December 29, 2010

Inbox — Dec. 29, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Correction
Last week’s roundup of New Year’s Eve events should have stated the Galt House is offering a package that includes an executive suite, two receptions, dinner, dancing, two drink tickets, a champagne toast and New Year’s Day brunch for $175 per person. LEO regrets the error.

LEO’s Got Balls
OK, LEO … you have finally done it. After countless years of perusing your mag and shaking my head with disgust and disappointment (over your notorious lack of balls), you have finally impressed me. “Welcome to Loserville” (Dec. 15 issue) is exactly the kind of piece I was looking to do when I was a regular writer for LEO. However, I was continually denied. Sure, I was grateful you guys printed my idiotic personal ramblings every week, but you have finally shown that your (usually drooling) mouth has some real goddamn teeth.

From my self-imposed exile in Butchertown, I lift a glass of chocolate milk in a toast to your newly descended testicles. Here’s hoping you continue to say the things that actually need to be said. Reading LEO now makes me very, very glad that I am no longer a musician, because you would now probably eviscerate me and my well-known “antics” on a weekly basis, whereas I had to wait for Paul Curry to do it about once every year or two.

For calling “bullshit!” with some actual volume — for once — I salute you.
Sean A. Garrison, Butchertown

Loser LEO
You forgot one important thing in your Dec. 15 feature article “Welcome to Loserville: Remembering a year that should have been better” — LEO Weekly. While it is understood that this publication strives to include commentary not found in the mainstream, it is still a bit classless to run a feature that does nothing but bitch about everything in the area that is not perfect. There may have been some valid points, but many of the accused people and organizations have also made plenty of positive efforts in our community, and have been in positions not easy to problem-solve, particularly without the advantage of hindsight. Not the best way to build community, LEO. There are plenty of other effective ways of depicting underrepresented opinions and information.

Penance: Include this letter in your next issue, and please continue to do all the things you have done so well for so many years.

Thanks for a great free local paper that so many people in our great community are able to enjoy each week.
Erin Fitzgerald, Camp Taylor

Schooling LEO
I was saddened to see Jefferson County Public Schools make the “Loserville” list in your Dec. 15 issue. Certainly you could have found fault with the School Board’s rash decision to oust current Superintendent Sheldon Berman, or perhaps, with the same superintendent’s inability to bring the community together toward a common vision. Unfortunately, you chose to pile onto public schools and teachers, as is so fashionable in today’s media environment. You state, in this district, “almost every child is being left behind,” yet more than 64 percent of Jefferson County’s graduates go on to higher education, 62 percent are reading at proficient or distinguished levels, and the dropout rate continues to plummet.

You cite the dozen so-called “failing” schools, most of which have made remarkable progress over the past few years but have been deemed failing only because they haven’t met the ever-increasing No Child Left Behind requirement of all students reaching proficiency by 2013. Yes, that includes the 10,000-plus homeless students you cited, plus the thousands of ESL students, students living in poverty, and special-needs students the district services. Despite all the obstacles this district faces, you would be hard pressed to find another large, urban school district that does more for students, provides as many unique programs or has as many loving, dedicated teachers.

If this was such a terrible school district, why do parents continually rate their satisfaction with teachers, their school and the district so highly? That is because most parents understand that public schools cannot solve every one of society’s problems. So instead of piling on, perhaps LEO can send some of its employees into a school or two for an hour a week. The Every 1 Reads program is always looking for new volunteers.
Tim Holman, Highlands

Better LEO
In response to LEO’s Dec 15 staff-written feature “Loserville,” I regret that it seems that the real loser was LEO. For a magazine that is usually smartly written, even if I mostly disagree with its point of view, the piece came off as puerile, condescending and arrogant. The final section (“You”) seems to sum up LEO’s view that it is a lonely outpost of intelligence, culture and worthiness in a sea of people who are generally worthless.

How sad. For a publication that claims to be the voice of progressivism and tolerance, it displayed a level of smugness and intolerance that surely is not representative of the people for whom it claims to speak. Having lived in Louisville now for more than two decades, I don’t buy into the idea of Loserville. I see a beautiful if deeply flawed city. It is full of people “shining like the sun,” as Merton said, even if we, too, are all deeply flawed.

LEO can be better. LEO has been better. LEO should be better. Its audience deserves this.
Rich Mills, Shawnee

Complicated Reality
Ricky L. Jones’ column is fun to read but obviously not realistic. Take the Dec. 15 column, for example. About halfway into it, Jones writes that we don’t vote for candidates of change because “we buy into the rhetorical despotism of the powerful.” That might be broadly true, but the reality is surely much more complicated. The powerful can include a wide variety of influences on our lives, both good and bad, like employers, commercial advertisers, retailers, junk mail, TV news, banks, civil authorities, political attack ads, public schools, churches and even our families. You get the picture. We’re swamped under an information overload.

We need to find leaders we can trust to sift through all that for us, not because we’re stupid, but because our lives are so cluttered nowadays. Too many politicians bypass reality with oversimplified sound-bytes. Ironically, Jones seems to be doing the same kind of thing with catchphrases like “rhetorical despotism.” How do we even recognize the candidates of change? Maybe we can judge them partly by their rhetoric. I think candidates of change are the ones who encourage us, make us think, don’t try to scare anyone, show us respect and appeal to “our better angels.” President Obama, for example.
Tom Louderback, Highlands

Oh, Obama!
President Obama’s compromise, or some say capitulation, on extending the Bush tax cuts, plus adding more cuts, will increase the national debt by over a trillion dollars when the unnecessary wars are added. Our government will have to borrow the money to pay for the cuts and continuation of the wars. This will increase inflation, interest rates and the costs of everyday living for middle- and lower-class working Americans. It will adversely affect job creation and the standard of living for Americans.

The next step will be to cut spending, and the Republicans will focus on earned entitlements such as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and military health benefits. Obama has already said he favors a 1.4-percent pay increase for the military. This is the lowest pay raise in almost 50 years and is a strange thanks for those who have been fighting our wars for 10 years. This really adds up to a tax increase for the middle class and our most needy.

All of this while big business and the wealthiest receive huge tax cuts ostensibly to stimulate the economy and earn more for investors. Job creation will be uncertain. This is another victory for the Republicans who are willing to borrow from the future of the elderly, our kids and grandkids to continue the unnecessary wars and support the wealthiest Americans.
Harold Trainer, Prospect, Ky.

An Agnostic’s Lament

When I look at the sorry state of politics, the world and humanity, I feel:

• G-d doesn’t hear

• G-d doesn’t care

• Is G-d there?
Marvin Fleischman, Highlands