The Oil Blowout
In response to the "Who Is Responsible?" (Viewpoint) by Bill Waters (June 10th issue):
"What we need is a president who will tell the truth." In truth, every president since (and including) Richard Nixon has made a truthful speech about the need for an energy policy independent of foreign oil and anticipating insufficient future oil supplies. Talk, unlike oil, is not only cheap, it's free. All presidents probably tell the truth sometimes, except, it seems, the president of BP.
"The real cause ... is demand." If that's true, the responsibility rests with the public. So, it's the victim's fault. Not! A crime is the responsibility of the criminal, not the victim.
We are living in a "post-4/20" world, in which we are at the mercy of a greedy corporation as it muddles through one experiment after another to contain the oil gusher in our spectacular Gulf of Mexico. British Petroleum negated risks to the operation of the Deepwater Horizon and felt no need to develop plans to deal with a disaster of this magnitude. According to reports from family members whose loved ones perished in the blast, the rig demonstrated stress, weeks prior to the explosion, that the company ignored.
Unlike Hurricane Katrina, the media could not prepare us with advance warnings of the death machine that would be sweeping through our fragile ecosystem. Reports came to us through malfeasant BP executives, who dishonestly reported the volume of leaking crude. Congressman Ed Markey forced BP to provide the public with footage of the leak in the first several weeks of the disaster and just learned during week seven that BP was withholding high-resolution footage that scientists are now viewing in order to accurately determine the amount of crude flowing into our waters.
The housing and bank crises, mine disasters, and now this should be a wake-up call to doubters that our country is run by monolithic corporations and lobbyists who only have their own narrow interests at heart.
Legislators who hold on to a mind-set that protects big business over the interests of our citizens should be run out of office and ridiculed, along with the "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd. Those who obstruct legislative changes that lessen risks to workers, citizens, and our environment should be considered unpatriotic. Arrogance and greed must not prevail.
Herenton's "Free For All"
I write this in the hopes that I'll never stoop to Willie Herenton's level, but there are not words to describe the emotions I feel after viewing his "press conference" on June 9th. After viewing it in its entirety, I feel that it is truly unacceptable that a man running for Congress would treat reporters, let alone regular people, in such a manner. His "mightier than all" attitude is a reflection of the type of congressman he would be in Washington — not the "common man" approach he describes. As a 20-year-old college student, I admit that I have much to learn about the congressional campaign process, but by the time I reached kindergarten, I was able to spot someone just being plain mean and seeking attention. I recognize inexcusable behavior from an adult man when I see it.
I cannot properly convey my frustration in watching a 70-year-old man act like a child or my fear of what my nation would say about our city if he were to be elected and given access to national press. Herenton's display lasted 95 minutes. Let's not give him the opportunity to have two years (with the possibility of more) to display this childish and arrogant behavior.
Economically Disadvantaged? Re: John Branston's City Beat on the Memphis City Schools budget (April 22nd issue): MCS says approximately 86 percent of MCS students are classified as "economically disadvantaged" and eligible for free and reduced-price lunches. To answer one of Branston's questions: "Have you ever audited this number, and how and when does MCS ask kids or their parents to document their family income?" The answer is no. No one is ever asked to prove earnings.
Keep focusing on it, and maybe it'll happen. Great work!
I thoroughly enjoyed Angela Knipple's article "Me and My Chickens" in the June 10th edition. I hope this author writes more.