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December 12, 2012

Welcome to Loserville: 2012

Remembering a year that should have been better

Just last week, the world’s largest travel guide publisher named Louisville the No. 1 vacation destination in the United States, touting our bourbon scene, fine dining, and NuLu arts district as reasons to visit. Following the announcement, proud Louisvillians were abuzz on Facebook and Twitter, basking in the afterglow. We must admit, even the oft-incredulous LEO staff was momentarily swept up in the flattery … but then we snapped out of it, remembered a deadline loomed, and got back to work compiling our annual list of malevolence, misfortune and man-made disasters that have plagued this city and state over the past year. That’s right, it’s our fifth annual Loserville list, a sometimes-misconstrued undertaking. Though some deem this endeavor unnecessarily negative, the point is to hold these ne’er-do-wells accountable and make it known that this fair city deserves better. So just remember, it is with great civic pride that we criticize.

PAPA JOHN SCHNATTER

It’s fitting that pizza mogul Papa John Schnatter held a fundraiser at his home for Mitt Romney this April, as 2012 turned out to be a terrible year for miserly CEOs with a taste for car elevators on their mansion estates and screwing over their own employees. Schnatter cried persecution at the hands of Obamacare, declaring that giving his pizza-slingers health care would cause prices to go up about a dime per pizza (the horror!). Post-election, as his devastated company’s ads touted giving away 2 million free pizzas, Papa came out with an easier solution: cut back workers’ hours to avoid having to provide them health care. Schnatter walked that back after a PR nightmare, but like an uninsured person putting off treatment for an illness until it’s too late, the damage to Papa John’s reputation was already done.

Penance: Waterboarded with garlic butter

DISMAS SPOKESMAN BOB YATES

Though we aren’t trained in the art of PR, common sense suggests insulting a media outlet while on the record is a bad idea. Apparently Bob Yates, VP of public relations for Dismas, missed that day in Communications 101. When a LEO reporter contacted Dismas — a nonprofit that runs halfway houses — to ask whether they put violent criminals to work at the Louisville Zoo, Yates responded as follows: “I don’t know,” followed by an affirmative, followed by, “You’re not going to do it right anyways because LEO is a piece of crap.” The spokesman then refused to answer any more questions, declaring Dismas would no longer respond to inquiries from LEO. So here’s a PR refresher for Mr. Yates: 1) Get out in front of negative press, like, say, a story revealing your organization is putting violent criminals to work in close proximity to children; 2) don’t stonewall reporters; and 3) refrain from verbal attacks, especially those directed at an alt-weekly not afraid to print them in all their vitriolic glory.

Penance: Stint in a Dismas facility (good luck with that)

AVALON RESTAURANT

It was perhaps the most popular al fresco dining option in the Highlands. And like that, poof — it’s gone. The longtime Louisville restaurant closed literally overnight, with no explanation other than “unforeseen circumstances.” But then came the sordid details: Steve Clements, owner of Avalon as well as Clements Catering, was being sued by the Kentucky Derby Museum for cooking more than just mini-hot browns … as in, he was allegedly cooking the books. That was in July, and since then, the restaurant, patio and accompanying retail building on the property (once the lovely Luna Boutique, also owned by Clements and operated by his wife) sit vacant. But alas, the future looks bright thanks to an ambitious group of local restaurateurs planning to transform the sad site into El Camino, a Tiki-style bar and restaurant specializing in Latin street food, replete with a Mexican bakery. Now, we wait.

Penance: Free catering services for local homeless shelters

KENTUCKY AIR

Louisville might be a top-notch travel destination, just be sure to pack your surgical mask before you come. In August, the bluegrass ranked as the most air-polluted state on a list compiled by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The environmental action group used data provided by the EPA to determine which states had the highest pollution levels from the power industry, particularly coal-fired power plants. Thanks to Kentucky’s long and storied love affair with coal, we take the toxic cake, producing extremely high levels of pollutants like mercury and hydrochloric acid. Though prime polluter LG&E is slowly succumbing to scrutiny and taking steps to clean up their act — like converting their Cane Run plant to natural gas by 2016 — coal country still has a long way to go before we can all breathe easy.

Penance: Solar, wind, ethanol, etc.

