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September 29, 2010

Inbox — Sept. 29, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Correction
The line-up for Best Antique Store in last week’s Readers’ Choice issue was incorrect and excluded some of the winners. The correct order is: First Place, Goss Avenue Antiques and Interiors; Second Place, Joe Ley Antiques; Third Place (tie), Crazy Daisy Antique Mall and East Broadway Home Store. LEO regrets the error.

Pope Lick Goat
Concerning the 2010 Readers’ Choice for Best Local Urban Legend: The Pope Lick Monster and Goat Man are the same thing. That is all.
Jean Marie Henry, St. Matthews

Different Stripes
In the Sept. 15 issue of LEO Weekly, the column by Ricky L. Jones, titled “The religion lie and its consequences,” perpetuates a negative over-generalization of everyone who thinks of themselves as “religious.” Jones appears to think all religion (however he actually defines “religion,” because he does not do so in the piece) is atavistic, reactionary and control-obsessed. As a Christian Humanist who embraces Liberation theology, I know his generalizations are inaccurate. I am also personally offended by the ridiculously big bag he would shove me into alongside the likes of Glenn Beck and Terry Jones.

I found it an interesting paradox that in the middle of his rant about Beck, Jones derided Beck for disrespecting and skewing the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Beck deserves such derision. Yet, has Jones forgotten that Dr. King was a Baptist minister? For that matter, are we to also forget that Mohandas Gandhi was a religious leader as well as a political one? It would seem that Jones’ reaction to narrow thinking and bigotry is little more than narrow thinking and bigotry of a different stripe.
Brad Caffee, Jeffersonville

Blurry Facts
In his recent Guest Commentary (LEO Weekly, Sept. 1), Brett McGrath spoke of an Israeli occupation of 62 years. In doing so, he displayed either a woeful ignorance of the history of Israel and the countries around it, or a subtle effort to deny national legitimacy to the state of Israel. I prefer to believe the former, because the latter suggests a seriously biased and preconceived agenda in speaking about Israel at all. To set the record straight: The State of Israel was established by a vote of the United Nations in 1947, ending the British Mandate, which had existed since 1922. War broke out immediately. The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq attacked the partitioned territory. When the war was halted in 1948, the territory in question consisted of Israel and the territories we currently refer to as East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Gaza was occupied by Egypt, and the West Bank and east Jerusalem by Jordan. Syria and Lebanon only got refugee camps. This situation continued until 1967. During the war of that year, Israel conquered East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. These territories have been under Israeli occupation since then.

You might ask: What’s the difference, occupied for 62 years or for 43 years? For the first 20 years after the UN created Israel the people we think of as Palestinians were administered by Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. These countries did nothing to alleviate the plight of the refugees, refused to develop the West Bank, Gaza or East Jerusalem, and kept the people in refugee camps, treating them as a permanent alien population in their midst — pawns to be used in their opposition to the existence of Israel.

The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed that all people are entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts. To this we might add a corollary: We are not entitled to take only half the facts and act as if that’s all there is. This is precisely what McGrath has done.
Edwin S. Segal, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Anthropology, U of L

Audience Participation?
During a recent stay in your fair city, I went on a little adventure and ended up in a small coffee shop on the edge of downtown. There were some singer-songwriters playing, and unbeknownst to me at the time, a couple of them were from out of town on tour. There was an amazing girl playing banjo and singing. I later researched her, and she is fairly well known and has traveled the world with her music. There was even a local guy who I later discovered boasts more than 1 million views on YouTube. The show was free, but the crowd consisted of, at best, five people. I also researched to see if the show had been promoted, and it had been listed, Facebooked, MySpaced, etc. What is wrong with the people in your city? Does anyone go out to see live music? I travel a lot with work, and when I have free time, I love checking out live, original music. This is exactly what I was looking for, and apparently, most everyone in Louisville does not know what treasures are happening right outside their door. It’s sad.
Inda Skies, Chicago

Fire Away
I’ve noticed Democrats who were silent and disengaged during the Democratic mayoral primary are now coming out to be critical of the endorsements Hal Heiner has received by former mayoral candidates Shannon White and Tyler Allen. I find those criticisms not only random but irrelevant. Trashing who I supported in the primary is not the way to get my vote, guys.

If those Democrats truly want to endear me to Mr. “I invented the ice machine” and “I watch Metro Council meetings on TV,” might I suggest a different approach? For instance, someone needs to convince me that Greg Fischer is not the anointed successor of the same non-inclusive, River Fields-connected, elitist machine that has ran our city into the ground for nearly three decades. I’ve been waiting a year now. Come on, give it your best shot.
Curtis Morrison, Highlands

All Veterans Are Equal
I am a Vietnam veteran. In May, President Obama signed a new law for veteran care — one that would create an extensive program for caregivers of post-9/11 veterans injured in the line of duty. This includes money, health care, education and other benefits. However, the caring for veterans of previous wars like Vietnam or the Gulf War are not included in the new law. Congress debated equal treatment for all veterans, but they determined it would cost too much. So they said no.

The inequity is angering many veterans. You don’t set one generation of veterans against another. For Obama and Congress to leave the Persian Gulf kids and the older vets out is wrong. Are they any less than the post-9/11 vets?

You have to run a nursing home for many of our veterans, and that costs a lot. Most veterans cannot afford it. When we challenge our young men and women to put on a uniform and risk their lives, we need to take care of those who answer the call. I urge our Congress to provide all veterans full caregiver services. If we can afford to send them to war, we can afford to take care of them.
Harold Trainer, Prospect, Ky.

Local Yokels
The “new” Rand Paul slick-talks yokels and everyone — he plays mightily on ignorance and fear. Before the post-Fancy Farm campaign season ends, Rand Paul may have his very own version of a Kentucky ranch and macho Reagan/Bush cowboy boots. Meantime, Senate candidate Paul mimics Mitch McConnell’s brazen mockery of true public service.

While Paul jeers at the pesky poor and bothersome public charity with carefully chosen code words, thousands of Paul’s own loyalists are one paycheck away from needing the very social safety net they want to help Paul destroy. Paul dupes Kentucky’s gullible.

Paul’s earlier unguarded words nailed him — but voters have a short memory. The new Paul has been de-Ayn Randed, de-clawed and taught Palin-like appeal to the super-frustrated who then vent on Paul’s selected scapegoats. Nothing new — same old Republican campaign tactics.

Paul must distract from the fact that McConnell and Bush delivered us into this mucked-up wasteland. Didn’t we learn any lessons about lax regulations from the BP disaster or the hellish Bushworld? Shall we dump seniors into the gutters so Paul’s greedy billionaire and millionaire benefactors can milk a few dollars more and entice angry voters into this new version of the Republicans’ old pyramid scheme?

We need a wise, capable and compassionate U.S. senator. We damn sure don’t need Rand Paul in the U.S. Senate. Don’t sit on your hands passively fretting — get actively involved and help elect Jack Conway to the U.S. Senate.
Michael Gregoire, St. Matthews