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Joe Cooper Speaks

In the spirit of the season, I humbly accept the award by John Branston for the Worst Courtroom Performance (December 25th issue) but reserve the right to point out the following on my behalf:

I'm the guy who risked his life to go undercover and nail the two Memphis city councilmen caught in the act of our very own "pay to play" scenario. The first councilman reviewed the tapes and knew he was a cooked goose. He pled guilty and received 51 months in prison, so the public never saw those tapes that I made with him. The second councilman is either the luckiest guy in America or someone bribed a juror. The two U.S. attorneys on the case were seasoned veterans. The tapes don't lie! There is no way to confuse giving an elected official thousands of dollars (as directed by the FBI and U.S. attorney's office) on three different occasions. Anyone who could perceive the money exchanges as loans is either naive or dumb or in on the scheme.

On another subject, there were three people who knew of the favor-swapping going on between Edmund Ford and Joseph Lee. They were Ford, Lee, and me. Lee should receive zero dollars for his grossly inflated legal bill over this matter!

Finally, if a reader has credible information about corruption in our community and is hesitant about going to the Feds, give me a call, and I'll make sure it gets to the right place.

Joe Cooper

Memphis

Boat Docks

After reading John Branston's City Beat column ("All Boats Away," December 18th issue), one might speculate as to the condition of his eyes. Memphis Riverboats, Inc. has been a family-owned and -operated company since the early 1950s. We have been located at the foot of Monroe for decades with no city or private funding. Each year, we are host to hundreds of events and welcome more than 150,000 tourists and locals to our business. The historical cobblestones have been an enormous impediment to all who have dared to challenge them. The disabled and elderly have been particularly affected.

The foremost reason for the Beale Street Landing is to boost tourism and create a safe and accessible environment for all people who wish to experience the Mississippi River. This has been a long-awaited relocation after years of surviving with little or no acknowledgement from the city and local citizens. Our passengers have contributed greatly to the revenue of many local businesses. With the new landing, we anticipate an increase in tourism and local patrons, which in turn will generate tax dollars and profit for local establishments.

This docking facility has always been for Memphis Riverboats, Inc. as the primary resident. Our daily operations will be conducted from this location and will ensure safe passage for all who wish to experience the majesty of the mighty Mississippi River. This is a long-term investment in the future of Memphis tourism and the preservation of a nostalgic riverboat era.

Captain William D. Lozier

Memphis Riverboats, Inc.

Go Veggie

The year 2008 was not a good one for the meat, dairy, and egg industries. It began in February, with the USDA's largest-ever recall of ground beef produced by California's Westland-Hallmark Meat Packing Company.

In April, Archives of Internal Medicine published a 25-year study of 88,000 women, finding that those who ate lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains were 24 and 18 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack and stroke, respectively, than women with more typical American diets. A review of dietary habits in 52 countries in the October issue of Circulation reached similar conclusions.

In May, the American Institute for Cancer Research warned consumers that grilling of meat or fish raises the risk of colon cancer. A National Cancer Institute study in the November Proceedings of the National Academy of Science confirmed that consumption of meat and dairy products elevates the risk of cancer.

Last spring, the prestigious Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins University called for a phaseout of factory farming. In November, 63 percent of California voters agreed, by requiring that animals raised for food must have space to turn around and spread their wings.

Let's make 2009 a really good year for ourselves by exploring the rich variety of veggie burgers, dogs, deli slices, heat-and-eat dinners, and soy-based milks, cheeses, and ice creams in our local supermarkets. This is one new year's resolution that's easy and fun to keep.

Mike Potter

Memphis

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