RICHARD MOURDOCK

If a candidate for public office really thinks a woman impregnated by her rapist is receiving a “gift from God” that He “intended to happen,” it says a great deal about that person if they still choose to base their policies on what that invisible deity says is moral. But that’s what Indiana Republicans offered to America when they chose Tea Party darling Richard Mourdock over the ancient Dick Lugar in this spring’s Senate primary. Mourdock’s sadistic verbal diarrhea thankfully torpedoed what should have been an easy win in the general election, denying Washington, D.C., yet another hypocritical Tea Party legislator who likes their government small enough to fit into your womb.

Penance: Volunteer as abortion clinic escort

JUDGE MARTIN MCDONALD

Ideally, judges are supposed to be fair-minded, unbiased and even-tempered. In other words, threatening to inflict bodily harm on a lawyer while presiding over a case is frowned upon. But that’s exactly what Jefferson County senior Judge Martin McDonald did on Oct. 24 when he threatened to strangle a federal public defender in a death penalty case he called “ridiculous,” “disgusting” and a “huge waste of time” (in addition to referring to the defendant as a “carcass”). Per the lawyer’s request, McDonald was removed from the case, but apparently he didn’t learn his lesson: Two weeks later, he insulted another public defender before revoking the defendant’s probation against the wishes of both the defense and prosecution, and without a proper hearing.

Penance: Relinquish your gavel

BROOKS WICKER

Being an accountant, like Wicker is, can come in handy when you’re running for office and have to record and budget all of those donations. Of course, that assumes someone is actually willing to give, and Wicker’s amateur campaign showed that Louisville Republicans preferred to pretend he didn’t exist. Rep. Yarmuth creamed him by 30 percent, and since his media outreach to LEO consisted of odd and unprofessional cracks about patchouli and slam poetry, this Haiku goes out to you, Brooks …

Penance: You lost once again/Congressman Awesome you’re not/Take the hint, homeslice

JONATHAN BLUE

What’s slick, Blue and rolling in dough? If you guessed Todd Blue, you’re genetically and philosophically very, very close. But we speak of Jonathan Blue, the man whose Blue Equity LLC helped in “pimping the VA” (words borrowed from our wise columnist Steve Shaw). Somehow, Blue and a group of investors sold a piece of vacant property, known as the “Midlands” site near Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway, for a whopping $12.9 million to the VA for its new hospital. It’s especially impressive given the sour real estate market and the fact that the property was purchased in 2004 for $5 million. Many are still perplexed as to why this site was chosen given major traffic concerns and the fact that other areas of the city — say, west of Ninth Street — could’ve certainly used the economic boost a new hospital would bring. On top of that, many veterans wished to keep the hospital at its current Zorn Avenue site. But apparently Jonathan Blue et al. have no problem playing a big-boy version of Monopoly on the backs of veterans.

Penance: All proceeds of “Midlands” sale donated to veterans

WOULD-BE LIVE MUSIC FANS

Though Louisville audiences continue to hold Facebook discussions about hypothetical reunions of 20-years-gone bands who once rocked Tewligan’s, local fans of live music were noticeably under-represented at a few recent events that should have been much bigger deals. First, there was composer/provocateur Dan Deacon and friends’ multi-hour, multi-media event on the streets of downtown. It was an interesting event Louisville was lucky to have — too bad the audience was embarrassingly sparse. Then there was the Clifton Center’s poorly attended Afterbeat Festival, which featured several great examples of global music, from Brazilian guitars to Seattle jazz and Louisiana zydeco. If you don’t come, they won’t build it.

Penance: Classic-rock cover bands will continue to “Slow Ride” your ears in local bars

STATE LIQUOR LAWS

In 1985, a Kentucky Supreme Court justice wrote that our state alcohol laws were “a maze of obscure statutory language” and “confusing at best.” Unfortunately, they’re still that way. Some of the laws even date back to Prohibition — like being able to buy wine in a pharmacy but not a grocery store. WTF? Three other WTF examples of why we need a law overhaul: 1) bars can’t open till 6 p.m. on Election Day; 2) Kentucky’s strict policy on importing beer and wine prohibits you from joining any beer/wine-of-the-month clubs or even shipping back a supply from your trip to Napa Valley; and 3) two new drink-and-bike companies have landed here — Pedal de Ville and Thirsty Pedaler — but because of our backward laws, you can’t drink on the bike, even though there’s a sober operator at all times.

