Inbox — Sept. 1, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Sep 1, 2010 at 5:00 am

Show Me The Money
I have some advice for at least some of the local folks struggling to deal with ASCAP and BMI: Ask them for a printout of every single song by every single artist that they represent. That got them to leave me alone when I helped run a local all-ages music venue.
James Miller, Jeffersontown

Apples to Oranges
In response to the “Barred Neighbors” letter (LEO Weekly, Aug. 18): When I purchased my property over six years ago, I understood some of the risks of moving next to a bar. However, there is a limit to what is acceptable in a predominately residential neighborhood. This does not mean you can play music at a noise level that can be heard one block away or allow dozens of patrons to conduct their own party on a public street until 4 a.m.

Mr. Dennison, I don’t develop legal arguments. I am merely referencing Louisville’s zoning ordinances. However, in reference to your comments about “waived zoning usage” for Seidenfaden’s, your statements are grossly inaccurate. Per the Louisville Board of Zoning Adjustment: “Seidenfaden’s is in violation of their non-conforming rights as per docket #B-169-02.” Nowhere in their comments do they mention any waived usage rights. Their comments actually reinforce the fact that Seidenfaden’s has been operating without regard to their operating permit.

Your assumption about the bar operating peacefully for years until now also is an exaggeration. Most of the actual neighbors, instead of the bar’s regular visitors, have complained about the noise for a long while. None of us want to hear obscenities being shouted throughout the night or listen to deafening bands until 4 a.m. That is why rules are made to protect the public interests for any business (a la zoning).

Lastly, you cannot even compare your living proximity to a restaurant like the Come Back Inn, which closes around midnight, does not have outside seating and doesn’t have bands, to the situation occurring three blocks away. You’re not even close.
Rob Storey, Germantown

Good Deeds
A few days ago, I was approached by a stranger who asked if I could supply change for $10 so he could purchase a drink from a vending machine. I happened to have enough change. Upon opening his wallet, the person realized he actually had only a $20, which I did not have enough to make change for. Therefore, I just gave him a dollar. With a somewhat surprised expression, the stranger said, “Thanks, you must be a good Christian.” I replied, “No, but I know what it’s like to be thirsty.”

After he left, I began to be rather disconcerted by his assumption that a simple act of kindness must be the result of some commandment and could not just come from a natural impulse to help another in need. This contemplation was expedited by a subsequent night of insomnia spent reading about notions of the poet-philosopher Nietzsche, and in conjunction with a reading of Phillip Bailey’s “Disbelief” article in the Aug. 11 LEO. These meditations led me to an opulent commentary.

In short, not everyone needs a god to be capable of doing “good works.” As evolved beings, we are perfectly capable of practicing genuine kindness all by ourselves. In fact, we must ask ourselves: Is a “good deed” worthy of any admiration when it’s done only because we think it’s expected of us or, worse, because we think we will be rewarded for it in another life?
Douglas Lucas, Highlands

Same Team
As predicted, the responses received about my questioning lifting the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy seem mostly anti-military. During my Air Force career, I knew many gay/lesbian military members who kept their sexuality to themselves. They served with distinction and with honor. They never made any advances or suggested any type of sexual contact toward me. Their primary focus was on accomplishing the mission at hand. They served in various jobs, including pilots/navigators, squadron commanders, first sergeants and many more.

We never revealed their status as gay/lesbian to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, because they probably knew members who were gay. They wore the same uniform as straight military members. So that made them a part of the “fighting unit,” which pledged to defend the nation by “breaking things and killing people” if need be. Some were discharged, as were members who committed adultery. Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was an Air Force prosecutor, successfully prosecuted a friend of mine for committing adultery. He got 15 years hard labor, with only one appeal. He served every day of that sentence. Yet, no gay/lesbian Air Force members, as far as I know, received such a sentence. Was justice served in my friend’s case? Maybe. Was it unfair? Probably. But the rules are as they are.
Keith E. Lewis, Downtown

Slippery Slope
Hitler was Catholic, most of his generals fundamentalist Lutheran. Christian KKK has significant membership overlap with Southern Baptists. Should we ban these groups from building churches and youth centers on abandoned Burlington Coat Factory sites?
Sam Sloss, Highlands

It’s All Manure
We all know about the oil spill in the gulf and how BP is responsible for the massive cleanup. However, there’s another type of disaster that is equally threatening to the environment, which the media doesn’t pay much attention to: the hazards of all the manure that is washed off animal agriculture farms and spread over
the countryside.

Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) raise thousands of poultry, pigs or cattle that produce enormous amounts of manure, yet there are no federal guidelines that regulate how to treat, store or dispose of this waste. In many states, powerful lobbies and CAFO-friendly legislators block tough state regulations, so it’s usually piled up, left to rot in huge lagoons or spread over crop fields, which can contaminate groundwater supplies because there’s far more manure than the land can absorb.

According to the EPA, runoff from these farms pollutes our waterways, which, on occasion, has caused fish kills and algae blooms and is the main reason why 60 percent of America’s streams and rivers are considered “impaired.” When it floods, all this waste is spread over the entire countryside, which can cause health problems to people hundreds of miles away from these facilities. And besides the manure problem, there is the issue of what CAFOs are allowed to do with the thousands of dead animals that were left to drown in their confined housing.

CAFOs need to be held responsible for the environmental degradation they cause. During the political campaigning this fall, ask the candidates, “Who will be responsible for cleaning up CAFO pollution?”
William Wilson, Jeffersonville

Back Off Barack
Right-wing conservatives are doing everything they can to take down President Barack Obama and make him a one-term president. R. Emmett Tyrrell, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Dan Quayle’s son, Ben, and scores of other Republicans keep repeating ad nauseam that Obama is incompetent, the worst U.S. president of modern times, or even all time. They think if they repeat it often enough, many people will believe it must be true.

A good case could be made that Obama is president today due to the incompetence of eight years of Republican leadership under President George W. Bush. At one point during Bush’s tenure, Republicans also controlled both houses of Congress. When Bush’s second term expired, his legacy of two wars, huge deficits and a crumbling economy was going to make his successor’s job extremely difficult.

Now Republicans want to dump a good president and return to the failed trickle-down economic policies that started 30 years ago with GOP icon Ronald Reagan and was implemented again under George W. Bush. One has to wonder if Republicans are a good judge of competence. After all, in 2008, they thought Sarah Palin was competent enough to be placed in a possible position a heartbeat away from the presidency.

I am surprised conservative Republicans aren’t saying Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson were two of America’s worst presidents. The Roosevelt and Johnson presidencies gave us the social programs and entitlements Republicans abhor and would like to eliminate if they could. But Republican candidates don’t have the honesty and courage to run on their convictions of doing away with our current entitlements.
Paul L. Whiteley Sr., St. Matthews