The On-Campus Stadium
As a resident of the Normal Station neighborhood immediately south of the University of Memphis, as a former board member of the Normal Station board of directors, and as a current Ph.D. candidate in the history department at the University of Memphis, I am appalled at the idea of an on-campus stadium ("The Football Stadium as Political Football," September 27th issue).
I have long been a supporter of both the university and the neighborhood and the ability of both to work together. In the near-decade my husband and I have lived here, we have seen our housing value rise dramatically. This has been due in no small part to the exceptional working relationship and common future vision we have fostered with the university (despite some notable failures). This is a growing, vibrant community.
A stadium in the middle of our neighborhood would essentially put an end to all that. Urban blight would be the inevitable and sorry result. It is hard enough to deal with acres of parking lots, but a stadium would be a sheer and utter disaster. As it is, we have lost the town of Normal to the university. (Do you realize that the acres of parking lots south of the train tracks were once a thriving little town, taken by the university by eminent domain?) Please, let us not lose our neighborhood.
Laura Perry Memphis
The Memphis Music Commission
What can be said about a music commission ("Standing at the Crossroads," September 13th issue) supposedly representing the interests of the rich history and current vibrancy of the Memphis music community, when it cannot even get the date right (on its own historical timeline on its Web site) of the death of Memphis' most famous musician: the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley?
We are pointedly uninterested in hearing General Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pontificate about what varieties of sexual relations between consenting adults are — in his vaunted opinion — "immoral" or "counter to the law of God."
If he's so interested in interpreting God's law and parsing out the precise parameters of moral behavior, he might do well to pray for guidance in searching his own soul for having played apologist for the most horrifically immoral presidential administration in American history and its misbegotten $500 billion (and counting) war, which has ravaged Iraq and its citizens, siphoned our resources from our own vast and urgent needs in education, science, and health care, undermined a meaningful multilateral response to terrorism, and made a travesty of our leadership role in the world.
It is this kind of ignorant parochialism and self-blinding presumptuousness and hypocrisy for which our nation and our culture are paying such a bloody, soul-withering price.
Hadley Hury Memphis
Crackheads or Rednecks?
I actually don't know which group is scarier: the gun-wielding, crack-headed gang members or the close-minded, time-warped rednecks. We seem to have plenty of both around here. I can only pray that we somehow eliminate both of these extremes, thus allowing the rest of us — the vast majority — to live our lives in harmony.
Poor Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. He rants and rails against Blackwater mercenaries as they shoot their way through his country, but quite soon, President Bush will tap him on the shoulder and remind him that the head of Blackwater is a top Republican donor, the scion of one of the wealthiest families in South Carolina, and co-founder of Focus on the Family to boot.
Bush will then remind Maliki that the only way Iraq's Republican enablers will survive the 2008 election is if high-rollers like Blackwater keep donating. If that means U.S. contractors continue wandering the roadsides dispensing Saddam-style justice as they see fit, then so be it. The unspoken message is that Blackwater will be in Iraq long after Maliki has gone.
Being a figurehead isn't always easy, but as another figurehead once reminded a roomful of federal prosecutors: "We serve at the pleasure of President Bush." Like Alberto Gonzales, Maliki will soon realize he's about as essential as table garnish and just as easily replaced.