Penance: A lock-in keg party with no bathrooms until these laws are updated

RECKLESS SCHOOL BUSES

We’re not sure who’s the loser here: nervous bus drivers, banged-up kids, or those iconic yellow buses that see more action than a “Fast and Furious” movie. But, honestly, doesn’t it seem like every week we hear about yet another JCPS bus that’s been smashed into or rolled over? Of course, the most severe being a late September collision that sent 51 students to the hospital. Is Otto from “The Simpsons” behind the wheel? Maybe kids are to blame. We’ve seen you little demons throwing unwrapped cough drops from windows like tiny wild cherry grenades. Or is there some warped, underground challenge tempting drivers to hit buses full of children? Seriously, though, for a contraption that’s so deftly engineered so as to provide seats suitable for exactly three butt cheeks, surely some manufacturer can cobble together a safer ride.

Penance: One “Hail Mary” and 10 “Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round”

GREG STUMBO

The House speaker started off the year crafting a blatantly unconstitutional redistricting map, which not only wasted a good portion of the General Assembly session, but $186,000 in legal fees. Stumbo succeeded once again in loading party leadership’s districts with road money, but it’s his verbal flourishes that always catch our ear, like calling for the return of the electric chair, and telling people concerned about the environmental devastation of mountaintop removal to “go buy a mountain.”

Penance: Replace House Democratic leadership with Jim Wayne, Joni Jenkins, Darryl Owens and Mary Lou Marzian

PAT ROBERTSON

This begins on “The 700 Club” with the doddering, gray stain Pat Robertson answering a childlike plea of idiocy courtesy of Don from Illinois: “Why did God send the tornadoes?” (Don speaks of the March outbreak of twisters that killed more than 30 people in Indiana and Kentucky). At first, the spiritual tapeworm answers with an unhurried confidence, tapping such meteorological terms as “a warm group of air” from the South colliding with cold air from the North to explain the storms. Alas, Robertson slithers into a more pointed explanation: “If enough people were praying, you could pray Jesus to still the storm.” He then faults those who choose to live in areas prone to natural disasters: “Don’t blame God for doing something foolish.” Side note: Pat Robertson claims he can leg-press 2,000 pounds, which begs the question: Why can’t this quad-blessed oracle jump-kick tornadoes back into the damn sky?

Penance: Atheist coup at the Christian Broadcasting Network

RAY BARKER

If you think it’s improper to accept the support of a hate group when you’re running for the 1st District council seat in the West End, then you’re obviously not Ray Barker. “Sir Friendly” — his hip-hop stage name — unapologetically took the endorsement and campaign contribution of noted bigot Frank Simon, president of the American Family Association of Kentucky, which is neither friendly, wise, nor remotely cool. We’ll stick with Attica, thank you.

Penance: Rap battle with Frank Ocean

KENTUCKY ONE

Shouldn’t there be a merger siren like a tornado siren? Warning all in its path that shit’s about to get torn apart? This year we’ve watched Denver-based Catholic Health Initiatives gobble Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s HealthCare and St. Joseph Health System. As LEO Weekly reported in September, the merger seems to have resulted in new directives on what OB/GYN offices can offer. Several sources have told LEO that “natural family planning” must now be discussed under this new, Catholic umbrella. So now that University Hospital — the safety net hospital for the area — and Kentucky One have partnered, concern is mounting. While all those involved have tried reassuring the public that access to contraception and reproductive choices will not be threatened, an advocacy coordinator for the Merger Watch Project, which follows secular-religious hospital mergers, told the C-J she’s worried Catholic directives could influence decisions on care. Good God …

Penance: Simple — separate Jesus from health care

CANCER

Sometimes this life we are all living together isn’t just unfair, it’s downright nasty and horrible way beyond any possible reasoning. Jason Noble was not just a skilled, clever and thrilling musician, composer, artist and writer, he was also a mentor to many, and without a doubt one of the kindest, funniest and most inspiring people you’d ever hope to meet. He was 40 years old and only recently married to the love of his life, Kristin, when he died of a rare form of cancer earlier this year. Though he packed a lot into his time here, he deserved another 50 years — and we all needed another 50 years of him.

