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October 21, 2009

Inbox — Oct. 21, 2009

Letters to the Editor

Blogs are Beneficial

Regarding Phillip M. Bailey’s “Beware of blog” (LEO Weekly, Oct. 7): Ed Manassah’s dismissive comments regarding the blogosphere are unfortunate and, to borrow his own words, jaundiced. According to the former publisher of The Courier-Journal, you may not be seeing “reality” if you believe everything you read in the blog world because the writers write from their personal perspective and not that of an institution.

Indeed. It is precisely for that reason people should read blogs. While there are certainly bloggers who deliberately misrepresent facts, there are also many hard-working bloggers who are dedicated to finding the truth, and because we are not beholden to institutions like Rupert Murdoch’s empire or Gannett, we have no vested interest and are free to speak truth to power. The notion that mainstream media always gets it right and fact-checks what it presents as truth is delusional.

While the mainstream media was busy embedding reporters with the military in Iraq and reporting the Bush administration lies as fact, the blogosphere was asking the hard questions about why we were there in the first place, what connection Saddam Hussein had with the bombing of the World Trade Center, and where were the weapons of mass destruction. If we had paid heed to the blogosphere where questions were being asked about the incestuous relationship between Wall Street and the federal government, we would have seen the sub-prime mortgage crisis coming, because that information was being blogged several years before the economy went in the toilet. The list goes on.

When supporters of mainstream media insist on belittling the blogosphere, they only show their ignorance. Instead of trivializing the substantive work done by many dedicated people working on shoestring budgets, why not be supportive and share expertise and resources and embrace the potential of expanding the paradigm of how we become informed. Considering publications like the C-J have shrunk to the point that there is barely enough left to line a birdcage, Manassah might want to rethink his arrogant attitude about the blogosphere.

Lucinda Marshall, East End

Cruel Crimes

Regarding Sarah Kelley’s “Cruel & Unusual” story (LEO Weekly, Oct. 7): The crimes of Gregory Wilson and the others on Kentucky’s death row were cruel, and undoubtedly, defenders of the death penalty will use this fact in their arguments. These inmates, however, didn’t force me to be part and parcel to their crimes. No such thing can be said of the state executing them. Can’t people see that when society kills, killing becomes less anti-social?

George Morrison, Original Highlands

Sob Dog Stories

I am incredulous at the tone of Jonathan Meador’s article on Louisville’s dog ordinance (LEO Weekly, Oct. 14). Are these the best sob stories he could come up with? I’m sorry Ms. Head was ill, but couldn’t whoever was running her kennel while she was hospitalized have followed up on getting her kennel license?

And Mr. Crisel, how is it that you have money for attorneys and not vaccinations? Am I supposed to think that since your dog was only “wayward” for a few minutes, it’s OK? A few minutes is all it takes for a dog to attack. I know because last year I was walking my dog (on a leash) on the sidewalk a few blocks from my home, and when I passed a business at the same time an employee happened to open their gate, their St. Bernard ran out and bit my dog. (I didn’t call the city then; I merely presented them with my vet bill and they paid it.) A few weeks later, I was walking my dog with my children on the opposite side of the street, and again the gate was opened, and the St. Bernard ran across traffic to corner us. Luckily (for us and them), the employee was able to catch the dog before it bit again. You better believe I called the city that time. The St. Bernard disappeared, and I am glad the city did its job. No one has the “right” to keep an animal like that, or six rottweilers, in a residential area. They have a responsibility to control their dogs.

Amanda Clark, Germantown

Dismissing Capitalism

I always enjoy thumbing through LEO, but last week, I cracked up at the many references to “capitalism.” In his letter (Oct. 7 issue), Alex Bradshaw points to the irony of capitalistic movie theaters showing Michael Moore’s movie on capitalism. To be consistent, one should also note the irony of Moore profiting in a capitalistic manner. In any case, the problem with the movie is that Moore is not describing capitalism as much as the use of government to pervert markets and capitalism. This is contrary to capitalism and is often labeled “crony capitalism.”

Bradshaw exhorts us to “move on from capitalism.” But the fact is that we already have. Our current economy is a dog’s breakfast of capitalism, socialism and interest groups using government to enrich themselves at our expense — from health, education and welfare to farming, banking and manufacturing.

Elsewhere, Phillip M. Bailey’s story and Jennifer Adams-Tucker’s letter both lament the government regulation — i.e., the lack of capitalism — at the St. James Court Art Show.

Bottom line: A lot of people think they don’t like capitalism. But everyone seems to want it around a lot — and they stick it with all sorts of non-capitalistic attributes.

D. Eric Schansberg, professor of economics at IUS

Hating Capitalism

“Capitalism: A Love Story,” leftwing filmmaker Michael Moore’s new polemical documentary, discusses America’s economic history since World War II. Included is a discussion of the current economic meltdown, including several visits to poor and working-class people suffering from this social upheaval. Although Moore makes some good points about the corruption on Wall Street and in Washington, D.C., he calls capitalism evil and says it should be replaced with a socialist utopia. This movie is full of distortions and outright lies. Also, Moore never presents the other side of the argument. Nor does he mention any of the possible conservative proposals to fix the economic mess. The movie also contains lots of anecdotal evidence and emotional appeals encouraging viewers to pity the people caught in the current recession. All this makes Moore’s movie unduly biased and deceitful.

