The Retail "Shell Game"
Mary Cashiola's column on the retail development "shell game" was right on target (In the Bluff, October 8th issue). As she pointed out, Memphis already has more retail space per capita than cities with a much healthier economy. Adding retail (or moving it from place to place) will remain a shell game until we address the underlying problems: sprawl and population decline.
The city desperately needs jobs in the city limits, which will attract more people, which will bring demand for housing and retail. We've got it backwards.
No Taxation Without Representation
Any plan that would raise taxes for Shelby County taxpayers to pay all the costs for Memphis City Schools (Editorial, October 1st issue) would be totally wrong. In fact, it would amount to taxation without representation. As a resident of Lakeland, I have no voice or vote in the election of Memphis' school board members or the Memphis City Council. If this plan is contemplated, then the city school system should be abolished so that all students attend Shelby County schools.
Dalai vs. Calvin
In a letter to the editor (October 1st issue), Charles Gillihan said that the Dalai Lama had no justification for ethics because he didn't believe in the ultimate lawgiver, i.e., the Christian God. Gillihan implied that we should all get back to the Calvinistic beliefs of the settlers instead.
Would those be the beliefs derived from the works of John Calvin? And would that be the same John Calvin who had Michael Servetus burned at the stake in 1553 for questioning the Holy Trinity? (Servetus was burned using green wood for fuel because it would burn slower. It took him 30 agonizing minutes to die.)
If so, I think I'd prefer the Dalai Lama. Thanks anyway.
Regarding Bruce VanWyngarden's "Buck a Bag" trash proposal (October 1st issue): There used to be a can bank in Midtown, which made it easy to make a small profit on a bag of cans. You didn't need a truckful to make a trip to a recycling place worth it. (The rate is 25 cents per pound of cans; about 32 cans make a pound.)
As the system is now, only someone with a truck can make a profit. The city could lure back can banks with a small subsidy. No new technology required, and the business does the upkeep and hauling.
Health-care Debate Revisited
One of the more fascinating aspects of the tea-baggers' "summer of discontent" was the sight, on many occasions, of senior citizens protesting at town hall meetings: "Keep the government out of my Medicare!"
Alas, wisdom doesn't always come with age.
Ever since President Obama put forward the idea of health care for all Americans, the GOP and their allies in the media have either lied about it or have claimed to be locked out of the process.
I decided to go back a few years to find a plan the Republicans wrote and passed when they controlled the Congress and the White House. The only bill I could find was the Prescription Drug Plan — a bill that, while helping Americans, also made billions for the drug companies by making it impossible for the government to secure the best possible price for drugs. To top it off, President Bush and the GOP Congress lied about the costs of the bill.
We have heard the Republicans claim the Democrats will include death panels in any bill that comes out of Congress. The real truth is that because Republicans failed to address the issue of rising health-care costs, thousands of uninsured Americans died needlessly. That's the GOP's de facto death panel.
Mitch McConnell, the GOP Senate minority leader, summed it all up last week. When asked why the Republicans had not put forward a health-care bill, he said, "We're not in the majority. The majority has the responsibility to go forward." I urge Democrats to go forward and leave those in the "party of no" behind.