Inbox — April 7, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Too Flowery
In response to the March 24 Locavore Lore by Holly Clark in LEO Weekly: My goodness, this dandelion gal is a bit much. To her credit, she gave some well-grounded info about culinary gardening. I only hope readers made it through the “inner fires of digestion” to get to her “city of jewels.” To be clear, I’m all for what she’s preaching — I’m a food forager. I eat dandelions; I’ve waded in a creek for watercress with my granny; and I love frying up a backyard puffball mushroom. I’ve even plucked fruit in L.A. public spaces. But in the same way, I don’t pray before a meal, I don’t consider my salad greens “potential dreams ready to manifest.” I may come off like a cynic, but I think Clark’s flowery prose actually does a disservice to her Locavore message by focusing on the astrological over the natural. Everyone should seek out the bounty of readily available food in nature — even those of us who can’t tell our Manipura from our manure.
Lucy Blackburn, Crescent Hill


Plastic Pissed
I was extra miffed to find my copy of the March 24 LEO Weekly wrapped in plastic. How ironic that a publication that routinely stands for social responsibility and justice, that boasts on its cover each week to be made from 100-percent recycled paper, comes in a plastic wrapper that will remain in landfills practically forever. While I don’t pay any money for it each week, perhaps I need to reconsider LEO’s cost to the environment. I can only hope this new addition to LEO disappears as fast as it came. In the meantime, I’ll catch my favorite columns on your website as we all watch the Pacific Garbage Patch surpass twice the size of Texas.
Jacob Stoebel, Old Louisville


History Revision
There were three letters with regard to the “occupation” by Israel in the March 17 LEO. They were all full of revisionist history. Revising history does not mean it’s true — it’s the first act of tyrants.

The first letter was about the military aid sent to Israel. Obviously the writer is ignorant of the fact that at one time, Israel produced its own fighter planes and other defense systems that were shut down due to the fact that American defense companies complained, and Israel was forced to dismantle these programs. The second writer made reference to the Goldstone report, which did not allow competing testimony from military officers on the scene — the decision was made before the report was completed. As for the third letter, the story about how extra territory was obtained was ludicrous. The facts are:

1) When the partition was announced, there were Arab radio broadcasts telling Arabs to leave — after the Jews were annihilated, they could return. They left, but the Jews were not annihilated — territory was lost in that war. Israel being blockaded and then attacked in 1967 resulted in a war in which all Arab countries involved lost territory. Ditto for 1973. There is no occupation when one has had to defend itself for all of one’s existence. Winning any war involves loss of territory. We all have seen what happens when Israel withdraws from Gaza — it is nothing but a training camp for terrorists.

2) There is no evidence of a Palestinian state. Name a leader before Arafat (born in Egypt). Name the currency of that state. Before the British took over (after Turkey was on the losing side in WWII), this had been part of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years.

3) Speaking of occupation, how many of these letter writers would give up their homes to the Native American tribes who originally had claim to the land?
Aviv Naamani, Highlands


Bash Ignorance
Regarding the March 17 LEO, commonly known as the “bash Israel” edition of Inbox: It illustrates that Americans have a right to their opinions. Unfortunately, the authors have chosen to ignore all of the facts necessary to make wise decisions. Shame!
Irvin Goldstein, Hikes Point


Doing Fine, Thanks
Just finished reading the column of talented LEO columnist Paul Curry concerning how one answers the question “How do you do?” I’m an octogenarian, 100-percent disabled vet, and answer the question: “Fantastic.” My reply is based on the fact I had the pleasure of a close association with unforgettable Wendell Cherry, who died young after living a life that really mattered.
Bob Moore, East End


Half-Baked Analysis
In Regards to Robin Schmidt’s March 10 Inbox letter: Schmidt must do better than mischaracterizations for me to take his half-baked analysis seriously. First, Schmidt seems to miss the obvious hyperbole and tongue-in-cheek tone in my Feb 10 letter: I suggested LEO include the entire East End in its “Eyesore” feature.

Also, Schmidt implies my disdain for gentrification is disingenuous. This requires an explanation. It’s a distraction from the ideas and a focus on the individual presenting the argument. It may be worth mentioning, too, that we do not know each other, so I’ll save my character assassinations.

Schmidt also suggests I do not know anyone who has been displaced due to gentrification (again a connotation about my character). This is a fallacious argument, specifically known as a red herring, i.e., I was talking about A, and he’s talking about B, and claims B has something to do with A. This suggests oppressed people aren’t real, because we do not know them personally.

There was one fact nestled in Schmidt’s diatribe: I used a common synonym for Clarksdale, i.e., the Clay Street projects. Forgive my nomenclature. While we’re discussing facts, here are some more:

The Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere (HOPE VI) program funded the Liberty Green project that replaced Clarksdale. From The Race, Poverty, and Environment Journal, James Tracy writes on projects funded by HOPE VI and says that a “2004 study by the Urban Institute found that only 21,000 units had been built to replace the 49,828 demolished units. In other words, roughly 42 percent of the demolished public housing had been replaced.”

HOPE VI has a tarnished track record, responsible for displacing nearly 60 percent of the communities in which its impact has been felt. Does Schmidt think HOPE VI’s presence in Louisville is somehow exceptional and veers from the M.O.? Evidence suggests otherwise.

Take the Park DuValle development (another HOPE VI-funded project). This is what The Courier-Journal reported on the Park DuValle development in August 2009: “Of the 1,304 displaced families, only 75 returned to live in the new neighborhood, according to data provided to The Courier-Journal by the Louisville Metro Housing Authority.”

There needn’t be ideological banter: Communities have been displaced in Louisville. Schmidt’s connotation that these things do not happen is a view detached from reality.
Alex Bradshaw, Highlands


Go Barack!
Way to go, President Barack Obama and all the Democrats who voted for the successful passage of the health care reform bill. They are true profiles in courage, risking their political futures for doing the right thing for all Americans. This is no time for Democrats to gloat over their victory, but it is time for Republican legislators to get smart, get some backbone and stop taking their marching orders from FOX News and right-wing talk radio. With passionate, hateful, untruthful rhetoric, the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks on the far right are setting the tone for inciting their followers to say and do uncivil things that threaten our country’s well-being. It is crucial that the divisive, pervasive hate rhetoric doesn’t lead to violence.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews