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Letters to the Editor




I read with interest Bianca Phillips' article "No Room in the ER" (July 30th issue) and was pleased to see how well it laid out the serious overcrowding issues at Memphis-area emergency departments and the detrimental effect this has on the Memphis Fire Department's ability to deliver care.

I am writing to urge Phillips to reconsider the use of the term "ambulance driver" — an antiquated term which many of us in EMS find offensive. This term has not been accurate since the days of untrained attendants driving hearses owned by funeral homes. The EMTs and paramedics who serve the citizens of Memphis and the rest of the country are well-trained medical professionals who deserve to be called by the titles they've earned. After all, police officers are not known as "police car drivers" and firefighters are not known as "fire truck drivers."

Kevin Spratlin

The Census

This is in response to Mary Cashiola's recent column on the upcoming 2010 census (In the Bluff, August 6th issue): Article 1, Sec. 2 of the Constitution teaches that the only function of the census is for a determination of head-count for apportionment of representation. That is it!

There is a hidden agenda, as the government wants more and more control over citizens by learning their economic status, race, etc. When government tells us it wants information to "help" any given group, it assumes every individual who shares certain physical characteristics has the same interests or wants the same things from government. This is an inherently racist and offensive assumption.

According to the 2010 Census Bureau website, there are many needs concerning the census, so many questions on the census are followed by a list of "community benefits" gained from answers given by citizens, including education, government, planning, social services, employment, housing, banking, etc. I don't know how one can separate this agenda from something akin to a socialist or communistic agenda, but I do know that attempts by government to plan society are antithetical to liberty and, therefore, should be shunned.

Charles H. Gillihan

On Health-care Town Halls

The chaos and near-violence that earmarked the recent town hall meeting hosted by Congressman Steve Cohen at Bridges had to be the funniest story I have read [on memphisflyer.com] this year. Even funnier is Cohen's comment: "I expected it to be a lot worse." Yet, he still called the meeting? Hilarious!

Why are people so easily duped by the perceived opportunity to "have our voices heard"? Politicians listen to two things: election-day votes and, in the case of the American Revolution, a stout oak stick upside their skulls. Leftists like Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi are quickly provoking Americans into the type of activities Cohen admitted to expecting.

We don't need meetings to hear what the public wants. We want police, fire protection, roads, schools, and utilities. We want criminals kept in jail, regardless of prison conditions. We want Jesus Christ returned to the important position our Founding Fathers placed him in, and we want government out of our pockets.

Anyone who wants more from government needs to get the hell out of America. There's your town hall meeting.

Tommy Volinchak

Jackson Baker has written a thoroughly disgusting piece about protesters at town hall meetings on memphisflyercom. He repeatedly used the term "tea-bagger" in referring to people who oppose the current health-care legislation. As I'm sure you know, "tea bagging" is a term that refers to a form of oral sex. Just because CNN allowed one of their commentators to get away with using that term doesn't make it okay for your writers. The Flyer and Baker should be ashamed and should apologize for such a vulgar transgression.

Jim Ogden

Editor's note: Baker did apologize on the website for using the term. You are wrong, however, in your assertion that the phrase began with a CNN commentator. Ironically, the first use of the phrase in the mass media was by Fox News reporter Griff Jenkins, who was reporting on some of the initial tax-day protests. Signs using the phrase "Teabag Washington!" were quite common, so the phrase itself was not initiated by the media. David Shuster of MSNBC pointed out the double-meaning of the phrase with a series of jokes in a report on April 13th.

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