published Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Concentrate on today's events and other letters to the editors

Concentrate on today's events

The Washington Post could not wait to report a Romney incident that happened 45 years ago. So much so that in their haste they didn't even get the facts correct. I am waiting for a report from them about Obama's high school days when he, by his own words in his book, the last two years of high school used drugs enthusiastically, drank beer and skipped school often. Our own paper on the left had to report about Romney, but nothing about Obama and his drug use and drinking.

With the economy in the tank, millions still unemployed and on food stamps, I would think the media could report on the important issues of today, not what happened 45 years ago. I'm sure most of us have done things in high school we aren't real proud of. Obama is leading us into a socialist, Marxist country if he gets another four years. Is that what we want for our country?


Editorials now thought provoking

It's so nice to see the Free Press side of the op-ed section sound intelligent. Though I still get a chuckle at the commentary (and wonder why former Clinton 1996 campaign manager Dick Morris is still there), the arguments made seem less strident. In fact, they have become more thought provoking rather than merely laughably entertaining.


Editorial fails to aid community

Having lived in Hamilton County 50 years, serving its children as a pediatrician for more than 30, "Obesity Charades" was appalling (editorial, May 12).

Obesity is devastating, often starting in childhood. Scientific evidence shows the most effective remedy is learning a healthy lifestyle in childhood. A key place to learn that lesson is in school, where many children eat two meals daily. School is an ideal setting to cultivate nutrition with group reinforcement of the pleasure of healthy foods in the right amounts.

Given the serious nature of obesity and its health risks, we need the intelligence and wholehearted support of the community to spare our children, no matter their race, ethnicity or economic circumstance (it strikes all), the ravages of obesity.

The editorial is unintelligent and heartless. It confuses a political agenda, freedom from government control, with an educational mission that strives to give our children a very basic freedom: freedom from disease.

Our children need help. The editorial refuses help, pivoting instead to an unrelated, racist, classist diatribe against poor children and Hispanic/black children born out of wedlock.

Finally, it ignores the $190 billion burden imposed annually by the obesity epidemic.

Help this community and its children. Eat well.

BRENT MORRIS, M.D., Signal Mountain

Some follow God some of the time

I was surprised by the front page article (May 14) on "Gay marriage not voters' only concern" by Pauline Arrillaga. It looks a lot like the pieces of silver referred to in the Bible leading up to Jesus' death.

We will follow God as long as it does not interfere with our making money or our lifestyle. Sounds like fair-weather Christians to me.

JOHN BATY, Henegar, Ala.

Let gay people love and marry

The Free Press (editorial, May 11) would impose by false analogy a rigid comparison of dinnerware with people. I wish they would stop forcing dinnerware roles onto the public. My granny uses a fork to clean out her toenails.

So the gay marriage debate will heat up again thanks to the executive office. The "God is love" crowd will quote their Scriptures; the "God is vengeance" crowd will quote theirs, too.

We know the latter all too well. The fiery rhetoric of condemnation combined with biblical passages defended slavery, Jim Crow, women's oppression and race hatred. They condemned interracial dating and marriage, so are we surprised that they will condemn gay marriage?

America is a city on a hill, not a purity code from a temple. Ironically, that image was established by the "God is vengeance" crowd, but it was first spoken by a "God is love" preacher. America offers liberty for law-abiding citizens who are free to choose whom they love just as they choose what they do, but none can choose what biology makes attractive.

Gay people love. Let them marry. They are people, not spoons.


Address all aspects of gang problem

With gangs running rampant in Chattanooga, I have heard a tremendous amount about gang suppression and very little about prevention and intervention. While I agree that gang-elated crimes should be punished, I think we need to focus on prevention and intervention as well. For every gang member in custody, there are several more on the streets. I know the thought is that examples are being made of these incarcerated gangsters, but the truth is gangs are recruiting new members on a regular basis. They are not afraid of law enforcement or the consequences of being in a gang.

While in custody there needs to be more done to intervene and prevent these young men from returning to gang life. There also need to be prevention services placed in at-risk areas. The youth in these communities need to be offered opportunities to fill their time with productive activities. There are several programs that have been effective in other states that Chattanooga could implement.

These communities also need to be empowered to say enough is enough. Until all aspects of the gang problem are addressed, we will continue to have a problem.


Work together to keep us safe

In response to the gentleman who wrote that Republicans are "mean as snakes," I would like to respond.

• 1. I am an alumni of the CIA, '77, the finest culinary college in the world. In my career of 37 years, in every large hotel I worked, I underwent not only a background check, but a drug test, i.e., "if you have nothing to hide, what is the big deal?" The recipients for welfare should be proud to take tests to prove that they need assistance.

