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A little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll, inside a war zone

First Lt. Kevin McDaniel: Photo Courtesy of Kathy McDaniel First Lt. Kevin McDaniel, 27, and a fellow soldier stand inside a crater made by an improvised explosive device, or IED.Music offers a means of escape, a chance to climb inside your own head for a little while and forget about the world around you.

A TIMELINE OF THE IRAQ WAR

2003March 19 — President G.W. Bush’s Invasion beginsMarch 30 — Defense Secretary D. Rumsfeld: We know location of WMDApril 1 — Pfc. J. Lynch “rescued”

A mother’s love

This week it gives us no pleasure at all to note the fourth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Not to go all Dr. Phil on you, but how’s that working out for us? For this somber occasion, we collected a few stories about war, and we also pass along information about upcoming protests in Louisville and Washington, D.C. Cary Stemle

Chewing the future: Arts organizations want to invite college students to the party

Louisville arts organizations have been wearing mismatched socks to the campus keg party. Like the friendly-but-odd foreign exchange student who lounges against the wall, longing for disco and warm zelnacka soup, some regional arts programmers appear similarly aching to fit in with the more than 21,000 students at the University of Louisville.

Rumor & Innuendo

Big Blue smirk. Who knows whether UK fatcats will buy Tubby out of his contract or not? It’s obvious from Mitch Barnhart’s recent statement that it’s more of a possibility than ever. There is loads of conjecture as to who the next coach might be. Texas A&M Aggies’ Billy Gillespie is a name often heard. He may be the next great coach. Here’s a name I heard from a couple of sources last week: Tom Crean. One guy says Crean really is intent on staying at Marquette, but that UK might make him an offer he can’t refuse. The other said Crean is “openly politicking” for the position in Lexington. Doubtful, but I’m just here to throw fuel on the fire.

The case for art in a time of war

“The task of art is enormous,” Leo Tolstoy wrote in his 1896 tome “What is Art?” He cited the civil measures of the day, from the court system to factory inspections, as profound factors in fostering freedom, then made an extraordinary assertion: “Art should cause violence to be set aside. And it is only art that can accomplish this.”Less than 50 years later, fascism erupted in Europe, fueled by mechanized weaponry that could kill scores of people systematically and violently. Artists responded with highly emotional and shocking visions. In 1937 alone, we saw the creation of “Eternal City” by American Peter Blume and Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica.” Two years later, Bertolt Brecht premiered the play “Mother Courage and Her Children.”

Portrait of a lady: Stationed in Afghanistan in 2005, Jessica Riordan used her camera to learn about its people

German camp: Photo by Jessica Riordan This photograph, taken at a German camp near Kabul, shows a silhouette of a German mini-tank weasel, which is about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. The small flags in the background are a cemetery.On a hot, dusty and windy day in September 2005, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jessica Riordan rode in an SUV with her friend, a French officer named Brice (rhymes with Greece), as he led a convoy up a mountain known as Antenna Hill in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Covered in clay: International ceramics conference comes to Louisville — a year ahead of schedule

When I think of “ceramics,” I think of the crafty things my grandmother used to make. I think of a literal representation of her poodle. That’s wrong, I know, and soon enough other misinformed souls may get the idea. As Jo Anne Triplett’s cover story notes, Louisville will play host to the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts’ annual convention. Hundreds of ceramic artists will be here, and there are countless free public exhibits. It’s a great chance to see a lot of accomplished work. —Cary Stemle

City Strobe

Promoting intolerance while hamstringing education — what could be more Frankfort than that? Kentucky Senate Bill 152 is a poetic piece of legislation that props up discrimination, ignorance, second-class education and second-class healthcare, all in an economical 182 words. It aims to prohibit universities and agencies from offering health insurance coverage to anyone other than a legally married spouse or family member. In other words, no homos allowed.

Why not get to know your government?

Several years ago, when I was just on the leading edge of puberty, as a matter of fact, our family took a famous vacation to Washington, D.C. I had a fine new pair of suede Chuck Taylors — navy blue with two stripes and a star. Washington, you may recall, is a walking city. Bad situation.