Jan 4, 2005 at 8:00 am

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.

Correction The article “Feminist synergy: Kentucky Foundation for Women celebrates 20 years” in the Dec. 21 LEO mistakenly placed the Arcadia Community Center in the Wilder Park neighborhood instead of the Taylor Berry neighborhood, which is just west of Wilder Park.

Remembering the Gras

Mr. John Slade, After reading your article (Dec. 28 LEO), I felt sadness and shame. Sadness for never visiting your hometown and for its unfortunate disaster. Shame in the lack of response from our government. I hope for a positive turn of events in your personal life and the life of your city.

Mac Hubbard

Editor’s note: John Slade wrote about returning home to New Orleans to claim his belongings before returning to Louisville, where he’s been living since Hurricane Katrina.

Nature of debate

D. Eric Schansberg’s commentary (Dec. 21 LEO) gives way too much credibility to intelligent design as a scientific (as opposed to political or religious) discourse. Am I missing something here with this debate? It amazes me it continues. First, the key issue is not evolution (which is universally accepted as fact) but Darwin’s hypothesis that evolution functions as a result of Natural Selection. That it could be a natural process places it squarely in the realm of science, which limits itself to the study of nature and natural processes. Science does this with a particular method that involves guesses at rules (called hypotheses) and then conducting experiments that test the validity of the hypotheses through observation. Every hypothesis must be falsifiable — meaning the experiments could refute it. Proponents of intelligent design say that something outside nature (i.e.: not naturally selected) must be responsible for evolutionary change. But this hypothesis cannot be science because it requires something “outside” of nature. Science works within nature. We can never test anything outside of nature because there’s no way to apply the laws of nature to check it out. There is no way to issue an intelligent design hypothesis that is falsifiable. How can one prove the non-existence of the unnatural designer? Supernatural (beyond nature) phenomena are the province of myth and religion, which is precisely where intelligent design belongs.

Steven Skaggs, Professor of (intelligent, we hope) Design, University of Louisville

Speaking of ironies

Several weeks ago my wife and I attended the Muhammad Ali Celebration at the Belvedere. The main theme was peace and justice, honoring Ali’s effort to support these ideals. Sen. McConnell and Rep. Northup spoke at this event. They spoke of peace and justice and Ali’s role in promoting these ideals. Then they left and went back to Washington, where they cut the budget for those who need the money most. They did this to cut the budget deficit so that they could continue to fund the billions of dollars required to support the unjust war in Iraq and provide tax cuts to the wealthiest part of our society. This did not seem like peace and justice to me, and I raised the question as to why they were selected to speak at the Ali celebration. I learned that they both had, using their political clout, gained a lot of money for the Ali Center in Louisville.

Harold Trainer

Healthcare for all

Healthcare in America this year has remained a waste of our money and our lives. Concern about this situation has persuaded members of the Metro Democratic Club, Kentucky’s largest Democrat club, to unanimously endorse a resolution during our October meeting. Forty-five million Americans lack health insurance, and most citizens cannot afford being underinsured. This crisis leads to economic turmoil, bankruptcy and preventable deaths. Corporations, not medical professionals, currently dictate and dominate medicine. This mismanagement creates ballooning bureaucracy, spiraling costs and paperwork, profiteering, corruption and excessive executive salaries. The inevitable tragedy is that the working poor, those in hazardous occupations and the chronically ill, are “cherry-picked” and “loopholed” out of medical attention. Inadequate treatment makes the United States the most expensive medical system on Earth and below that of poorer countries in inoculation, life expectancy and infant mortality. In response to this outrage, Metro Democrats of Louisville support HR 676. This bill in Congress will establish a universal single-payer health insurance plan that provides fair and total healthcare for all Americans. Rather than the disorganized thousands of insurance companies, one simplified, publicly funded plan will serve all citizens, streamline financing and control costs, such as lower-priced pharmaceuticals. Metro Democrats urge all candidates and public officials, health caregivers and citizens regardless of political preference to push for national health insurance reform and help pass HR 676. Accessible healthcare for all must always be a human right.

L.S. Hovekamp

King George and his spies

Make way for the King, people. For now, our fair land has a monarch, King George. (Would he be George IV, since our last actual king was George III?) It has been revealed (in a story that The New York Times shamelessly sat on since before the 2004 presidential election) that Bush has ordered illegal surveillance of Americans; he has since admitted doing it, has shown no remorse and doesn’t intend to stop. The royal court of Bush has declared itself above the law. Look out, virgins — primae noctis is next. Before anyone reading this says, “But ... he’s gotta be able to keep an eye on those terrorists,” be aware that the law already allows that. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows the government to easily obtain a warrant, in secret, to conduct both electronic surveillance and physical searches of any foreign agent, or even any American thought to be acting on behalf of a foreign power. The government can even initiate the surveillance before it applies for the warrant; no ”we didn’t have time” excuses need apply. The number of FISA warrant requests has skyrocketed since 9/11; in the years 2001 to 2004, 5,645 requests were made. Four were denied. The bar of legal approval that FISA sets is so low, one has to wonder: Just who is it that King George wishes to spy on that he has to violate the law to do it? This is not a “liberal” versus “conservative” issue — indeed, true conservatives should be outraged by this illegal government intrusion into our lives. In past years, when this country was still a democracy, its citizens had the legal recourse of impeachment to remove a criminal tyrant from office. Now that we’re a monarchy, I guess we’re gonna need some torches and pitchforks. Everybody meet up at the palace.

 Bryan E. Hurst