I enjoyed the Flyer's article on local "street style" ("Summer Style," June 18th issue). Judging from the pictures, Memphis has a lot of people who are fashion-savvy (and good-looking). One question: Where did you find these people? All I ever see when I'm out on the town are overweight schlubs in shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops, and baseball caps.
Republicans have said no to every policy advanced by this president. After eight years of fiscal failures and an economic meltdown caused by so-called free-market policies, they still insist on following those same policies. In fact, the only thing that Republicans, nationally and locally, seem to agree on is guns. While I agree Americans have a right to own guns, a system that allows people with mental health problems to buy guns is troubling to say the least.
I would like to see both parties agree on the reason that gas prices are rising. It's not big oil policies or Americans wasting energy; it's the same greedy speculators who are driving up the price at the pump. We have been told that supply and demand works. Well, the demand is down worldwide, and the supply is the same. So, what's broken? It's the lack of oversight and control in the commodities market.
Democrats have no excuse for not addressing this issue. Republicans have said they want Obama to fail. One way to do this is to ignore the rising cost of energy. In the midst of the worst economic downturn in more than 50 years, what better way for the Republicans to continue the economic mess they created than by running up everyone's oil costs?
No longer are Republicans the flag-waving patriots of the past. Supporting failure in America has become the rallying cry for GOP — and the right-wing talking heads who support them.
I have no complaints about MLGW during the recent storm aftermath. My complaint concerns our local radio stations (Editor's Note, June 18th issue). Updates and information on conditions should have been broadcast via all radio stations in the Memphis area during the crisis. Even WREC-AM shut down at 7 p.m., leaving nowhere on the radio dial to get information. What a joke.
In his Viewpoint column (June 18th issue), Richard Cohen rightly points out how anti-Semitism is an ingrained part of the culture of many Arab Middle East countries — in their mosques, on mainstream television, and in their classrooms. It's a tradition of hatred that will only be eradicated when these countries shake off the tyranny of fundamentalist Muslim regimes and move into the 21st century. (Iran offers a clear object lesson of how that process may unfold.)
But the shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., also makes it quite clear that here in the good ol' U.S.A., we have our own fundamentalist anti-Semite population. The right-wing cheerleaders on Fox and other conservative media outlets glibly throw out incendiary comments on President Obama and his "socialist" agenda and suggest that he will "take away our guns." Such irresponsible rhetoric often motivates gullible and hate-filled people such as James W. von Brunn to take them seriously — and to take action.
Here's what's fundamental: If your religion teaches you to hate, it's not a religion, it's politics — the politics of fear.
A Lesson From Iran?
As pictures of the Iranian political turmoil emerged with protesters holding signs reading, "We Want Elections, Not Selections," I was reminded of the recent vote in the Tennessee General Assembly that unconstitutionally codified a judicial retention (s)election system.
It reminded me of the parable of a dog owner who was approached by his neighbor complaining of the dog's incessant yelping. The owner explained that the reason his dog yelped was because of a construction nail in the dog's bed that jabbed its belly each time the dog moved. Asked why the dog simply didn't find a new place to sleep, the owner replied, "It doesn't hurt bad enough."
If there's a lesson in democracy coming from Iran for Tennessee's political leaders, it's that a citizen's right to vote is so precious they will sacrifice their lives for it. But only after it's been denied. Tony Gottlieb