To the Editor:
Molly Ivins' so-called News Analysis ("Bad Manners," October 17th issue) attacked a negative political commentary about ex-President Jimmy Carter with a litany of his personal and after-office accomplishments. I thought Bill Clinton and his supporters, especially James Carville, whom Ivins cites as a defender of Carter's sainthood, recently established that the standard of measuring a president had nothing to do with his personal life, character, sense of honor, ethics, or morals.
Clearly, there is much to admire in some of Carter's personal beliefs and work. But this does not change his grossly ineffective performance as president, no matter how much Ivins and others want to ensure that history, or at least the average American, forgets it. As president, Carter was a master of symbolism: the cardigan, the fireside chat, etc. In reality, he spent days on trivia such as low-level procedures or even who had priority to play on the White House tennis courts. He would order travel in limos instead of helicopters or stay in private homes while campaigning to publicize how he was saving a few bucks and what a down-to-earth, great guy he was -- never mind that the lives of thousands more would be disrupted or that the extra police and Secret Service protection would cost tremendously more than was saved.
I personally saw the havoc that Carter wreaked on the U.S. Armed Services. My first job after graduating Memphis State in 1979 was as a civilian engineer for the Air Force. I also enjoyed voting against Carter for reelection because he came into office holding Gerald Ford solely and personally responsible for the U.S. economy yet ran for reelection while blaming everyone in the country but himself for a far, far more dismal economic picture. His sole presidential accomplishment was a Middle-East peace that doesn't look very peaceful to most of us who read the news.
But even if all Carter's very real failures aren't ignored, how shabby Bill Clinton still seems by comparison.
Herbert E. Kook Jr.
To the Editor:
Some Republicans are upset because former President Jimmy Carter won the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. Basically, they argue that he should be disqualified because he has spent too much time working for peace. Instead, in a claim that rivals the pronouncements of Orwell's Ministry of Truth, these G.O.P. partisans actually suggest that President George W. Bush would have been a much better choice.
Right. War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.
B. Keith English
To the Editor:
I could not fully understand why you chose to publish two letters from, presumably, Baptist readers on the importance of God and the Bible versus the lottery in Tennessee (Postscript, October 17th issue). Intrigued, I read the section several times, trying to locate a rebuttal or another letter endorsing the necessity of a state lottery to help pay for improving our awful education system. But I found nothing.
My search came to an end when I finally saw the huge ad titled "There's no comparison to Grand," which featured two exuberant middle-age women (who looked a lot like Baptists) rejoicing jubilantly for having won at the casino. The best response to the hypocrites was right there in front of me.
To the Editor:
On behalf of Merry Maids, I want to thank Tim Sampson for mentioning our company in the October 3rd issue of the Flyer (We Recommend). Merry Maids is a division of the ServiceMaster Company and is headquartered right here in Memphis. Each year, we host some 700 of our franchise owners and managers for a convention of learning, sharing, and, of course, fun and entertainment. It was our gala Saturday-night event that Tim and his friend accidentally crashed. To take nothing from the ingenious Pat Tigrett and her Blues Ball, we think we throw a pretty good party here at Merry Maids.
In the spirit of telling the Merry Maids story and in bringing our family together for fellowship and learning, we thank you for spending some time with us. And we certainly want to thank you for including us in the article. Dinner was on us, and it was the best $71.30 we ever accidentally spent for press coverage.
Director of Market Expansion, Merry Maids
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.