published Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

'Partisan words not part of school visit' and more Letters to the Editors

Partisan words not part of school visit

To address concerns expressed by the Hamilton County Democratic Party chair, I want to assure readers that Southern Adventist University does not endorse or oppose political candidates. Our university upholds a belief in separation of church and state and can, with integrity, say that those lines were held in Mike Huckabee's campus presentation.

Any partisan statements made by Mike Huckabee while in Collegedale were made during a one-on-one interview with a Times Free Press reporter. No university employee was present during that interview, and it was not the message he brought to our Wellness Summit meeting.

Health and wellness are an important focus of our university. Huckabee's campus presentation was a powerful call to greater personal health based on his personal testimony and on research. His talk was non-partisan and focused specifically on motivating people to make positive health choices.

Southern Adventist University does not invite or deny invitation to campus speakers based on political affiliation. Huckabee's talk followed nine wellness experts who were invited to present during our daylong Wellness Summit and who were also not scrutinized for political affiliation. Our goal in inviting Mike Huckabee to campus was merely one more university effort to help improve the health and wellness of our community.

GORDON BIETZ,

President, Southern Adventist University


Respect for leader should be No. 1

Love him or hate him, we should all respect our presidents, current and past.

The most revolting display of pure hatred and slanted political bias was reported June 14. HBO was exposed for having a mock head of former President Bush impaled on a stick.

Just as bad was the feeble excuse HBO gave for using a head with the former president's likeness. How lame to come up with something along the lines of, we used what we had available!

If there were ever a reason to boycott HBO, this would be it!

Amazing that an act of disrespect of a president is acceptable today because the subject is George Bush. What other president would be mocked like this without total outrage? There would have been total venom if the subject would have been President Obama! One can only imagine the claims of hatred and racism, among other things, from the media.

Whatever happened to the days of respect for all men, let alone a president! This used to be The "United" States of America!

ROGER W. GRAY


Freeze CEO pay, not minimum wage

In Saturday's paper there was a letter about freezing or reducing the minimum wage, saying that raising it would only drive up the cost of everything produced, and those costs would be passed on.

How does reducing or freezing it benefit someone making it? Minimum wage at 40 hours a week is around $15,000 a year. Try paying rent, utilities, buying groceries, gas, if you're lucky to have a car, or affording health insurance, let alone raising kids!

I could see where a small business may have to tighten its belt some, but the big multimillion-dollar companies, the chains that are global and offer no health care or any type of retirement plan, with little or no chance for advancement, and the big corporations that move most of their operations overseas to keep their shareholders' profits up, what of them?

Their CEOs are making million-dollar salaries, plus millions of dollars in bonuses. It's time they took a freeze and gave something back, not the average person who's barely scraping by!

Why are the banks getting bailed out when the average person is losing his house and can't get any help? Why are the middle class and poor always the ones to do the suffering and the belt-tightening?

MARTY HOLLAND

Fort Oglethorpe


Don't limit artists' tools of expression

The Sunday article "Equus" is "undressed IN A CLOTHES-MINDED TOWN" brings up an issue that should be a non-issue within the arts. To borrow from David Ball, "Nudity was theatrical for a while, but the novelty wore off." I refuse to believe that Chattanooga is any exception to this. Nudity is one of many tools that theater directors have at their disposal to articulate their stories in a clear way, but, as mentioned, social attitudes toward nudity have shifted. Since Mr. Dunlap chooses not to have nudity, I am sure that he is exposing the social immediacy through different available means. Mr. Posey's contractual obligation to have nudity should be an indicator that there is an uncomfortable truth to be told, which means we as audiences shouldn't pressure him to "find a very comfortable way to do it." Art is not about comfort; it's about articulately and explicitly exposing truth. And in no way should artists' tools be limited.

I am disappointed that this is still something discussed as an issue in Chattanooga. There should absolutely be more discourse regarding local theater in our media outlets, but my hope is that the conversation could shift to something a bit more relevant.

BLAKE HARRIS

Resident director, Theater for the New South


We should emulate teachings of Christ

Thank you for the article of June 3 by Rhonda Swan. Its accuracy was amazing. The Old Testament, by those who have studied it for many years, was a history of the Jewish people and never meant to be taken as truth to be followed. However, nowadays it is quoted more often than the New Testament and the teachings of Christ.

I thought as "Christians" that is whose teachings we should emulate. Christ said the two greatest commandments are to love God and love thy neighbor as thyself.

I have a close friend who was not allowed into ICU to visit her partner of 20 years because she was "not married" or "a relative." Her partner died two days later. I wonder if Christ would have said the same thing to her.

