I read your editorial “The Problem(s) With Junior” (“Garrigan,” Sept. 7) only moments after finishing a phone conversation with a seasoned political observer who has actually watched Harold Ford Jr. campaign. I am not sure how exciting a prostate awareness fair may be, but my friend described Ford as the best Tennessean to take to the stump since John Jay went nutty. Likewise, reports from correspondents following Ford marvel at the ability of this young African American from Memphis to appeal to rural white voters of another generation.
The editorial reminds me of the preposterous commentary of Naderites in 2000 who found no difference between Gore and Bush. The Ford-Corker race may not determine the leader of the free world, but it does carry national and international implications. Democrats and Republicans alike know that the race may well determine the balance of power in the Senate and whether Bush-Cheney policies continue to go unchecked by serious Congressional scrutiny. Ford vs. Corker may well determine whether radical religious fundamentalists continue to dictate the selection of far right activist jurists to the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts. While it is cleverly droll to suggest that Harold Ford Jr. may be to the right of James Dobson, Tennessee voters may well decide whether the Dobson agenda continues to take primacy over a discussion of real issues like the Iraq quagmire, the failure of the administration to secure the safety of U.S. ports five years after 9/11, or the shameless efforts to cut funds for treatment of soldiers who suffered brain injuries in Bush’s misguided war of choice.
Liz Garrigan’s frequently pithy and humorous commentary often hits the mark, but this one misses the point.
IRWIN J. KUHN firstname.lastname@example.org (Nashville)
It’s not easy being green
Thanks for pointing out the dearth of differences between Harold Ford Jr., and Bob Corker (“Garrigan: The Problem(s) With Junior,” Sept. 7). Which would you prefer—an anti-abortion, anti-immigration, pro-war Democrat, or an anti-abortion, anti-immigration, pro-war Republican? Oh, wait—Ford is in favor of letting big pharma play with stem cells for fun and profit, while Corker’s against it. What a difference!
It is sad and embarrassing to see so many of my “liberal” friends lining up behind Ford. I guess they think it would be uncouth not to support him ’cause he’s a Democrat, sort of, and he’s black.
Such a non-choice demonstrates the bankruptcy of American politics, especially since there is a candidate who offers a genuine alternative to the failed policies shared by Ford and Corker. But it is for just that reason that Green Party Senate candidate Chris Lugo gets ignored. Green gubernatorial candidate Howard Switzer has the same problem—running against an incumbent who’s slashed health care and a challenger who wants to cut it even further, his “health care for all” campaign deserves far more attention that it’s getting, but the politics of business as usual do not permit proposing the end of business as usual.
Business-as-usual politics, although it’s the only kind that can gets any publicity, is approaching the end of the line. Whether it’s health care or energy policy, soon we will be far from the realm of the usual—like it or not, prepared or not. The Green Party seems to be the only political entity in the country that is willing to fully acknowledge this. Is the Scene
too much in thrall to “business as usual” to publicize those of us who are thinking outside the box?
MARTIN HOLSINGER email@example.com (Nashville)
I take issue with your piece on Harold Ford Jr. (“Garrigan: The Problem(s) With Junior,” Sept. 7). Law school is perfect training for representing people and writing new laws. Ford has received praise for service to his constituents. Your article ignored the myriad of issues for which he offers moderate, real-world solutions, instead of political double-speak. The fact is that Ford knows how to build consensus and get things done. All Corker can advertise is the idea that he has values. The problem is, we all know he’ll rubber stamp the failed Republican agenda. Lamar Alexander said he was an independent, and look at his record. Harold Ford is a man of ideas and can move Tennessee forward. We need leadership and a strong, independent voice in Washington. Ford has the skills to do both.
CHRIS GILREATH firstname.lastname@example.org (Memphis)
I want to point out a couple of things regarding Christine Kreyling’s review of the new Schermerhorn Symphony Center (“From Prussia With Love,” Sept. 7). First, those present at architect David Schwarz’s lecture last week (hosted by the Tennessee Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America) heard him talk about how this building is not “relentlessly Neoclassical,” as Ms. Kreyling described it. Rather, its various sources span several thousand years, drawing from the world’s best symphony halls and from Nashville’s most beloved buildings. Classically inspired, certainly; narrow in scope, not at all.
Second, I am sure she was correct that many in the design community take exception to its architecture. But in the view of many others, including not a few designers, the building’s contemporary expression of classical architecture is far from kitsch. No one knows for sure, but my feeling is that this building will one day be treasured in the hearts of the local design community as well as the public.
BRENT BALDWIN email@example.com (Nashville)
The bridges of Music Row County
To answer Jim Ridley’s question, I like Toby Keith just fine, thank you very much (“How Do You Like Me Now,” Sept. 7). While I appreciate that you didn’t bash Toby’s acting ability—which, no surprise to this fan, is very good—you could have given a little positive support to a movie that at least has a story line and doesn’t depend on stunts and special effects. I’m hoping to see Broken Bridges
in a theater near me. If that doesn’t work out, the movie will be in my collection and I will be watching it in my living room.
RUTH MILLER firstname.lastname@example.org (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
Walter Jowers’ column “Phantom Menace” (Sept. 7) is a clear example of one man forcing his sense of risk on another, in this case a mother. Risk is not just about the possibility of a problem happening but also the consequences if you happen to be the victim. Mothers are famous for doing everything they can to protect their kids—albeit the bell curve exists in population studies, and there are parents out there who don’t care and drive drunk. Complacency and confusion do not serve us.
When we found radon gas in buildings, we learned that man never really moved out of the cave. I’ll hold my tongue/breath here. Solving high radon exposures in buildings does not eliminate the risk but should help us breathe easier. The science related to the risk assessment is strong and growing stronger. It does not say panic but suggests this is one thing in our current world of troubles that we can do something about, given the money. There are also behavioral changes that can reduce the overall exposure and relative risk that do not require installing some sort of venting system. Milder climates can allow some simple ventilation strategies to improve a long-term test result. Cold winters require other strategies to assure low exposures during closed house conditions. These methods have been well researched and can work beautifully through the years. Solving this problem could possibly produce the confidence that can develop into one of the most powerful healing agents in this world, the relaxation response, and that is important work in this country and on this planet.
JACK BARTHOLOMEW email@example.com (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Hopefully I’m not the only reader who happened to notice the offensively ridiculous review some moron gave A Clockwork Orange
(“Movie Guide,” Sept. 14). Not to sound harsh, but the writer of said article is apparently a hack. Mr. Burgess himself did not feel at all the same way this writer does. He greatly appreciated Kubrick’s vision and the attention it brought to his writing. Whoever wrote this review clearly just wants to think they have some insight into something they did no research on and are just plain wrong about. (Apparently you haven’t read the freakin’ book, as there’s absolutely no evidence suggesting more “dehumanization” in the movie than the book. That’s the central theme of both.) Surely there is someone better qualified, and less of a fabricator, that you could get to review this film. I was appalled by the way it reports total falsities as fact. Let alone the fact they gave two stars to one of the best and most timeless of all films.
JORDAN HARKEY firstname.lastname@example.org (Nashville)