Issue January 22, 2008

Erosia

LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to leo@leoweekly.com. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.


Great Schulman Tribute

Thanks so much for the loving tribute to Bob Schulman (LEO, Jan. 9), who uttered some of the most screamingly funny words ever heard on WFPL, some of them on purpose. I have very fond memories of one membership drive in particular, when Bob was host of the popular opinion program “On Good Authority” with Bonnie McCafferty and Bob Hill, a show that most listeners referred to as “The Killer ‘B’s.” On one pledge break, Bob was trying to describe the ease with which one could pick up the phone, dial the friendly volunteers on the other end of the line and support quality broadcasts such as his own. What came out of his mouth, however, was “All you need is one finger and a commitment.” Everyone else in the room got the joke before Bob, but when he realized what he’d said, he laughed so hard that we had to return to the program earlier than expected to give him a chance to regain his composure. I’m not sure it was a great moment in WFPL’s history, but it was certainly one of the most memorable, at least for those of us who worked there at the time.
I always admired him for his ability to laugh easily, even at his own expense — it was the mark of a truly generous person who was completely comfortable in his own skin. It was a mark duly noted and respected; in combination with his well-known journalistic integrity and his love of both the written and spoken word, it is a legacy secured.
Leslie Stewart, Louisville

Books Over Booze
After reading Phillip Bailey’s “Cluster buster?” article (LEO, Jan. 16), it reminded me of the time my mother owned a liquor store in the early 1970s on Cecil and Broadway. Perhaps some readers may remember the Whiskey Well. It was one the first liquor stores that offered premium wines and champagne in the West End. Loitering or drinking on the “corner” was not allowed. As a matter of fact, it was on the bus line where school children transferred from the 27th and Hill Street bus to the Broadway bus. That corner was kept clean by yours truly, me. The Whiskey Well was surrounded by a grocery store on the right and a laundromat on the left. During the summer, people would stop by the get their “cheap” wines (Boone’s Farm) and go directly to Shawnee Park to play or watch basketball games. (No premium for these guys.)
Yet with all the activity, there was no disrespect from patrons. Cussing wasn’t allowed, and neither was drinking on the premises. Littering or loitering was not permitted. But nowadays, most of the liquor stores in the Shawnee area resemble a war zone. These new Middle Eastern immigrant liquor-store owners have no respect for the citizens of Shawnee. I can just about guarantee their children’s schools don’t have a liquor store across or down the street. And as someone who’s been to Saudi Arabia, I was under the impression that alcohol was forbidden under Islamic law. My suggestion to the citizens of Shawnee if they lose the wet/dry vote is to monitor the activities surrounding these liquor stores every day. And my suggestion to Middle Eastern liquor owners, if you want to make a good impression on your Shawnee neighbors, open a bookstore — similar to the ones your children go to.
Keith E. Lewis, Louisville

Icy Conservatism
“You liberals” have been “hoisted by your own petard,” and reader Rick Cushing is laughing out loud “while you stew in your own pot,” he tells us in an Erosia letter with all the giddiness and elation of someone in the front row at a Hannah Montana concert (LEO, Jan. 9).
First of all, I question the veracity of any argument that relies on lump-sum generalities like “you liberals,” as though all who have liberal, or conservative, beliefs are part of one collective deserving of group judgment.
Then, there is Cushing’s totally wrong conclusion that the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission’s placing a minor sanction on LEO for a misconstrued tongue-in-cheek ad amounts to factionalism run amok within the left.
In fact, the episode merely shows that liberal activism, like that which created the Human Relations Commission, has faults — in this case, a rather tiny one, when one considers the many important rulings the body has issued (have we forgotten?) that all but ended the public accommodation discrimination that used to be the rule in Louisville.
Does Cushing assert that conservatism is without faults, or fear of offending groups, or its own brand of political correctness? All three led to the fiasco of “abstinence only” sex education, to name one of several policy flops on the right.
Cushing quotes Shakespeare. Let me close with a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt that the commission’s LEO ruling brings to mind: “Better the occasional fault of a government that lives in the spirit of charity than the consistent omission of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.”
George Morrison, New Albany

No Respect
Mr. Cushing:
I must commend you on your generosity in “accepting” the fact that I, as a woman, am your equal under the law. It would mean more to me, I’m sure, if it weren’t for the fact that I only concern myself with the opinions of people I respect.
Beth Jones, Louisville

Animals Not So Wild
In the wake of the San Francisco Zoo tiger attack, I want people to consider these questions: 1) What’s the difference between a zoo animal and a person in prison? 2) What’s the difference between a circus animal and a prisoner working on a chain gang? 3) What’s the difference between an animal in a testing laboratory and a criminal on death row?
The answer to all of these questions is — the animal committed no crime.
Any creature, man or animal, will become frustrated, angry and sometimes violent after years of confinement. We understand this about human behavior but are always shocked when animals act this way. I am not surprised when a zoo animal attacks, or when a circus animal goes berserk and tries to escape. And what goes on in those animal testing laboratories remains in those labs unless someone exposes their cruelty, as explained on www.covancecruelty.com.
There are laws to protect those animals, but they can’t speak for themselves. Circuses and zoos that can’t provide adequate space for them to roam should give them up to sanctuaries. And using animals for research must stop, simply because no one would consider donating their body to science while they are still living. Forcing animals to submit to these procedures is just plain cruel.
Harold Wilson, Corydon

Toothy Mold
As Cary Stemle pointed out (LEO, Jan. 9), Hillary Clinton talks too much and looks stern. I think Al Gore had this problem, too. Clinton’s toothy smile the night of her narrow New Hampshire primary victory seemed to say that she can break out of that mold. We’ll see whether she actually got it in the next few primaries.
Tom Louderback, Louisville

Can’t Beat Her, Join Her
From my perspective, the reason that the Democratic field of presidential candidates has becomes “muddy” is the following:
Hillary Clinton has absolutely raised the level of a clean and intelligent campaign strategy. It has been simply amazing to watch the other candidates basically copy and emulate her style, her solution-oriented ideas and her tendency to stay on-point rather than revert back to the typical “who’s the bigger man?” routine in debates. It has also been incredibly frustrating to watch the news media turn a blind eye to this activity, as if those fellows could have possibly pulled off this kind of clean campaign without her leadership.
For proof of this phenomenon, we can simply go back to the initial Democratic debate that shows Mrs. Clinton standing back with something of a smile on her face while the men bickered and squabbled with each other. They certainly never did that again! What has happened, however, is that the emulation has taken on something of a secretive, almost stalking-like character, which makes it look as if none of the candidates has had a single innovative idea on their own. It makes it look as if all of the candidates came up with the same ideas for universal healthcare, renewable energy, economic revitalization, a realistic strategy for Pakistan, etc., all at the same time. Imagine that!
All of this said, emulation is the greatest form of flattery, and so congratulations to Hillary Clinton. She will make a marvelous president.
Anne Milligan, Hodgenville, Ky.