In response to Harry J. Jaffe, who wrote the letter titled "Schnucks" (September 22nd issue), may I suggest to Jaffe that if he thinks St. Louis folks are "cosmopolitan" people as compared to Memphians, that he stick his stuffy little head outside of his Germantown home and visit Fresh Market and/or Whole Foods.
There, he will find some very cosmopolitan people at all hours of the day purchasing a much wider variety of specialty foods than Schnucks ever dreamed of stocking. To make the suggestion that because Memphians didn't purchase St. Louis restaurants' salad dressings at Schnucks somehow makes us a bunch of "rubes" is ridiculous. I'd like see how fast barbecue sauces from Central BBQ, Interstate, and Tops would fly off the shelves of the St. Louis Schnucks. Probably at about the same rate the St. Louis salad dressings flew off the Memphis shelves.
I'm going to miss Schnucks immensely, and it sure isn't because of their salad dressings. Thanks for letting me vent.
Crop Farmers Save the World
Crop farmers have the most important job in the world ("The Man Who Saved the World," September 22nd issue). Without crop farmers, our civilization wouldn't exist. However, many people confuse confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) with agriculture. CAFOs, which couldn't exist without the grain produced by crop farmers, raise animals indoors or in feed lots in filthy, overcrowded conditions. They are factories that produce meat, milk, and eggs. CAFO operators say their inhumane treatment of animals is morally correct because they are "feeding the world" and the average consumer just doesn't understand that inhumane methods are unavoidable to meet the demand.
However, the truth is they are not feeding the world, they are starving it. The U.S. produces about 90 million metric tons of soybeans every year. About 98 percent of that, or 88.2 million metric tons, is used to feed CAFO animals. Soy is an excellent source of protein. We are feeding protein to animals to get protein.
Every year, about 10 billion CAFO animals are slaughtered. Their combined weight is about 38.4 million metric tons. Compare that to the amount of soybeans the animals are fed. It's like putting $88 in the bank and withdrawing $38.
The last time you saw news coverage of food relief efforts, did you see meat, milk, and eggs being handed out to starving people?
A telling fact regarding Rick Perry (The Rant, September 22nd issue), contender for the Republican presidential nominee: 139 countries (72 percent of the world's countries) have abolished the death penalty. Perry, on the other hand, has personally (and proudly) presided over 234 executions, a record number, as governor of Texas.
In a speech in early September, Perry said we should "dismantle" the federal government — this from a man who is running for the highest government office in the U.S.
Wildfires have consumed 3.6 million acres in Texas. Perry's solution was to hold a day of prayer for rain. This, of course, was after he had cut funding 75 percent for the volunteer firefighters who are the first responders to 90 percent of wildfires in Texas. This is who the Republicans want for president?
Voting and voter fraud seems to be of great concern in many states. I find it strange that all of these states are now controlled by Republicans. What's happening now is not merely the redistricting of the past, when one party would attempt to win more seats by gerrymandering. This time the aim is to make it more difficult for many people to cast a vote under the guise of "voter fraud."
In a nation where uncounted numbers of our citizens have fought and died for the right to vote, the GOP is attempting to disenfranchise thousands of us. The change to require specific, state-issued photo IDs in order to vote, which was passed by the Tennessee legislature, will hurt our already low voter turnout. Anything that makes it harder to vote should be looked at very carefully.
The excuse that rampant voter fraud has taken place is simply not true. Hundreds of thousands Tennesseeans voted in the last election. Only a handful of votes were thrown out due to fraud. The real fraud (and a crime against the citizens of Tennessee) is this photo ID law. If "big government" is the problem, why would those in Nashville force their will on local election officials?