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January 19, 2011

Inbox — Jan. 19, 2011

Letters to the Editor

Correction
A news story in last week’s issue incorrectly identified Barbara Haines’ position within the Louisville Kennel Club; she is the organization’s representative to No Kill Louisville. LEO regrets the error.

It’s Getting Better
This month, I was proud to add my voice to the “It Gets Better” campaign — an effort to bring hope to LGBT youth who are the targets of bullying, taunting and discrimination.

The message of the campaign is clear — for these young people, the future will get better, and our nation’s commitment to equality will grow stronger. The help and support are there — in our communities, in our neighborhoods and even in our government — and a world of new opportunity is just around the corner.

As a legislator during the 111th Congress, I was proud to join my colleagues in passing some of the most significant legislation in our nation’s history to knock down the barriers to equality for LGBT Americans and do our part in making it better. We focused intently on two goals: passing hate crimes legislation and removing the military’s unfair “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy — and we succeeded on both fronts.

While politics have changed for the 112th Congress, the goals of those striving for LGBT equality have progressed. This Congress, I am proud to join my colleagues in co-sponsoring the Respect Marriage Act, which would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and open up new doors for LGBT rights.

While so much political rhetoric focuses on creating divisions where there should be none, it’s probably hard to believe that it will continue to get better. But the message of hope is one all Louisvillians and all Americans committed to equality must continue to share with our friends and neighbors every day to make the promise of equality a reality.
John Yarmuth, Louisville/Washington, D.C.

BeshearLand
I really enjoyed Jim Welp’s amusing column on Gov. Beshear’s hopes to turn Kentucky into an amusement park epicenter (LEO Weekly, Jan. 5). Clearly, as Welp notes, Gov. Beshear brainstormed his “other” ideas after legitimate criticism was directed at him for wanting to provide tax breaks for the Ark Encounter. Is this theme park really the governor’s idea of improving education in Kentucky?

It is interesting to think about the progression of human knowledge and its application in the real world since “God’s book” was written by an ancient culture:

• Number zero invented (Mahavira, 1000 AD)

• Copernicus formulates the first comprehensive theory that the sun, not the Earth, is the center of our galaxy (1543)

• Equal sign in mathematics invented (Robert Recorde, 1557)

• Galileo is the first to use direct experimentation to understand the world (1583)

• Bacteria is discovered with the first microscope (Leeuwenhoek, 1653)

• Oxygen is “discovered” (Joseph Priestley, 1774)

• Evolution and natural selection first described by Charles Darwin (1859)

• First hypothesis in quantum mechanics outlined (Max Planck, 1900)

• Penicillin, the first antibiotic discovered, is used in clinical medicine (Howard Florey, 1941)

• Genetic code (DNA) discovered (Watson & Crick, 1953)

As this illustrates, the biblical writers did not even have a complete method for simple mathematics, nor did anyone have the inclination to inspect the real world to formulate ideas until Galileo. (It would have been more interesting if God’s flawless book had predicted these later findings like DNA.) Clearly, if we hope to educate the next generation of children, then treating the biblical story of Noah’s Ark as anything truer than myths about Santa Claus will continue to provide misinformation to today’s children. Or perhaps the Beshear administration already has a Santa Claus theme park in the works?
Paul Johnson, Highlands

Notcasts

Dear Mary Welp,

I have to say, I’m very disappointed in your series Podcasts You Might Missing that you’re writing for LEO’s culture section. In the Jan. 5 issue, you featured the CBC Radio show “Writers and Company.” Previously, you featured PRI’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” which is a show produced for Wisconsin Public Radio.

I wish you would inform your readers that these are in fact not podcasts. They are professionally produced broadcast radio shows that have been repackaged for release on a podcast feed. These shows have an existence outside of their podcast feed and can be heard on broadcast radio whether or not they’re ever released on a feed. Heck, “Writers and Company” has been going for 20 years, long before podcasting even started. These are great shows, don’t get me wrong, and it’s great they’re made available to fans via podcast feeds. But they aren’t podcasts.

Public radio did the independent podcast movement a major disservice by releasing their radio shows as “podcasts.” I remember when you used to be able to look at the top 10 podcasts on iTunes, and it would list shows like “This Week in Tech,” “Keith and the Girl” and other original content being produced by podcast enthusiasts. Look at the top 10 now, and it’s dominated by NPR shows. The independent voice in podcasting barely has a chance anymore.

Anyway, I hope you’ll take a look at actual podcasts for your next article.
Marsha White, co-host and news director of “All Games Considered” podcast, South End

Skinny on China
For those of us in China, where almost nobody is obese and few people are fat, the “Jerry’s kids” article in LEO’s Dec. 8 issue raised some eyebrows. Commenting on Kentucky’s obesity rate of 32 percent, it said: “The numbers are particularly high in low-income areas, where residents lack access to healthy food options.”

If grocery stores in low-income areas of Kentucky no longer sell fruit, vegetables and meat, but now sell little more than sugar-based foods such as cookies, cakes, pies and soft drinks (“liquid sugar”) loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, then that explains the high obesity rate. If, however, people are choosing junk food over healthy food because the mass media and advertising industry have convinced them to do so, then the obesity should be blamed on the opinion-shapers rather than on the grocery stores.

Fortunately, “The Biggest Loser” television show is shown on Chinese TV, so Chinese people have an idea of what to expect if they shift from eating real food to eating junk food.
Daniel Sanders, Hangzhou, China

 

LEO's Not Good For Nothing Quiz Answers (published in Jan. 5 LEO):

1. B

2. B

3. C

4. C

5. F

6. E

7. B

8. A

9. D

10. C

11. C

12. A

13. C

14. D

15. C

16. D

17. D

18. C

19. E

20. D

21. A

22. C

23. B

24. B

25. C

26. C

27. B

28. A

29. A

30. C

31. A

32. C

33. A

34. D

35. C

36. B

37. A

38. A

39. C

40. A

41. A

42. C

43. A

44. B

45. A

46. B

47. B

48. B

49. B

50. B

51. B

52. E

53. C

54. D

55. A

56. C

57. D

Congrats to this year’s winners:

1. Chuck Clancy, East End (57/57)

2. John Spalding, Clifton (54/57)

2. Michelle Stewart, Newburg (54/57)

3. Geoff Glaab, South End (53/57) 

Response to BeshearLand(Inbox jan 19, 2011)

By Malcolm
Dear Leo Editor, 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, (Inbox Jan. 19, 2011[BeshearLand]) rails against the dirth 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, Indiana. Malcolm,Downtown