Letters to the editor 

Sunday Booze

I do not understand the debate about Sunday liquor sales (In the Bluff, December 15th issue). A person can get into a drunken stupor with a case of beer just as easily as they can with a bottle of whiskey. Bar and restaurants serve liquor on Sunday, so a person can go out, have a few drinks, and then get in their car to drive, but they can't buy a bottle and go drink it at home? The ban is just plain ludicrous.

Memphis is struggling to pay for its schools. Any idea that could better fund education should be considered.Sierra FitzgeraldMemphis

Voting Machine Errors

Greg Duckett completely mischaracterized what a "vvpat" is (The Fly-By, December 15th issue). It is not a "receipt." It does not link a vote to a voter. Is Duckett truly that misinformed or does he have an ulterior motive in such statements?

A vvpat is simply a copy of a ballot that is printed from a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machine after the voter is finished making choices but prior to pushing the final "vote" button. It allows the voter to verify on paper that their vote is correctly represented. The voter does not take it away from the polls. The vvpat is deposited into a ballot box or, in the case of many DREs, stays on a take-up reel.

That paper representation of the voter's choices can then be used in audits to ensure the voting machines correctly recorded votes. These audits are required in many states. The paper ballot can also be used in recounts.

John Gideon

Bremerton, Washington

Happy Christmas

I find it fascinating and puzzling that some people think there is a conspiracy to force anyone to not use the phrase "Merry Christmas" (Letters, December 15th issue). It smells more like a right-wing-invented "crisis" to distract us from the real issues, like the illegal war, the struggling hurricane victims, the lies, bribery, and fraud perpetrated by congressional Republicans, our deteriorating environment, and the price of oil.

"Happy Holidays" and "Seasons Greetings" have been around since long before I was born (I am over 50). "Merry Christmas" is not a proclamation of the birth of Christ. It is a social holiday greeting.

For the Christian church's first three centuries, Christmas wasn't on the calendar at all! December 25th originally celebrated the birth of the Roman emperor and the birth of Pharaoh. Church leaders commandeered the date and used it to introduce a new festival to celebrate the "true" deity. Western Christians first celebrated Christmas on December 25th in 336, after Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the empire's favored religion. Christmas wasn't declared a federal holiday in America until 1870.

Use whatever phrase of greeting or acknowledgment that you choose and exercise your freedom to celebrate the birth of Christ or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. That is what America is about -- freedom of expression, freedom of (and from) religion, and freedom of choice.

Sylvia Cox


Isn't It Ironic?

Isn't it ironic that a few days after Iraqis went to the polls to vote in parliamentary elections, we learn that President Bush and Darth Cheney are making more progress in their scheme to convert America into a totalitarian regime that would have made Saddam Hussein proud?

In Bush's America, the government aids and abets the torture of prisoners around the globe, keeps Americans imprisoned for years without charges (much less due process), repeatedly violates the Geneva Conventions, spies on our citizens at the library and elsewhere, and authorizes illegal wiretappings because our president believes he is above the law.

In his wildest dreams, George Orwell never imagined the extraordinary hubris and folly that are the hallmarks of this administration.B. Keith EnglishMemphis


I understand that Brokeback Mountain (Editor's Note, December 15th issue) is a different kind of cowboy flick: The good guys get it in the end. (This is not to be confused with the new movie about two gay plumbers: Buttcrack Mountain.)Joe Mercer


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