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At least Brian Orms (Doppelganger, April 26) only missed Spring Break by a month. His jokes on the subject died in 1986.
Cruising is an Issue
In his last column, Dr. Ricky Jones said: “As our world falls apart, we are worried about cruising and concerts?! CRUISING AND CONCERTS! Defend it — I dare you!” I can never resist a dare.
First off, I have tremendous respect for Dr. Jones and zero interest in participating in the intentional traffic jam known as cruising. However, I am worried. The first reason is that all signs point to disaster. Has the city made efforts to notify people from out of town that cruising is canceled? How many folks will arrive in town to cruise, completely unaware that it is disallowed? This weekend has all the ingredients for a full-scale riot. That worries me, especially given the historically atrocious relations between the LPD and the black community.
Secondly, to paraphrase Rosa Luxembourg, if I can’t cruise in your revolution, Dr. Jones, I don’t want to be a part of it. I rarely disagree with you, but here I must. Cruising is a cultural phenomenon, a completely organic creation by black youth. Whatever any of us may think about it, it has been staked out as a black cultural event in a white community. That deserves respect. Like it or not, cruising is a big deal for a lot of blacks in the region, and is a huge social event. It may be the most massive culmination of black effort in our area today. Lamentably wrong-headed? Almost certainly. Dismissible? No.
There is an intrinsic value both in cultural activity and in organic creation. I am deeply surprised that Dr. Jones does not see the importance of cruising. (I am even more surprised that Dr. Jones is not outraged at the city’s double standard in dealing with people who cannot or do not pay an outrageous fee to join the respectable debauchery of the infield.) In a country where young black men are treated like shit, is it any wonder that many of them ignore the political system and instead turn to autonomous creations like cruising? Will their minds be changed by an ivory tower admonition? Why not treat this as a chance to reach out to the apolitical masses, rather than as a pointless aside that should be ignored? After all, with all those cars at a standstill, it’s a great chance to pass out fliers.
Reading Marty Rosen’s interview of Kevin Phillips in LEO (April 19), I am reminded once more that Phillips always tells it like it is. This can be pretty depressing, too. He won’t let us forget that the politics of our generation has been shaped by trickle-down economics, Nixon’s Southern strategy, “Welfare-Cadillac” demagoguery, self-righteous religious piety, chicken hawks, an obsession with money, and the delusion that we can have freedom without paying enough taxes to protect and defend it.
Some of us might blame this on Richard Nixon, George Wallace or George W. Bush. But the cold, hard truth is we bought the Brooklyn Bridge.
Whenever I think about this, it makes me feel much better to watch “Forrest Gump” again. Gump reminds me that you don’t have to be rich, famous, beautiful or smart to be brave, honest, loyal or compassionate. It’s good to know that the character of the people in our country is thriving, in spite of the fact that we are ignoring it in our politics.
A Voice to Hear
I’ve long been a supporter of the Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. Their publication, Voice For Choice, always holds my attention with its local and talented relaxed banter, intermittent bursts of passion and highly worthwhile experiments in thought. Take a look at these quotes from the current issue:
“Legislators continue to use the ‘abortion issue’ as a wedge and a hammer to beat Kentucky women into submission. (As one wag has suggested, shoes will be outlawed next year, for ‘pregnant people.’) Urged on by the Right to (Run Your) Life organization, both Democrat and Republican legislators introduced at least four bills to severely restrict abortion …”
“Rep. Butler courageously observed that the House consists predominantly of males who would never be pregnant and never be faced with an unwanted pregnancy but who somehow have the gall to try to legislate what pregnant women should do!” (Kate Cunningham)
“The anti-choice forces would not even allow burdensome or threatening pregnancies. The woman would lose all choice in the matter and her life would be jeopardized in favor of protecting of protecting a fetus, many of whom would die anyway …”
“No woman should be deprived of liberties that should rightly surround God-given responsibilities pertaining to reproductive choice …” (Dr. Paul Simmons)
Dear Honorable Legislators,
I am 15 years old, a student at Presentation Academy and an asthmatic child who must take shots every week.
I’m concerned about the increasing levels of pollution in Metro Louisville and how it is affecting the health of children and adults. According to The Courier-Journal, emergency hospital visits for children with asthmatic symptoms have drastically increased during the past years.
Most of the 10 top harmful chemical-producing companies and businesses in Louisville have continued to emit pollution into our air for decades. In a special science report I wrote two years ago entitled “Metro Louisville’s Pollution a Reason for Alarm,” I discovered there are 25 companies and businesses that produce almost all of the harmful pollution in our city and county. The names of the most polluting companies are: Oxy Vinyl LP; The Carbide Graphite Group; Zeon Chemicals LP; Eckart Aluminum LP; DuPont; DuPont Dow Elastomers-Louisville; Rohm & Haas Co.; Atofina Chemical Inc.; American Synthetic Rubber Co. 3. Borden Chemical Inc.; Louisville Gas & Electric Co. (Cane Run); Louisville Gas & Electric Co. (Mill Creek).
Many of these companies emit harmful chemicals at levels five to 20 times greater than EPA standards allow. The harmful chemicals they emit include: butadiene, benzene, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, ethyl acrylate, arsenic, vinyl chloride and more.
According to The Courier-Journal (articles Nov. 13, 2003 and July 14, 2003), the Children’s Environmental Health Profile in Kentucky, the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission for the EQC Forum on Children’s Environmental Health (Oct. 16, 2003) and other research articles and studies, children and adults in Metro Louisville and our state will continue to increasingly experience the following critical health risks if our state does not require more stringent air pollution control legislation.
The health risks we already are experiencing are a summary from all documents used in my science project. They are:
CHILDREN: childhood cancer, asthma, learning disorders, behavioral disorders, respiratory ailments, hyperactivity, breathing difficulties, birth defects, gastrointestinal infections and illnesses, and childhood diabetes.
ADULTS: various forms of cancer, heart disease, respiratory ailments, asthma, breathing difficulties, and some forms of diabetes
Please help Kentucky’s children breathe better by increasing rather than reducing air pollution requirements in our state. I really hate having to take asthma shots each week.