Letters to the Editor 

Tagged

The cover story glorifying "taggers" ("Tag Team," June 7th issue) made me a little sick.

As a learning artist, I prefer my own canvas, be it bought or found on the street. I would never use another person's property (public or private) for my artistic pleasures or pursuits. Save your adrenaline for the dance floor!

As a lover of history, I was sickened the first time I went to Paris and saw a "tag" on the side of Notre Dame Cathedral (and on many other historic sites). As a lover of nature, I've supported the Wolf River's greenbelt development for years. I can't wait to have my next paddle trip down the urban section of the Wolf ruined by taggers.

I might add: I love adrenaline too, so don't let me catch you!

Robby Johnston

Memphis

Food Stamps

As executive director of the Food Bank, I want to praise the Flyer for having two staffers try the $22-a-week "food stamp diet" ("The Food Stamp Challenge," May 31st issue).

The general population has no idea how difficult it is to apply for food stamps and then try to feed your family on the maximum of $22 a week — which, by the way, has not been increased for 21 years.

Most food stamp recipients would much rather have their own resources and not have to depend on federal subsidies, but when you lose your job, have a medical emergency, a high utility bill, or need money to fill your gas tank to get to your job, you have to make the difficult choices of what you can pay for.  

It will surprise your readers that one-third of the households the Food Bank interviewed for its hunger survey have jobs. Most emergency food pantries allow people to come only three to four times a year, so it's impossible to totally rely on food stamps.  

Did you know that 12,400 people some time during a week depend on food from the Food Bank for their next meal — approximately 148,000 people a year? The food stamp program is one federal program that really works; there's just not enough money to fund it. Generous citizens can write their representatives and senators to support a stronger nutrition title in the 2007 Farm Bill (H.R. 2129). And, of course, support the Food Bank with food and funds. Thanks for keeping this issue "on the table."

Susan H. Sanford,

Executive Director The Food Bank Memphis

Your food stamp story immediately captured my attention. I am a credentialed sociologist, so I pondered the evidence and flaws in the research. After using a rehabilitation program to earn a Ph.D., I started to slip from the middle class and into the ranks of the poor, where I am today. My predicament provides jobs for a thick layer of "professional" service-providers who are protective of their expertise. I venture through life as a client of professionals. I am a seasonal employee.

Middle-class biases are discernible in the story, where "pity" is used to rally support for a middle-class program. I live in HUD housing and am surrounded by people who use food stamps to extend their incomes. We receive government commodities monthly, which for me provides most of the food staples for my diet. I use meat as a condiment in vegetable dishes. I have not bought a half-gallon of milk or a pound of meat since 1999. Rice and beans will prevent hunger for six hours or more. I am not overweight, I take no medication, and my health is excellent. I am a survivor of a traumatic brain injury, a situation that currently prevents me from realizing my full income-generating potential.

Nancy J. Hesseltine Balazadeh

Memphis

A New Strategy in Iraq?

Under the auspices of eminent domain, take over a large tract of land, then raze all existing structures to the ground. Destroy everything as though they were those pesky historic buildings here in America.

Then build a menagerie of the most repellent chain stores, banks, burger joints, wig shops, drugstores, etc. In the very center, erect a palatial casino. Cut some new roads, big ones. Now all that remains is shock the population out of its grief for the destruction of its culture.

Circle the area with helicopters and dump out millions of dollars in small bills, prepaid credit cards, and casino chips. In short order, the inhabitants will convert from radical Muslims to rabid consumerists. This is a tried and proven strategy that has been utilized successfully countless times right here in America.

Ben Stroud

Brighton, Tennessee

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