copyright Bill Widener 2000

Banks Bite Back
Dear Editor:

As an avid reader of ACE magazine for years I was really disappointed in the lack of research on your recent article by Alex De Grand on Bank Fees Make Poverty An Expensive Proposition [May 18].

Fifth Third Bank has been offering Totally Free Checking since the first of the year and we were not contacted for interviews or information about our product. With Fifth Third's Totally Free Checking there is no minimum deposit, no monthly service charge and no per check charge. In fact there are 4 money-saving checking accounts available and a representative will be on hand to help select the best type of checking for each customer. Alex mentioned our Club 53 account briefly in the article, which has many perks but does have a $100 minimum balance requirement. If the minimum balance is too much, the customer can choose to go with Totally Free Checking. Fifth Third makes a point of working with our customers to make sure they sign up for the type of account that suits their needs....

Jackie Griffith

Marketing Director/Assistant Cashier

Fifth Third Bank

More on the Cockamamie
Dear editor,

How refreshing to see the idiocies of Ninie O'Hara and Dr. Laura featured in your May 18 issue!

I propose that we add to the list another prominent right-wing lunatic. In his recent spitting match with the Christian right, Sen. John McCain referred to the Rev. Pat Robertson's "cockamamie theories about Freemasons." And McCain was right.

His 1991 book The New World Order recycles a conspiracy theory now two centuries old: the French Revolution was "caused" by two members of the Masonic order of the Illuminati who went to Paris in 1787 and "impregnated" French masons with their radical political ideas. This theory has periodically resurfaced in this country with the Know-Nothings, the KKK in the 1920s, etc. It's not dead yet.

But there is more, there is worse. The Illuminati (here Robertson resorts to pure fiction) was financially supported by the Rothschilds. This is the first of many references to "European money barons," "Wall Street bankers," "international financiers" etc. who, along with the Council on Foreign Relations, really pull the strings. They sent Paul Warburg (German Jewish banker) to found the Federal Reserve in 1913, then financed the Russian Revolution. The result is a Satanic "secret cabel" bent on subverting our Christian nation. And the conspiracy of radical Masonic groups/Communists/Jewish bankers continues, successfully spurring a decent and well-meaning but former CFR minion named George Bush to prosecute the Gulf War in order-here Robertson hints at the gravest anti-Semitic slur of all-to make millions in war profiteering.

Conservative Jews have not challenged Robertson because his anti-Semitism- or at least his repetition of ancient anti-Semitic stereotypes- is camouflaged by his outspoken support of Israel. But even that is a product of his bizarre Protestant pre-millenarianism, since that theory requires an existent Israel before the Second Coming.

Historians have studied the conspiracy theory of the revolution, and, of course, there are plenty of studies of the history of anti-Semitism. If you would like an article from me about Robertson as conspiracy theorist, I could provide it, if you want to send me your writers' guidelines, as you suggest.

If it matters, I teach in the German department at UK, and partly because I teach German language and culture, I am particularly sensitive to all forms of anti-Semitism. Robertson gets just enough 18th-century German history right to sound plausible. But it is worth knowing that he is really spreading hoary anti-Jewish cliches.


Michael T. Jones

via email

Where's MY Tote?
I read your new Horse's Mouth [May 25] with great disappointment, after making two trips to the farmers' market expressly to get my FREE Ace tote. The first Saturday it rained, and the next one, I was too late.

You all seem sadder and wiser, but let me rub salt in the wounds anyway. First, you should have sold them. Everyone knows people will stand in line for something that costs five bucks cuz it's a bargain. But never try to give anything away. Unless maybe it's a car. Second, my guess is that most Ace readers are still in bed at the crack of dawn on a Saturday. I know I usually am.

So what do I have to do to procure one of these "eco-friendly" bags?

Tim Fisher

via email

Oh, sorry. They're collectors' items now.

I enjoyed this week's horse's mouth [May 25] about your recent misadventures at the farmers market.

After months of village voice this and village voice that, it was a pleasant surprise to see you let a little wind out of your own sails for a change.

I hope you plan to sell your bags and t-shirts on your website. I sleep through farmers market.