Penance: A cure

DAVID MEJIA

If the law profession — historically soiled by a bad reputation — needed a tacky mascot, Mejia be the man. This year he turned to the Huffington Post to accuse a teenage sexual assault victim — Savannah Dietrich — of ruining his client’s (one of two defendants) life, saying his client was “just overwhelmed and devastated by what started from the conduct of this young girl saying false things as she did.” But once files in this juvenile case were opened, Dietrich was vindicated. A police transcript showed the two boys admitted to photographing their sexual assault of Dietrich because they “thought it would be funny.” Prior to the documents being made public, Mejia and another defense attorney filed a motion to hold Dietrich — again, a teenage sexual assault victim — in contempt of court because she tweeted the names of her juvenile attackers after learning of a plea deal she and her family felt was unfair. Seriously, this guy makes Dan Fielding from “Night Court” look good.

Penance: Daily visits from sexual assault victims sharing their stories

BARBARA SHANKLIN

Ethical and prosecutorial dramas like that of former councilwoman Judy Green are only supposed to come around once in a blue moon, but as we’ve all now come to know, Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin isn’t shy about breaking the rules. Shanklin managed to win her primary this spring despite news that her grandson on staff often spent his paid workday in a jail cell, but that was only the beginning of her ethical family matters. C-J reporter Dan Klepal wrote a string of stories revealing Shanklin directed grants and services to herself and her family, which led to her Ethics Commission charges and trial. At one hearing, she threatened to “bop” a photographer in the nose. Fitting, since that darned media has the audacity to sniff out where our tax dollars are going.

Penance: Reupholster the Rustic Frog couch

HAROLD WORKMAN

The soon-to-be-former overlord of the Kentucky State Fair Board had a good thing going for the last 20 years at the fairgrounds, but all despotic things must someday come to an end. As the Fair Board was mired millions of dollars in the red — with double-dippers and connected folks getting big raises and questionable promotions, and businessman Ed Hart suspiciously stiff-armed out of reopening the vacant Kentucky Kingdom — the mismanagement and underperformance of the Yum! Center turned out to be Workman’s last straw. He barely survived Gov. Beshear’s coup attempt by announcing his imminent retirement, but taxpayer bailouts of the Fair Board and Arena Authority might turn out to be the gifts of Workman that keep on giving for years to come.

Penance: Clean-up duty in pigpens at the state fair

NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS

Nov. 6, 2012. The day our country flexed its left-of-center ideology and our city supported diversity in schools. Nice work, voters. Seven of the 14 candidates running for three open school board seats opposed Jefferson County Public Schools’ current student assignment plan, instead advocating for neighborhood schools. One of those candidates, Christopher Fell, even sued JCPS over the assignment plan. Alas, no amount of hyperbole involving blurry-eyed kids failing in school due to long bus rides could persuade Louisvillians. According to The Courier-Journal, those seven pro-neighborhood school candidates only garnered 31 percent of the 114,000 votes cast for the school board.

Penance: Drop it once and for all

JERRY ABRAMSON

We won’t pretend that Mayor Greg Fischer has wowed us so far, but perhaps that’s because much of his time in office has been spent cleaning up the trail of messes Jerry Abramson left in his wake. From Metro Animal Services to the Metro Sewer District to hidden spending accounts to the massive budget deficit left behind like dirty diapers tucked away in the heating vents, we can only be grateful that Lt. Gov. Abramson doesn’t currently have any real duties besides running around the state cutting ribbons and chairing a tax commission that will be summarily ignored.

