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A Great Day

What a great day for America to see our first African-American president take office and quickly move to address the numerous problems he inherited from an administration that harmed our country so much at home and abroad.

And how remarkable to see the folly, ineptitude, and venom of the right-wing fringe quickly rear its ugly head in mindless attacks on Obama (for daring to claim that Muslims could be good Americans — this from local talk-radio blatherer Ben Ferguson) and even smears of the wonderful Rev. Joseph Lowery, whose beautiful benediction apparently enraged white supremacists and right-wing talk-radio hosts all around America by calling for a day when "white will embrace right." Blowhard host Glenn Beck, who'd apparently never heard of Lowery, whined at length about how unfair he was being to innocent white folks.

This is the same Joseph Lowery who helped lead the Montgomery bus boycott; the same Joseph Lowery who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King; the same Joseph Lowery who was honored by the NAACP in 1997 with its Lifetime Achievement Award as the "dean of the civil rights movement."

I am a white man, and I have never been more proud to be an American than when President Obama was inaugurated or when Lowery recited that beautiful, inclusive prayer.

When the G.O.P.'s obituary appears a few years from now, its predictable, partisan, and pathetic reaction to this seminal day in American history will deserve its own paragraph.

B. Keith English

Memphis

Sludge

Chris Davis and the Flyer deserve a great deal of credit for shining a spotlight on the atrocity inflicted on the citizens of Kingston, Tennessee, and surrounding environs by the TVA's "clean coal" facility. If this had happened in Memphis or Nashville or Atlanta, it would be national news for weeks. In rural Tennessee, not so much. Thanks again for reminding your readers that a disaster is a disaster, no matter where it happens — or who it happens to.

S.B. Anderson

Chattanooga

Paul Shanklin

I read Jackson Baker's article about Paul Shanklin ("Playing the Fool," January 15th issue), and I am hugely embarrassed that he lives here. And I couldn't care less that he gets free rein to spew his foul bile on the odious Rush Limbaugh show.

Maybe next week you guys can do a story about clever tunes that some National Front or Ku Klux Klan bands have done. I will just be glad when the next Flyer comes out so I don't have to see that idiot everywhere I go.

Glen Ring

Memphis

All the defenders of the Paul Shanklin song "Barack The Magic Negro" are certainly correct in their contention that parody is a legitimate form of humor. The song's chief transgression is that its chosen vehicle is "Puff The Magic Dragon," one of the worst songs ever recorded in the history of pop music.

But what really irks me is that vacuous right-wingers like radio host Ben Ferguson (who looks like he could still qualify for a McDonald's Happy Meal) chide those of us on the other side of the political spectrum because we "can't take a joke."

Yes, we can — and we have been for eight long years. His name is George W. Bush. Just wondering out loud (even though I am a Democrat, have no morals, give aid and comfort to the enemy, and hate America): Would it have been just as funny if the song was called "McCain The Old White Cracker"? The B side could be "Palin The Perky Airhead." Gentlemen, I think we have a hit!

Gordon Alexander

Memphis

More On Cohen

I can't believe you printed that hogwash by Richard Cohen blaming Hamas for the Israeli massacre of Gaza (Viewpoint, Jan. 15th issue). CNN proved that Israel broke the ceasefire.

Want a metaphor? Some random hoods shoot up Orange Mound. The National Guard is called in and invades with tanks, fighter planes, and heavy artillery, going house to house, hitting all buildings and anyone moving.

But it's worse in Gaza. The Israeli trained military is using white phosphorus (made by General Dynamics Corporation), GPS-guided mortars (Alliant), GBU-39s bombs (Boeing), spike missiles, APAM cluster shells, and DIME bombs. A few Hamas men have used the very inaccurate Qassam rockets. Violations against the Geneva Conventions on both sides? Somewhat disproportionate, I'd say.

Ray Berthiaume

Memphis

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