No. 19, Jan 26 - Feb 01

Just Chilling Out on Another Fine Iraqi Day'

Your president is back on the campaign trail again. In his latest speeches he has been chastising people who criticize his decisions on the Iraq war. He welcomes what he calls "honest criticisms," but he abhors those people who say the war was and is about oil or protecting Israeli interests in the Middle East. Those people are killing our troops' morale and "emboldening the terrorists," he says.

According to George Bush there is a terrorist somewhere in a cave in Iraq sitting in his Lazy-Boy sipping a brew while watching Al-Jazeera and reading the JFP. Just chilling out on another fine Iraqi day. He gets to page 11 and comes across the letters to the editor. He reads my most recent letter blaming Bush for lying us into a war, cherry-picking intelligence and stating that one of the only reasons our troops are there is because the Iraqis are sitting on vast quantities of oil. He throws down the paper and bolts from his recliner and yells to no in particular: "That's it. I can't take it anymore! I don't care that my home in Fallujah was demolished, and my wife and children were burned to death by white phosphorus shelling. Or that my brother was taken prisoner on his way to the market, tortured, killed and his body dumped in the Tigres. The fact that we can only get a couple of hours of electricity and the sewer backs up into our bathroom does not bother me. This Essex guy has put me over the edge! I was just going to quietly ride this war out here in the cave and wait for democracy to come knocking, but now I've got to act. I'm strapping some C-4 I found in the unprotected bunker to my stomach and going down to get in line at the police recruitment station and blow me up some countrymen"!

In this democracy known as America, dissent is protected or at least has been. If that is true, and the president is telling me that I am giving comfort to the enemy by speaking out and wants me gagged, then the terrorists have won.
— Brian Essex, Jackson

The Genius from Woodville

When you see New Stage's "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill" (January 31-February 12), know there is a Mississippi connection to Billie Holiday, the greatest of all jazz singers. Lester Young, the tenor saxophonist who "invented" cool jazz, came from Woodville, Miss. Young's lyrical, introspective style changed the whole music world and made other giants like Stan Getz or Lee Konitz possible. He was a shy, courteous man who developed his own elliptical "jive talk." He gave the young Billie the name "Lady," and she called him "Prez," nicknames that stuck through their troubled lives and brilliant careers. They may or may not have been lovers, but in the late '30s they made wonderful recordings together, real gems of chamber jazz. To learn more about Lester Young, the Mississippian who changed the essence of jazz, try the Mississippi Writers and Musicians Web site at Starkville High School.
— John Davis, Jackson


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