The late Mike Royko once said of Rupert Murdoch's newspaper empire that "no self-respecting fish would allow himself to be wrapped in a Murdoch paper." That's how I feel about the Flyer's "Hotties" issue (February 10th). It's RSVP without the cleavage and the slick paper. The Flyer should stick to covering the issues.
I know the Flyer's "Hotties" issue is considered "light and fluffy," and I know that you'll get the usual letters complaining that the hotties are "not hot." I'd like to remind everyone that hotness is subjective and that gay folks, plus-sized folks, and every other sub-category of people you can think of may have ideas about what's hot that aren't in line with yours or the looks of the celebs hyped in the media. In other words, just because someone doesn't look like Jessica Biel doesn't mean they can't be hot to somebody. It's something to think about before you start putting people down.
Also, you might look in the mirror before you start throwing rocks at other people's looks.
I don't look at the Memphis Flyer that much. One reason is that my grocery store does not have a Flyer rack there any more. But I did get a copy of the issue that has your annual "Hotties." Let me say this: If those are the top hotties in Memphis, this city can lay claim to the ugliest citizens in the Mid-South.
Every Valentine's Day, women all over the country — and in Memphis, of course — feel it's their destiny to put on productions of The Vagina Monologues, a play where they get to talk about their private parts in public (Fly on the Wall, February 10th issue). I, for one, wish we'd get back to making Valentine's Day about chocolate and roses. Enough with the vajajays, already.
A Strange Dream
I just woke up from the strangest dream. I dreamed that the voters of Memphis approved the referendum to disband the Memphis City Schools system. I dreamed that the county commission voted to expand the "new" county school board from seven to 27 members. I dreamed that the new county school board included most of the Ford family, Janice Fullilove, Rickey Peete, and a chairman, Prince Mongo. I dreamed that Kriner Cash cashed in his chips and demanded his buyout be paid in small bills. I dreamed that the new board demanded the resignation of the county school superintendent and named Willie Herenton as his replacement. Like Nixon in 1968, he was rested and ready.
Stranger things have happened. Dreams (and nightmares) really can come true.
Estate Tax Repeal
The estate tax has been an important source of revenue for the federal government in one form or another since 1916. And once again, the Republican Party is stepping up its calls to make tax cuts (for the rich) permanent and is aggressively promoting a repeal of the estate tax.
The estate tax, which they have dubbed the "death tax," affects only the heirs of the very richest of Americans — the multimillionaires and billionaires. The deceased is not affected at all by the estate tax, since he/she is now pushing up daisies.
I'm not so sure the overwhelming majority of Americans have any interest in perpetuating what has become an aristocracy of overwhelming wealth, power, and influence. One might ask, "Why tax inheritors of large fortunes?" The answer is because it's still an important source of federal revenue.
Conservatives deceitfully portray the estate tax as a burden on small, family-owned businesses. The fact of the matter is that less than 1 percent of the people who inherit an estate pay any estate tax at all, and half of the revenue from that tax comes from estates valued at $10 million or more. As the estate tax law is now constituted, only an individual inheriting more than $5 million (couples, $10 million) will pay the 35 percent estate tax and only on the amount exceeding those figures.
The consequence of repealing the estate tax would be an estimated $680 billion in lost tax revenue over the next decade. This loss of revenue, combined with the tax reductions on unearned income, is going to bring us to the point of no return. Adding further to our national debt is unsustainable. We may have already reached that point of no return.
Paul G. Jaehnert
Vadnais Heights, Minnesota
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