David Hammer, Louisville

Loving Capitalism

Michael Moore does our country a great service by critiquing capitalism via his current documentary, “Capitalism: A Love Story.” Greed is the underlying source of our country’s current economic crisis. Rarely, if ever, does a person of wealth point to greed as being a problem. Moore’s timely documentary offers us an opportunity to have a needed national discussion about capitalism and greed.

During past showings of Michael Moore documentaries, many people who dislike him and his views said they wouldn’t pad his bank account by paying to see the films. Would they view his current film if it were shown free of charge? Will Wall Street operatives, members of Congress and faith community members around the country see it and respond to its content? To bury our heads in the sand is to be part of the problem.

Capitalistic greed is a contagious disease that breeds injustice, divisiveness and is in need of a cure. I hope we, as a nation, haven’t reached our zenith and started the decline that has befallen all great empires of the past.

To a large degree, how well America does economically in the immediate and distant future will be determined by its ability to take the money out of politics and the greed out of capitalism.

Paul L. Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews

Getting Out

In response to the Ed Perry letter “Get Out More” (LEO Weekly, Oct. 7): I find it amusing that Perry suggests I “get out more.” I recently finished four years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps. In addition to my tour in Iraq, I spent two years living in Okinawa, Japan. After returning home from my world travels, I find our government is trying to pass a sub-par health care reform. I saw firsthand the second-rate health care system that my friends overseas were subjected to, and it is very similar to the health care system our government is pushing for.

I also know families with annual incomes less than $25,000 a year. If they can’t afford health insurance and are forced into great debt to receive the health care they need to survive, then they should pay every cent of that debt with much gratitude for being able to live one more day. I’m not naïve. I understand it can be a real struggle. However, I still don’t believe that health insurance is a right — it is a privilege. Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, “Families are always rising and falling in America.” That used to be true. Then again, businesses used to fail, too. I guess the government should just take care of everything now.

Zachary Sanders, St. Matthews

Dog days

By kbrinkle
Amanda Clark clearly has no understanding of constitutional rights. Maybe she should take her dog to China, where other people truly do have no right to own several dogs. They also don't have the recourse we have here when our animals are taken unlawfully. Regardless as to whether the Heads had a kennel license, LMAS had no right to storm into the house and seize their animals. That is very basic 4th amendment stuff. Perhaps Ms. Clark is fine with pseudo authorities storming her house, destroying her possessions and stealing her stuff with no legal authority to do so; I am not. There is no breeder license requirement in the animal ordinance in Louisville. There is no pet limit in the ordinance in Louisville. You, Ms. Clark, do not get to decide what everyone else can and cannot do. Such arrogance!

Sob Dog Stories

By EdenSprings
Fact 1: Janet Head does not operate a "kennel". She has a couple of Schnauzers Fact 2: There is no requirement for someone with a couple of dogs to have a "Kennel" or "Breeders" license. It doesn't exist in the law. She thought it diid because LMAS has been lying to people, telling them there is such a requirement. Fact 3: Whether or not she had (or needed) one, it does not give anyone the right to break into her home. Without a warrant. Seize all her animals. And charge her $1600. Fact 4: Mr. Crisler did not own 6 Rotties. He had a 15-yr old Chow, two adult Rotties and three puppies--two of which "died" at LMAS. Fact 5: There is no law that says you can't have 6 Rotties (or any other type of dog) in a residential area. Fact 6: Not all 'wayward' dogs are dangerous. Let's wait until the Dog Nazis show up at your door demanding that you comply with a made-up rule, seize your pet without a warrant and then send you to court--all based on lies--and see whether or not you understand the point of Jonathan's story then.

Response to Dismissing Capitalism

By Alex
Professor Schansberg is correct that the current version of capitalism is a "dog's breakfast," and it's hardly "capitalism" according to, say, Adam Smith's capitalism. The reasons are simple: capitalism, ie, the "free" market, doesn't work. So the conundrum is this: the professor is correct that interest groups essentially control Washington, ie, the capitalists, and capitalism doesn't work. What we have in turn is a system that preserves the worst parts of the ideology (yes, capitalism is simply an ideology, not empirical science), ie, exponential growth at the sake of everything. What I'm referring to when I speak of "capitalism" is the free market, which doesn't work and has only remotely existed in totalitarian client states of the U.S., enforced by brutal dictators like Batista (Cuba) and Pinochet (Chile). Powerful western countries know full well that their infrastructure would fall to pieces if they actually implemented the insane principles of the "free" market. And there's really no irony of a filmmaker like Moore making a living off of a movie that is critical of capitalism; this is the system for which the majority of the human population live under. Must we become wandering ascetics to be consistent if we take issue with unsustainable economic models that destroy finite ecosystems and bankrupt the working class? It's doubtful that dropping out of society is effective. To be sure, I would argue that Professor Schansberg is incorrect that we have moved on from the notion that our economy must grow or die. We never really tried capitalism on its own, as we know this would be a quite ominous experiment. We have not moved away from the cliche "Profit Over People." I would extrapolate that the social and environmental costs of maximizing profits are conveniently left out of economics professors' lectures in the United States. After all, that would interfere with the "objectivity" of economics departments across the nation, which of course have no ideology and no agenda :-) . -Alex -Alex