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February 2, 2011

Inbox — Feb. 2, 2011

Letters to the Editor

Nix SB 6
I am a student at the University of Louisville. My hometown in Northern Kentucky is predominately white, and so arriving in Louisville was like a breath of fresh air; the diversity of an immigrant and refugee city has been vital in my education and in my stance on David Williams’ proposed Senate Bill 6.

SB 6 represents a loss of integrity for all Kentuckians. To be accused of illegal activity in front of one’s neighbors, children or friends is immensely violating, regardless of innocence. Those who are here illegally will, if SB 6 is passed, be unable to call law enforcement in the case of rape, domestic abuse or a medical emergency. The immigrants and refugees who walk the streets of Louisville should not have to do so in fear, whether they have come here seeking solace or are simply trying to live their lives.

Kentucky institutions and traditions will also be negatively affected by SB 6. The Derby, as one of Louisville’s primary sources of income, will be deprived of workers and may even be boycotted by celebrities and performers in the same vein as those who did so after Arizona’s twin SB 1070 was passed. Following this example, Kentucky might even expect a statewide boycott of local businesses and the expenses imposed by a federal lawsuit against the bill’s unconstitutional overstep of federal law enforcement. The amount of money that will be funneled not only into this probable lawsuit, but also the funding of new prisons and an intensified police force, make SB 6 even more of a drain on Kentucky’s already downtrodden economy.

Kentucky cannot afford SB 6 — financially, legally or morally.
Emily Nordling, Students United for Peace & Justice, South End

Gay Meanings
Regarding Pam Swisher’s “What’s so gay about it?” column in the Jan. 12 LEO:

The meaning of and usage of words is constantly changing. To take ownership of or to assume one meaning of a particular word or phrase is incorrect. There is almost no word in the English language with only one meaning. Examples are post, fire, crane, engaged, date and gay.

Gay has been defined over the course of history as joyous, lively, merry, happy, brilliant, wanton, licentious, bright, homosexual. As of late, it has been used to describe something as rubbish, or stupid. A Wikipedia search of the word gay goes into some depth on this usage and even quotes a BBC ruling on its usage in this manner by a DJ.

I understand that words can be hateful and abusive. I also understand that they have many meanings and aren’t necessarily meant to be derogatory toward any particular person or group of persons.
Michael Christensen, Highview

Bible DNA
It irks me that individuals who claim to be enlightened can be so blind to the facts. For example, my neighbor, Paul Johnson of the Highlands (LEO Weekly Inbox, Jan. 19, “BeshearLand”), rails against the dearth of knowledge the biblical writers’ possessed. He even muses that it would have been more interesting if God’s flawless book had predicted later findings like DNA.

While this column is not a forum for educating the masses about ancient religious books, I would be remiss if I failed to mention King David’s description of developing in the womb (Psalm 139.15, 16): “my substance … and my members were written … when there was yet none,” a poetic allusion to DNA. This is one among many of the scientifically accurate statements that can be found. Note the dinosaurs of Genesis 1.21 or the fitting description of the shape of our planet (Isaiah 40.22).

While I have no need to visit a theme park sponsored by the governor to assure myself of the veracity of the biblical story of Noah and the Ark, Mr. Johnson can rest assured that Frankfort will have looked to our neighbors to the north and recognize that Kentucky has been beaten to the punch with Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind.
Malcolm Tyler, Downtown

From the Lion’s Mouth
I read with shock and dismay the Jan. 26 letter from Lyle Nitter. I never knew that the diet of humans was governed by violence. OMG! I can see why he would be upset to hear other humans say that cows “give milk.” That’s kind of like saying that this zebra next to me gave blood.

The “barbaric” way that humans kill their food is truly “horrific” as Mr. Nitter says. For comparison, this zebra here received much better treatment from me. I jumped on his back as he was trying to run away (which really was rude on his part) and dug my claws into the flesh on his shoulders. I heard him grunt in pain. I couldn’t get him down right away, but I managed to get my jaws around his neck and crunched down on a couple vertebrae while twisting. This broke his neck and paralyzed him. He crumpled to the ground like a rag doll. He was still breathing, and little dust clouds puffed up next to his nostril. His eyes were rolled back looking at me in terror.

I began eating at the ribs, because I think it’s the tastiest part. He grunted in more pain for the first several bites but stopped eventually. I guess he’s dead now. It really was a dignified and gentle death when you think about it. Which just makes me absolutely appalled the more I think about how humans kill animals for food.
Leo the Non-Literary Lion, The Serengeti (As told to Rich Mills, Shawnee)

Debating Debt
Huge thanks to Harold Trainer for beginning the conversation in the Dec. 29 LEO regarding the gigantic challenge of controlling our nation’s debt. Rather than pointing fingers, though, I would like to shift the conversation toward imagining possible solutions. Reigning in our debt is perhaps one of the most complex challenges Americans face today. Our aging population, the spiraling cost of health care and the size of our military are the main contributing factors, and there is no silver bullet. The Left’s ideas (cut the size of the military, instate a cap on carbon emissions) won’t solve the problem alone. Nor will the Right’s (cut discretionary domestic spending, raise the retirement age for Social Security).

If we are to solve this problem, we must all set our politics aside and come together to have some hard discussions about the role of our government, its obligation to its citizens, and how our values shape the way we allocate our (sadly not infinite) resources. To be sure, it will require sacrifice from everyone. The good news? There is a wealth of ideas in the air about how to pull our nation back from the brink of bankruptcy. Every American ought to educate himself about the wide variety of options that exist, some of which might be less familiar than others. Whatever the solutions, though, certainly we are long past due for a frank, pragmatic dialogue about how to get our financial house in order.
Jacob Stoebel, Clifton

Bankrupt Republicans
It wasn’t even five years ago that Republicans, in accordance with their values, forced bankruptcy reform, ensuring that our middle class and poor couldn’t stiff their sacred creditors. Now those same Republicans are proposing that bankruptcy be made legit for states, so the cash-strapped ones can stiff agreements with their unions and bail on their obligations to retirees.

Who really needs to be declaring bankruptcy is the Republican Party itself. Sure they still have money lying around, but when it comes to values, the word is insolvency.
Curtis Morrison, Highlands

Circus Dangers
With the Kosair Shrine circus coming to Louisville this month, people will think of clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers and the animal acts. Fun for everyone. However, circuses are no fun for the animals because of the confinement they have to endure during the circus season. For approximately 48 weeks of the year, elephants are kept in chains, and other large animals are kept in cages until it’s “showtime.”

According to experts, the constant tethering or confinement of any animals can result in a state of psychological distress. So it’s not surprising when sometimes you read about an elephant or a tiger mauling its trainer. You never know when one will decide to make a break for freedom, and that’s why circus elephant rides are a potential danger.

According to the federal Animal Welfare Act, which circuses must comply with, this constant confinement isn’t considered “cruelty,” however, a few U.S. cities, towns and counties have banned circuses with animal acts. A list of these is available on www.idausa.org/campaigns/circuses/circusban.html.

So, I urge everyone to boycott this type of cruelty, but if you go to the circus, remember, after the show, the elephants go back to their chains and the other animals go back to their cages.
Ray Wilson, New Middletown, Ind.