Letters to the Editor

Long Overdue

To the Editor:

It is really wonderful to see Walter Anderson receiving the national recognition so long overdue ("New and Strange," January 29th issue).

In 1967, my father, Robert J. McKnight, was director of the Brooks Museum, and he was asked by a mutual friend to help the Anderson family catalog Walter's work. On arriving at the Anderson family compound, he found a small house piled so high with papers they had to move things to enter. Off to the side was a small closed-off room. When they opened the door, they found the spectacularly painted room that is now in the Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

After months with Sissy Anderson (Walter's wife) cataloging work, my father developed the first comprehensive exhibit of Anderson's work at the Brooks in l968. He called everyone he knew, and people came from all over the country to buy. Purchasers included numerous local collectors, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation, Chuck Jones (creator of Bugs Bunny cartoons), Nancy Hanks from the National Endowment for the Arts, Katharine Hepburn, and a representative from the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Despite the fact that everything in the exhibit sold, Anderson did not gain the national acclaim due him. My father was the first to compare Anderson to van Gogh in terms of his intrepretation of nature and individualistic style. His life was truly a work of art.

Peggy McKnight


Politics, As Usual

To the Editor:

Thank you for Jackson Baker's insightful reporting from New Hampshire ("Another Kerry Win," January 29th issue). John Kerry must be doing something right (and worrying Bush supporters) since he is "enjoying" the predictable sort of incoherent attacks that right-wing radio and editorialists used to reserve for Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Kerry is a formidable candidate for many reasons, but he scares the dickens out of the Bush partisans because he is an authentic Vietnam war hero who had the guts (and the good judgment) to forcefully criticize the war after he returned to the States. The thought of an actual war hero debating foreign policy with our Chicken-Hawk-in-Chief petrifies Bush's handlers. Bush admits he was basically oblivious to the heated debate about the Vietnam war that gripped most of the country during his college days. Furthermore, Bush avoided battlefield service by using his family influence to vault ahead of many other young men and enter the Texas Air National Guard -- where he "distinguished" himself primarily by failing to report for duty for more than a year at one point.

Meanwhile, the most hawkish person in the Bush administration, Vice President Dick Cheney, sought five different deferments to avoid military service in Vietnam. There's something more than a little repugnant about someone who enthusiastically supports the involvement of his peers in an armed conflict while methodically avoiding service himself.

B. Keith English


To the Editor:

As a longtime environmental advocate, I urge your readers to support John Kerry for president in the upcoming primary. He is the only candidate in the race with a record of protecting the environment. That's why he received the endorsement of the League of Conservation Voters.

Kerry has been a top leader on the environment for decades. Aside from protecting our precious wilderness areas, his environmental policies will improve the economic vitality and quality of life of the places where we live and work. Most importantly, a proper focus on this issue creates jobs and avoids enormous cleanup costs for future generations. With the staggering deficits of the last three years, we don't need to add to that burden with the long-term costs of a failed environmental policy.

John Montgomery


To the Editor:

President Bush's "no new taxes" pledge is a farce. Each time he charges $540 billion to our children's credit cards he's taxing with interest. A tax by any other name is still a tax. This one is a very cruel one.

Our national debt exceeded $1 trillion for the first time in 1981. Since then, it has increased sevenfold for our future generations to pay.

Now, Bush is promising to reduce the deficit by 50 percent within five years! Why do the media let such promises be made without qualification? Is it impolite to simply ask how?

Robert Perkins

Richfield, North Carolina

To the Editor:

Jackson Baker writes of Dennis Kucinich that he was: "Reminded at the restaurant that voters had forced the onetime boy mayor of Cleveland to undergo a recall election in the '80s because of charges that he had emptied the city's coffers ... ."

The sale of Cleveland's Muny Light was already in the works when Kucinich ran for mayor. He ran on a platform to stop the sale of the public company and was elected.

The bankers holding the city's debt also sat on the board of the utility company that was seeking to create a monopoly by swallowing up Muny. The bankers demanded that Kucinich approve of the sale and threatened to call in the debts he inherited from a Republican mayor if he refused. The bankers did not care if the people of Cleveland were hurt and acted solely to destroy the political career of one man who stood up to them.

Kucinich survived the recall but was defeated for reelection. Since then, the city of Cleveland has saved $200 million by controlling its electric supply. In 1998, the Cleveland City Council unanimously passed a resolution to formally thank Kucinich for having the courage and foresight to save Muny Light.

Jean Robertson

Cleveland, Ohio

Tim, Tim, Tim

To the Editor:

Kerri Lawless-Hopkins (Letters to the Editor, January 29th issue) wants Tim Sampson to "let it go," because we can't change what happened in the 2000 election. But I hope Tim will keep reminding us.

Our election system is still broken, and we are still in danger of having our voice stolen. Broward County, Florida, was at the center of the controversy in the 2000 election. On January 6, 2004, residents in Broward County voted on touch-screen computers. There were 134 "non-votes," and the election was decided by a difference of 12 votes. But this time, since there was no paper trail, the Supreme Court won't have to stop a recount.

I agree that we can forget about punch cards and pregnant chads. But I'm not willing to forget that nearly 180,000 "spoiled-ballot" votes were not counted and that a large number of those uncounted votes were cast by African Americans. I'm not willing to forget that many people were incorrectly purged from voter lists in a process that again seemed to target African Americans.

It is naive to think that the 2000 election was a one-time fluke that can't happen again or that we can just show up to vote on Election Day and assume that our vote will be accurately counted. My thanks go out to Sampson for reminding us how fragile our privileges are.

Becki Barnhardt


To the Editor:

Please tell Tim Sampson that Bill Clinton has first dibs on the title "the Liar."

Stephanie Wolf


City Reportage

To the Editor:

I had expected a little more accurate reporting in Janel Davis' piece (City Reporter, January 29th issue) on serving Bishop Grayson with his restraining order. I told Davis that the threat made on me "would" be in the unedited tape shot by Channels 5 and 24 when Patricia Rogers said, "We have our own police and he will have large men with him to stop you or they will run you down."

Doesn't sound very "Christian" to me! And I most certainly took that as a threat after the bishop evaded service of process with the known help of others.

Rik Anderson


The Mayor and the Council

To the Editor:

What gives local religious leaders the right to ask Mayor Herenton to pick another candidate from within the ranks of the Memphis Fire Department? What motives do they have?

The mayor stated that he believes Chief Crawford is the most qualified man for the position. Do the religious leaders think the fire department deserves the mayor's second, third, or forth choice? I have worked for the Memphis Fire Department for 31 years, and I support the mayor's choice. I know the fire department needs the most qualified man for the job -- not the second- or third-best choice.

This is not a popularity contest, not a racial issue, and shouldn't be a political game.

Division Chief Joe Davis


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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