Marion and Toyota
Thanks for the Editorial (February 15th issue) regarding Toyota's decision to build a plant in Marion, Arkansas, or Chattanooga. The PILOT perspective was one I overlooked. Since this issue first made headlines, I've felt that Memphis had nothing to lose and everything to gain in supporting Marion's effort to become the chosen site. If Chattanooga wins, any incremental income will be shared statewide, with Memphis receiving crumbs.
Granted, no one knows how many people will live in Memphis and pay property taxes in Memphis and Shelby County if Marion is chosen, but it will be substantially more than it would be if Toyota decides to Choo-Choo.
Martavius D. Jones
Editor's Note: As we went to press, Toyota announced Tupelo, Mississippi, as the site of their new manufacturing plant.
Gangs in the Military
Recent stories about military recruiting are quite scary (Letters, February 22nd issue). The FBI has discovered gangs have infiltrated the military.
It seems the Pentagon and the Department of Defense cannot meet the recruitment demands that the war in Iraq has caused. Their answer has been to lower the requirements, allowing all types of criminals to enlist, including those with records of robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and vehicular homicide.
The gangs that have now become part of our military will have access to military training, the latest in weapons, and training in urban warfare. So when they leave the military, local police forces will have to face gangs with military training and, more than likely, armed with stolen weapons.
The Bush administration's Defense Department is putting our country at an even greater risk from homegrown gangs and terrorists who have no commitment to our country, only to the gangs they belong to.
Abstain for Lent
Last week marked the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period preceding Easter when Christians have traditionally abstained from meat and dairy products.
With religious devotion giving way to self-indulgence in recent times, Christian denominations gradually receded to meatless Fridays, then even fewer dietary restrictions. Yet, Jesus' powerful message of compassion and love for all living beings still applies -- now more than ever!
Animals are raised for food under abject conditions of caging, crowding, deprivation, drugging, mutilation, and manhandling. They are trucked to the slaughterhouse for days without food or water, then bled, skinned, and dismembered while still conscious. Wastes from factory farms foul the water we drink and the air we breathe. Meat production accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Each of us has a personal choice to make. We can continue to subsidize these sins against nature with every food purchase, or we can show our respect for Jesus' message by accepting a wholesome, nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits, and grains first mandated in Genesis 1:29.
Time to Cut and Run?
The president and the Republicans still don't get it. The elections of 2006 were a referendum on the war, and the people said in resounding multitudes an emphatic "No!"
I say, let's go ahead and "cut and run" from Iraq. We got rid of their dictator and they don't appreciate it. They want to fight over religion, so let them. There is no sense in risking more American lives. Let them take hold of their own destiny. If democracy happens, so be it. If not, that is their problem.
Hot Enough For You?
The earth's atmosphere has just the right amount of carbon dioxide for life to flourish. Changes in carbon dioxide levels bring about changes in the climate: global warming.
Unprecedented amounts of carbon dioxide have been released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels, while the trees that eliminate carbon dioxide are being cut down at a record pace. The buildup of carbon dioxide has reached such a level that it is actually retarding the escape of solar energy into space. The heat comes in and can't get back out. As glaciers shrink, more sunlight will hit the earth, further heating the planet. The ice cap north of Greenland has already shrunk by 30 percent. Global warming is accelerating.
Santa Monica, California