JEAN ADELE

Mentone, Ala.

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ROGER W. GRAY, your petty complaint only shows how port your arguments are. Notice how you didn't mention the show was Game of Thrones a fantasy series based on George R. R. Martin's books. It is a graphic work, but it has no reference allegorical or otherwise to any modern politics. Maybe to English and medieval history, but not politics.

Did you even watch the series? You couldn't recognize it unless you heard them relate it on their DVD commentary. BTW, the episode was shown last year. The DVD has been out for a while. Your failure to notice it until they pointed it out? Kinda telling.

Besides, I doubt you can even relate the context of the head. Let me tell you something, it was not a just execution. I don't want to spoil the series for you though. Read it yourself if you like.

Now if you want something to complain about, try Terry Jones, who had an effigy of Obama

June 19, 2012 at 12:30 a.m.
ThomasAY said...

Responding to Marty Holland. I am related to someone who's family not only survives on much less than minimum wage, they manage to thrive on it! They are a married couple, no children but 4 pets, that if both were earning minimum wage would be taking in close to $30,000 per year. The husband is unemployed and the wife is on disability. Her disability income, plus a little public help, amounts to about $20,000 per year. This couple has never lived beyond their means. Both vehicles have a combined mileage of close to 400,000 miles! The autos are in excellent shape as they have always been well maintained. They do all their clothing shopping at Goodwill on their ½ price sale day. The food budget is stretched by watching sales, cutting coupons, and stocking up when prices are cheap. They do not eat out, go to movies, nor do they have cable television. The phone is on a VOIP service. The wife successfully quit smoking by going on Chantix ( this quickly paid for itself), and they continue to seek other means to trim their budget. Though a small disaster may be a major setback, this couple will succeed. It is possible to survive on what may seem very little.

June 19, 2012 at 9:16 a.m.
Livn4life said...

To all who are wondering why people disrespect the office of the President, I refer to a couple of presidents ago when a man who supposedly did so much for so many, who had the economy full guns, never mind that economy was inherited, yet chose to make a joke of the office and do unthinkable acts even in the oval office. He was hardly derided, even Billy Graham whom I highly regard, without condoning what occurred made some reference to the effect it can be expected since he is a "good-looking" man. With the infidelity and immorality of that president upheld, why should anyone be surprised at the vitriol spewed in that direction. Here's the difference, when it was/is about Bush, it gets laughed off, when it is about the current President, a furor ensues claiming everything from racism up in the direction of treason. Let's face it people, our leaders, not just presidents have done way too much to make people second guess what they are trying to do. Sadly, be it right or wrong, it often leads to disgusting public displays such as HBO(Bush) and Pastor Jones(Obama). I have to admit though happywiththebulbs, it is a very weak comparison of some youtube video with an HBO presentation. Damage has been done to the image of our highest leader's office. That is heart-breaking but looks as if it will continue.

June 19, 2012 at 9:22 a.m.
riverman said...

Funny that the local Democrats weren't worried about the separation of church and state when they hosted a fund-raiser featuring John Lewis on February 18 at Olivet Baptist Church.

June 19, 2012 at 9:56 a.m.

ThomasAY, so you're basically saying if somebody lives rather frugally, they can survive?

I don't think anybody argues that it's not possible, just that such forced asceticism isn't really desirable and does have costs which people who take a 70,000 tax deduction on their horses can't understand.

Livn4life, Nixon did far more damage than any others. But actually, the big difference is that complaints about Bush's conduct are genuine. The fabricated outrage against Clinton and Obama is hysterical and dishonest, not actual concerns, but just attempts to pretend there's a problem.

Take the complaint above. Such petty and vapid attacks are what has discredited your case. It wasn't a display of Bush, it had nothing to do with him, and you probably never even looked at a picture of it, let alone watched the series enough to know the context.

It's a fantasy show. No allegory was implied, but if it were, and you were familiar with the show, you'd hardly have a reason to be upset, the person who was executed was a victim of injustice, and the meaning was not at all endorsing it. It was a moment of tragedy and sorrow. Completely different in character from what Terry Jones did, which was quite clearly encouraging the idea and deliberately evoking Obama.

All you're showing is your own ignorance and demonstrating that your complaints have no substance. You don't even bother to check the facts. Thanks for showing me you don't have a real complaint.

Riverman, a political fund-raiser? That's something which must be independent of government involvement, regardless of where it takes place.

