TERRE HAUTE —
Vote in favor of smoking bans
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to attend both the City Council and the county commissioner meetings regarding the non-smoking ordinance going into effect July 1. I listened to the arguments against the non-smoking policy, as well as the ones in favor of the ordinance.
Being a member of some of the private clubs in town and being a veteran, I spoke at both meetings to give my opinion, after hearing others who were supposed to be speaking on behalf of the clubs and their members.
Secondhand smoke is related to several physical disorders including lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death. State and local governments across the country are enacting laws to curtail the incidence of secondhand smoke in public businesses and clubs.
I applaud the members of the City Council and the county commissioners for the work they’ve done in studying this important issue and their understanding of the laws that protect employees and members of the public from health-threatening secondhand smoke.
The City Council and commissioners need to consider the 70 percent of Hoosiers who backed the law to ban smoking indoors.
— Larry Cruse
Let private clubs set own rules
What is wrong with the city and county commissioners? Private clubs must be removed from the smoking ordinance. The definition of the word, private, as related to this topic is: 1. Secluded from others. 2.a. Not for public use or participation. 3.b. Owned or controlled by a person or group rather than the public or government.
These clubs have the right to set the rules for their organizations and the public can choose to become members or not. A majority of these clubs are run by veterans and they have earned the right, by defending our freedom, to run their clubs how they see fit.
It seems to me that the commissioners must have a deep-seeded hatred of our armed forces and our veterans. Their unwavering support for this part of the ordinance is not only disturbing but also indefensible, unconscionable and un-American. Non-smokers and smokers alike should call or email commissioners Paul Mason and Mike Ciolli and voice their support for our local veterans and tell them to vote no on the city ordinance.
Enough is enough, your private residence could be next.
— Jeffrey S. Skirvin
Questions for execs of private schools
The June 11 Flashpoint essay from three private school executive directors touting the value of Indiana’s voucher system prompts a response from a different point of view. As one who spent his career in teacher education, I read the article with amusement and concern. I was amused because the authors successfully secured an amount of free advertising in the newspaper. I was troubled because there were undocumented and unsubstantiated claims posed as “evaluations.” This leaves a number of questions for one who believes that public education is a necessity.
The letter claims in its early paragraphs that the voucher system allows choice for students’ individual needs. Like the public schools do not? If not, why is there such diversity of offerings and experiences in public schools?
The most puzzling part of the letter was one in which they assert that “program savings are redistributed to Indiana’s public schools.” Let me think about this. Where did that money come from in the first place? It appears to me that 100 percent comes from the public school budget and a pittance is returned. Las Vegas has better odds.
Then one must ask why it is cheaper to educate a student in a choice school than in a public facility. Lower teacher salaries? Fewer services? Reduced or non-existent programs? Fewer materials? A substandard building? Something has to give (Music? Art? Drama?). Come on, executive directors, what is it?
From that they move to the assertion that their schools provide life-changing experiences. Well duh? There are volumes and volumes of evidence that public schools provide life-changing experiences. The whole notion of schools is that they change people.
Then buried in one of the closing paragraphs they comment that choice school participants appreciate having access to smaller class size and one-to-one attention. Now where have we heard that before? Public school personnel have advocated that for years. What more value is a smaller class size in a choice school than it would be in a public school?
Yes, your letter is interesting and contains a number of claims. How about attempting to get more free publicity from the newspaper by answering the following questions:
How are your students selected? Do you take all applicants?
What qualifications must your teachers meet?
What were the individual needs not met by your students and why were they met better in your schools?
Do you accept and how do you accommodate special needs students?
How did you evaluate success? Were you held to the same criteria as the public schools?
Who determines learning needs?
Where are you saving money in order to educate pupils more cheaply than the public schools?
Your voucher program may show promise for some local families, but a properly supported public educational program will provide rewards for the entire community.
— Marvin A. Henry
Is prof repeating the GM ‘myth’?
A recent “Flashpoint” essay written by ISU Assistant Professor of Political Science Matt Bergbower discussed the effects of the recall election in Wisconsin. In the article he states that a recall victory for Democrats would have meant that Obama could have gained points by visiting Detroit and talking about the auto industry bailout. Then for some reason, regarding the bailout, he adds “(a loan that was ultimately paid back with interest).”
In repeating this blatant falsehood he lays bear the liberal bias of many of those who are teaching our young people in today’s universities. He is so politically slanted that he has apparently accepted this liberal myth as fact without doing the research that one would expect of a political science professional. It makes one wonder what other slanted, unsubstantiated views are being taught in our state supported schools.
On July 6, 2010, shortly after this fiction was created by General Motors and repeated by Obama, I wrote you a letter presenting the relative facts as follows:
“GM received a total of $49.5 billion in financial aid from the federal government to finance it’s bankruptcy — $6.7 was a pure loan at 7 percent interest and the rest was transferred in return for a 60.8 percent stake in the company. A part of the aid was put into escrow for GM to use in recovery operations. Last April GM paid off the $6.7 billion and went on a media blitz (including paid TV ads featuring their CEO) saying that they had paid off their loan in full with interest and ahead of schedule.
