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The headline of a Jan. 24 story about the Takacs String Quartet incorrectly said it was the Hungarian quartet’s Louisville debut. LEO regrets the error.

Ivins the Great

We will all miss Molly Ivins terribly. She was a gemstone shinning through the muck of pork barrel politics, negative campaigning, sound-bytes, political spin and outright lies. And, her column encouraged us with the feeling that democracy is still possible. Just speak up for what is right! Here is one of my favorite quotes. What’s yours?

On the Civil Rights movement and the anti-war protests of the ’60s: “So, I went back home to help bring about the revolution, and I found that really not very many people were grateful for it.”

Tom Louderback

Take Up Ivins’ Torch

One of my favorite journalists, Molly Ivins, died on Jan. 31. She courageously spoke truth to power. Over the past 40 years or so, she has written many words of truth that especially grab those who are of like mind.

After reading her book “Bushwhacked” a few years ago, I wrote down the following two excerpts: “People power can still beat money power, when the people get stirred up enough”; and “The Bush tax cuts are an economic disaster. The first round was horrible, and the second is, incredibly, worse — such an overt, unconscionable, stupid redistribution of income from the bottom to the top that it alone restores class warfare to a legitimate position in American political debate.”

Ivins was often critical of American plutocracy, its defenders and promoters. She was an outspoken advocate for America’s most vulnerable citizens and will be sorely missed. I hope there are some budding, young journalists out there who will take up the torch and carry on the good works of Molly Ivins.

Paul L. Whiteley Sr.


Wow! Thanks for another top drawer Literary LEO.

One of the highest goals of art is to restore, by means of words and photos, intense states of experience that grab our attention. The talented area contributors did this with gusto.

Bob Moore

Enrolling in Medicare

Enrolling in Medicare,

The chess game with the formularies for Part D

Another confront with life’s inevitabilities,

With that now more wistful yearning

To have had an effect on the hearts and minds of others.

This yearning sorely tempts to flaunt

That we were right about the consequences

Of the acts of March 2003.

Outcasts from the main then,

We spoke a kind of truth that

Gratifies with a little warmth this winter.

Free to howl in our older age,

We yet look with unease upon the

Accustomed fate of Old Testament prophets,

The scorning disdain that stalks those

That say, “I told you so,”

And claim, with apprehension, whatever

Respect such are due.

John Lackey

Check Mate Iraq

Looking at Iraq as a chess game, the Bush team prided itself early in big combinations, Queens and Rooks, shall we say, and other long-range pieces like bishops that penetrated fast and looked good for shock and awe.

In fact, Baghdad and other strongholds fell immediately just as the towers fell immediately in the 9/11 attacks, proving that geographic borders no longer exist as significant obstacles in postmodern warfare.

After early victories and the relatively easy conquests of cities, more remote rank and file parts of the Iraq chess board should probably have been left to take care of themselves. The insurgents would then have had to come across the board to the U.S. generals to thwart them. For the strategy to go out after enemies wherever they were suspected to be caused U.S. forces to play a pawn game with the insurgents that they were not adequately designed to win.

When it is said, quote unquote, by the commander in chief that “we need to change our strategy,” let us hope that does not mean, “we have lost the tempo and the initiative, and now we can only react to the enemy and no longer plan ahead.”

And as for going out to secure the neighborhoods in Baghdad, again, the Bush team should have valued basic strategies of a Bobby Fischer or of a Kasparov to “castle early in the game.” It will be infinitely harder now to “castle” in Baghdad nearer the endgame than it would ever have been in the opening.

Alan Naslund