Birds of a Feather?

To the Editor:

Regarding Senator John Ford (“Busted,” June 2nd issue): Among his offenses, Ford used corporate money given to his PAC to finance political campaigns in violation of state law, then he accepted trips from corporations and later helped kill legislation they opposed. He accepted trips from the lobbyist for a foreign government in violation of House rules, then paid family members more than $500,000 out of campaign contributions. He promised a role in drafting legislation to a corporate donor, tried to coerce a congressman for a vote on Medicare, then used Homeland Security resources in a dispute with Democrats in Texas. He diverted funds from a children’s charity to create lavish celebrations at the Republican National Convention, then threatened retaliation against interest groups that didn’t support Republicans. He stacked the House Ethics Committee with representatives who contributed to his legal defense fund, then crippled the effectiveness of the House Ethics Committee by purging members who rebuked him. He then pushed for a rules change for the House ethics process that paralyzed the panel and sought a rule change that would have no longer “required leaders to step aside temporarily if indicted.”

Oops. I’m sorry. That was Texas congressman Tom DeLay, not Senator Ford. The distinction has eluded me. I should pay better attention to the news. Besides, I’m certain that DeLay is presently in jail in Texas. Correct?

Mark Ledbetter


To the Editor:

Years ago, I used to listen to Tennessee Ernie Ford sing “The Tennessee Waltz” on the radio. How nice it sounded. Today, it’s being played again but on national TV by another Ford, and it sounds even better!

And remember last year, when it was being rumored that Mayor Herenton was being investigated by the FBI? Well, I guess that was really about John Ford.

Or was it?

Joe Mercer


Amen, Brother!

To the Editor:

To John Branston’s column about White Station High School’s graduation, (City Beat, May 26th issue), all I can say is: Amen, brother! Our son just graduated 14th in his class at White Station. We were appalled at the behavior of the family and friends at graduation but quite frankly, and sadly, were prepared for worse.

I think that your statements capture the problems both at graduation and within the school: “The rowdiness is old hat. The acceptance of it is what’s new.” I hope the White Station administration will stop accepting it within the school and at school activities and make a choice for change. For instance, I would love to see a smaller graduation, just for immediate families, in a smaller venue that might discourage those who want to act like they are at a basketball game. Perhaps being left out would help get the message to them.

Vicki Sallis Murrell


Corporate Stem cells

To the Editor:

The implication in Ron Lowe’s letter to the editor (May 26th issue) is absurd. President Bush’s veto of a bill supporting federal funding for stem-cell research will not prevent science from finding cures. All this bipartisan bill would accomplish is historic levels of corporate welfare. Federal funding of research would require taking money from the taxpayers and giving it to some of the largest companies in the world: Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Procter & Gamble, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and others.

Profits made off the science will only pad the wallets of the pharmaceutical companies, not those who invested their tax dollars. If stem-cell research is so needed, allow private groups and universities to go unfettered in their efforts. We should not force citizens who oppose stem-cell research to betray their morals by paying for it through their taxes.

Levi Gay


First, They Came for

the Unbelted

To the Editor:

I can see having stoplights at intersections to preserve life and protect us against the irresponsible actions of other drivers. I cannot see requiring us to protect ourselves within our own vehicles. This appears to violate Fourth Amendment rights to privacy. What happened to personal responsibility? If the state can require us to protect our health with seat belts, it can impose our diets, exercise regimens, and medicines. This surely is a progression of tyranny and the state taking over for each person’s own responsibility. It destroys the concept of cause and effect and accepting the consequences for one’s own actions.

Charles Gillihan



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