A commander reflects on Election Day in Iraq

By Lt. Col. John G. Norris
U.S. Army 4th Battalion 23rd Infantry of the Stryker Brigade

MOSUL, Iraq (December 15, 2005)—It is 1:45 a.m. on Election Day here. A Stryker platoon under my command reports that one of their vehicles has struck an IED (an improvised explosive device, or booby trap) hidden in the curb on one of our busy streets in southern Mosul. There is no damage to soldier or Stryker vehicle and they are able to continue the mission and continue route security operations in preparations for the elections to follow in a few hours.

Strokes of genius: Getting a read on the handwriting of famous artists

What if you could get into the mind of famous artists and tap their inner thoughts and feelings? Did their public personas match the personalities they revealed in private letters?LEO took an opportunity to address this curiosity when Louisville Free Public Library opened the exhibition “More Than Words: Illustrated Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art,” which has a companion book of the same name.

Patriot Act under review

The controversial post-9/11 legislation has supporters and detractorsAs director of the Louisville Free Public Library, Craig Buthod trafficks in information.Just don’t mistake him for a cop.

Where’s the money?

In July, Gov. Ernie Fletcher announced that Kentucky ended its fiscal year with a $214 million budget surplus. But the extra cash won’t send state government on a spending spree — $90 million of that sum is allocated to a rainy-day fund, and the government faces a $132 million Medicaid deficit for 2006.

Imagine there’s no Arena Authority meeting. WOW! It’s easy if you try

The Louisville Arena Authority apparently won’t hold its regularly scheduled meeting next Monday because Chairman Jim Host summarily suspended the board’s work until the Jefferson County legislative delegation makes up its mind which site, LG&E or old Water Company, that it supports.

Staff Picks


Through Dec. 24
Last-minute Christmas shopping
If you like standing in line, bumping into smelly strangers, being cut off in parking lots and being trampled every time that stupid blue light starts to flash, then you’re in luck — it’s last-minute shopping season for Christmas. Every year at this time, reluctant husbands, fathers, bachelors, evil clowns and other procrastinators realize they not only haven’t bought any Christmas presents for their friends and families, they also haven’t returned that ugly tie they received last year. This is their chance to wander haplessly and dazed through Oxmoor Center for four hours buying things people don’t want or need (and Mom, if you don’t want the Madden ’05 game for Xbox I bought you, I’ve got a tie I’ll trade you for it), only to walk upstairs and be warmed by the fact that you can, indeed, buy draft beer at the food court. Ah, salvation. Merry Christmas, and a Happy Hangover. —Kevin Gibson

Just a couple of GoodOil boys

Marty Hanka and Phil Inman would like to fuel your automobile with vegetable oilAll it took was two pints of Rich O’s house porter for Marty Hanka and Phil Inman to start a business. They decided that Louisvillians are ready for their cars to run on a dirt cheap alternative fuel, one as natural as the wind and as available as a hamburger.

Rumor & Innuendo: Rumblings From the World of Sports

Greatest Dickie V story ever told. A local hoops fan — she happens to be, irony of ironies, a Dookie — swears this story is true about her father’s last words. The gent was a major sports fan. He’d been comatose for a while. Family was gathered. TV was tuned to ESPN. A Dickie V-called game came on. Hearing the voice, he broke out of the coma. screaming, “Turn that son of a bitch off.” He fell back in the coma, passing away within the hour.

What a Week

Archdiocese to implement gaydar The Louisville Archdiocese admitted it’s not sure how to comply with a Vatican document barring priests with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” In the absence of a litmus test, the Archdiocese said it would run background checks to screen out men who know the difference between mousse and styling foam, and those who know their bed sheets’ thread count.

Putting the ‘butcher’ in Butchertown?

We’ve heard about the Ohio River Bridges Project for years. Butchertown will hear it for eonsIt was in 1966 that Jim Segrest first met Butchertown. Then a burg packed with quainter and more numerous slaughterhouses than the behemoths of recent memory, the neighborhood was also a burgeoning political seedbed, galvanized by a posse of housewives who’d been spending afternoons together at the Wesley House. The nabe was zoned industrial, and with the help of a rerouted Beargrass Creek — literally a floating dumpster — the city’s industrial tenants, pushed from downtown by pesky regulations about quality of life, moved in and began bringing the Stink. United in distress over city government offering their neighborhood to the highest industrial bidder, the Wesley House women eventually brought their clamor to City Hall.