Tim is a Kook
I can't believe that you allow Tim Sampson's "Rant" (April 17th issue) to occupy print space in the Flyer. Why not just let every kook who is full of hatred and devoid of any facts write in the Flyer? He sees conspiracies around every corner and would not pay attention to a "fact" if it reached up and bit him on his butt!
"Bush, the Rocket Scientist"? It never ceases to amaze me how someone (who obviously must be a rocket scientist) will let their blind hatred for someone obscure their eyes from the facts. You lose credibility when you state innuendo for fact, and Sampson doesn't know the difference. Hamas has not asked to sit down and talk to anyone, least of all (I'll use one of Sampson's tactics) some failed, washed-up old fart like Jimmy Carter!
Sampson has no facts on which to base his argument, so he relies on attacking people personally. The facts are that Saddam had his hands around the throats of thousands of Kurdish men, women, and children and that he had weapons of mass destruction that he never hesitated to use on them! If Sampson stays on this path, he will wind up bitter and full of hate for a bogeyman that does not exist.
Frank M. Boone
The Library Closings
The planned closing of five Memphis Public Library branches represents an enormous reduction in library services. Mayor Herenton suggests that all of the patrons will simply drive to another branch. He is wrong. Many cannot travel to another branch, because they don't have the time or the money or the transportation. Some will not travel, because they prefer the quiet of the neighborhood branch. Some will visit the main library to use the Internet, find that they must wait for hours, and leave.
Cramming the patrons of 11 libraries into six buildings will reduce the number of library users, including at-risk children. It will inevitably result in less reading, less learning, less studying, and less education. These losses, however great or small, are intolerable in a city in which half of public school students already fail to complete high school. Fewer children reading means more uneducated, delinquent youth and more hopeless, crime-prone adults.
Some say that we do not have the money to support 11 state-of-the-art library branches. I say hold on to what we have and wait for the day when the economy or government efficiency or the hearts of our citizens change enough to increase library funding. Once lost, these library services will not be replaced in the foreseeable future. Tom Borek
Our Pea-Sized Brain
Yet again, our society seems to have lost its pea-sized brain. The laws about the "crack" form of cocaine were different from those about the "powder" form for very simple reasons: the stronger addictive power of crack, its lower cost, and its impact. Remember the massive media publicity about an "epidemic" of inner-city crack babies? Because crack laws were enacted to address a predominantly inner-city (i.e., African-American) problem, guess who they impacted most?
This is similar to how I have long explained much of the politics in Memphis to newcomers. Every so often, inner-city community activists complain they are ignored by the police. It's "pure racism" in action! The police deny racism but launch a crackdown in the area. And guess what? Most of the people arrested committing crimes in housing projects or the inner-city are the neighbors and relatives of those complaining about crime and how it's being ignored. A few weeks later, activists complain that their neighborhood is being targeted for selective law enforcement, obviously for racist reasons. The police deny racism and back off, and crime rises again.
And so the game goes on — and on.
Herbert E. Kook
Fibs, Lies, and Videotape
Lie, misstatement, falsehood — call it what you will, Hillary Clinton's recounting of her landing in Bosnia with daughter Chelsea amid sniper fire was totally bogus, as the videotapes of the event made clear. If she becomes the Democratic presidential candidate, the GOP slime machine and its surrogate "swift boaters" will have a heyday. They will run ad after ad demonstrating Hillary's fabrications, making sure that they are etched on the consciousness of every American.
Add to this Hillary's historically high disapproval ratings, and you have to ask: Why would any Democrat want her to lead the ticket in 2008?
Grass Valley, California