Cohen vs. Tinker
If a majority of the people who watched the Tinker/Cohen/Towns debate last week came away thinking, "Gee, I want Nikki Tinker to represent me," I weep for my city ("Showdown in the 9th District," July 17th issue). Tinker came in a distant third in that encounter. (Joe Towns actually got in some of the best licks, frankly.)
Tinker's platform apparently consists of being "concerned" and getting poor people like her grandmother their government checks. She gave viewers no insight into her stance on issues such as Iraq, the economy, the environment, abortion, etc. She's just going to fix them, somehow.
Steve Cohen is not perfect, but he's smart and hard-working and votes the right way 99 percent of the time. Why replace him with a shallow poser?
Nikki Tinker represents the future. She's young, smart, beautiful, and will take on the special interests. She is much more representative of her constituency than Steve Cohen — and she connects with the people. Go, Nikki!
Charles Matthews Memphis
The Long Run
As a longtime bicyclist and commuter in Memphis, I wholeheartedly agree with Anthony Siracusa's letter to the editor (July 17th issue). The once-lowly bicycle is on the cusp of being the way of the future. Common sense tells us that with exorbitant gas prices, gridlock traffic, climate change, and sedentary lifestyles, the bike is an attractive alternative.
Memphis city officials seem to be getting on board also, by accommodating cyclists with the city's first bike lanes this fall. (Better late than never.) That welcome addition to our infrastructure should make it easier for beginning bicyclists, who are unaccustomed to riding in traffic.
The stereotype is that only poor people and kids use bikes. I would advise anyone who thinks that to go to a bike shop and check out the prices for a good bike and accessories. The initial investment can be pricey, but you save so much in the long run.
Randy Norwood Memphis
The Dark Side
Jane Mayer's new book, The Dark Side, promises to do for the Bush-Cheney years what Woodward and Bernstein's The Final Days did for the Nixon presidency: shine a bright light on a truly shameful period of American history. Bush will be remembered for Iraq, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo (and wrecking the U.S. economy), just as Nixon will always be linked to Watergate.
In the case of Bush, the historical record will be clear and damning: He started an immoral and unnecessary war under false pretenses, fueled by his lack of knowledge and a toxic mixture of dishonesty and self-delusion. He authorized the use of torture and then lied about it. He repeatedly violated the Constitution he swore to uphold (and pretends to venerate). He was incapable of fixing any of the messes he made, because he remained absolutely, pathologically incapable of self-insight.
The result? We are less safe than we were when Bush took office and much less safe than we were before we invaded Iraq. Our actions in Iraq have emboldened the jihadists and helped them recruit. America's reputation around the world is in the gutter.
It will take years, and possibly even decades, to recover. Heckuva job, Bushie!
B. Keith English Memphis
Not a Marsha Fan
When incumbent 7th District congresswoman Marsha Blackburn faces primary opposition, it only means one thing: The Republicans are sick of her too. It is a shame it has taken six years for the public to realize that the congresswoman overlooks the needs of her district to line her own pockets and those of her children. It is past time to send Blackburn home.
I will give her credit for her recent vote to override the president's veto of the Medicare payments bill. However, that would be the only time she didn't "stand by her man." Her record shows she does not care about working families and that she has walked in tandem with George Bush every step of the way. It is quite obvious that her only reason for voting in our interest this time is that she fears opponent Tom Leatherwood might just show her the door. Thank goodness my Republican friends have a better choice this time around.