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June 22, 2010

Inbox — June 23, 2010

Family First
First of all, on behalf of the family, I want to sincerely thank the community for the outpouring of love, support, prayers and condolences as we said goodbye to (my uncle) George Unseld. Uncle George had big shoes to fill, both literally and figuratively. Those shoes belonged to his father, Big Charles. Now Uncle George leaves big shoes for the rest of us to fill. While I appreciate the piece on Uncle George, his legacy and the Fairness Campaign (LEO Weekly, June 16), I must differ with one statement made by Denise Bentley, who served with Unseld on the Board of Alderman:

“What bothers me the most is to know he was by himself,” Bentley says. “I mean, between his daughter, his legislative aide and I, we tried our best to take care of George.”

Uncle George was not alone. He wasn’t alone in his office on the fateful day. He wasn’t alone in the community he loved and served, and he wasn’t alone in his family. The Unselds are a close-knit group. Right now, the group spans three generations and includes in-laws. Uncle George was not just an “uncle” to his siblings’ children, he was “uncle” to the children of his nieces and nephews. Just this past Easter, we all gathered at his house to celebrate. For every family meal, he would talk about generations of Unselds past, present and future. While we may not all be in the spotlight, we all love and care for each other dearly. My father would speak to his brother George regularly and often would go down to his house to make repairs or do whatever needed to be done. His daughter Jeanie was not and is not alone. She knows that she can call us anytime for anything. It’s always been that way. I would hate for anyone to take from my Uncle George’s legacy that he was alone.
Monica E. Unseld, Bardstown, Ky.

Think Before You Ink
I certainly have my problems with many aspects of the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinians. But it is very disappointing to see people and publications I had respected not understand how hurtful and deeply offensive it is to tell Israeli Jews to go “home” to Poland and Germany. Most Jews did not get from Poland and Germany to Israel by way of a leisure cruise. It was actually a rather tragic affair that some Jews, apparently for reasons your “What a Week” columnist doesn’t understand (LEO Weekly, June 9), still consider to be a painful topic. When someone callously suggests that Israeli Jews simply go “home” to the lands where their ancestors had endured centuries of hardship, the resulting outrage is not “manufactured.” Not to mention my confusion at this idea that Poland, Germany or even America are more natural “homes” of the worldwide Jewish community than the land of Israel. Now Helen Thomas is 89 years old and was speaking off the cuff. But Jonathan Meador had plenty of time to consider what he was writing and still chose to say Thomas’ suggestion to the Jewish people was “telling it like it is.” Really, LEO?
Stuart Bergman-Bock, East End

Secret Decoder
In a June 9 letter in Inbox, J. Roshi places a dash in a Rand Paul quote where Paul intended a period. “I abhor racism” is a stand-alone statement. Paul’s next statements address a specific issue with the legislation. Roshi can’t understand how Paul can believe that something is wrong and not want it outlawed. I believe others have the right to do things I don’t favor. For example, I don’t drink alcohol, but I don’t want it banned.

Before federal civil rights legislation, many states used the force of law to keep people apart who may have wanted to do business together or start a family. Afterward, the federal government used the law to force some people to do business together.

To libertarians, both laws are wrong because the use of force in business and social interactions is wrong. Libertarians believe in “mutual volition.” Is that a bad idea?

Today, individuals discriminate in ways that civil rights legislation does not cover. For instance, individuals sometimes choose what businesses to patronize based on the skin color of the owners. I find this abhorrent. However, I don’t want it outlawed. Does Roshi?

Also, studies have shown that people prefer to date members of their “own” race or will refuse to date members of certain ethnic groups. I find this abhorrent also, but don’t wish it to be illegal. Does Roshi?

Some civil rights legislation merely permitted people who wanted to be together to do so, regardless of skin color. I think that is right. I also think that allowing, not forcing, would do well in many other areas of civil rights.

Perhaps readers are convinced that I am a racist using “code words.” I’d bet, however, that I have done more voluntary integrating in my personal life than many of my detractors.

Finally, Ron Paul was right: Racism is a collectivist idea. Libertarians care about individuals and want them to be free to choose their own paths. Collectivists care about collections of races, ethnicities, sexual preferences and socio-economic classes. I’ll be voting for individual liberty.
Rich Mills, Shawnee

Recycled Progression
“This paper is 100% recyclable” — Every week that little line in the corner of the cover has irked me, and I finally figured out why. Is the fact that LEO can be recycled really worth bragging about? We all know newspapers and magazines are recyclable. Those of us responsible enough to do it put them in our containers every day. If you really want to be the forward-thinking, progressive periodical that you claim to be, perhaps you should take the necessary steps so you can have something really worth bragging about in the lower left corner of the cover every week: “This paper is made from 100% post-consumer product.”
Rhys Cundiff, Goshen, Ky.

Learn, Louisville, Learn
OK, how about just a LITTLE thinking outside the box by the East End Bridges Project. Rather than spending one-third of the entire cost of the Bridges Project to go under the house at 6401 Wolf Pen Branch Road, wouldn’t it be far easier and cheaper to just move the bridge one block north or south? Or perhaps bend the Gene Snyder Freeway just a tad to go around it? It would not be the only bend in the Gene Snyder!

I suspect this has a lot more to do with protecting the property values of surrounding houses, not preserving one historic house. That, or racking up construction costs to benefit one particular contractor. This is what we call corruption: spending lots of other people’s money to protect the interest of a few. Oh, Kentucky, will you never learn? The good of the many is more important than the good of the few. That is when real economic progress becomes possible. Of course, we will likely never know, since serious investigative journalism is apparently dead at The Courier-Journal as it is with most regional newspapers.

I don’t see anyone going out of his way or spending a quarter-billion dollars to accommodate the many residents in Butchertown, though this little neighborhood has far more collective historic value to Louisville than one isolated house in eastern Jefferson County that just happens to be where some road engineer terminated the Gene Snyder Freeway a few decades ago.

Rethink this, please. Perhaps that $260 million would be better used to help relocate the slaughterhouses out of Butchertown and reroute the proposed freeway to lessen the impact there, thus helping preserve this unique little gem for Louisville’s future.
Charles Davis, Louisville

Slippery Slope

Attn. Donna Mancini:

You make valid points
About legalizing joints.
But while high on crack
One might carjack.
George Morrison, Cherokee Triangle

Save the Horsies!
This year’s Triple Crown might be more aptly called the Triple Yawn. Most people don’t support the thoroughbred racing industry anymore — as well they shouldn’t.

Every single day, three horses, on average, suffer catastrophic injuries while racing and must be euthanized. At least 2,000 horses have died on U.S. tracks in the two years since filly Eight Belles shattered her ankles beyond repair while running the Kentucky Derby. And every month, 1,000 horses used in racing that don’t “measure up” are sent to other countries to be slaughtered for human consumption.

As more people become aware of the deadly toll racing has on horses, attendance has plummeted at tracks all over North America, and few tracks remain economically viable. Many are shifting their focus to slot machines in order to remain in business. Television viewership of this year’s Belmont Stakes tanked — it was down 32 percent from last year alone.

People who want to pay tribute to all the horses that have suffered and died in racing should continue to stay away from tracks and betting parlors.
Jennifer O’Connor, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Va.