MCS and Family Income
In response to Al Slater's question, "How and when does MCS ask kids or their parents to document their family income?" (Letters, June 17th issue): The answer is every year, during registration. Each MCS student and parent is required to fill out the application for free and reduced lunch before they can complete the registration process. This is how the district gets the Title I funds that help the system operate. The schools then get funds based on the number of students they have eligible for free and reduced lunch.
The financial data on these applications are verified, because these are federal funds and the number of students qualifying for the funds is audited in order to prevent fraud.
The reason the number is an approximation is because students are highly mobile, meaning students may not always finish the school year where they started, so the numbers are based on the count given at the beginning of the school year in order to keep from counting some students twice.
Zorina E. Bowen
Soccer is Good
As a friend of Bruce VanWyngarden and usually an admirer of his consistently brilliant column, I write with deep regret to question his opinion of soccer (Letter from the Editor, June 17th issue). I simply would not have expected the predictable negative comments we have grown to accept from American commentators in his column. Every World Cup year it happens: not enough goals to make it exciting, confusing rules, allowing tie games, of all things.
Interestingly, Bruce's critique coincides with Glenn Beck's, whose rants make you want to shake your head in amazement: "Nobody here wants to see it. I am an American, what's wrong with you? It's like universal health care, nobody wants it. They continually try to jam it down our throats." G. Gordon Liddy agrees: "This game ... originated with the South American Indians ... . They used the decapitated head of an enemy warrior."
And please don't forget that soccer begins with "soc," as does socialism!
The Gulf Mess
Undoubtedly, the oil mess in the Gulf indicates we need a better energy policy, but I believe the crisis points out two broader and maybe considerably more important issues. First, the USA's obsession with military and terrorist threats from afar has caused us to skew the national budget toward spending billions to build more and more military hardware, like aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines, that are at best only minimally effective at keeping us safe from the threats of the 21st century. (However, they and the huge standing army we maintain make it easier to get involved in adventures like Iraq, but I digress.) What if just a small percentage of the military budget had gone toward creating some sort of 21st-century environmental armada that could have quickly been put into service remedying the problems around the blown-out well? Maybe it wouldn't have solved the problem completely, but it surely would have reduced the severity of the leak.
The most powerful and richest country in the history of the world having to depend on a private company to solve environmental problems is absurd. While I am somewhat in sympathy with those who claim the Obama administration was a bit late to respond, I think we have to have a reality check here. Has anyone else noticed that many of those Republican legislators and Tea Party nuts who pride themselves on deriding bureaucrats and preaching the need for smaller government are the same ones now at the front of the line demanding that the government "do something"?
As this crisis indicates, it is not that we need smaller government but a government that is properly organized to serve the people and has the power to regulate private interests, whose interests are not always the same as the people's.
Dang! The cover of your June 17th issue is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for what has to be the most beautiful cover in Memphis Flyer history. It's refreshing just to look at it. Please consider making a poster featuring this cover. I'd be first in line to buy it!
Editor's Note: In response to a number of queries, the photo for the cover and those for the cover story "Go With the Flow" were shot at the Cancer Survivors Park in Audubon Park.