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November 3, 2010

Inbox — Nov. 3, 2010

Letters to the Editor

No Show
In response to Pam Swisher’s, “Louisville wins best (gay) city” (LEO Weekly, Oct. 20): It is unacceptable that Jefferson County Public Schools failed to respond to the invitation to participate in the anti-bullying forum hosted by the Louisville Youth Group. Those in attendance were informed there was no JCPS representative present. Neither were there any members of the Board of Education in attendance.

There are nearly 100,000 students in our public school system. There is no other institution that spends more time with our children than JCPS. The school system likely has more time with some students than their own guardians do, but they couldn’t be bothered to show up? Unacceptable.

This week I attended a Board of Education candidate forum. One student identified bullying as a growing problem and wanted to know how candidates propose to address the issue. There was only one candidate on the panel who had attended the anti-bullying forum — Attica Scott. Scott, who is the candidate for the District 1 Board of Education seat, showed up because she believes all of our students matter, including our LGBT youth. Certainly the first way we let our young people know they matter is by showing up. There are increasing incidents of students taking their own lives because of the damaging effects of bullying. I wish there had been more JCPS and Board representatives present to take part in the solution.

JCPS was invited, and it is time for them to show up for all our children.
Tiffany Gonzales, Clifton

Bad Air
Thank you for the excellent article on air quality in Louisville: “High levels of air pollution may adversely affect U of L athletes” (LEO Weekly, Oct. 20). I encourage readers to check out the real-time values and forecasts of the especially dangerous particulate matter 2.5 levels at www.AIRNow.gov. After reading your article, I took a look at this site at noon on Saturday Oct. 23. I clicked on the “current PM2.5” tab, and, lo and behold, on the entire map of the country, there was one lone area highlighted in red warning of unhealthy levels — you guessed it, Louisville, Ky. Our Air Quality Index of 198 fell within the “unhealthy” range of 151-200, which indicated that the air on Saturday afternoon was unhealthy enough that children and older adults should avoid all physical activity outdoors, and that everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outside. It was a few points away from being more than 200, a level at which everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors. I highly recommend that people who live in Louisville check this site once in a while to gain a better understanding of just how bad the air quality is in our city, so that all of us might think more about actions we can take to reduce these strikingly high levels of pollutants.
Anita Maiste, Crescent Hill

Anonymous Issues
In response to Jonathan Haws’ Oct. 27 Inbox letter titled “Past is Present”: It is laughable, if not absurd, to proclaim GQ as a “respectable, mainstream men’s magazine.” It may be mainstream, but I see nothing respectable about a magazine whose cover currently depicts a man holding two scantily clad women captioned: “Glee Gone Wild! We Show You What Happens When The Teachers Aren’t Around” (November 2010).

Further, and just as ridiculous, is the suggestion that anonymous accusers are credible; could you imagine an anonymous accuser’s statements being held up in a court of law? Certainly not, although remaining anonymous would only be one of the multiple hurdles this woman would need to overcome. Since her original statements, she has since waffled, claiming “she was not kidnapped nor forced to do drugs by (Rand) Paul” (The Washington Post).

If Rand Paul’s actions 25 years ago matter, why don’t Jack Conway’s? One would have to be incredibly naïve to believe that Conway has never participated in any sort of activity potentially damaging to his candidacy. Whatever those activities may be, we’ll probably never know; Paul’s campaign has, to an impressive degree, chosen to keep this race about the issues: health care, business and financial regulations, taxes, job creation, etc. We know where Paul stands on these issues — issues directly pertaining to his job should he be elected. Conway, on the other hand, has given us a clear indication that he, well, has a strange obsession with Paul’s college days.
Andrew Doughty, U of L

Voting for Values
Dear Grandma, when I step into the voting booth on Tuesday, I will be casting a ballot in honor of the values you instilled upon your family over a half a century ago: the kind of family values that insist upon everybody in the family having value. You fought against racism to protect a grandson, against sexism to protect your daughters, and against homophobia to protect a son. You marched on behalf of civil rights and against the bigotry that still pervades so much of this country. You taught us that there are two types of people in this world — those that are inclusive and those that are exclusive, and because of you, we know that there is only one righteous side to be on. In life, as in death, you stood on the side of the angels. On Tuesday, I will be standing with you and against those who wish to repeal the progress of the 20th century. Dad and I miss you very much, and we will be thinking of you as we close the curtain and cast our vote on behalf of freedom and equality for all. Love always, your grandson.
Nicholas Wohlleb, Highlands

Principal’s Principles
There are a fair number of people in Louisville who were strong anti-war advocates when Bush was president. Rightly so. However, now that Obama is president and is prosecuting these same wars, many of these people are not as avidly anti-war. There is a significant drop off in the anti-war activity. This is probably political and a belief that Obama is the right choice and best choice to run the country and the wars.

Regardless, we are still in Iraq, have increased troop numbers in Afghanistan, and we are still killing high numbers of Arabs and Muslims while incurring large casualties and costs — all for questionable reasons. I believe that it is necessary to remember principle rather than just principals. After reading “Obama’s Wars,” I clearly recognize that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are Obama’s wars. This all makes the anti-war principle as critical as the principal.
Harold Trainer, Prospect, Ky.

Taxing Issues
There are three misleading concepts in the current political lexicon I’d love to see abandoned. First is the idea of “taxing the wealthy,” as if wealth is some function of income level. Wealth is defined as what one “has,” not what one earns in a particular year. I know many who earn beyond $250K who are far from wealthy. Think of your family doctor, mortgaged to the hilt in student loans, or an entrepreneur who has invested everything to get to a level of success.

If John Kerry, for example, wants to convince me he is interested in “taxing the wealthy,” I suggest he propose the government acquiring some portion of the Heinz family fortune, or perhaps confiscating a part of the many Kennedy compounds, or even the Bingham family estate.

Next, can President Obama stop talking about his “proposed middle-class tax cut” and deriding the Republicans’ insistence on “cutting the taxes of the wealthiest among us”? These aren’t tax cuts. Nobody’s first January paycheck is going to be larger than their final December one — even if these extensions pass. We are talking about stopping “tax increases.” And presented that way, he is partially right — we should not raise anybody’s taxes in the midst of a terrible economy, but it matters not whether they are low, moderate or high — income’s being raided.

Finally, I wish the liberal media and Democrats would stop saying that “those who don’t vote in their best interest are fools,” intimating that any union member or moderate-income person who votes Republican is stupid. To me, voting in one’s best interest is akin to greed, and that oft-repeated statement about “voting in your best interest” exemplifies the difference between the primary American political philosophies.

We conservatives believe that one should strive to achieve what is in one’s best interest through one’s own work. The expense of that being one’s own time and toil.

Conservatives rely on self-achievement; liberals vote in self-interest. Neither is stupid or foolish, but the former certainly seems more principled than the latter.
Bob Hogan, New Albany