Ron Hart's recent column on President Obama's State of the Union address dragged the Free Press side of the opinion page to a new low. In the course of his article, Mr. Hart compared the president to Somali pirates, Mike Tyson and Chicago street gangs. Resorting to ugly stereotypes, he likened Democrats to drug dealers and street hustlers playing "Three-card Monte."
It would seem that in Mr. Hart's view, the president's greatest sin is governing while black.
If the racial overtones of the column were intentional, Mr. Hart should be ashamed of himself. If he was so subliminal as to be inadvertent, then Mr. Hart needs counseling. In either case, his hate-filled diatribe should never have found its way into print.
DAVID B. COE, Sewanee, Tenn.
David Cook's column of Feb. 15 deserves praise for his continuing efforts to wrest from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker a fuller and more credible explanation for their refusal to renominate Dr. Marilyn Brown to the TVA board. So far, he wrote recently that he's written eight emails and made four telephone calls to Alexander's office regarding the Brown matter, to no avail.
Instead, that office and the senator's "communications" director continue to reiterate Alexander's initial statement in which he gave a half-nod of alleged "respect" for Brown's academic credentials but said he had urged the president to nominate someone "better suited to membership on the board" of TVA. Corker's response was equally unforthcoming.
Arrogance from a member of Congress is nothing new, of course, but this matter reminds me of a classic line from a short story, "The Young Immigrunts," by Ring Lardner:
"Are you lost, daddy" I asked tenderly.
"Shut up," he explained.
MICHAEL LOFTIN, Hixson
I am sure we need more energy sources, and oil from Canada makes sense. But I am not sure about a pipeline all the way to the Gulf Coast. Such a pipeline uses the current refineries which are old and often down for one reason or another. And the distance seems to be excessive to transmit the oil.
When the current mega oil companies came into being they closed refineries throughout the country. At the time they promised there would be no price increases due to the closings. This was clearly not true.
Now the mega oil companies close down a refinery on the pretext of maintaining or changing seasonal mixes and raise prices because there is no alternative for production. Gulf Coast refineries often close for hurricanes and other severe storms.
Why not build a new refinery in the upper Midwest to serve such cities as Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis etc.? A new refinery would use newer and hopefully better methods of refining and would shorten the length of transportation. This should also ease the so-called shortages caused when a refinery is down for repair.
ROGER THOMPSON, Tullahoma, Tenn.
David Cook's commentary in the Times Free Press on Feb. 20 speaks against students in 10th grade taking a military recruiting test. He states schools and teachers work is to "enlighten, uplift and engage kids. To humanize." He does not say "educate." Part of every student's education should be an understanding of why we have armed forces; not to encourage war but to prevent it and protect our freedoms. However, keeping a strong military has always been attacked by the liberal left with its progressive/socialistic agenda and politically correct thinking. In fact if liberals stopped to think for a change, it might occur to them that the armed services are the best of all welfare programs because we get protection for the money spent.
It was interesting reading the story your paper carried on Eric Holder and his moral push for gun control to prevent gun violence in the United States. However, isn't this the same person who used his position as attorney general to promote the sale of assault weapons to the Mexican criminals who were responsible for the murder of United States border guards and family members along our southern border?
RICHARD REYNOLDS, Rising Fawn, Ga.
Wow, I have lived in Tennessee for 77 years and didn't realize it was so dangerous that I needed to carry a gun on my way to work to protect myself from dangerous elements in our state.
I couldn't believe that our Republican leaders were passing a bill to allow those with carry permits to take their guns to work, even if their employers didn't want to allow them to store them in or on their parking areas. Guess those without a carry permit are out of luck.
Due to these circumstances we need to alert businesses wanting to locate in Tennessee of the danger their employees would face going to and from work. We should also alert tourists. Let's change the border signs to read, "Welcome to Tennessee, a Subsidiary of the NRA. Due to the dangerous condition in our state we suggest you make sure to pack your guns to protect yourself, since our police aren't able to defend you," or, apparently, my family.
JIM RICE, Red Bank
In the cartoon of the cruise ship Triumph, Clay Bennett's application is wrong as usual.
The ship represents the U.S., which was built over centuries by dedicated, visionary, and self-sacrificing families, workers and investors. But all the resulting luxury will quickly be lost by the burning of the character which has driven its progress.
FDR started the fire, LBJ expanded it, and now Barack Obama has it blazing out of control. It is the burning of personal responsibility, and it will leave the US dead in the water.
He welcomes stowaways, treating them as paying customers. He spends wildly, demanding others pay and promising no tab. Whether it's the admitted $16 trillion or the actual $100 trillion plus in obligations, there will be no rescue. But worst of all, he (along with his entertainment partners) encourages in every way the destruction of morality. He promotes sex of any kind, any time, by anyone; enabled by making the "government" responsible via contraception and abortion. He allows "health care" to baby-sit for consequences, and nursing homes to stand in for the resulting broken and missing families.
The U.S. will not survive his burning of the engine of responsibility any more than Rome did. This is the way nations die.
NATHAN SCHWENK, Spring City, Tenn.
Stop acting like you're so surprised and appalled at Christopher Dorner's actions. It was only a matter of time before racism toward the wrong person caused this kind of reaction. My biggest surprise is that it hadn't happened sooner. They just made a martyr out of this guy who will imminently have people trying to copy his actions.
Racism has its consequences. I don't condone what he did, but I understand.
RICKEY SPIVEY, Hixson
As Paul Krugman said recently: "Fixed beliefs are not to be challenged." But after reading the harsh letters concerning homosexuality in Letters to the Editor, I have to try.
First, all mankind was made by God. Are you telling God He made a mistake with some humans? No animals are homosexual? There are over 1,500 animals that mate with the same sex. Google it.
Why would you send your precious sons to Boy Scouts if gays were allowed? Gay sons are just as precious as any other. They are not pedophiles as uninformed people sometimes think. They were born with their sexual orientation intact just as we were. Gay boys/leaders have been in the Boy Scouts and schools forever with no ill effects to straights.
Boy Scouts should honor "timeless" values? Some "timeless" values are based on early faulty knowledge. Biblical writers were unaware gays were born that way. But now we know. The Bible tells slaves to obey their masters. Now we know slavery is wrong. Sins were thought to cause all illness. Now we know about bacteria.
Please do not put Galileo on trial again for telling the truth.
In your March 1 edition, Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Beck is quoted as saying: "People are just like sheep without a shepherd, and they can be told anything. That's just how gullible our citizens are." His being insulting aside, he evidently sees himself as the shepherd -- or at least the sheep dog to the people of his district and maybe to the rest of us in the county as well. We voters need to remember that shepherds and sheep dogs take the sheep to the shearing pen and to the slaughterhouse.
JAMES R. HILL, Red Bank