Flagging Interest

To the Editor:

The people of Mississippi have spoken. They had the chance to take off the dunce cap, but, just like the jock afraid that getting the question the teacher asked right will make him seem uncool, they decided cool is better than smart, or for this matter, decent.

Whether we as white people ever realize and admit it or not, there definitely is a debt owed to the black people of this nation. Part of the foundation of the economic prosperity we enjoy today was built upon the subjugation of an entire race of people.

If we want to take history for what it is, which seems to be the case for so many advocates of the Confederate flag, then we must do so wholly and without exception. Maybe the flag in question was not originally intended to be a symbol of oppression, but that is what it became, and that is what it stands for today.

And this is the symbol the people of Mississippi choose to represent them. Maybe it was poetic justice that on the same day this vote was cast I learned of the government study that ranked Mississippi dead last in education.

Kevin Vaughn, Memphis

Air Ball

To the Editor:

While your editorial (April 12th issue) raises some legitimate questions about the NBA arena financing, I believe it missed in two important ways.

Who cares if Gayle Rose and Pitt Hyde aren't life-long NBA fans? They are trying to help Memphis realize a long-held dream of bringing a major-league sports team to the city. You may argue with the deal they propose, but your assertion that they aren't "really hardcore basketball fans" seems a petty criticism.

And you write that there has been no appreciable demonstration of public support. True. But I don't think that means the deal is artificial. I believe what it really means is that Memphians, having been disappointed and embarrassed so many times before by the teams we did not get, are going to hang back until we see that it is real. Just six weeks ago, no more than a handful of Memphians could even imagine landing an NBA team. Now, even though the deal seems close to reality, it's still hard for most Memphians to believe it will actually happen. Just give it a little time to sink in. I predict people will be celebrating in the streets.

Let's get answers to the remaining questions, cut a reasonable deal, and get this done for Memphis.

Carol Coletta, Memphis

Utility Peculations?

To the Editor:

While public officials were busy pillorying the Flyer for its overstatement of the amount taxpayers have had to pay for our sheriff's peculations, an article of major importance apparently escaped the attention of both our elected officials and the community at large. Rebekah Gleaves' article about the MLGW winter heating bill rip-off ("The 'Perfect' Storm," April 12th issue) was first-class stuff and detailed the gouging Memphians have received at the hands of their public utility.

Where is the outrage of our public officials about the fleecing we all knew we were the victims of, and what steps are being taken to call the utility to task and force it to be accountable for its fraud (i.e., telling us it was magnanimously reducing our winter bills knowing we would instead be experiencing a 100 percent or more increase)? When can the rate-payers expect that action will be taken to return the millions of dollars in excessive charges we were forced to pay by a utility that seems more interested in feathering its own nest than in serving its constituency? And where was our newspaper "of record" during all this? Dutifully acting as MLGW's lackey, of course, passing along, with every self-serving bit of the utility's public relations pap.

Thank goodness for the doggedness of Ms. Gleaves' investigation. Look out, MLGW. You're being watched.

Martin H. Aussenberg, Memphis

Burning Bush

To the Editor:

Richard Cohen said it best in his article "An Arsenic Era" (Viewpoint, April 19th issue): Bush may be as dumb as we thought he was. It's nice to know that if there's money to be made, Bush is going to do his best to make sure he and his buddies get it. Forget our environment, what's important is that Bush gets every drop of oil from the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and anywhere else he sees fit to drill. The air is still breathable, so why do we need to sign the Kyoto Treaty? What we really need to do is make sure none of the corporations lose any money because of the restrictions the treaty would place on them.

It must be terrible if you're a CEO and you see forests that need to be torn down, air that needs to be polluted, or toxic waste that needs to be dumped, but you're unable to do so. What do you do then? Well, obviously Bush has the plan: You appoint those CEOs -- the people who contributed the most to your campaign fund -- as our leaders. Corporate leaders control our media, jobs, and lives, so why shouldn't they do the same with our politics.

Joe Stanley, Memphis

The Memphis Flyer encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. Or call Back Talk at 575-9405. Or send us e-mail at All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.


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