To the Editor:

Is there a prankster on the Internet or did John Branston actually write an entire column (City Beat, September 9th issue) "refuting" criticism of Mayor Herenton based on two points: that none of the mayor's critics in recent Commercial Appeal letters are from the great city of Memphis and that long-dead Boss Crump did bad things?

Why stop at insulting the mayor's critics based on where they live? Why not also insult them based on sexual orientation, race, religion, or some other petty prejudice? As they say, if you can't refute, ridicule.

Why stop with Boss Crump? Why not drag in Hitler? It would seem far more relevant to compare some of Mayor Herenton's behavior with Der Fuhrer's than Boss Crump's.

Did Boss Crump ever declare he was divinely chosen for his job? Did he wear designer suits, spend $1 million on a penthouse office, and then try to slash school funding? Did he abolish the Park Commission because it didn't follow his every whim? Did he install a completely inexperienced head of MLGW after a sham of a national search so he could be assured of absolute personal loyalty when purging that agency? Did Boss Crump play musical chairs with police directors, again demanding nothing consistent but absolute personal loyalty and a muzzle on speaking to the press? Boss Crump rode the streetcar alone to work. Mayor Herenton and his entourage touring the new FedExForum made a great photo in the CA last week, although it was not clear if it included the mayor's hand-picked security squad (whose former member after having a minor hide drug money, now has a better-paying city job teaching minors that crime doesn't [?] pay).

If Branston is proud of Memphis and its current mayor, fine. Let Boss Crump rest in whatever peace he may or may not deserve and the rest of us will continue to try and deal with the here and now.

Herbert E. Kook Jr.



To the Editor:

Matt Taibbi ("A March to Irrelevance," September 16th issue) is exactly right: "What worked then doesn't work now." The American people have become desensitized to what was once considered outrageous dress, speech, and behavior.

But he's wrong when he says that "no one anywhere is teaching us about how to be a threat." There are brand-new role models popping up all around us. Instead of just going home to "wait for the ballot," as he says, we could always set off a few car bombs or behead a couple of our friends and neighbors. I'm sure that would get some attention. After all, who wants to bother with just voting?

It saddens me that he has trivialized things as important as our right to be heard and our right to vote. People in Iraq have had the right to do neither under the rule of Saddam Hussein, so maybe those other kinds of tactics are all they understand. But for me, I'd prefer to stick with carrying my protest sign if I feel the need and casting my vote every single time I get the chance.

Janet Chism

Marion, Arkansas

Who is Best?

To the Editor:

Who is best able to lead the U.S.A.? Someone who will choose the right targets for corrective action when we are attacked; someone who will not single-mindedly commit our country to wrong-headed decisions; someone who will surround himself with the brightest and the best advisers and not dangerous ideologues.

Benno Friedman


Why the Guard?

To the Editor:

I think the question to ask Bush is why he wanted to get into the National Guard. Oh wait! Someone did ask him that question: According to an article in the Houston Chronicle in May 1994, his answer was, "I was not prepared to shoot out my eardrum with a shotgun, nor was I willing to go to Canada."

In other words, Bush simply didn't want to see combat! This would be fine if he had issues with the country's Vietnam policy, but he has publicly stated that he supported that war.

How can Republicans believe this man is so courageous and of such sterling moral character? What moral authority does he have to start a war and send troops to die, when, by his own admission, he was unwilling to fight when he was called to serve?

Becca Pevear


Future Think

To the Editor:

If the thinking expressed in Jackson Baker's article on David Keith (Politics, September 16th issue) is an indication of what the Democrats think is a future leader, it will be a long time before they regain any power.

Chuck Fisher



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