Just Say No
Kudos to the Flyer for its record of opposing the United States' disastrous 21st-century military adventures (Editorial, September 19th issue).
The evening that George W. Bush told America that we were invading Iraq, my two sons, my brother, and I were attending a Grizzlies game at the Pyramid. The term "Orwellian" is frequently and superficially applied, but that night it chillingly fit. The game was abruptly stopped, and we were treated to the image of NBA commissioner David Stern on a giant screen telling us to stay tuned for an address from President Bush. Our leader's face then appeared, and I recall Bush, with what seemed to me a feeble attempt to ape Churchill, announcing the impending attack.
The crowd reacted with a standing ovation. My brother and I refused to stand and offered no applause. My sons, then 15 and 13, followed our example. Thousands of otherwise sober citizens were cheering on a war with an enthusiasm properly suited for a Grizzlies NBA title victory.
I am proud of the example that we set for my sons. War, for any reason, should never be cause for celebration. In this case, the decision to invade revealed an arrogance and incompetence still shaping much of U.S. foreign policy.
Steven Howard Smith
I kept staring at the Flyer cover photo of James Harvey ("Meet the New Boss," September 19th issue). He certainly dresses well, has a lot of bling, and seems to have a flexible brain, but I couldn't tell if he was looking heavenward for guidance or just rolling his eyes. I'm leaning toward the latter.
Alexandra Pusateri's story on the ongoing labor negotiations between The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Newspaper Guild union was like reading about a fight between Chuck Norris and a baby seal ("Mass Appeal," September 19th issue). I especially love that the MNG has agreed to keep the names of any member who is laid off "confidential." Holy crap. Really? That is just sad and embarrassing for all parties but especially for those laboring under the delusion that they are still journalists.
In their defense, I guess it's just not "news" when you lose your job at a daily paper these days.
Time for Tea
Just look at what House speaker John Boehner, the Tea Party, and the rest of the tagalong Republicans have in store for America this fall. It's a repeat of the same old movie — Let's Shut It Down! — we've seen too many times before.
'Tis the season for the loud minority of Republicans to threaten to shut down the government if they don't get their way and get the majority in Congress to give in and defund the Affordable Care Act, or as they love to call it, Obamacare.
Boehner has fallen into a deep rabbit hole by pandering to the Tea Party hatemongers. They will do anything in their power (or not in their power, in this case) to crucify the president. They're willing to shut down the U.S. government by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. They'd rather the world think we'll default on our debts than give in to majority rule. They'd rather put the economy of the country in jeopardy than face the fact that they don't have the numbers in Congress to do what they want.
The country has seen it all before, and until the Republican majority (I'm talking to you, Boehner) gets the cojones to stand up to its whack-job fringe, the whole party will continue sliding into the abyss of history.
You'll have to look a very long time to find anything in The Commercial Appeal like Bruce VanWyngarden's column in the September 12th issue. It was very refreshing to read something that reminds us that literature is still available to all of us.
Correction: The Music Feature on Gonerfest contains an incorrect date. It should read Saturday, September 28th.