Penance: Barred from running for governor

FOURTH STREET LIVE

Fourth Street Live: a neon den of overpriced alcohol and underdressed women swallowed by a vortex of Walgreens body spray and lo-carb Monster energy drinks. She’s a gem, or at least Mayor Fischer wants to will it so. In October, Fischer pointed to a city-commissioned study as proof that Fourth Street Live will see a substantial return on the tens of millions invested. Supposedly, $81 million over the next 30 years, exceeding the $30 million invested. Not so fast, Fischer. Following the study’s release, the C-J reported that University of Louisville economist Paul Coomes — the study’s author — acknowledged that the study understated public money given to Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. For instance, it did not include a $1.8 million forgivable loan handed over by former Mayor Abramson. Furthermore, it was impossible to ascertain whether jobs created at the entertainment district actually sucked jobs away from the rest of the city. Hence, benefits remain as dubious as PBR Louisville’s proclaimed “urban cowboy” vibe.

Penance: Rebranding as Fourth Street Lie!

URBAN OUTFITTERS

Even though this global retail giant’s mass-produced wares are hella overpriced ($60 for a faux-faded AC/DC sweatshirt?!), that’s not where our gripe lies. I mean, the kids today can spend their hardly earned money however they see fit. Our problem is with the fact that you’re a bully, or at least you were upon moving in on Bardstown Road, where you promptly lodged a request with the city to supplant the signage of your neighbor, Highland Coffee. You succeeded, leaving the popular coffee shop with a 3-foot-high sandwich board sign in the corner of the parking lot. Thanks to loyal customers who know where to find this now-hidden local gem, business continues to boom in the shadow of corporate America.

Penance: Moratorium on ironic T-shirts

CHRIS THIENEMAN

Try and try and try as he might (and does), Chris Thieneman’s campaign once again came up short, losing a blowout in the 37th state Senate race to incumbent Democrat Perry Clark. While there was plenty of legitimate ammo to use against Clark (hologram planes into the World Trade Center, hello?), Thieneman took the cheap route, attacking Clark for his refreshingly honest candor about marijuana use and presenting himself as a Bible-beating, 10 Commandments-toting drug warrior. Little did Thieneman know, the South End is truly the place that “Keeps Louisville Weird,” and they don’t begrudge a smoke or two. Maybe he should spend some more time there. Or even try living there.

Penance: Run for office again

EX-FIRE CHIEF PAUL BARTH

Former McMahan Fire chief Paul Barth had already sunk pretty deep into the barrel of scum when he was convicted of embezzling nearly $200,000 from the WHAS Crusade for Children, but during his sentencing, Barth proved he had plenty of room to go even lower. Though Barth told the judge he did not have sufficient funds to pay back what he stole, prosecutors later discovered that he scored nearly half a million dollars three months earlier by selling his Florida condo, which he then used to buy a new home for $266,500 in cash. Oh, and he also owns a half-dozen or so Corvettes, which is nice. Barth’s excuse for the deception? To “secure the safety of his family.” Don’t worry, Louisville, Barth will be safely secure in jail for a few years.

Penance: Explain to a roomful of sick kids why a fireman stole from them

METROPOLITAN SEWER DISTRICT

The Ohio River was named the most polluted river in America this year, and considering MSD spilled 2.5 million gallons of raw sewage into our toxic aquatic treasure this April within just a two-hour period, we’re guessing that this inauspicious designation did not exactly shock you. But that was far from the only toxic exchange revealed by MSD this year, as we learned that they have now lost over $100 million in recent years by high-risk investments in the derivatives market, plumping up their towering $2.6 billion debt.

Penance: A dip in the Ohio

REPUBLICANS WHO ENDORSED MARILYN PARKER

We were going to give this honor to Parker — the shameless spewer of Birther and anti-Obama conspiratorial nonsense who won the 18th District council seat — but the true blame for this travesty doesn’t lie with her. Rather, that distinction belongs to the six Republicans on the council (Kelly Downard, Kevin Kramer, Glen Stuckel, Robin Engel, Jerry Miller and Ken Fleming — the latter of whom came out as a Birther himself) who chose to endorse her in the primary over incumbent Jon Ackerson (for the crime of — gasp — too much bipartisanship). It’s fine to go after one of your own, but use a little common sense when it comes to picking your choice to represent us.

