Dec 28, 2007 at 7:12 pm

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Pick Us Up

I think it is ridiculous that a paper that has ALWAYS done nothing but support diversity, culture and human rights would be caught up in the mix of such a mess, as with this “case” (LEO cover story, Dec. 19). I’m upset that our tax dollars were spent just to force you to go through such a total waste of time. Besides, last I checked this was America, and a business should be able to run whatever kind of ad they want. When I saw the ad, I thought it was hilarious and a great play on what the Derby has become. With everything going on in the world today, it’s truly sad that this is even an issue. Thank you, LEO, for doing what you do ... and keep it up. And I hope that the cover story did nothing but make people pick up a few more copies.
Jay Walls, Louisville

Champagne of Beers?
I couldn’t help but notice in Sara Havens’ Bar Belle Christmas List (LEO, Dec. 19) an expressed desire for PBR not to be hip. I won’t spend any time defending Pabst — after all, they are still milking that one blue ribbon they won in 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. However, Sara, I think your comment about PBR is what I would call misdirected animosity.
So let me bring to light the real perpetrator of undeserved hipness and the bane of logic … Miller High Life. I recently returned to the glorious world of fine drinking after a year of liquor hiatus (guys do the dumbest things for a woman), and as I walked into a local watering hole for the first time, what did I see but a sea of bar patrons drinking Miller High Life. I see this phenomenon everywhere I go now. Did I miss something during my year off? Did Buckaroo Banzai send me beyond the 8th dimension? After all, the last time I saw someone drinking this sweat-sock juice, burnt popcorn-flavored beer in the past 20 years was my basement-dwelling neighbor who spent his days sniffing glue and watching reruns of “Petticoat Junction.” So I came to the depressing conclusion that somehow, somewhere, someone seriously in need of therapy decided that it is “hip” to drink the Champagne of Beers (giggle), and much like the African Anteater Ritual dance, it is undeserving of its popularity.
Now, somebody get me a Kostritzer before I die.
Anthony Ash, Louisville

Compass Not Broke
We completely disagree with Jamie Peters’ review of “The Golden Compass” (LEO, Dec. 12). The Dark Materials Trilogy, of which “The Golden Compass” is the first volume, is one of the most original and meaningful fantasy series we have read in recent years. The movie did an excellent job of portraying a rather complex and unusual story. Obviously, Peters was unable to follow the plot, and I suspect a lot of his dislike stemmed from the fact that the main character is a young, flawed, courageous girl rather than the stereotypical muscle-bound adult male or extremely buxom female in a skimpy dress usually found in fantasy movies. This is not a Christmas movie, and the polar bears represent the two aspects of the warrior archetypes; both are brave and great fighters, one with qualities of loyalty and justice, and the other a tyrant. All Peters could think of was a silly ad for soda pop.
His objection to having major actors makes no sense — since when is great acting a “burden”? The animal companions are not the soul but the psyche of the people — their deepest feelings, greatest aspirations, intuitions, etc. The movie did an excellent job of portraying this most fascinating aspect of the book. Dust is the spiritual force that links all beings and worlds. The movie has a strong anti-authority, anti-tyranny message that needs to be heard loud and clear. Battle scenes are not meant to be the focus, unlike the battles scenes in “The Lord of the Rings,” which play a much larger part in that story. Peters complains there is too much exposition, but then admits he could not follow the story. This implies that it was slow, but then he claims it was frantic, which must mean it was too fast. In short, every one of Peters’ criticisms was contradictory. We thought it was lively, thoughtful and a great movie to for teens and adults.
Rita and Craig Butler, Louisville

Smoking Ban Victory
The smoking ban is first in a long list of laws that restrict the rights and freedoms of the people of Louisville. Mayor Jerry Abramson and the Metro Council have enacted numerous ordinances that take away the right of the individual to choose their own destiny.
The panhandling law restricts the rights of the mentally disabled; the dangerous dog ordinance, which was recently modified, restricts the rights of dog owners; and the trans fat ordinance, which has now been given to the Health Department, restricts the rights of people to choose what they want to eat.
All of these laws by themselves seem small, but bit by bit, piece by piece, our government will continue to take away our freedom until five, 10, 20 years from now we will look at all of the laws and wonder when we became a socialistic state. When did it become government’s job to protect people from themselves? If that is the government’s job, then we are already a socialistic state.
When Jefferson County and the City of Louisville governments merged, there was a consolidation of power. The consolidation of governmental bodies has lead to Louisville Metro Council gaining more power and using this additional power to enact laws and ordinances that take away the right of individuals to choose their own destiny.
All of the people in the city of Louisville who respect the right of each person to make their own decisions should be excited that the smoking ban has been declared unconstitutional. The American governmental system still works because it allows courts to declare unconstitutional bad laws that are written by bad lawmakers.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “The government that governs best is the government that governs least.”
Cres Bride, Louisville, owner of R Place Pub and Joe’s Older Than Dirt