June 19, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Robert Gray, regardless of the incident you refer to, which you blow way out of proportion, especially in light of the kind of disrespect people like Terry Jones display for Obama (as demonstrated by Bulbs in the video clip above), there is no other president in the history of our nation that deserves more disrespect than Bush.

There is a mulititude of evidence that he not only distorted and cherry picked intelligence to make his case for going to war in Iraq; he actually lied outright, knowing full well that the connection he was trying to make between Hussein and 9/11 was nonexistent. There is plenty of factual data supporting the notion that he and the neo-cons around him had planned on invading Iraq long before 9/11 even took place, as part of their new-world strategy of "spreading" democracy, not to mention securing the oil fields in the Middle East.

Then there is the matter of his sanctioning the use of torture, which he craftily convinced so many Americans was necessary, seeing that we were now engaged in this "war on terror" and were living in a more frigtening, more uncertain world, according to him.

Bush is directly responsible for the deaths of not only thousands of American soldiers but hundreds of thousand of innocent Iraqi and Afghan people. He has enough blood on his hands to turn an ocean red. And you take offense because of this piddling little incident you refer to? Bush deserves respect all right - the kind of "respect" reserved for the war criminal, murderer, and morally bankrupt human being that he is.

June 19, 2012 at 12:44 p.m.

Blow way out of proportion is a hugely gigantic understatement. Actually, I wouldn't say it's a matter of proportion, try completely manufacture out of an entirely fabricated circumstance that in no way reflects the reality of the situation.

It'd be one thing if they were complaining about South Park, but Game of Thrones? Not even close.

June 19, 2012 at 1:19 p.m.
ThomasAY said...

happywithnewbulbs, That is not the main message I am trying to present. My relatives' situation is a temporary one. Though they qualify for significantly additional aid, they opt not to take it. They feel that if they take the additional aid, it may remove some of that aid that someone else needs more. My message is to live within one's own means. Several times I have heard the argument that one cannot live on minimum wage. Most that start on minimum wage do not stay there. Unfortunately, many that have merited increases above minimum wage find that they are back on minimum wage after it had been increased. For those that do not have the talent to rise above minimum wage, there is a lot of supplemental help available. Many of the people that lack skills find themselves in danger of losing their job when the minimum wage is increased. Increasing the minimum wage is not the answer.

June 19, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.

ThomasAY, If you want to make a message about living within one's means, you picked a poor way to do it, since you're not even expressing it as a positive virtue, but as a way to oppose somebody else's message. Maybe you should have taken a different example, or focused your words a different way. Saying they managed to thrive on it, for example, really does come across as rather hostile to anybody who says "Hey, the Minimum Wage ain't that great a thing!"

But actually, it's well known that people that lack skills find themselves constantly in danger of losing their job, regardless of the minimum wage. That's why so much emphasis has been put on training and education (though a relatively high number of people with advanced degrees are also on minimum wage now, for various reasons., though that has been presented as elitism by some, the reality is, American productivity has gone up and that's through use of technology. This means people do lose their jobs, and what can they do?

Well, if they're fortunate, they can re-develop their skills, though this isn't an option for everybody, still, it is one of the ways to help people. Yet even that is treated as somehow offensive.

Trying to blame an increase on the minimum wage as somehow causing is a myopic view of the situation, that's not necessarily the problem at all. The Legend of John Henry predates the minimum wage, doesn't it?

I know many skilled trades workers in welding and other professions who find themselves outsourced to a machine. They weren't making minimum wage in the first place, they commanded higher wages. But they got replaced by a robot.

Would you really want them to work for less, and hope they could survive on it?

Did you think this was new?

Besides, you're ignoring the real point of the original message, that so much of the money is going flowing into the CEOs and Executives, who aren't really doing that much more work,

June 19, 2012 at 1:49 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

ThomasAY, you remind me of that time when Bush was talking to a divorced woman of three kids and she told him that she was having to work three jobs to make ends meet. His reply was..."Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)"

Sir, like Bush, your value system and priorities are so hopelessly skewed that it boggles the mind. It is one thing to live frugally by choice, but something else entirely to live that way just because one has NO choice in the matter. You seem to be perfectly okay with people living in poverty and getting supplemental help. Here is a novel idea instead: why not pay folks a decent living wage to start out with and then they would not need "supplemental help," either from the government or from charities or individuals? Any full-time job worth doing at all is worth paying enough to live modestly on. Nobody wants to flip burgers or mop floors or check out customers all their lives but the services those people are performing are as necessary and vital as any. And they should be respected as such and paid enough to give them the dignity of making at least a modest living for themselves.

June 19, 2012 at 1:51 p.m.
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