Erosia (Letters to the Editor)

LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to [email protected]. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.

The following restaurant was left out of our Dining Guide last week. LEO regrets the error.
The Bodega at Felice, 829 E. Market St., Suite D, 569-4100,, $.

Cut and Run
    In the autumn of 1994, as the Democratic National Committee was doing little more than making its funeral plans prior to the Republican landslide, I sent an impassioned fax to the DNC’s congressional campaign committee, pleading with the party to attack Newt Gingrich in a whole new way I felt could have turned that election around.
    Gingrich, I pointed out, had called in 1986 for the complete privatization of Social Security and for a 9-cent national sales tax to jump start this new system.
Saturate the airwaves with ads saying don’t vote Republican unless you want to end Social Security and pay a 9-cent national sales tax, and watch the momentum switch, I said.
    Of course, the Democrats did no such thing. No, the message of this letter is not “ignore George Morrison at your own peril” (although that has a nice ring to it), it is don’t forget Social Security as an issue and don’t let voters forget that Bush tried last year to tie the system to the stock market. Tie that to the Republicans.
    The Iraq War, as disastrous a fiasco as it is, can, and perhaps is, turning on a dime by “cut and run”-cliché-making by the GOP. Don’t get me wrong, I totally oppose this war on moral grounds — and did the moment Bush started it, unlike some poll watchers.
    But please, Democrats, don’t forget Bush’s domestic fiasco.
George Morrison

Pontificating on the Fringe
After taking a much deserved break from LEO for several months, I was not particularly surprised upon my return to find it is business as usual, at least for frequent letter writer Tom Louderback. His most recent submission to the Oct. 4 LEO, in defense of John Yarmuth’s campaign for a public office, illustrates the tendency of the Far Left to sometimes forget they are preaching their true gospel, and more importantly, that some of us happen to be listening to what is coming out of their mouths (or pens).
    Louderback’s assertion that Yarmuth’s sometimes-goofy ideas are derived from his sarcastic answer to moderate or conservative ideas smacks of the worst type of apologetics. We all may agree that Yarmuth has frequently been sarcastic; indeed, he has been downright biting in his criticism of the Right. But it is wrong to believe that his many questionable ideas about domestic and foreign policy have merely been pithy rejoinders in mockery of conservative principles.
    You see, Yarmuth is a progressive, which is simply the same ol’ radical liberal packaged as something new and fresh. The progressive agenda at its root is still anti-capitalism, no matter how much progressives trot out the idea of buying or dining “locally.” Progressives still believe in the tenets of Big Government, of more (and more frequent) taxes, of penalizing success and of the misbegotten idea of wealth redistribution. Progressives bandy about solutions to environmental issues that are unrealistic and of dubious benefit. Progressives frequently wrap themselves in the American flag, while secretly abhorring the belief that we should encourage democracy and free-market economies around the world. They are isolationist when considering expanding our sphere of influence, but on the other hand they blindly place their faith in the ambiguous notion of international law. Worse yet, they insist that our final victory in the War on Terror will come when bin Laden assumes the ambient temperature of whatever hole he is hiding in.
    There can be neither cloaking the theology of John Yarmuth, nor disguising the altar of liberalism he and his followers worship at. Let’s all hope that his evangelizing for the Left is for naught, and his goofy ideas will continue to resonate only with the fringe element of our community.
Christopher M. Spellman

Burying the Crime
I’ll ask you this: Which story merits front-page attention for our citizens in the few weeks before a critical national election: (1) a prominent Republican politician who arrogantly skips a major debate staged in our community’s most impoverished neighborhood, or (2) a search for lost horse-racing trophies from the 1920s?
    Any skeptical citizen who is a regular reader of The Courier-Journal doesn’t have to think hard about which story made the front page of the Monday, Oct. 9 issue.
    Here’s the story you may have missed if you didn’t read far enough into the paper: Anne Northup declines to show up to one of the few truly public debates hosted on Sunday eve by leaders from a neighborhood she purports to represent, an area that is decimated by unemployment, crime and poor health insurance (thanks in part to Northup’s reliable 91 percent lockstep voting with George W. Bush).
    Even though the debate invitation was extended to all candidates in July, our Republican representative to Washington dodged and said she had dinner plans on Sunday. Sound fishy? Her campaign manager gives us the real reason Northup hid from the voters in Monday’s (nearly hidden) C-J story: “We believe the African-American community knows the difference between a partisan rally and thoughtful representation.”
    Partisan rally? Please explain what’s “partisan” about fair wages and new jobs, good housing and affordable health care to the debate’s hosts, the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition, Louisville branch of the NAACP and the Louisville Urban League. They certainly weren’t “partisan” when Northup was eager to get their votes two years ago.
    Anne Northup thumbing her nose at neighborhood leaders is a story that deserved to be on the front page of the largest newspaper in her district, but instead it was buried. Does anyone care? Well, it’s not just happening here, folks. When veteran White House news reporter Helen Thomas visited Louisville recently, she expressed regret over the nationwide demise of the job of the newspaper as a watchdog of democracy and said, “Without an informed people, there can be no democracy.”
Mark Rountree

10 Years of Shame
After spending a few hours looking over, my first thought was, “That’s it?” With 800 issues of the LEO and years of Yarmuth speeches at their disposal, the best they could come up with was that John Yarmuth supported closing the loophole on the gas-guzzler tax on SUVs and trucks, and addressed the startling economic fact that Medicare cannot survive if we keep taking more money out of it than is being put in?
    I’d like to think that if Patrick Neely really wants to educate the voters, he would take the Web site his campaign recently registered,, and start telling us about Anne’s record. My guess is that he knows it would be a disaster. After all, she’s spent years supporting Bush and his failed foreign and domestic policy, championed an education program that the Office of the Inspector General has described as corrupt, and time and time again voted against the UAW and the interests of those same auto workers her attack ads indicate should feel threatened by Yarmuth.
    In 10 years, all Anne can really say she has done is provide support for two bridges and a new VA hospital. Should we keep her in office another 20 years until we actually see these projects built, or bring in someone with new ideas who isn’t in the pocket of numerous special interests?
My vote is for the latter.
Rob Mattheu

Smoking Out Businesses
Regarding the Smoking Ban: Thank you for suffocating the small Mom and Pop restaurants and bars that have helped make Louisville a great and unique city. Entrepreneurs have invested their lives building successful businesses and are now being told they must do business the way the Council thinks they should.
    It’s an unfortunate thing that many small restaurants and bars will suffer because they will lose customers and revenue. After all, it’s a lot cheaper to go to the liquor store, stay home and have a group of friends over than it is to go out to a bar where you can’t smoke.
    Companies spent thousands of dollars renovating their facilities to incorporate separate ventilation systems in order to comply with the current smoking ban, only to be told that in July, all bets are off. Shouldn’t these companies be reimbursed? That’s a lot of money to just throw away. Mayor Abramson’s opinion is that since restaurant owners were told that a more comprehensive ban would probably be passed in the future, owners knew what they were getting into, and therefore are not entitled to reimbursement. This is unfair to these businesses. After all, the Metro Council required it, they changed their minds, and they should be responsible for costing these companies thousands of dollars.
    Will the Metro Council soon cast a ballot banning McDonald’s from selling unhealthy food? Why not? It’s the exact same concept of the “building a healthier community” idea that brought upon the smoking ban in the first place.
Jon Brooks