I'd like to thank Jackson Baker and the Flyer for giving citizen Joe Saino a little long-overdue recognition in your cover story (September 24th issue). Saino may not always be right, but he is right often enough that we should never ignore him. Good government demands vigilance of its citizens. And, as was made abundantly clear in the article, many of those in power in Memphis fear a "watchdog." Why?
I say those are the very officeholders we need to be rid of. A good watchdog never bites his master, only those trying to harm him. Enough said.
It appears the City Council members voting to keep Joe Saino off the city of Memphis pension board were the "free-lunchers."
William B. Watt
Regarding Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery's fist-bump of the Dalai Lama, I must ask the obvious question: What price do you put on bad publicity?
My perception of fist-bumping His Holiness is that it is the act of a buffoon who casts decorum and respect aside in the name of a friendly gesture and "publicity." This act is akin to high-fiving the pope or back-slapping Mother Teresa.
Lowery says that the Dalai Lama knew about the greeting and agreed to it. If so, that only tells me he is a good sport and does not in any way lessen the egregiousness of such a boorish act. And the attempt at cuteness by using the tired pun "Hello, Dalai" really does not even deserve repeating.
I am embarrassed for my city in this affair.
G.J. Billmeier Jr.
One problem with the Buddhist worldview that the Dalai Lama proclaims is that he has no justification for ethics or any other components of a coherent worldview. Buddhists do not hold to a personal and absolute being such as the Christian God. This means that there is no ultimate moral lawgiver.
Upon what then does the Dalai Lama derive morality? It is based upon arbitrary subjective choices. It is also an inductive fallacy, as no one can know how arbitrary morals can affect the whole social order over a long period of time. The historical, Calvinistic belief that the settlers held to was that man is naturally sinful and cannot generate goodness within. It requires the work of the Christian spirit.
Furthermore, the Dalai Lama's idea of vague forgiveness is misguided. Forgiveness is always coupled with restitution of some sort. If a thief steals my car, I expect restitution. It is true one can overlook minor infractions, but restitution is the norm in a just social order.
Charles H. Gillihan
During the 2008 election campaign, Senator McCain used the phrase "Country First." It's catchy and harkens back to JFK. Too bad it was just a catchy phrase.
Why am I writing this now? A few recent news stories reminded me who helped get America into the mess we are now in. The answer is: We did. At least, those Americans who bought into the lies of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and their allies in Congress.
China is now painting the country red, because it's the anniversary of the Communist takeover. Where does the Chamber of Commerce come into the picture? They are one of the main forces behind the move of America's manufacturing base to China. The chamber and their GOP allies wrote and passed tax bills containing incentives to send our jobs overseas. They told us those old jobs would be replaced by new high-tech jobs. What they failed to say was that the new jobs would offer lower wages with little or no benefits, so the high-tech industry could "compete."
Editor Bruce VanWyngarden made a nice connection between the wonderful Vietnamese food available in Memphis and the terrible conflict 35 years ago that made it possible (Editor's note, September 24th issue). Thanks for the reminder that we can always find something new and thought-provoking in the commonplace — if we look.
Which leads me to put on my Dr. Phil face and say what has to be said: It's time for Memphis and Shelby County to start seeing other people. We've tried for years to patch things up, to come to some sort of mutual understanding, but we need to admit that we have irreconcilable differences. We don't even know each other any more ...