“It turns out that GM used the escrowed government bailout money to pay the loan.
“It even gets worse. Paying off the bailout loan helps clear the way for GM to get another government loan for $10 billion from the Department of Energy at a 5 percent interest rate. In short, GM is using government money to pay a small fraction of a government aid so they can get more government money at a lower interest rate.”
And then they had the gall to do the media blitz which created this myth.
In December 2010, Liz Ciancone repeated the same fable and lauded the “great success” of GM’s Initial Public Offering (IPO). I responded in another letter that the only “great success” was the windfall to the unions as a result of being given stock in the company by Obama. During the IPO the U.S. Treasury sold 400 million of our 900 million shares and received $13.5 billion. The IPO price was $33, and GM recently closed at $22.
The Treasury reports that the government has recouped a total of $23 billion (including the sale of stock and GM payments) of the $49.5 billion loan. If we sold today the taxpayer loss would be more than $15 billion.
It’s simply amazing that this fable has the staying power that it does. It’s maybe understandable that the public and even Liz Ciancone continue to be misled, but it’s disgusting that a political science professor is either so poorly informed or politically motivated that he continues the charade.
— Thomas B. Tucker
17th Amendment has done us harm
It is more than a coincidence that our nation in debt itself loans money to other nations that are in debt. Our government continues to loan money, borrow and create a growing and increasing national debt at the expense and security of America and the American people.
President Obama and Congress understand that the Constitution gives them the power to perpetually borrow and create a growing national debt regardless of how it relates or negatively affects this nation’s future generations. The out-of-control $15 trillion and growing debt we have is not the result or actions of the American people, but the deliberate and direct result and actions of our presidents and many members of Congress. The American people themselves cannot create national debt.
Simply increasing some people’s taxes that President Obama wants will not fill the empty treasury of our federal government. The main source of future revenue will be from government fiscal restraint, the collection of taxes from a growing, profitable and productive private sector economy in America, from more productive and employed workers in America and from the collection of duties on imports.
The ratification of the 17th Amendment in April of 1913, a bad amendment to the U.S. Constitution, made each state in the union a dislocated mass giving the federal government more power than originally designed into the Constitution. This increased an uncontrolled federal power and bureaucracy which led to our increase national debt and spending by all future Congresses.
It is time to understand the harmful effects the 17th Amendment has brought to the United States at a cost and hurt to the American citizen and how it set the foundation for an uncontrolled growing debt our country now has.
— Charles Bean
Let’s hope GOP’s plan backfires
I agree with Ron Hastings’ letter of June 18. The Republican mob lost a great deal of my respect back when they broke into the opposing team’s locker room and stole their playbook. That is dirty! Of course, I write of the Watergate scandal years ago. But in my eyes, they, the Republican Party, has not changed. The crime also resulted in the trial, conviction and incarceration of 43 people, including dozens of top Nixon administration officials, and the first resignation of a president.
I sincerely hope the Republican plan to defeat President Barack Obama by obstruction of needed legislation backfires in a major way. I hope people will open their eyes.
So, just why are our soldiers being returned from the Middle East, Bosnia and other stations. Well, to dump that many newly unemployed soldiers without current skills on the job market would cause unemployment rates to rise faster than a Chinese made rocket. Going into an election with high unemployment will cause some “bumps” in our economy. The Republicans will do all possible to delay their return until after the upcoming election. Mark my words.
— Van W. Cottom
Amusing letter, but nothing more
In response to a letter from Ron Hastings published Monday, June 18:
Good grief. Charlie Brown! Do you believe all the garbage that drips from your pen?
If you do, you have proven your point: “If you repeat something often enough, you believe it yourself.” The only problem is you didn’t say anything worth listening to.
Keep up the good work, we all need a good laugh (particularly on Monday morning).
— Joe DeLorme
Weighty issue for the NYC mayor
I wonder if New York Mayor Bloomberg (mayor blooming idiot) — I hope that the Secret Service doesn’t arrest me for writing that — knows how much sugar there is in a gallon of milk, or a grape, or an orange or a banana.
Will he ban them as well, or place severe limits on their possession, mandating warrantless searches of people’s houses (including refrigerators) in an attempt to enforce the law?
Oh, if our leaders were as concerned about the weight of government as they were of ours.
— Mark Burns
Family proud to support the Rex
Our family spent the evening watching the Rex win their recent game.
Terre Haute is a level above.
We are proud to support Rex baseball and the city of Terre Haute.
— Suzi Unger
No shirking accountability
My response to Michael Sherrill’s grandiose glorification of George W. Bush’s reign is a less positive polemic.
Judging by the dimension of harm done to this and other countries, Bush may well qualify as the worst president in U.S. history. He seemed to learn nothing from that most misbegotten, godforsaken American war in Vietnam that cost 58,000 lives of our troops and more than a million, possibly as many as two million, Vietnamese lives. As well as hundreds of thousands afflicted with injuries in the wake of that war.
