Kudos to Mary Cashiola for shining a long-overdue spotlight on Christopher Reyes and his recent project, a visual love letter to his hometown, his film My Memphis (In the Bluff, April 13th issue).
What I've always liked best about Christopher isn't just his creative passion but the way he remains true to his creative vision.
Quietly and with his own money, he built an Internet shrine to the rich current music scene (LiveFromMemphis.com), and despite some compelling financial reasons to abandon his dream, he never wavered in creating a space where Memphis musicians and bands connect directly and personally with their fans.
He also deserves credit for persevering with his films and so do the organizations that supported him by sponsoring the My Memphis premiere. The article pointed out that the Memphis Regional Chamber, under the thoughtful leadership of its new president, John Moore, recognized immediately the power of the film to speak to the 25- to 34-year-olds who are the highly prized fuel for the knowledge economy. Also enthusiastically sponsoring the films and showcasing Christopher's unique talents were Kevin Kane of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau and Linn Sitler of the Memphis and Shelby County Film Commission.
All of us owe them a debt of gratitude.
Firefighters and the Fire
When I read letters to the Flyer from people who equate criticizing the war with "not supporting our troops" (April 13th issue), it reminds me of something that came to me in an e-mail today: "Saying 'support the troops' is like saying 'support the firefighters.' Of course, we appreciate their service, admire their courage, and hope they all make it home safely. We do not, however, support the fire, nor do we support the man who started it."
I find it very revealing that four prominent Democrats on the Tennessee House health subcommittee have once again voted to kill a bill that has broad support across Tennessee -- SJR-127. (Editor's note: SJR-127 is an anti-abortion bill.)
These politicians, who by virtue of their party affiliation should be the biggest defenders of a working democracy, instead voted to deny this bill even so much as a floor vote.
I must conclude that Representatives Sherry Jones, Beverly Marrero, JoAnne Favors, and Speaker Pro Tem Lois DeBerry do not really believe in democracy or the ability of Tennesseans to determine our own laws. Representative Mary Ann Pruitt made the decision not to vote at all, which amounted to allowing the votes of her Democrat colleagues to prevail.
Imagine if a handful of Republicans had repeatedly prevented a floor vote on the lottery bill. Democrats would be howling about it, and rightfully so. Apparently, real defenders of democracy are not found in the state Democratic Party leadership, who, with Speaker Jimmy Naifeh at the podium, seem to operate more like a Soviet politburo than a genuine democracy.
The Earth Day observance this Saturday should spur each of us to make sure that there will be adequate natural resources left for our children and grandchildren. Earth Day provides a perfect opportunity to make the needed changes in our shopping, our driving, and our diet.
Production of meat and other animal products dumps more debris, pesticides, and animal waste into our waterways than all other human activities combined. It turns lush forests to pastures, feed crop-land, then arid wasteland, denying habitats to uncounted animal species. It consumes 15 percent of our fossil fuels and emits an even greater share of greenhouse gases. Animal feed-crop irrigation is causing global shortages of drinking water.
Let's celebrate Earth Day and every day by replacing meat and other animal products in our diet with a wholesome, environment-friendly spread of vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grains.