Letter from the Editor 

January. Winter turns on its heel. We call the year new and amend its number. Change is in the air. Time to lose those pounds, quit smoking, take a walk every morning. Or at least start talking about it.

That's what our presidential candidates are doing a lot of these days: talking about change. This is understandable, given that the stock market is falling like a house of cards, real estate foreclosures outnumber house sales, and the phenomenally successful "surge" will apparently continue, at least according to our president, for the next 10 years or so, or until the Iraq government can "stand up." Whatever that means.

We've been watching the political festivities from afar, but that's about to change. Tennessee's presidential primary is on the near horizon — February 5th, to be exact, a date also known as "Super Tuesday." Yes, the political sideshow is headed our way, and with it comes evidence that some things never change.

For the past few days, I've been getting a viral e-mail about Democratic candidate Barack Obama, one that's no doubt being forwarded to millions of people. It is to my knowledge the first "swift boat" salvo of this year's election season.

The e-mail is titled "Who is Barack Obama?" It begins, "If you do not ever forward anything else, please forward this to all your contacts. It is very scary to think of what could lie ahead for us here in our own United States. Better heed this and pray about it and share it."

What follows is a series of lies and false allegations: Obama is a radical Muslim; he took his oath of office by swearing on the Koran instead of the Bible; he will not recite the Pledge of Allegiance; he doesn't sing the National Anthem.

On and on it goes. But here's the insane part. The e-mail concludes: "We checked this out on Snopes.com. It is factual. Check for yourself."

If you actually click the link to Snopes, a well-known site that debunks urban myths, every one of the allegations about Obama is labeled "FALSE." The site methodically debunks the e-mail point-by-point.

So the question I have is: What kind of complete idiot sends out an e-mail full of lies to millions of people and then includes a link to a site that disproves those lies? Sadly, probably someone who votes.

Bruce VanWyngarden

brucev@memphisflyer.com

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