Once again, Tim Sampson (The Rant, August 30th issue) goes to great lengths to create yet another indictment of George Bush, this time around the plight of a 5-year-old burn victim, Youssif, from Iraq, who can't be cured in the U.S. because Air Force One is not available.
It gets tiresome reading the hater-ade Sampson serves to an adoring fan base. Yes! Don't we feel better about ourselves now?
But over the last 10 years I would bet that 100 "Youssifs" here in Memphis have died in school vans or have been shot in drive-bys or gang warfare or shaken dead or beaten by drugged parents or relatives. Obviously, the hopelessness of these kids won't ever make the Rant's varsity theme — not enough Bush to it.
The rats and neglect of Walter Reed Hospital are also here in Memphis, as are depression and violence. And then there are the corrupt politicians who ignore those most in need.
You don't need a passport or a vote on Capitol Hill to help a kid out of this squalor — or to indict those responsible by using your newspaper column. Let's consider this when Sampson regales us with fables that focus our ire on politicians far, far away.
R.F. Hine Memphis
Fred is No Clone
Fred Thompson is not a Bush clone (Politics, September 6th issue). He can truly unite the parties, as they were following 9/11.
To Charles Gillihan — who asked (Letters, September 6th issue), "Why is dogfighting viewed as so wrong, yet men can beat each other to a pulp on national television?" Are you kidding?
The "men" are choosing to be ignorant and beat each other to a pulp. And since they can speak for themselves, do you think it might change things if they knew that when they did not perform well or win that they would be electrocuted, shocked, drowned, or hanged?
And as for euthanasia of the elderly, where is that happening? Again, a human can make that choice by speaking about it. God's other creatures, unfortunately, depend on humans to make their choices for them.
I still can't believe Gillihan compared these things to the murder and brutal torture of innocent animals.
In response to Gillihan's question regarding why dogfighting is viewed as so wrong, yet men can fight on television: The men have a choice whether to fight. The dogs don't.
Neil Solomon Cordova
WMPS AM-680, the station that carried progressive-talk Air America radio in Memphis, dropped Air America on September 1st in favor of — ugh — Fox Sports. Just what we need in this intellectual wasteland — yet another sports station.
Coupled with the recent demise of two area public radio stations (WKNO affiliates in Dyersburg and Senatobia, which were sold to Christian radio networks) and the disappearance of the programming they offered (BBC and NPR), our radio choices are being whittled down to none.
With the results of a survey by the Center for American Progress showing that talk radio is dominated by conservatives, progressives need to make their voices heard on behalf of an alternative. That's why I signed a petition to let Entercom (the media company that owns WMPS and five other stations in Memphis) know what I think about their dumping Air America. And here's a petition site (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-progressive-talk-radio-in-memphis) where you can add your signature. Please, let's not let Rush Limbaugh and his ilk be the only voices that are heard on talk radio in Memphis.
Martin H. Aussenberg
My thanks go to editor Bruce VanWyngarden for his columns on "William," the man who walks the streets around MIFA (August 30th and September 6th issues). By humanizing just one of the less fortunate souls who literally "walk among us," he sheds light on the bigger question: Who are these poor people and what, if anything, do we owe them? Or should we just keep driving by, locking our doors, and shaking our heads in sympathy? WWJD?