Penance: Having to call Marilyn Parker a colleague

WAVE 3

The thing about WAVE 3 is that it’s not alone in its absurdity. All of the local news stations present hectic snippets of the day’s happenings, but WAVE 3’s ensemble cast of frenzy and indignation is excellent, mismanaged television. Take, for instance, their promo advertising a new app. It imagines a curious man twirling in a wondrous bliss of smoke and ash from a burning building. WAVE 3: Your portal to someone else’s tragedy. The breaking news promo places so little trust in the value of unembellished video content that they spice up shots of the news desk, chain-link fence and telephone poles with grungy effect filters and a canned dubstep soundtrack. For the finish, they slap a vibrating, mysterious skyscraper into a shot of Louisville’s downtown. And is that a Santa hat on the Thomas Jefferson statue? Someone save Dawne Gee from this madness!

Penance: Editing instructions from “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job”

COAL

The invisible free hand of the market giveth, the invisible free hand of the market taketh away. Coal’s competitive advantage of being the cheapest form of energy (if we don’t count that pesky “public health” factor) is rapidly slipping away to natural gas, as more utility companies switch from burning coal to alternative forms of energy, resulting in corresponding layoffs in the eastern Kentucky coalfields. The concession prize to the industry is that King Coal still owns 75 percent of Frankfort lock, stock and barrel, so Kentucky can continue to blame Obama and stick our heads in the sand for the next 20 years until coal is obsolete, we’ve made no progress in renewable energies, and our water is orange. But since when has Kentucky planned for the future?

Penance: You’re grounded! (Read: Remain underground)

REPEAT OFFENDERS ...

STEVE BESHEAR

Steve, if you’re going to devote your entire eight years in office to only one goal — casinos casinos casinos! — could you at least bother not failing so hard at that one task so we can move on to other things? That whole “at least the Republicans aren’t in charge” thing is getting old, and you don’t have the David Williams boogeyman to blame anymore, so maybe you can take the blinders off. We deserve that much. Unless we re-elect McConnell in 2014, in which case, we probably don’t.

Penance: No coal in Christmas stocking

RAND PAUL

Paul spent most of the year on Fox News running to win the 2016 Iowa presidential caucus, when he wasn’t busy abandoning the principles he ran on in 2010 by stumping for Mitt Romney and fluffing up Mitch McConnell. The supposed libertarian also aggressively courted evangelicals by defending the forced-birth likes of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, and telling an Iowa crowd after Obama “evolved” on gay marriage that he didn’t think the president’s views “could get any gayer.” His conspiratorial bona fides were beefed up by pushing a theory that Obama was arming weathermen to violently repress Americans, suggesting the TSA intentionally rigged a metal detector to detain him, and dog-whistling before the election that certain Democrats wanted to scrap our constitution for one from Africa. Four more years of this crap.

Penance: One-year ban from Fox News

KEN HAM

Another year has passed with canceled groundbreakings and abysmal fundraising for Gov. Beshear’s folly, Ark Encounter, the proposed Grant County Bible park featuring a re-creation of Noah’s Ark with dinosaurs on it, just like Jesus told us. While Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis had to admit that its opening might be delayed several years — and his Creation “Museum” monstrosity suffered record-low attendance — at least the General Assembly sped up $2 million in taxpayer money to build a road to his nowhere, with $9 million set for next year, which will add considerable value to their land once Ham’s grift is complete. Kentucky: Unbridled Faith!

Penance: Wear Bill Nye the Science Guy’s bowtie

MITCH MCCONNELL

Sure, it’s easy to label Mitch a loser for totally whiffing on his No. 1 goal over the past few years (defeating Obama) and his nearly lifelong career goal (becoming Senate majority leader), but you can’t ignore his major indignity back home. Once the all-powerful Republican kingmaker of Kentucky, McConnell now has to grovel at the feet of the lowly Tea Party rabble, begging them not to throw him to the wolves in a 2014 primary like Dick Lugar and many of Mitch’s old establishment buddies. Rand Paul is the new sheriff in town, and when he says jump, Mitch asks how high. McConnell still has his beloved filibuster to keep him warm at night, but he’s so rattled and off his game at this point that he’s even filibustering his own bills.