Matt Paxton

via email

We Still Miss 'Em
Under "Stuff We Miss" I notice you listed the old Kentucky Theatre calendars [May 11, Then and Now]. They were such an important part of the downtown character for so long, I bet I'm not the only one who'd like to read an article about how and why they disappeared.

I think the explanation for the change was "flexibility," but who does this help? The theatre or the filmgoing public?

We used to anticipate the release of important independent films weeks in advance. Now if we blink we miss 'em. All so they can make room for extra showtimes of Erin Brockovich. No thanks.

We can all celebrate the theatre's revival, but in many ways, it's still a shadow of its old self.

Vera Kennedy

via email

Letters Policy: Ace LOVES to publish our mail (250 words or less please); please include name and daytime phone. No photocopies. No bulk mail. First come, first served. We may edit for space and grammar; we will limit frequency; and, on popular issues, we may print one or two letters to represent a segment of public opinion. Private correspondence should be labeled “NOT FOR PUBLICATION.”

Mail: 263 N. Limestone, Lexington, Ky 40507


Animal Needs
No animal should ever jump up on the dining room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation. -Fran Lebowitzf.

What to do with a bitch in heat?

Well, that's just one of many issues to consider in the proposed development of a new dog park for Lexington.

For about a year now, we've been getting mail encouraging ACE to cover a proposed dog park (moreso now that the mayor has recommended tentative funding).

In theory, it's a good idea. (In theory, so was communism.)

Dogs need far more exercise than they can get on a leash or in a yard; dog lovers would welcome a place to congregate; and maybe such spaces would provide a forum for citizens to gather and talk about animal needs in our community (spay/neuter programs; adoption/rescue as an alternative to unchecked breeding; cruelty prevention and intervention; and so on).

But even militant dog lovers have a few concerns (better voiced as suggestions now, than complaints later)


Spay/neuter. The age-old question again: What to do with a bitch in heat? Oh yeah, it's all fun and games...until somebody turns up pregnant. (C'mon, nobody WANTS to see the offspring of a Jack Russell and a Great Dane.) And who's going to monitor spay/neuter status? How? By scanning for scars? Will boy dogs check their testicles at the gate or will they freely hump everything in sight?

Safety. Dogs are like kids; everyone thinks their own is a precious little angel - welcome and beloved everywhere they go. And as with kids, they're usually wrong. Many people think they have a "dominant" dog, when what they really have is "aggressive." Or far worse, they think aggressive, when their dog is actually vicious or dangerous. And with big dogs, it only takes one mistake to make a headline. Do we want an ethnic cleansing of the entire faux-dog population by the larger breeds? (OK, maybe we do, but that's a separate issue.) The weak may well be winnowed out and Darwin provides little comfort if your pooch isn't among the fittest to survive.

Cleanliness. We already have a poorly enforced scoop ordinance, who's going to enforce it at the park? Will there be adequate sanitation and disposal methods? Something that breaks down waste on site, or adequate (covered) waste receptacles and staff who empty them frequently?

Health. Dogs should be licensed and vaccinated before going in the park, but again, who'll monitor and enforce this?

Other issues to consider include: appropriate site selection (factoring in noise, city support, traffic, maintenance and staffing); shade and water supply; drainage; waste disposal; gates and fencing; and so on.

Having dogs requires a sense of responsibility and commitment, and that's something many local "dog lovers" have yet to master. Spend five minutes in Woodland Park. You'll see entire packs of dogs "frolicking" off-leash, as their well-intentioned but irresponsible owners look on delightedly... until the dogs chase frisbees and balls right into oncoming traffic; start up a rumble with the other dogs; or knock over a few kids and grannies who don't want to play.

"Animal lovers" in Lexington have a long way to go to clean up their act (check out the local shelters and sanctuaries: irresponsible breeding, puppy mills, dropoffs and turnins when an animal becomes "inconvenient," abuse and neglect, and so on).

A well-conceived, well-maintained dog park could be an integral part of a long-term plan towards meeting the needs of companion animals in this town, but it's not the whole plan.