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.

Mr. Yarmuth goes to Washington: A primer on putting your money where your mouth is

A couple weeks ago, about the time Washington, D.C. got slammed with a nice round of snow and ice, LEO sent me and staff writer Stephen George to the nation’s capital. Our assignment: Take the measure of John Yarmuth, a freshman member of the 110th Congress. Frankly, it was a hell of a week. We learned a lot and found plenty of inspiration. In this week’s cover story (plus my commentary on page 5), you can read all about it. Cary Stemle

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.

City Strobe

Hey Louisville, are you ready for some savior-faire?Hope arrived in Louisville Sunday evening, albeit a bit later than expected. Even a miracle-worker has to take time to de-ice his airplane when he’s flying out of Chicago in a snowstorm.

When the color wheel is a health hazard

Artificial food coloration can make us sick. Why do we still use it? (Hint: the answer could apply to hormones, antibiotics, and other modern American delicacies)What do fish, fruit and pretzels have in common with chocolate, soft drinks and movie-theater popcorn? Very likely, they are tinted with artificial colors.