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Letters to the Editor

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Puzzled

I always enjoy picking up a copy of the Flyer, reading the articles that interest me, then finishing up by attempting to work the Times crossword puzzle. Lately, however, the puzzle grid and the printed clues have become so incredibly small that a magnifying glass and a very fine pointed writing instrument are required.

Is this one of your cost-saving plans during these poor economic times?

Mike Gauthier

Memphis

Editor's note: Due to a last-minute influx of classified ads, the puzzle was reduced in size last week. We will attempt to avoid doing so in the future. We're also looking into selling the adjoining space to an optometrist.

The Iron Curtain

I was pleased to read Bruce VanWyngarden's column (February 12th issue), where he wrote that he believed free enterprise and free expression caused the fall of the Iron Curtain and the Soviet communist empire. But, however much it made me happy to see him say something positive about free enterprise, I must say that he is incorrect. Individuals pursuing their own happiness by engaging in business are no match for soldiers with rifles and bullets, which is why the Berlin Wall stood for so many decades and why so many East Germans, while trying to escape communism, died from bullets fired by East German guards.

The most important of the limited and enumerated powers of our federal government is to provide a strong national defense, which includes pursuing foreign policies designed to weaken other powers that may threaten our nation and its citizens, like the old Soviet empire did. President Reagan, along with Pope John Paul II, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and others implemented policies that caused the Soviet empire to collapse because it simply could not keep up with the American defense buildup.

And suggesting that showing repressed people in Afghanistan and Pakistan a better way of life will cause them to overthrow their oppressors is similarly unrealistic. President Obama is making the right decision in sending additional troops to Afghanistan to win the war. Obama has, in his effort to win this war, made some wonderful statements about extending our hand in friendship to those who have declared themselves our enemies if only they will "unclench their fist." President Bush played the "bad cop," and Obama is now offering to play the "good cop," if only the bad guys will cooperate.

Most conservatives do not believe that the bad guys will cooperate, given the history of bad guys like the Soviets, the Nazis, the Barbary pirates, etc., but we hope that Obama is successful in extending that hand of friendship if it truly causes our self-professed enemies to give up the fight, go home, and live peaceful lives. So far, it appears that Obama is a realist about the bad guys, since he has left his options open.

VanWyngarden's comments about Obama being on the "right side of history" were interesting, especially since his policies in this area reflect change that President Bush could believe in.

Greg Webb

Memphis

Very Clear

It has become very clear to me that many Americans don't understand what it takes to get the U.S. economy back on track. If we don't get a handle on sexually transmitted deceases soon we will never have any job growth in this country whatsoever. It is imperative that condoms be available to all those who want them or else our economy will slide deeper and deeper into recession.

The next thing that will be an indispensable part of job growth and economic "recovery" would be that all federal employees receive new cars. How can we expect any economic growth in this country if government employees don't have new cars?

Another indispensable part of job growth will come from endowing the arts. It is unthinkable that we could increase jobs in this country unless we give millions of our hard-earned money to artists!

Another part of job growth and stimulating the economy will certainly have to be college loan assistance. We must take food from the mouths of babies in middle-class families across America and give it to beer-binging, pot-smoking college students, so they can trash hotel rooms on spring break.

How dare these Republicans and few Democrats think that we should take out these essential programs from the stimulus package. Who in their right mind would think that giving tax cuts to the corporations that actually create jobs could possibly help our economy?

Frank Boone

Memphis

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