Predictions for 2008
Ohio State and LSU end the college football season during which nobody could hold onto the No. 1 spot by playing to a 0-0 tie in the BCS title game Jan. 7 (the game is called after the 18th overtime at 5 a.m. Jan. 8). The NCAA will forgo the national title and award honorable mention certificates to the top 20 teams.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky formally finishes re-painting the Kennedy Bridge. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, someone notices a small spot of rust on the bridge’s south end and bidding starts again.
Basketball and football coaches at area universities face furious calls for their firings because their mediocre records make us feel inadequate. The administrators and presidents of those same colleges do not encounter one call on any blog or radio show for their firings for the mediocre records of academic standards or research leadership at their campuses.
Social conservatives in the Kentucky and Indiana primaries heed the call of Pat Robertson to vote for Rudy Giuliani, who has had extra-marital affairs, is pro-choice on abortion and is nominally pro-gay rights — 16 years after they followed Robertson’s advice in voting against Bill Clinton because he had extra-marital affairs, was pro-choice on abortion and was nominally pro-gay rights.
Iraq will become so pacified and stable that not only are Iraqis moving back into its cities, but so are American retirees, seeking refuge from the violence of the United States.
President Bush will veto a bill passed by Democrats to order a “surge” of federal programs into U.S. cities to reduce violence, declaring daily life there not to be the concern of the U.S. government, unlike daily life in Iraq.
George Morrison, New Albany

Essence of Americana
On behalf of the Americana Community Center, I want to thank writer Scott Wade and LEO for giving voice to the individuals featured in the article “Stolen Moments” and highlighting the richness of cultural diversity of those living in Louisville (LEO, Dec. 12). The soccer field referred to in the article is a part of the Americana Community Center’s educational and recreational campus. Each weekend, especially in good weather, one can find many families and individuals at the Americana Community Center playing soccer, working their plot in the community garden, playing with their children in the playground … in general, building community.    
The Americana Community Center and its partners provide a wide range of social services, community building and educational programs to thousands of people each year. The Center strives to support adults and youth to value their cultural diversity by continuing to celebrate and teach younger generations the strengths of their “mother” culture, while taking the challenging but critical steps of successfully adjusting to U.S. culture.
To find out more about the activities and services happening at the Americana Community Center, visit or call 366-7813.  There are a range of wonderful ways to support the important work of helping the diverse families in the South End of Louisville be successful and contribute their gifts and talents to the Louisville community.      
Edgardo N. Mansilla, Louisville, Executive Director of Americana Community Center

Insightful Quests
After reading the article on Molly Bingham’s powerful documentary, “Meeting Resistance” (LEO, Nov. 28), I decided to go see the film and attend the Q&A. I appreciated the in-depth article in LEO. I might otherwise have overlooked the documentary. The documentary raised powerful questions about our involvement in Iraq and about war in general, and I was fortunate to spend 10 minutes talking to Molly personally after the Q&A. I asked Molly, after all of her investigative reporting, if she knows why we are really in Iraq. I don’t want to risk misquoting her answer, but my best understanding of what she said is that there are lots of theories as to why we are really there (oil, strategic base to protect Israel, etc.), but she really does not know, even after spending so much time there.
This is disconcerting to her and certainly should be equally disconcerting to the rest of us. War is a horrible waste of life, and it is even more horrifying if there is no just cause to the war in the first place. With this experience so fresh in my mind, I am completely blown away by our president’s latest warmongering efforts pertaining to Iran. Isn’t the Iraq disaster enough for the American public? Do we really need to blindly follow our “fearless” leader into another unholy war? This week, we are hearing that President Bush has been actively misleading us on Iran — lying to get us into another reckless and disastrous war. Am I surprised? Heck, NO!
It was revealed that Bush has known for months that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Bush said he “only learned of the new intelligence assessment last week.” But according to The Washington Post, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said, “Bush was first told in August or September about intelligence indicating Iran had halted its weapons program.”
That means Bush has been ignoring the intelligence as he’s saber-rattled for months against Iran — recklessly pushing toward war with Iran like he did with Iraq. We can’t afford to let Bush and Cheney start another disastrous war.
Congress must act now and make it clear that President Bush has no authority to strike Iran, and we better wake up and pay attention to his manipulations and lies lest we become inadvertent accomplices to another war.
Maryam Hand, Louisville

8664 Kudos
Tina Ward-Pugh deserves applause on her initiative to give the 8664 plan a fair review in our town hall. Very refreshing. Kudos to Rick Blackwell as well.
I attended the presentations at Council Chambers and in the Bomhard in an effort to become more familiar about the Bridges Project and the 8664 alternative: no regrets. The program framed issues and presented data understandable to the non-engineer: highly recommended. 8664 presenters did not impress me as delay-minded obstructionists, nor did they demonize or marginalize establishment-leaning voices opposed to their proposal.
Santa’s list:
1) KIPDA — Deliver resources and traffic pattern data to help the Ad Hoc Committee with its review;
2) Jim King (2008 Council president?) — Support the Ad Hoc Committee in its efforts to collect information about the Bridges/Spaghetti Junction fix project;
3) Gov. Beshear — Allow more time for review before backing the stay-the-course voices on this one; and
4) David Hawpe — Just give it a rest, otherwise a lump of coal into your silk stocking.
Mark McKinley, Louisville