incoming (2006-06)

Cost-cutting 101

Another Roadside Attraction

That Green Stuff

Too Mentally Ill to Die

Crowe Bait

Cost-cutting 101

Shirley Lane Williams

Another Roadside Attraction

Whether one is a fundamentalist conservative Christian who believes Jesus spoke King James English or an ultra-liberal who thinks the Bible is merely a collection of ancient history and moral precepts, elevating a 20th-century slogan coined by politicians to the level of the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount sounds like blasphemy. Affinity marketing or product placement may be good strategies for advertising, but enlisting the Deity to sell ad space crosses the line between ethical business practices and cynicism.

Richard Fields

That Green Stuff

Now, to me, it is clearly more of an elemental thing, like water. Wasted, gulped down from the tap by the masses, mixed with good Scotch by movers and shakers, missing here and there with dire consequences, too abundant in the wrong places, and occasionally found in a little puddle on the sidewalk. Or, as with eBay’s Meg Whitman’s orgiastic stuffing of her own purse, dammed up like the Mississippi and channeled neatly into the coffers of certain high-rent valleys.

Tell you one thing for sure, though: Once I secure the winning bid on the leather jacket Tom Cruise used to shield Katie Holmes’ cleavage from the paparazzi , my own eBaying days are over.

Jack Mauro

Too Mentally Ill to Die

It is clear that Mr. Thompson is too impaired to understand the implications of his crime, his sentence, or the execution, and so it would be morally reprehensible for Gov. Phil Bredesen to allow this execution to take place. I sincerely hope that he grants this person clemency by commuting his sentence to life in prison without parole. To do otherwise would bring shame to the state of Tennessee and to the entire country.

Erin Simmeth

Crowe Bait

She went without the prescription drugs she needed in order to pay Seth’s fees at the halfway house. During the period when Seth was in counseling and AA meetings, she lost almost 50 pounds from her already-slight frame, and she pretty much lost her mind. She became her normal, optimistic self again only after her son was released from jail. I feel that her reaction to the situation was appropriate. In her position, I’d have probably done the same.

Seth made a wise decision when he said that completing his jail term would be easier to deal with than the innumerable and unreasonable demands placed on him by participation in the Drug Court/Steps House program. Seth wanted to pay his debt to society and rehabilitate himself. He wanted to get a job and prove that he was, or could be, a valued citizen of Knoxville. He wanted to put the whole thing behind him and grow up.

Instead of a “hand up,” Steps House offered him the occasional one step forward and many instances of two steps backward. He felt that he was being held captive in the program, merely for the money his mother paid regularly. Steps House apparently doesn’t differentiate between “fees” and “ransom.”

Regarding the random Breathalyzer test, which Seth allegedly failed, I was told that the Breathalyzer machine in use was an old one, and it was not properly maintained or calibrated. Seth, after “failing” the test, challenged the test administrator to “blow in it yourself and see what happens.” The counselor reportedly did so, and also tested positive for alcohol in his system. Too bad Mr. Crowe did not report this in his otherwise excellent story. Perhaps some regulatory inspection of the diagnostic equipment is in order, along with some training in its proper use and the interpretation of its results.

Seth says, “It’s called ‘The House of Brotherly Love,’ but it turned to ‘The House of Brotherly Hate’ real fast.” Seth’s father is correct in his assertion that privately owned corporate entities are making money, and lots of it, from court decisions. He is also correct in his assertion that unwise youthful experiments do not always produce addicts. If they did, we’d all be blotto in a gutter somewhere.

In this article, we are told that Bob Garrett is the executive director of Steps House, and Patrick White is the president. It would be very enlightening to learn who the actual owners of the Steps House are. We might all be unpleasantly surprised to discover the identity of the little man (or men) behind the curtain. This situation needs closer scrutiny.

Katherine Allmon VanDuser

Guidelines for Incoming Mail