Thank you, Tim Sampson! I was blown away to read in the Memphis Flyer (The Rant, February 23rd issue), of all places, a reasoned and balanced view of the media hysteria surrounding the death of Whitney Houston. As Sampson pointed out, there has been no ruling on the cause of her death and therefore no reason for pundits and critics to attack Houston or blame her for her own passing.
Yes, it's possible that we will learn that drugs or alcohol contributed to her untimely death, but Sampson rightly pointed out all the amazingly generous, good works that Houston performed during her too-short life. None of us is perfect. All of us have a past that includes good works and behavior we probably wouldn't want others to know about. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Thanks, Tim Sampson, for reminding us of that simple truth.
When I saw the Flyer cover with the words "Just Busted" on it (February 23rd issue), I figured it would be another story about criminals in Memphis. I was pleasantly surprised. Chris Davis' story should be must-reading for anyone wanting to get beyond the nightly "if it bleeds, it leads" media treatment of crime.
Also, as Davis' interview with her makes clear, all of us in Memphis need to read Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow. In a country where we've gone from incarcerating 350,000 people in 1970 to 2.3 million in 2012, it's clear there's big money in putting people in jail, and the system for rehabilitation has failed. We should be grateful for public defenders and others who are attempting to turn lives around rather than see thousands of the undereducated and drug-addicted rot in jail at great tax-payer expense.
John Pritchard (February 16th issue) and Bill Butler (February 23rd issue) wrote letters to the editor musing about The Vagina Monologues. They missed the point.
Worse than that, their smugness smacks of the same insensitivity of the five Republican men in Congress last week who held a meeting about women's contraceptives while denying the entry or the testimony of any woman; and the male Santorum funder who made the comment that "gals used to put aspirin between their legs" as a form of contraceptive.
Even if Pritchard's and Butler's comments were not missing the point, they are unoriginal. The Vagina Monologues is an important play and has been running in one venue or another around the world since it came out in 1996, 16 years ago, and every joke about its title has already been made. The real point here is that every time the play runs, it raises money to help end violence against families.
In America, the greatest percentage of bankruptcies comes from personal health-care issues. It's not just the sick or frail who suffer. The problem extends to those who have parents without sufficient coverage to pay for age-related illnesses or young adult children who don't have health insurance through their jobs.
Most of the rest of the modern world recognizes that health care is a basic human right for all, not just the preserve of the rich. Nor is it supposed to be a massive profit center for hospitals and insurance companies. Great Britain, most other European countries, Australia, Canada, and most first-world countries around the globe provide citizens government-backed, affordable health care. This is not a commie or socialist plot. It is a basic human right. No one should have to go without health care — or go broke due to illness or accident.
Have you been following this story? Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum is betting Americans want a president who uses faith not just to inspire but also to judge us. It sounds like Santorum thinks God anointed him to save the nation.
In Ohio, Santorum told supporters that President Obama's environmental views reflect "some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible." Since when do we live in a theocracy?
Santorum is a dominionist, much in the same vein as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. What is a dominionist? It's an authoritarian cult that believes government should be run by Christians, according to the scripture. Religion and politics is a dangerous brew, and Santorum mixes the two.
Nevada City, California