Penance: Gadsden flag tramp stamp

MANDY CONNELL

When Ms. Connell is pissed, innocent citizens and babies be damned! Cue the tape from a rant earlier this year about America’s continued military presence in Afghanistan: “If we had a president with any stones at all, he would summarily say, ‘Fine, you want your hellhole, rat-trap disgusting country? You can have it. It’s all yours. But if one attack is launched against American interests or American soil from Afghanistan, we will firebomb your entire hellhole of a nation. Women, children, you betcha!’” Struggling families? Screw them, too. Enraged at the notion that local housing advocates want to raise the insurance premium tax to create revenue for an affordable housing trust fund, Connell spouted, “I’m tired of paying taxes so other people can have things that I can’t have right now because I can’t afford it.” Reality check, Mandy — the trust fund isn’t paying for Florida vacation homes. It’s for the 20,000 people on the Housing Authority’s wait-list who can’t afford a decent place to live.

Penance: One-way ticket to Afghanistan

LG&E

Shockingly, $20,000 in fines from the Air Pollution Control District did not stop the multi-billion dollar utility company from cleaning up their act at the Cane Run plant. Coal ash continues to blow over from their landfill onto the adjacent neighborhood, though they did manage to build a giant screen in front of it to “catch” the dust. Which doesn’t work. At all. Unless its intent is to make it harder for neighbors to film the site when the dust clouds occur, in which case it’s a smashing success. If this is still happening next December with no intervention or regulation, you’re on our list, EPA.

Penance: Free inhalers for all customers

BEYOND THE BLUEGRASS ...

TEA PARTY

Thanks for giving us those freakshow Senate candidates that lost, and thanks for the memories, Alan West, but your 15 minutes are just about up. Your concession prize is that insurance companies won’t be able to deny you coverage for your pre-existing condition in 2014. That is, if the blue helmets of the United Nations don’t barge into your home and put you into FEMA camps, though we’re guessing they will have single-payer.

Penance: Four more years of a black president

MITT ROMNEY

Don’t you just hate those entitled folks who think they are victims if they don’t get everything they want? Like the ability to buy an election with shadowy money so they can keep more of their millions of dollars from being taxed (in the accounts that aren’t offshore) and crush unions so they can pay their workers less, especially all those uppity women demanding equal pay? We’re not sure how many of these people there are, but we do know that Mitt Romney finished with 47 percent of the vote. And that, my friends, is Karma.

Penance: Self-deport

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

Don’t get us wrong, Mr. President. We’re eternally grateful for you saving us from Romney, evolving on gay marriage, health care reform, those Supreme Court picks, and making Karl Rove look like such an ass on live TV on election night. But Bin Laden has been dead for a while, so how about we just get the hell out of Afghanistan right now and skip the waiting, eh? If we wanted perpetual kill lists and drone strikes, we would have just installed W as Generalissimo. Also, quit messing with Washington and Colorado’s weed, and let Kentucky grow industrial hemp. You can do it.

Penance: Appoint Noam Chomsky as National Security Advisor 

What a shame...

By Luckydog
I was a fan of the Leo, but that ended after reading this article. Quite sad really. Sad that this publication would publish such a negative article written about the city which allows it to exist. Sad that the author of this piece finds so much negativity in everything and everyone and feels he needs to express it for others. Sad the editor of this publication chose to allow this piece to be published. Sad that the cover of the Leo features - in a negative way - the founder of a company who chose to headquarter his business in Louisville and employ hundreds of people here in the Louisville area. My wish for the Leo this holiday season - That you are sued for libel and copyright infringement (based off your cover art) and are forced out of business to make way for a "better" publication. I, for one, feel our fair city deserves much "better" than this garbage.

Not a shame

By skelley
The roundup presented in this week's issue is nothing more than a compilation of newsworthy items that many media outlets (local and national) have covered throughout the past year: from dysfunctional city agencies to flailing politicians of both political parties. As for John Schnatter, countless media outlets across the country, from The New York Times to NBC News, etc., have taken him to task for ill-advised comments regarding his reluctance to provide health care for employees. Even Schnatter realizes he screwed up, as he's since backpedaled in an effort to reverse this PR nightmare. The intent of this issue is to highlight the people and organizations who should be doing better by this city, region and country. And while we highlight the positive aspects of Louisville in every issue — from celebrating our arts and music scene to touting new restaurants — we have no intention of ignoring the negative.

Not a shame

By PoliticallyMotivated
I completely agree.

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By vicd84
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