Letters to the Editor 

A Grateful Reader

I don't always agree with the Flyer's editorial stances. I consider myself pretty much a liberal on social issues and a conservative on such issues as immigration, a balanced budget, etc.

And like many Memphians, I probably take the Flyer for granted. But your June 21st issue provoked me to write. From the editor's column, to John Branston's and Jackson Baker's and Chris Davis' solid takes on civic issues, to your stellar music and film writing, it was a great issue, front to back. I even enjoyed the fluffy "summer" stories.

Keep up the great work. I'll bet there are a lot of folks out there like me, who appreciate the Flyer being a part of Memphis and never say so. Without you folks, it just wouldn't be the same around here.

John Ward


The Herenton Sex Plot

Regarding the Herenton "sex plot": I find it hard to believe that a young girl can manipulate a seasoned attorney and a veteran politician unless that is what they wanted to happen. I hope the U.S. government will take the lead and initiate a full investigation into this matter.

I was born and raised here and I know that Memphis is a great city. I remember a time when people would come and cut the yards of elderly and disabled people. I recall when waving to strangers was a normal daily activity.

I fear that without reasonable measures to keep politicians honest, our democracy is in serious decline. I patiently await the outcome of this investigation. We must not live in fear and suspicion.

Gregory Vassar


Sucker Punch

You don't have to be too brave to sucker punch a guy in a wheelchair.

With the first and third vetoes of his presidency, George W. Bush has dashed the hopes of millions of Americans suffering from diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and diabetes.

Thousands of stem cells, now frozen, will go in the trash, no matter how much "spin" the president puts on it.  

Despite the will of the House, the Senate, almost three quarters (72 percent) of Americans, 80 Nobel Prize winners, nearly 600 advocate groups, all 19 National Health Institute directors and an impassioned plea from Nancy Reagan, the president's first veto, like this recent one, struck down stem-cell legislation.   

Utah senator Orrin Hatch, hardly some wild-eyed liberal, speaking on Charlie Rose last August, said, "I don't think it's wrong to try and help the living." Apparently the powers that be don't share Hatch's opinion. So, like I have every day for over six years, I'll drag my happy ass out of bed and into a wheelchair with no hope for any help from the White House.  

Somehow, it's morally right to throw stem cells in the furnace but not to use them to improve the quality of existing lives. Despite Congress allotting millions of dollars to help with stem-cell adoption, very, very few have actually been used for that purpose. The cells are left over because couples were successful with in vitro fertilization and the cells are no longer needed; the owners have already planned to discard them.  

The United States will lose many of its best scientists. People wanting to research embryonic stem cells will go to Singapore, China, South Korea, or some other country that encourages it.

The president doesn't want scientists to destroy stem cells in the course of doing research. His solution? Destroy them first. I may not be the sharpest pencil in the box, but I don't get it. I just don't get it.

Jim DeatonMemphis

Hope for the Future

Recently, something took place at the White House that gave me hope for the future of this country. A group of high school students who were being honored as Presidential Scholars presented a letter to President Bush.

In short, it read: "We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants." These kids are my heroes. God bless all of them.

Aaron Prather


Editor's note: Due to the Fourth of July holiday, next week's Flyer will come out on July 5th.

Correction: Last week's Viewpoint stated that the Memphis City Schools budget surpassed the city budget in the 1990s. The correct time-frame is the mid-1980s.


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