthermore, I never would have thought that would even be newsworthy. Sadly, activism in certain sectors of this community looks to be headed down the toilet. Untold numbers of people struggle daily just to maintain even the basics of food, clothing and shelter, within an increasingly oppressive economy and social atmosphere. Yet, those who fancy themselves leaders have time to indulge inconsequential drama like this? 

But hey, carry on with the small-time scandal; you have your audience chanting your name now.

Tahiti Castillo, former assistant coordinator for the Kentucky Alliance, Louisville

Editor’s note: The writer’s notion of an activist “leaking” the story to LEO Weekly is incorrect. The newspaper learned of the incident when the Kentucky Alliance inadvertently e-mailed details to the group’s listserv, of which LEO Weekly is a member. 

 

IN ACCURACY WE TRUST

In the July 30 issue, I came upon a letter submitted with the title “In History We Trust.” Although titles may not be created by the author, I have to say that this choice is a bit ironic since the author has not stated all the historical facts accurately.

For one, it was “Under God” that was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, not “In God We Trust,” which was added to our currency in 1864 (on the 2-cent piece). Also, it is a mistake to simply assume that the more recent addition of “Under God” to the Pledge was only a “Cold War ploy.” Both phrases originated during the Civil War, not the Red Scare. “Under God” was gleaned from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and “In God We Trust” from the battlefield of Antietam, as Union soldiers marched into a hailstorm of bullets.

In addition, it may be a fact that the Constitution does not mention God or the Bible, but this fact does not extend to all early American documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Bill of Rights (section 16) and the Articles of Confederation. Also, the Constitution forbids Congress to legislate on behalf of an “establishment of religion;” it does not forbid them from supporting or mentioning anything concerning a deity (whether they are sincere or not), since that would contradict the second half of the statement.

Giovanni Cassaro, Louisville

 

CRUDE PIPE DREAMS

Bush on offshore drilling for oil: “There is no excuse for delay. Families across the country are looking to Washington for a response.”

McCain on offshore drilling: “In the short term, this requires more domestic production, especially in the outer continental shelf. … we must assure affordable fuel for America by increasing domestic production.”

The Bush and McCain teams are trying to tell the American people that Republicans are going to end foreign oil dependency and decrease the cost of gasoline. But it’s not going to happen. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, any benefit of drilling offshore or in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will be minor. Any petroleum obtained from these sources is 10-20 years away — not relief “in the short term.” The savings that eventually would come would amount to about 75 cents per barrel. That would reduce the cost of a barrel of oil from $130/barrel all the way down to $129.25/barrel. At the gas pump, the savings would be negligible.

All of that “savings” is assuming that drilling in ANWR or offshore doesn’t lead to some environmental disaster — a spill, for instance — in which case the “savings” would be even less, as somebody would have to pay for the damage done.

Bush/McCain have access to this information — it’s no secret that any savings from offshore drilling will be miniscule and years away and speculative, at that. Why would we want to risk drilling in fragile areas when it will only save us pennies years from now?

There’s no reason at all. Bush/McCain are trying to sell us a lie. Don’t believe it. The only answer to living with the reality of a finite resource like oil is to live within our means and consume less. Anything else is just a pipe dream.

Dan Trabue, Louisville