Bruce VanWyngarden's recent "Letter From the Editor" (February 24th issue) concerning the protests in Egypt and Libya missed the mark in attempting to make a feeble connection with the protests in Wisconsin.
Protests in the Middle East are occurring because the people of those countries have been denied the ballot box by despots, who, until very recently, were on quite cozy terms with the Obama administration.
In Wisconsin, a clear majority of citizens recently voted in a free and open election to address that state's financial crisis and now a small cadre of spoiled, unionized state workers are upset because they are being thrown off the government gravy train. The attendant fact that Democrats from the state legislature have also run away rather than meet their elected responsibilities is disgraceful.
In the Middle East, protesters are demanding democracy. In Wisconsin, protesters are denying it. There is a difference.
Payback is a bitch, as they say. It's happening now to the despots in the Middle East, and, sooner rather than later, it will come to the politicians who have sold their souls to corporate America at the expense of the working class.
In Wisconsin, the governor and his GOP allies pushed through more than $110 million in tax breaks for corporations and then tried to balance that cut in income from the budget by taking it out of the pockets of unionized labor — people making middle-class wages. The result: thousands of working people in Wisconsin who no longer buy into the idea that the GOP has any other goal than to ensure that their corporate-lobby overlords are made happy.
What's happening in Wisconsin has nothing to do with "balancing the budget." Rather, it's all about breaking what has long been a stronghold of Democratic Party support — unions. It will backfire. Payback is coming at the ballot box.
Cuts to the EPA
On February 19th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a funding bill
(H.R. 1), legislation which irresponsibly cuts appropriations and thus cripples the EPA's ability to regulate large-scale polluters and enforce the Clean Water and Clean Air acts. Thankfully, here in Tennessee, Congressman Steve Cohen not only voted against this destructive legislation but has continually spoken out against attacks on our health and air.
The funding bill blocks the EPA from limiting how much coarse particulate matter ("soot") enters our air. This type of air pollution worsens asthma, chronic lung disease, and heart disease and promotes premature death. More than 96,000 children in Tennessee have asthma and are put at risk by this dangerous pollution.
The EPA strives to enforce the Clean Air Act for the benefit of all Americans, but its efforts have come under attack by dirty energy companies and their allies in Congress who wish to strip the agency of funding. Cohen should be applauded for speaking out against efforts to block clean air standards — standards that would help ensure a clean and safe environment for all. Michael Nemeth environmentamerica.org
Only in Memphis could the concept of a property owner having the right to sell his property be questioned and held up. The good news is, even among a cesspool of liberal nut jobs, America has prevailed and CVS will soon do us the honor of knocking down yet another hideous, asbestos-infested eyesore. If CVS would offer $5 per sledge-hammer swing, they could recoup most of their investment. I would be the first in line.
Hopefully, this will open the eyes of local government to recognize that Memphis Heritage speaks for only 40 to 50 people, all of whom have nothing better to do with their daytime hours. This band of kooks should be forever viewed as such and given no more attention than they deserve: a condescending nod.
the taxi guy
The "Taxi Stories" (Cover Story, February 17th issue) were refreshing. First, because they tell the tale of someone in midlife who needed a second income and, instead of griping about the economy, made the best of it by taking on a new job. Second, because the stories are about ordinary day-to-day activities, but the taxi guy — Eddie Tucker — made them so interesting. Hope you publish more of the same. I'd like to know what happens to the taxi guy.
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On April 18th, the Tennessee House and Senate passed what's been termed the "ag gag" bill. This piece of legislative flimflammery requires that anyone who takes video or photos of animal abuse must turn over said photographs or video to law enforcement within 48 hours ...