Bianca Phillips' article about the hippie commune, the Farm ("The Old Age of Aquarius," November 22nd issue), showed that despite declining numbers of people, the 1960s countercultural ethic is still thriving in Tennessee.
What is more amazing is that many of the 1960s' revolutionary, radical ideas are now mainstream, including solar energy, soy products, natural childbirth, recycling, spirituality, earth consciousness, and a healthy mistrust of the government's immense power. All of these are now a part of the fabric of society.
If mainstream society would whole-heartedly embrace the guiding principles of the Farm — love and compassion — in all of its endeavors, then the 1960s cultural upheaval will not have been futile.
Thanks to the Flyer and Bianca Phillips for highlighting one of the malfunctions associated with our city-run animal-disposal facility, aka the Memphis Animal Shelter ("Sheltered Life," November 22nd issue).
Unfortunately, the shelter's euthanasia policies are just the tip of the iceberg. As a foster-home provider for rescued animals, I have been repeatedly let down by our city's shelter policies. First, they do not respond to injured or loose animal reports consistently or in a timely manner. Second, animals may be adopted to whoever is willing to pay the small fee, without regard for eligibility. Third, owner-surrendered animals are immediately destroyed. (Shelter spokespeople say they must assume something is wrong with the animal since the owner is relinquishing it, so it is never made available for adoption.)
I realize that the shelter is overrun with animals and lacks resources (including but not limited to leadership and the support of the city government). But the fact that over 1,000 animals are killed per month in that facility is a shameful reflection of our city's crime, poverty, and low education levels. A high percentage of dogs that are euthanized are bully breeds used for fighting operations. Until tougher penalties for dog fighting are instituted and spay/neuter is encouraged citywide, the Memphis Animal Shelter will continue to serve as a death-trap for thousands of animals each year.
In the meantime, Memphians have a social and civil responsibility to adopt homeless animals and donate money they might have spent on designer dogs to one of the city's volunteer-run rescue organizations.
Jessica Leu Memphis
I believe all Americans want the surge in Iraq to be a success. If it succeeds, Iraq can stand on its own and our brave military men and women can come home. Unfortunately, the more we learn about what the president is planning, the more obvious it is that we are headed toward an open-ended commitment to Iraq.
President Bush initially failed to deploy enough troops to ensure a victory. Now we learn our tax dollars are going to pay more than 70,000 Sunnis to patrol their neighborhoods. The Iraqi government was supposed to do this, but they fear arming so many who oppose the current government — and who might use the weapons to attack the Shiites who are in charge.
The invasion has created two hostile opposing forces in Iraq, and we are arming and training both sides! It appears that Bush has not learned the lesson he should have learned from his father. When the first Bush administration armed the Taliban, they created a monster that finally turned on us. It was the Taliban who protected and assisted bin Laden. Now, more than six years after 9/11, that monster is still alive and making propaganda tapes for the world to hear.
After a million Iraqis and thousands of Americans have been killed and maimed in Iraq and after close to a trillion dollars of American treasure has been spent, the real mastermind of 9/11 is still alive and planning more attacks.
The president claims he is spreading democracy. I say he is spreading something else. How does he explain the hundreds of Saudis in Iraq who are terrorists? He has called the Saudi princes friends for years. These same friends are silent when a Saudi woman who was raped is punished with 200 lashes. I fear democracy is far from the minds of those Bush has befriended in our name. Saudi princes and Shiite politicians are only interested in power, not freedom and democracy.