December 15, 2010

Inbox — Dec. 15, 2010

Letters to the Editor

So-Called Censored
For two days in a row, I heard a story on NPR about how the U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest consumer of fossil fuels and is exempt from having to deal with the pollution generated. Then, in classic damage-control mode, NPR rolled out a story featuring a spokesman from the U.S. Navy who bragged in that distinctive Mississippi drawl about how the Navy is on the cutting edge of the newest enviro-friendly technology.

Then I picked up the latest LEO with the Project Censored cover (Dec. 1 issue), wherein I discovered that the Top 10 censored news story No. 2 had already been covered by NPR forwards and backwards. Story No. 1 (about the U.S. dollar) was not exactly unknown to me either. Need I go on? In the spirit of being nice, perhaps the print article may have been formatted prior to NPR’s report, and there was not time to change it. Also, I could not help but notice in the Project Censored article the mention of the term “so-called.” It appeared on page 13 as “the so-called 9/11 Truth Movement” and again on page 14 as “the so-called 9/11 Truth narrative.” Sigh. In my opinion, the “so-called” belongs in front of Project Censored instead. Perhaps a better name for them would be “Project Most Americans Don’t Pay Attention Anyway.”
David Tench, South End

Bike Respect
Both bicyclists and drivers commonly either ignore or are ignorant of certain traffic laws, but I expect more from law enforcement. Yesterday morning, a Jefferson County Deputy Sheriff pulled over bicyclist Marcus Siu for attempting a left turn off of Poplar Level Road. The officer stated Siu was obstructing traffic and instructed him to ride on the sidewalk — surprising since Poplar Level is resplendent in new bike lanes. This is a slap in the face to all the bikers — and yes, there are more and more of us — who are trying to do the right thing and ride legally. Sidewalk bicycling is dangerous to riders and pedestrians, and if you are 11 years or older, it’s against the law! Slower-moving bicycle traffic is required to be as far to the right as is safe and practicable; but bikers and drivers are both required to turn left from the appropriate — in this case, left — lane.

Bicyclists want more respect from drivers, and drivers deserve safe, legal and predictable behavior from bicyclists. In turn, bicyclists deserve the protection and support of an educated law enforcement and driving community. Yesterday’s action by a misinformed sheriff’s deputy is contrasted by the recent action of an LMPD officer who ticketed a driver because of aggressive maneuvering that endangered an adjacent bicyclist. We celebrate the LMPD officer’s action and hope for greater awareness of bicyclist rights on the roads as the number of bike lanes and bikers in the city grows.
Andy Dyson, executive director of Bicycling for Louisville, Downtown

Unfunny Toons
With utmost love and candor, the time has come to query: What does changing your Facebook profile picture to a cartoon do to help fight against child abuse? The abuse of children is not a comical, regale Saturday morning sitting in front of a TV. It’s a heinous, ugly nightmare hiding behind more than 3 million closed doors every year in the United States alone. Child abuse cannot be fought with childlike urgency. If you wish to raise awareness, why not change your picture to a real child who has been abused, or post an account of a veritable incident? One could even indict that exhibiting cartoon heroes of childhood seems to be a somewhat haughty recount of a youth of security, in contrast to the jeopardy of abuse.

“Awareness methods” like this, pink ribbons, etc. are indeed part of the problems that they “call” to halt, causing such extremely sensitive issues to be desensitized into “cute” social fads that are counterproductive and useless. As American cartoonist Walt Kelly said, “... for the intention to become a reality, energy has to be launched into operation.” For additional child abuse statistics and ways that you can help, visit www.childhelp.org.
Douglas Lucas, Highlands

How The Mitch Stole Christmas
(With apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Every soul down in Washington liked Christmas a lot.
But the Mitch from Kentucky did NOT!
The Mitch was quite sly and he had a smooth mouth.
He lived in a tax shelter just to the south.

The Mitch hated Christmas!
The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don’t ask why.
No one quite knows the reason.

Perhaps raising cash
Had unsettled his soul,
And defending Dick Cheney
Must have taken its toll.

It could be his head
Wasn’t screwed on just right.
Or his slow Southern drawl
Was a little too trite.

