High Praise

To the Editor:

All I can say is Jackson Baker is one brave S.O.B. ("Riding Shotgun with John Ford," May 5th issue).

David Miller


To the Editor:

John Branston's column about New York City's bike tour being a model for Memphis sounds like a great idea (City Beat, May 5th issue). To say "Memphis isn't known as a particularly bicycle-friendly city" is an understatement comparable to saying pedestrians aren't too welcome on I-40. I saw a list of the 10 most dangerous American cities for bicycles and Memphis was number four. So just the chance to ride without dodging cars, horns, and middle fingers would probably attract lots of locals as well as the visitors that Branston mentions.

Memphis does have some attractive aspects for bicycling: a climate that is favorable; a mostly, but not boringly so, level landscape; and lots of beautiful tree-shaded streets in Midtown. It would be easy to come up with a 30-to-40-mile loop that takes in the downtown sites, Midtown sites like Overton Park, and even Graceland and Shelby Farms.

I would think the RDC, the Center City Commission, the Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Shelby Farms, the local bicycle clubs, and numerous other organizations would be interested in making this a reality. It could even serve as a fund-raiser.

Bill Rehberg


The Pope is Catholic

To the Editor:

In Norman Solomon's Viewpoint column ("Crisis of Faith," April 28th issue), he stated that the Catholic Church is the "capital of political reaction garbed in religiosity." Assuming Pope Benedict XVI actually believes what the Christian faith espouses, then he has misread the man.

The Catholic faith teaches that out of love God created man in his own image. Because of his great love for mankind, God gave us the dignity of free will, the ability to choose the way of self-giving love or the way of self-centered evil. A close analogy would be the love a parent has for a child.

Sex is precious within the Catholic Christian ethic not simply because it is pleasurable, though sex is pleasurable. Sex is precious because it is the method God chose to create new souls, the same souls that Jesus Christ died for. The Catholic faith teaches that God created sex for two reasons: bonding with one's mate and for the creation of new souls.

Because the creation of new souls must be prized and protected, the Christian faith has taught that sex is to be practiced between a husband and wife. Their union is protected within the bonds of marriage. Sex outside of marriage is and has always been considered sinful.

Whether or not you choose to accept Christian theology is up to you. However, when Christians choose to follow 2000 years of Christian ethics, they are not being political, they are simply practicing their faith. Consequently, the pope is not a homophobe, as Solomon suggests. He is simply Catholic.

Scott Leary



To the Editor:

Ain't it strange how British exit polls got it spot-on in the last election, but we Americans still haven't been allowed to see the raw data from the exit polls of our last presidential election?

The vote totals in the last two national elections in this country contradicted the results of exit polls. The winners of those elections, and the media reporting on them, have been quick to blame the exit polls rather than the results of the elections. Yet in every other country in the world, exit polls are used to verify the legitimacy of elections, not the other way around.

One possible reason for these consistent anomalies is our dependence on electronic voting machines owned and operated by people with a political stake in the outcome of our elections. We are sacrificing democracy for the sake of expediency just so we can have immediate election results. Ufologists won't accept digital photographic evidence of UFOs because digital photos are too easy to fake. If the technology is not secure enough and trustworthy enough to satisfy people who believe aliens from other worlds and other dimensions are visiting Earth, why in the name of George Washington are we entrusting our democracy to it?

I say we keep electronic voting but tabulate the vote from a scanned paper ballot. That way, we get our instant election results. Meanwhile, count every single one of those paper ballots by hand to verify the electronic totals, not the other way around.

Jeff Crook


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