Your issue featuring 20 young Memphians shaping the city's future ("20<30," January 12th issue) is entertaining and enlightening — each story unique and compelling. Thank you for encouraging and affirming them with these stories.
However, as part of the coalition that has since 1984 organized Women of Achievement awards to celebrate contributions to community change by Shelby County women, I must ask why only four women were among your 20. I urge you to look further next year and make your list more inclusive and more accurately a reflection of the young leadership driving our city's present and future.
Memphis Area Women's Council
Thank you for your annual "20<30" story. Each year, I find myself impressed and, frankly, surprised at the energy and the variety of endeavors being pursued by those you profile. I know there is always some complaining about not enough minorities or this group or that, but if people will look beyond the things that divide us and take a minute to appreciate the good that is being created here in Memphis by these youngsters, they will find that those concerns will fall away. You can't please everyone, but everyone should be pleased that these young people live and work here.
SOPA and PIPA
Mass action on January 18th won a small victory for opponents of the internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA. Many websites "blacked out" in protest and asked visitors to sign an online petition. Google reports that 4.5 million people added their names to an online petition to Congress to oppose internet censorship. Possibly in response to these actions, Lamar Smith, the main sponsor of SOPA, announced that he would delay further action on the bill. Senate majority leader Harry Reid said that he would delay a cloture vote on a similar Senate bill.
Neither Reid nor Smith said that they would not attempt to add the text of SOPA or PIPA into another piece of legislation with a better chance of passing. In fact, it is not unusual for Congress to combine unpopular proposals to legislation that is almost guaranteed to pass. Voters could lobby their representatives on every piece of legislation. However, since Congress doesn't have time to read bills before voting — and sometimes before debate — voters certainly don't have time to read the bills and lobby Congress. However, there is an easier way to get Congress to know what they're voting for (or against): do not combine multiple pieces of legislation or hide the true subjects of their bills behind propagandistic titles such as the PATRIOT Act, the Protect America Act, or the No Child Left Behind Act.
I urge you to contact your congressional representatives to demand they introduce and pass the bills of the DownsizeDC Agenda. It consists of the Read the Bills Act, One Subject at a Time Act, Write the Laws Act, Enumerated Powers Act, Free Competition in Currency Act, and proposals to have Congress cap the debt and fight deficit spending.
Darryl W. Perry
Boston Tea Party
Get a Grip
It's like the Patriot Act all over again. People are asking, "Have you heard about the new law, where the military can throw you in prison?" Hold it. Take a deep breath. Get a grip.
The new National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 does have a section named Subtitle D ("Detainee Matters") — a provision for the indefinite detention by the military of anyone suspected to have "substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces."
Subtitle D is very explicit, and it doesn't include me, anyone working at this newspaper, or it's multitude of readers.
Just like the Patriot Act, which caused all sorts of apprehension, but nothing came of it, the National Defense Authorization Act is a security measure to make the nation safer from true terrorists, not you and me.
If you want to worry about something really scary, worry about a Tea Party Republican becoming the next president.
Nevada City, California