But I think that the most
Likely reason of all
May have been that his heart
Was two sizes too small.

But whatever the reason,
It seemed quite a pity,
That Mitch spent each Christmas
Just hating the city.

Staring out from his townhouse,
His fists clenched and small,
At the warm lighted windows
Below on the Mall.

For he knew every soul
Inside the Beltway
Awaited the jingle
Of Santa’s old sleigh.

“Now, they’re hanging their stockings”
He snarled with a sneer.
“Tomorrow is Christmas!
It’s practically here!”

Then he growled
With his wan fingers nervously drumming,
“I MUST find some way
to stop Christmas from coming!”

For, tomorrow, he knew, all the Capitol pages
Expected a raise in their government wages.
“The bureaucrats rise and they rush to their trees
To hunt for new pork and for fresh subsidies!”

The more the Mitch thought, “I must stop the whole thing!
Why, for 25 years I’ve put up with it now!
I must stop this Christmas from coming!
… But HOW?”

Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!
The Mitch
Got a wonderful, awful idea!

“I know just what to do!” the Mitch laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick red-white-and-blue hat and coat.
The motive was sordid, but the plan was a beaut.
He cobbled together an Uncle Sam suit.

Then he filled his whole sleigh
With American flags,
A line-item veto,
And other old gags.

He loaded more sacks,
His face wreathed in scowls,
And he harnessed his sleigh
With 12 spotted owls.

Then the sleigh left the ground
And it flew toward the Feds
Where the Clintons were sleeping
In separate beds.

All their windows were shuttered.
Quiet snow filled the air.
The whole city was dreaming
Sweet dreams without care.

He sailed past the Mall
And toward Embassy Row,
Past Joe Lieberman’s castle,
Its turrets aglow.

He took a wrong turn
And he sped toward the slums.
When he sensed his mistake,
His whole body went numb.

The owls lost their steam
And they fluttered on down,
So the Mitch was now stuck
In “the wrong part of town!”

The sleigh settled down on a tarpaper roof
Which the Mitch construed to be positive proof
That “Urban Renewal” did little but harm.
Why, the Mitch would have spent all that cash on more arms!

Then he climbed from his sleigh,
With the flags in one fist,
And he tripped on a cat
That slithered and hissed.

Then he slid down the chimney,
A thin, soot-laden funnel.
But if Santa could do it,
Then so could McConnell.

Then he slithered and slunk
With a smile most unpleasant,
In search of the pork
And the myriad presents.

But the rooms were all empty.
The icebox was bare.
For this family subsisted
On Federal welfare.

The Mitch turned around
And he saw a small boy.
The lad was just 4,
And he hadn’t a toy.

The Mitch had been caught
Like a crook on the lam.
The child asked in wonder,
“Are you Uncle Sam?”

But, you know, that old Mitch
Was so smart and so slick,
He thought up a lie,
And he thought it up quick!

“Why, my sweet little tot,”
The fake Uncle Sam said,
“Your Daddy’s enlisted!
Now, go back to bed!”

And his fib fooled the child.
The Mitch patted his head,
And he gave him some Perrier
And sent him to bed.

Then he climbed up the chimney,
Which was narrow and damp.
His search yielded nothing,
Not a single food stamp.

As he flew to his townhouse,
Some 12 miles away,
The Mitch leaned back
In his solid-gold sleigh.

As he pondered the shack
He had entered that night,
He re-thought his ambitions,
So cruel and so trite.

And what happened next?
Well, in D.C. they say
That the Mitch’s tiny heart
Grew three sizes that day.

“Why, I’ll help all those people!”
He vowed on that morn.
And, you know, at that instant,
A LIBERAL was born!

And the minute his heart
Didn’t feel quite so tight,
He flew with his flags
Through the bright morning light.

He sailed to his office
And he went right to work
To rewrite the laws
And distribute the perks.

He threw a great feast
And invited the town.
He took the Entitlements
And passed them around.

The waiters brought food
And the wine they uncorked;
But the Mitch himself
Served the first slice of pork!

Isaac McDaniel, East End