Consider Human Services
To the Editor:
Congratulations on the Flyer's Annual Manual issue. While it will certainly be a good resource for many people, I have a suggestion for an improvement: Please consider featuring the human-services and community-development sectors next year. There is a long list of effective, reputable organizations that contribute greatly to the social fabric and economy of our community. These nonprofits provide food, build houses, rehabilitate neighborhoods, train volunteers, promote civic engagement, deliver medical care, operate training programs, support families in crisis, care for the elderly, provide childcare, and supplement our educational system with after-school and tutoring programs. They employ thousands and bring millions of dollars into our economy through private contributions and government grants.
Imagine this city without the Food Bank, Child Advocacy Center, Church Health Center, Bridges, Hands On Memphis, Senior Services, Memphis Literacy Council, or MIFA. The community would face a significant void in its quality of life.
Also, MIFA is a very strong governmental partner, but it is not a government agency. It is a private, nonprofit organization that receives well over half of its funding from the private sector.
Best wishes and thanks for all that the Flyer does to contribute to the news.
To the Editor:
The city of Memphis had 26 schools fail the state's grading system in 2000. By 2001 the total was up more than 100 percent to 64 failing schools. John Branston says ("Failing Schools?" Annual Manual issue) there are 246 schools (public and private) in Shelby County, and, if you factor in poverty and parent assistance and low expectations, only 10 percent of all the schools in the greater Memphis area are failing.
Branston doesn't seem to realize that the city of Memphis has a problem that is not going to go away. The sooner it is addressed the better it will be for today's students and those in the future.
With the way Branston juggles figures, he should apply for a job at Enron. I'm sure they would pay him a fortune if he could put off their troubles for another couple of years.
George A. Marlowe
To the Editor:
Kudos to your staff for making the Flyer the best newspaper in Memphis again this year. The Flyer makes sense out of the local political machinations. The CA's Susan Adler Thorp should read Jackson Baker's erudite columns to find out what is happening. His insightful reporting far outshines her musings. Even the witty (sometimes witless) Tim Sampson makes more sense of national politics than the daily's analysts.
Other staffers such as Mary Cashiola, Rebekah Gleaves, and John Branston present concise, well-written articles infused with research and knowledge. As we start a new year, I look forward to more of the best writing from the best staff in town.
To the Editor:
Suppose that shortly after Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993 a major Hollywood studio collapsed, devastating shareholders whose retirement funds suddenly disappeared. Suppose that the head of that company was a longtime "Friend of Bill," and, in fact, was the number one contributor to the Clinton campaign. Suppose that the executives of the company had cashed in their stock, reaping huge profits, while the rank-and-file employees and shareholders lost their shirts. Suppose that Al Gore had been working as the head of another Hollywood studio before running for vice president and had repeatedly met with the head of the now-bankrupt studio during the campaign and during the early months of the Clinton presidency. Suppose that the company's CEO had repeatedly met with Clinton's secretary of labor and other officials to seek help for the troubled company. Then suppose that Clinton had denied knowing anything about all of those meetings.
Pious right-wing ranters on talk radio would have had a field day. The story would have dominated the airwaves. Yet Enrongate is much, much, much worse. It's the largest bankruptcy in history and a staggering example of corporate greed run amok. But don't expect to hear calls for Cheney or Bush to resign. Instead, you can look forward to more surreal press conferences in which spokesmen for the president argue that the Enron collapse is no big deal and that the American people are "tired of scandal" and "ready to move on." These admonitions are coming from a group that was willing to shred the Constitution in an attempt to impeach a president because he had an extramarital affair.
The Republican Party may not have invented hypocrisy but it has perfected it.
B. Keith English
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