As a result of Bush’s two monstrously costly wars with Afghanistan, begun in 2001, and with Iraq, 2003-2011, we have seen new generations of insane slaughter, not only on the battlefield and in the cities but from an endless plethora of terrorist atrocities ignited by those demonic wars.
Over 6,000 of our heroic men and women have paid the price for Bush’s wars, which were really Dick Cheney’s wars since Bush proved to be little more than a ventriloquist’s dummy to the so-called Darth Vader of our 2000-2008 foreign policy. Beyond our bravest patriots who suffered the ultimate sacrifice in those two wars of choice, not necessity, there are hundreds of thousands who needlessly and innocently perished in those two countries.
Fresh in my mind are the amputees of those wars recently seen on TV. The images of those men and women who lost arms and legs, some even three or four limbs, will not soon vanish from our minds nor the minds of historians who will render a well-earned indictment of the lethal follies of the Bush administration.
Many thousands of non-amputees will also suffer injuries of body, mind and spirit for the rest of their lives, impacting their families and their friends as well. The number of suicides by our veterans mentally scarred by those wars is unprecedented.
Not least among the casualties of war is the economic devastation visited upon this and other countries. It has dug our country into a hole of debt, now about 15 trillion, that we will be hard put to dig out of as far into the future as we can envision. Especially since the cost of the Afghan war will continue for at least 12 more years.
The current cost is $2 billion per week. Add to that the trillions, not hundreds of billions, the wars have cost us and will cost us, not just in making and replacing more and better killing machines but in necessary lifetime spending for our veterans’ medical, living and pension needs. So you can readily understand why there is little left to rebuild our manufacturing base, repair and rebuild our disgracefully disintegrating infrastructure, stimulate job growth in dynamic ways, develop new and cleaner energy sources, eliminate the plague of poverty and homelessness, and, equally urgent, remedy the crisis in education that is leaving us in the dust behind other advanced nations.
Tea Partiers, I hear your Cassandra cries of impending doom vis-a-vis the tsunami of debt threatening the country that you love as much as I. But what I cannot understand is your support, and Mr. Sherrill’s support, of the Party of War, captained by Bush, that has wreaked such economic havoc upon this country and that won’t quit for generations or a century to come. I doubt that Al Gore would have gotten us into two wars. Tragically in 2000 he was denied the presidency by a 5-4 Supreme Court vote against a recount in Florida that would have won him the victory. So the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, I believe, must share the blame for those two calamitous wars as a result of their flagrantly political decision.
Criticize the Democrats, Tea Partiers, on fiscal matters until hell freezes over, and I may even agree on wasteful spending, but also fault many of the Democrats as co-conspirators, along with Republicans, behind the military/industrial/corporate complex that involves us in perpetual wars.
There is no doubt that 9/11 cried out for a response. Two wars, however, with unforeseen consequences that morphed into a gargantuan quagmire, were not the answer.
Intelligence, homeland security, and surgical strikes in collaboration with close allies and other committed nations, should have been our policy from the gitgo and is currently the policy that will continue indefinitely into the future.
So, in conclusion, Tea Partiers, Mr. Sherrill, and others of like persuasion, you may continue to criticize the Democrats for all the ills of this country, especially concerning your cause celebre — the red ink that is drowning us in a sea of debt and the urgent need to face it and fight it (which I fully agree with). But in failing to focus on and hold accountable the very architects of our policy of ruinous indebtedness, the Cheney/Bush warhawks, you stand, in my not-so-humble opinion, convicted of either a willful ignorance of the bitter realities of our time, hypocrisy or both.
— Saul Rosenthal
A different view of facts
This is in response to the most recent diatribe from Mr. Hastings (printed June 18 June).
My good man, do you not understand how foolish you appear when writing such rubbish? Your mental meanderings in search of an evil cabal scheming against you are tiresome.
Facts are not stubborn. Facts simply are. If a “Bush/GOP dictatorship” existed, why is it not here? Where did it go? You have disproven your own argument.
We are Americans who desire prosperity, religious and economic freedom and the freedom to live with the social mores based upon Judeo-Christian principles that are more in sync with the majority of society.
Most of us do not approve of using the Department of Defense for a homosexual Petri dish. Most of us do not approve of homosexual marriage, for only God knows where that will lead. Most of us do not believe abortion should be a form of birth control. Most of us believe the Constitution is one of the foundational documents upon which this republic was founded. Most of us believe that the rights expounded in that document are derived from the Almighty and not from some bureaucrat tucked away in a government office. Most of us simply wish to be left alone to worship, work and wonder what this nation would have been if not for busy-bodies who want to decide what is good for the rest of us.
These are only some of the many reasons that the policies of this administration are opposed so vehemently. Others, such as you, of course, have a right to their own opinions.
Remember, though, ignorance is a lack of knowledge. Stupid is having the knowledge available and not accessing it.
— Edward R. Kesler
West Terre Haute