There is no denying the cranky, even caustic, side of Alex Chilton painted so vividly by the talented Robert Gordon in "Remembering Alex" (March 25th issue). Maybe, as Gordon says, the Replacements' tribute song got Alex only half-right, but to me, so do Gordon's recollections.
True, you never knew which Alex you would get when you saw him, but the Alex I knew over the years (we were just friends) was also charming, funny, curious, a good conversationalist, and a gentleman on many occasions: He once escorted me to pick up my little brother from work at midnight, so I wouldn't have to go alone; he drove miles out of his way to give me a ride to New York from Boston; and he insisted on "minding me," as he put it, by the pool when I wanted to swim at the hotel where he was staying outside San Francisco.
Yes, as Gordon surmises, Alex might have snarled at this letter, but, as Rolling Stone's eulogy put it: He made Southern girls feel cool — and not just in his songs.
Critics called it "a cruel hoax and a delusion," a socialist program that would compete with private insurers and kill jobs. If it passed, they warned, Americans will feel "the lash of the dictator" and "end the progress of a great country." One New York Republican representative said, "Never in the history of the world has any measure been brought here so insidiously designed as to prevent business recovery, to enslave workers." We were told that to cooperate with it would be "complicity in evil."
Am I describing the outcry against "Obamacare"? No. Those quotes are from prominent Republican opponents of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare in 1965. Same party as today, though. Same fear-mongering, same predictions that the sky will fall if America extends a hand to its most needy. And now, today's Republicans must slouch back to their districts and explain why a bill that prevents insurers from refusing to cover you or canceling your coverage if you get sick is somehow the work of the devil. They'll find a way.
Poor minority leader John Boehner. So bitterly he wept as he bemoaned the Democrats ramming health-care reform through Congress. And so pitifully he sobbed that they violated the will of the American people. But, you see, John, I have an attention span, so I remember the prior eight years, when the Republican Congress and the Bush administration were constantly doing both of those things, and you were loving it. Typical Republican hypocrisy.
J. Andrew Smith
Bloomfield, New Jersey
Schadenfreude for Cal
I'm sure I speak for a lot of Memphians when I confess that I took great pleasure in watching John Calipari's old nemesis, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, outcoach him in the Elite Eight game last weekend.
As I watched Cal's Kentucky team miss free throw after free throw down the stretch and play "one on five" against Huggins' disciplined defense as Cal screamed and jumped around on the sidelines, it was "déjà vu all over again." Only this time, I enjoyed it.
Why hasn't the Flyer covered the crazy move by someone in Congress to ban Internet poker? Internet poker is a fact of life. Making it illegal or declaring "war" on it, as we did on drugs, might make a few legislators smug with accomplishment, but it doesn't help a thing. In fact, it makes things worse.
Making poker illegal here is only going to make poker companies move beyond our borders — and our laws. They won't be required to prevent children from participating or those suffering addiction issues. They won't pay taxes. It would be a total loss, and our most vulnerable would pay the steepest price.
Only by regulating online poker here in the U.S. can we ensure that our children are protected and that reliable and effective age-verification security systems are in place. Doesn't anyone remember how Prohibition turned out? We can either regulate this issue intelligently or turn it over to the wolves who live far away and couldn't care less about our kids.