ICE ICE baby!
Regarding Brantley Hargrove's "ICE Hazard," Jan. 13: This article should win its own award in the Scene's Best of Nashville issue: best crash course on the 287(g) program.
I am responding to the questions Bruce Carlock asked about our fellow Nashvillians originally from Sudan, and specifically my friends known as the Lost Boys ("Love/Hate Mail," Jan. 6). I have spent many hours with these exceptional young men. I've experienced their wonderful art at the Frist Center and at the Lost Boy Center in Nashville. I've shared meals with them, gone to their churches, and attended joyful events such as high school and college graduations. The Sudanese living here speak excellent English, in addition to French, Arabic, Swahili, Dinka and even Spanish. The Sudanese, many of whom are U.S. citizens, arrived here as war refugees. They had to pass rigorous testing and scrutiny to be allowed entrance into this country. We are very lucky to have some of the most gifted and brightest Sudanese minds living in our city.
The Lost Boys of Sudan experienced the most horrific wartime atrocities imaginable. I continue to be awed by their optimism, warmth and grace. The Lost Boys that I know work hard at their jobs, go to school, and support the families they had to leave behind. They all appreciate the opportunity to live peaceful, safe and productive lives in America.
Right person, right time
Bruce Dobie's "The Mayor: The First Hurrah" (Jan. 6) was a great, well-written story. To add a little more context: It wasn't just Bill Boner that Bredesen supplanted, but decades of courthouse control by an East Nashville-based political machine. The demarcation between the eras of West/Briley/Fulton/Boner and Bredesen/Purcell/Dean was a turning point in the modern history of the city. Bredesen, as Bruce points out, was the right person at the right time to make that transition possible.
Henry the second
Bruce Barry: thoughtful and well-argued, as always ("The Underachiever: Middling Manager," Jan. 6). But aren't you setting the bar pretty high? Is there any governor in the state's history who acted "boldly to remake Tennessee's social, economic, cultural and political order"? (The only one I can think of is Parson Brownlow, who did all that ... but not in a good way.) I think you are blaming Bredesen for being less than you and other progressives wish he could have been, much the way in which many liberals have been disappointed in Obama. Fair enough. But when you compare Bredesen to his predecessors (or his Republican opponents), he looks more like an A minus than a C minus, to me.
I voted for Bredesen in 2006, and it's the most regrettable thing I have ever done in the voting booth ("The Underachiever: Middling Manager," Jan. 6). The man won all 95 counties that year and did absolutely nothing with that mandate — absolutely nothing. His term only served to make his predecessor, Don Sundquist, seem bold and forward-thinking by comparison.
Surely a 95-county governor could have solved Tennessee's long-term funding problems, and a 95-county governor could have wrestled TennCare providers into managing the state's money better — or pioneered a new and better way to care for the health of Tennessee's poor. At best, his state and his party kept their heads above water during the eight years of his leadership. At worst, he pissed away eight years when Tennessee needed a great man in the governor's office but only got a placeholder — someone who kept up appearances, maintained the status quo, and covered over real problems in the state.
The rationalizations for local rock's decline in the story "Under Cover" (Jan. 6) are numerous, and each taken by itself is perhaps compelling, but ultimately inadequate. Is it because local rock bands are so competitive? There's too much talent! Or maybe because the Internet prevents people from going to shows they wouldn't want to go to? There's too little talent! Or maybe because, unlike that silly dubstep music, we don't have enough lights? We need some lights! And smoke machines! It's not rocket surgery, guys: People pay money to go to dubstep shows because (gasp!) they are actually interested in dubstep.
For years, I've enjoyed several of your most talented writers, especially Jim Ridley and Ron Wynn, but that doggone Walter Jowers made me pull my iPad from between my car seat and send a thank-you note while waiting on my wife to come out of the store. His piece "A Jabo Jowers Christmas" (Dec. 23) absolutely made my holiday season, invoking every emotion from joy, to laughter, to tears, to sentimentality. It pierced my heart, and for that, I give thanks. That cat's a writer. Keep him.
Dr. jeff obafemi carr
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