Inbox — March 2, 2011

Letters to the Editor

Inspired Freeway
Attn: Ricky L. Jones

Your “Freeway Ricky Ross” column is powerful (LEO Weekly, Feb. 16). As a skilled writer, a remarkable professor who teaches and mentors students, and person who eluded Atlanta’s drug-rotted-project’s grim reaper via wise choices, you, unknowingly, filled a leadership void of someone who can address sensitive issues with nary a soul-crying “agenda.”

I, personally, consider hip-hop and heavy metal’s listening experience a cross between a meowing, mangy alley cat at 3 a.m. and a baritone with sleep apnea, but times and tastes change … fine … gangster rap … whatever. But when the message, as you said, aggressively varies from Plato’s to a present agreed view of a love-based society with strong values, morals and kindness of one another’s behaviors as opposed to one fear-based with thug-loving, female-demeaning, gun-toting, me, myself and I, leaders must step up to dissent, and you did so eloquently.

I was unable to hear Freeway Ricky Ross on Thursday, but what an incredible human being. How compelling of a good-triumphs-over-evil story he has. You gave him a forum to speak the truth and change minds. When I Googled Ricky Ross, I could not find anything except for a Jane Pauley “CIA Promotes Drug War” piece a national media outlet had produced on him. How sad, because your article and his story speak volumes of the subtle variants going on in America today.
John Hershey, Highlands

Carlton’s Bridges
I’ve recently learned that Chad Carlton, formerly with the Abramson administration, will be the spokesman for the Bridges Project. Carlton most recently proved his superior abilities at subverting the public last fall when he defended the Bridges Authority’s discontinuance of public comments at their meetings. It would only make sense that the Abramson, excuse me, Fischer administration would reward him with a $90/hour gig subverting the public will full time.

We must abandon the ridiculous, misguided and cost-prohibitive designs on destroying Waterfront Park to build an unwanted and unnecessary downtown bridge. The vast majority of Kentuckiana citizens, myself included, want the East End bridge built now and without tolls.

These simple truths aren’t going away, even if they pay Carlton $900/hour.
Curtis Morrison, Highlands

Our Fault
American foreign policy has been addicted to right-wing dictators and despots throughout history. The world is littered with the scarred and depleted countries we used for our own sordid reasons. We have a myriad of excuses for what we did and still do. We need military bases, natural resources, markets for our exports, convenient wars for our weapons manufacturers to sell their wares, and, most importantly, our insatiable need for oil.

The citizens of these dictatorial, murderous and despotic nations have suffered unacceptable hardships Americans cannot imagine. Torture, rape, murder and imprisonment are the tools of law used by these allies of ours to keep their people under control. Americans get indignant when these liberty-loving foreigners take to the streets and blame the United States for supporting these murderous thugs. We just don’t get it.

There are too many of these countries to list, but some of my favorites would be our Banana Republic friends down south. No, not the clothing outlet — Cuba, Panama, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina and Guatemala are only a few of the countries that suffered so we could live our American dream.

We are now reaping what we sowed in the oil- and blood-drenched Middle East, where our thirst for power depends on a right-wing hegemony we can no longer control. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Tunisia and now Egypt were all best friends forever years ago. It just goes to show that when you have to buy your friends, you probably don’t have any.
Nicholas Wohlleb, Highlands

Fearful Freedom
A word of caution for the new wave of “freedom” sweeping through Egypt. Recall, for example, the jubilation that swept through Russia in 1917, when the people deposed the czar. They expected freedom but got instead a 70-year reign of terror that made the czar’s tyranny look like child’s play. And let’s not forget benighted Haiti, which in 1804 became the first democracy in the Western Hemisphere, only to wallow in squalor for the next 200 years. (America declared its independence in 1776 but didn’t become a true democracy until slavery was abolished during the 1860s.) Thus often — perhaps more often than not — the overthrow of a government brings only misery, torment and degradation for generations on end. As for the Iraqis, the day may come when the survivors look back with nostalgia at the reign of Saddam Hussein.
John Gamel, St. Matthews

Blood and Roses
Brave protesters are swarming into Cairo’s Tahrir Square saying no to fear and oppression; Mubarak has announced he is digging in while he passes authority to his “torture czar” Omar Suleiman; and the Egyptian army wields the power to make it all blood or roses. So what can we make of the news headlines this morning? Stocks gain, oil strong, dollar rises, Israel pleased? How sad that for some, these have become the standards to measure and value this courageous and important struggle for human rights and democracy?
David Horvath, Highlands

Unfit Republicans
Republicans want to kill almost everything public — like NPR, PBS, health care and public financing of presidential campaigns. They want to privatize most everything (Social Security, for example) so their rich can greatly increase their wealth. It is always at the expense of the majority middle class and poor. Eliminating public sector roles promotes a “survival of the fittest” mindset that is detrimental to our country’s wellbeing. As important as business is, Republicans seem to imply that everything we are, have been and ever hope to be we owe to the private sector — business.

Politics in America is broken; the brokenness will only increase as unlimited amounts of dollars will be allowed to go into political campaigning. Politicians will be beholden to their wealthy donors — corporations and individuals — to provide special favors. Money in politics and greed are killing America. The Supreme Court’s “money is speech” and “corporations are people” rulings were two unwise decisions. Unless we come to our senses, the love of money will be at the root of our country’s undoing.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews

EPA Bans
Let’s look at two bans issued by the EPA and how they may affect future generations. First, the 1972 ban on DDT in the United States that quickly spread around the world. Based on what amounted to junk science from Rachel Carson, the ban on DDT has had a rather harmful effect on the populations of developing countries. Prior to the DDT ban, malaria was a rare disease. Why? Because DDT was the best mosquito control agent available. Since the DDT ban, there have been 15,449,143,000 and counting cases of malaria in developing countries with 104,281,719 and counting deaths. An estimated 94 million of these deaths have likely been pregnant women and children under the age of 5. Most of the remaining 10 million were elderly. Of course, the environmentalists and other EPA supporters ignore this and take pride in their efforts to “save the planet.”

Now, for our second example whose outcome isn’t yet known but certainly has the potential for future harm — several years ago the EPA banned batteries that contain mercury. Why? Because mercury is a known hazardous material that requires careful handling and disposal. One has only to review the book “Minamata” to see the effects of mercury poisoning. The phrase “mad as a hatter” was coined due to the effects of mercury poisoning among hat makers in the 19th century who used mercury in the process.

Now, with the encouragement of environmentalists, the EPA has banned the long-used incandescent light bulb, mandating that the Compact Fluorescent Light bulb (CFL) be its accepted replacement. This was necessary, we were told, to use less electricity and “save the planet.” There’s only one small problem — CFLs contain mercury. Drop a CFL in your home, and if it breaks, you have a hazardous material spill that requires specialized clean-up procedures. When a CFL burns out, it must be disposed of at a site that accepts hazardous waste. Maybe I’m just cynical, but I’m betting 95 percent of used CFLs will end up in landfills. And 15 to 20 years from now, the effects of this mercury pollution will probably begin showing up as birth defects and other ailments.

Both of these examples are validation of the “law of unintended consequences.” They are also glaring examples of the lack of common sense that permeates regulatory bodies.
Edwin Hurt, Clarksville