Thanks for running Andria Lisle's comprehensive and insightful look at the various African-American photo exhibits showing around Memphis (February 16th issue). A more fitting tribute to Black History Month would be hard to imagine. Nice work.
We're Not So Bad
While New Orleans has many challenges ahead, I think there's a lot to be learned from living in other cities. And as a New Orleanian, one thing I learned while living in Memphis for the past five months is how much better Memphians are regarding two aspects of daily life: driving and littering.
In Memphis, drivers don't throw their fast-food refuse or empty their car ashtrays anywhere but into garbage cans. And if there's an automobile accident, it seems a city worker has swept up the debris within a day.
Memphis drivers don't blow car horns at every opportunity; they seem to have an abundance of patience. Memphis drivers use their turn signals, whether switching lanes, merging, or turning. Memphis drivers don't cut off other drivers; they either slow and drop behind or speed up to merge.
Most Memphis drivers don't run stop signs or traffic lights, and most even stop at yellow lights. Memphis drivers always seem to give pedestrians the right of way and follow the speed limits. Memphis drivers don't tailgate.
I hope that while we New Orleanians rebuild our city we also rebuild ourselves and learn to be better drivers and to litter less.
John Branston's appraisal of The Pyramid/Bass Pro Shop deal is right on target (City Beat, February 16th issue). We Memphians need to get past the idea that Bass Pro Shop is some roadside bait shop that sells nightcrawlers and crickets. Anyone who doubts this should pay a visit to the Bass Pro store at Sycamore View. The first things you see when you walk in the door are $10,000 boats and a complete men's and women's clothing department.
The proposed super store for The Pyramid will dwarf the current Memphis store and draw tourists and shoppers from hundreds of miles around.
The good news is that the man wounded by Vice President Dick "Dead-Eye" Cheney is improving and hopefully will suffer no long-term consequences from his firearm-inflicted injuries.
The bad news is that the prognosis for the other 300 million Americans harmed by Cheney's boneheaded policies is not so good. It may take decades before we recover from the damage caused by the Cheney-Bush cabal.
B. Keith English
New Contract for America?
Democrats need to offer Americans a new version of the Contract for America that will resonate in the mid-term elections. It should include:
The minimum wage has to be raised from $5.15 an hour.
Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations must be rescinded and the funds redirected to domestic and national priorities.
We need to fast-forward the shift from dependence on fossil fuels to alternative energy sources.
We must provide affordable and universal health care for all Americans.
And finally, we must rescue America from Republican deception, secrecy, and corruption.
Democrats have to take the high road while hammering home the fact that there is an alternative to the malaise that has settled over the country under this administration.
Nevada City, California
I continue to read about Memphis' budget problems. Much of them are due to failing to think outside the box. Here's one example: the city of Memphis has hundreds of vehicles, most of them large sedans or SUVs. What's stopping the city from using smaller, more efficient vehicles? Think of the savings in gas alone. Except for police cars, there's no reason city officials and others who drive taxpayer-supplied vehicles shouldn't be cruising around in fuel-efficient cars. It just makes sense: It would help balance the budget and reduce pollution.