Issue October 3, 2006

City Strobe

Anything for a dollar
In a letter sent to supporters three weeks ago, U.S. Rep. Anne Northup asked for financial contributions to her campaign, saying she was behind in fundraising because of the break she took in campaigning following the death of her son Joshua, who died in July of an undiagnosed heart ailment. She referred to Joshua’s death as “the circumstance.”

Northup, a five-term incumbent engaged now in a nasty reelection campaign against Democrat John Yarmuth, wrote that waging a campaign is difficult and expensive, and the break she took from campaigning immediately following Joshua’s death had set her back some $1.2 million. Yarmuth also took a break from actively campaigning during the time; he has not referenced Joshua’s death during the campaign save for expressing sympathies.

“It was an acknowledgment that they had gone through some tough times and appreciated all the support they’d gotten from all parts of the community,” Northup campaign manager Patrick Neely said in a phone interview Monday.

Because the letter was sent to friends and financial supporters of Northup, Neely said, it would’ve been odd not to address her son’s death. —Stephen George

Timing of law school event questioned
An alumnus of U of L’s Brandeis School of Law is questioning the timing of an event being staged by the school next Tuesday, saying a school-sponsored political discussion between two prominent Republicans is suspect, given the proximity to the election.

Louisville attorney Karen Stewart, a 1986 Brandeis graduate, wrote a letter to Dean David Ensign last week complaining that the timing of the event — almost a month from the election, and in a hotly contested congressional district — reeked of dirty campaign politicking a la Karl Rove, the mastermind behind President Bush’s campaigns.

“People need to be aware of it,” Stewart said Monday. She said she’s concerned that a whisper campaign could be started against John Yarmuth, the Democrat running against U.S. Rep. Anne Northup.

Ensign said the timing is coincidental.

“I can see the writer’s concern,” he said in a phone interview Friday. “Her concern is that we’re bringing people of a particular political leaning at a time that is close to the elections. But like I said, it’s not an attempt on our part to influence anybody.”

The event will feature former New York Times columnist and Nixon speechwriter William Safire interviewing former senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole. Ensign said the decision to bring Safire and Dole was made by a faculty committee, and a single donor is funding the event.
In the letter, Stewart refers to whisper campaigns, a common Rove campaign tactic in which well-placed campaign operatives spread lies about opposition candidates through law school students at events like next Tuesday’s. The most well-known case, cited in the letter, happened in an Alabama Supreme Court race where Rove’s operatives tagged incumbent Justice Mark Kennedy as a pedophile, an outright lie.

The event is at the Brown & Williamson room at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, is $60 and by invitation only. Ensign said there are around 600 seats available; roughly 20 will be held for students. Stewart said she might arrange a protest outside. —Stephen George

America the beautiful
Here’s a little story about how great America is. First, try to imagine that you have white-hot, blood-boiling, criminally insane hate in your heart. You’re blindingly terrified of homosexuals. You hate them enough to protest. You hate them enough to protest in the name of God and Jesus — you know, those “love everybody” guys. Your blinding hatred and fear are so strong that you lose all sense of reason and your squishy brain begins to associate homosexuality with the military (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and, more to the point, the war in Iraq. Addlepated zombie that you now are, you actually find out where military funerals are, and you stumble idiotically to those funerals and protest — not the ill-conceived war brought on by a foolhardy, oil-drunk administration, but homosexuality. Even though the soldier who died, and the brokenhearted family trying, through their tears, to bury that soldier aren’t gay. Even though that funeral and the war and that poor soldier and his or her family don’t have jack-all to do with homosexuality. And even though standing around like a fool holding a sign saying “God hates fags” while a mom and a dad are trying to somehow get through the absolute worst moment of their lives is perhaps the meanest thing one stranger can do to another.

So here’s how great America is. U.S. District Judge Karen K. Caldwell upheld the right of the enraged homophobe asswipe cretins at Topeka, Kan.’s Westboro Baptist Church to protest homosexuality at military funerals in Kentucky. No matter how mean they are, no matter how deranged they are, no matter how foolishly unChristian they are, free speech is still the way we roll in America. It would be nice if those Westboro freaks had enough class not to act the way they do, and it’s heartbreaking to know the loved ones of dead soldiers have to endure such cold-heartedness; but it’s some consolation to know that the Constitution still protects all of us, even the halfwits from Westboro Baptist Church. —Jim Welp

Talladega head rush
One thing’s for sure: Nothing goes together better than hard liquor and driving. No, wait, we know better. At least this much is true: If there’s one thing America needs, it’s for NASCAR fans to drink more booze. No, that doesn’t sound right either.

And yet, since NASCAR lifted its ban on liquor advertising, the hooch companies are going hard after the 75 million people who love to watch cars go around in left turns. Liquor companies, including Louisville’s Brown-Forman and Clermont, Ky.’s Jim Beam, are spending vats full of money to paint their brands on NASCAR cars and on those hysterical Ricky Bobby fire suits their drivers wear.

So, bad news for those of you who were hoping that if we must send NASCAR fans a subliminal message it would be, “If you’re going to shave a big ol’ ‘3’ in your back hair, please keep your shirt on in public,” or “Quit voting against your own interests, for cryinoutfreakinloud!” Instead, it’s: Drink up, thirsty fans, and watch closely, because you never know when someone’s going to hit the wall. —Jim Welp

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