• 2. Concerning torture, i.e., waterboarding; what about the 2,977 innocent people who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001? Whether we want to admit it or not, we are at war. There are groups in the world that are obsessed about slaughtering U.S. citizens. As a veteran, the first rule of war is "there aren't any rules."

• 3. The wiretapping by President George W. Bush, along with the military intelligence, brought Osama bin Laden to his death. True, we have not had a catastrophe like 9/11 since, but we cannot rest. Both parties have to work together to keep us safe.

BENJAMIN W. SUTTON, Hiawassee, Ga.

Make Norton your choice for judge

David Norton and I have been friends and neighbors for over 20 years. I can say that his honesty, integrity and qualifications for the position of General Sessions Court judge are beyond question.

David has served as assistant Hamilton County attorney and city of Soddy-Daisy judge for 29 and 28 years, respectively. He most certainly qualifies for the position he seeks. The fact is that David had to give up both of these positions to become the interim Sessions Court judge, filling the remaining term left open by the unfortunate passing of Bob Moon. This was a major decision on David's part and clearly demonstrates his desire to become a part of this court. One more fact: David was chosen to fill this interim position. That, to me, is an absolute statement of trust.

On Aug. 2, I ask you to vote for David Norton. This would be a vote well cast.


Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.

JANET MINNIEAR, you can blame the right-wing's incessant harping on the events revealed in that biography. That commentary opened the door. But why doesn't the media report on it? Because it's already there is the biography.

BENJAMIN W. SUTTON, in that case, drug use would show a need for assistance, not the other way around. But actually the stated reason was to save money. That's what Rick Scott told us. He was wrong. And the reason we don't torture is because we're a nation above that. Aren't we? If we're not, the terrorist win by us destroying ourselves.

If you weren't taught about the need to not destroy yourself as a veteran, your drill instructor failed.

May 17, 2012 at 12:11 a.m.
kkemerait said...

Dear happy,

As distasteful as the concept of torture is, maybe it's the lesser of two evils.

It seems if we are going to accept engaging in wars as inevitable then maybe the torture of individuals that we believe are combatants with information will in the long run produce less collateral damage or at least will lead to to a higher percentage of those killed and wounded being combatants, rather than innocent civilians.

Without torture, we bomb a general area and hope we get out target. In that process we know that innocents will be killed or wounded. We try to minimize the casualties, but accept that they will happen anyway.

Maybe the torturing of select individuals to gather information would ultimately result in fewer innocent casualties of war. Shouldn't that be sufficient to justify the action of torture?

May 17, 2012 at 8:22 a.m.
LibDem said...

No, I don't think you can justify torture. Rationalize, perhaps, but not justify. The expression 'the lesser of two evils' assumes the acceptance of evil as an alternative. That alone should make you stop and think.

May 17, 2012 at 9:01 a.m.
riverman said...

Unfortunately LibDem evil is a part of the world we live in and sometimes we have to compromise our values. FDR realized that when he partnered with Stalin(who killed more innocent people than Hitler did) to win WW ll. I believe that eventually we will find out that the "enhanced interrogations" prevented a lot of terrorists attacks on our people.

May 17, 2012 at 9:41 a.m.
kkemerait said...


Don't misunderstand, I am not in favor of torturing people as a general rule, all I am saying is that once you accept the inevitability of going to war and of innocent people dying as a result, then maybe there is some rationality associated with torture, as unpleasant as that might seem.

May 17, 2012 at 12:43 p.m.
Welcome_2 said...
  1. Concerning torture, i.e., waterboarding; what about the 2,977 innocent people who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001? Whether we want to admit it or not, we are at war. There are groups in the world that are obsessed about slaughtering U.S. citizens. As a veteran, the first rule of war is "there aren't any rules."

We hate to remind you Mr. Sutton of Hiawassee Ga. But more than 95% of those tortured had no ties to terrorists or terrorism. That's not to say they didn't sign up to become a terrorist after being tortured.

One particularly sad case in many is that of Mr. El-Masri, a German national, who was kidnapped and spirited away to afghanistan for four years, where he was tortured. His is only one case in perhaps thousands.

May 17, 2012 at 4:03 p.m.

Kkemerait, the cost is always higher, and there are plenty of laws in war. There is conduct that is simply not allowed. If you want to avoid bombing large areas, there are other solutions. The US has invested heavily in precision munitions for a reason. Not to mention other ways of interrogating.

Torture is a willful choice to inflict pain on a particular person. The effectiveness is questionable, but the costs are clear. You allow it, you destroy your own virtue.

So would indiscriminate bombing. Don't do it. Wouldn't help in the current Wars anyway.

May 17, 2012 at 11:28 p.m.
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