Tea Party Populism
Somehow your editorial staff has received its license to determine when someone or something should be legitimately considered populist in nature (Editorial, February 11th issue). How difficult is it to accept that people unimpressed by the direction of the current government will assemble lawfully and constitutionally to address grievances? This protection, including the one concerning that of the press to report it with complete bias, should not be foreign to you. When you consider the "politics as usual" coming out of Washington these days, is there any wonder that the folks who have had their fill are standing up to the establishment and the press to push an agenda of "throw the bums out"?
Will it be that distasteful in November to find that the pendulum has swung completely to a new populist theme? You will not need the Constitution to provide the cover to print a retraction — just good common sense.
Tea Party Racism
Regarding Randy Haspel's Rant (February 11th issue): The keynote speaker at the Tea Party convention in Nashville, Sarah Palin, said that "it is all about the people." Yeah, white-skinned people. The Tea Party does not reflect the diversity and cultural ethnicity that is America. Did you see any dark or brown-skinned participants in the convention pictures?
Tea Party adherents are gathered from the fringe anti-immigration, anti-abortion, anti-gay, and anti-tax movements. They are a Who's Who of white conservatives and have a distinct racist flavor. Stop kidding yourself about the Tea Party being a "grassroots" movement.
The teabaggers are at war with our president and any policy-makers who don't hold the same worldview as they do. Forget "One Nation Under God." Tea Party proponents preach a doctrine of division and intolerance.
Nevada City, California
Beale Street Dream
I drove to Memphis on January 31st, hoping to play my guitar on Beale Street — a dream lots of us blues players have. Within 30 minutes of my arrival, I was onstage at B.B. King's with the Preston Shannon Band! The next day, I shared a stage with Vince Johnson and the Plantation All-Stars, and Tuesday, Preston invited me back! It was far better than I had hoped for.
Everyone in Memphis was kind, helpful, and friendly. The toughest thing I had to do was to leave. I'm coming back as soon as I can. It felt like visiting family I hadn't seen in years. Thank you, Memphis.
If you feel it necessary to publish the ravings of your readers, could you at least be judicious in the quality of the mail you print, please? E.W. "Bill" Brody's letter (December 3rd issue) is typical of the groundless anti-Memphis, anti-urban, anti-poor, anti-liberal, racist claptrap we have been reading from elitist suburbanites for years.
The brainlessness of Brody's rant is compounded by his requisite analogy of Memphis to Detroit and is topped off by the ultimate suburban cliche: "Will the last one to leave, please turn off the lights?" — a final sentence used more than a dozen times in letters to The Commercial Appeal over the past few years.
If you must publish such crappy bitching, please try to make it original crappy bitching.
Defense Spending: Out of Control
Defense spending is by far the largest expenditure of our federal government and it's increasing every year. The defense budget represents about half of all U.S. discretionary spending. Our defense appropriations exceed the total amount of defense spending by all other nations in the world combined! Defense spending is one of the largest contributors to our huge deficits.
We are embroiled in two wars, racking up deficits, and Americans are not willing to pay for them by having their taxes increased. We can't have it both ways: Either we pay for our wars or we incur further deficits. The U.S. no longer can be the world's policeman. It will take the combined efforts of all civilized nations to help stamp out terrorism throughout the world.
Defense Department budgets should receive the same scrutiny as any other department of our government and should not be immune from legitimate cuts in unnecessary, wasteful spending.
Paul G. Jaehnert
Vadnais Heights, Minnesota