Letters to the editors

Letters to the editors

August 13th, 2011 in Opinion Letters

Stop repeated animal experiments

Your recent Perspective section debate (July 31) about experimenting on animals for medical advances was well done.

The pro animal tester kept stating that the Animal Welfare Act was an effective protector of animals in the U.S.A. Not so! Animal rights groups have tried for 25 years to make that act more effective. It is too vague and often ignored. There simply are not enough inspectors to check every lab, factory farm, and slaughterhouse and so abuse happens. (I cannot comprehend how anyone can do cruel acts to a living being).

The huge problem with all of this is that repeated, horrible experiments are performed on animals, when the scientific community has plenty of data from past experiments. Some is funded by taxpayers!

The research I found stated that $12 billion is spent each year on animal experiments. What a tragic waste of money!

As our congresspersons seek ways to save money, repeated animal experiments need to be stopped ... right now, not in two-three years!


Recall vote shows who's in control

After watching the Democrats pick up only two seats in the Wisconsin Senate during the six recall elections Tuesday night, it has become obvious to me that the billionaires and preachers are an unbeatable team and the rest of us should resign ourselves to becoming a third-world nation much like Somalia.

JOHN LEWIS, Jasper, Tenn.

Teachers deserve much gratitude

Although I cannot disagree with the sentiments expressed in the Free Press editorial on Wednesday, "Back to School," I was disappointed that no mention was made of the teachers who have the responsibility for educating our children.

Teachers are the backbone of the education system in our country.

Most work tirelessly to educate, inform, stimulate, inspire, and yes, often comfort, their students. They give of their time and their hearts, and we owe them our gratitude for once again embarking on the challenges of a new school year.

"Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for it is a lost tradition." -- Jacques Barzun


Here are the facts for security choice

On behalf of the Erlanger Board of Trustees, I want to reassure the community that we acted properly and in the best interests of our patients, visitors, staff and physicians when we replaced our internal security department with a private security company. The board approved the vendor that best met our stringent criteria for cost and quality of services.

The Times Free Press reporting of our decision overlooks three critical facts your readers deserve to know.

First, Erlanger's review of security began when the city of Chattanooga notified Erlanger that, due to ongoing liability concerns, it would no longer commission the health system's officers. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department also refused. The city, ultimately, did agree to commission a list of officers as a temporary measure with the understanding Erlanger would soon move to contract with a new security alternative.

Second, the choice of Walden Security was very carefully reviewed at many levels. For example, a broad committee of hospital supervisors and clinical personnel was tasked with evaluating and scoring all competing security proposals. The committee included those who work in highly public areas like the emergency department where security issues are especially important. That committee endorsed Walden Security unanimously. This was one of several factors the board reviewed in our careful evaluation of the proposed security contract.

Finally, let me address the issue of employment and whether our former officers were treated fairly. All former officers were encouraged to apply for employment with Walden Security. Twelve applied and all received employment.

The safety and security of our patients, visitors, physicians and staff is a solemn responsibility we take very seriously.

DAN QUARLES, Chairman, Board of Trustees Erlanger Health System

Reforms needed in defense, medicine

The current federal spending-debt wrangling ignores two huge pieces of the puzzle.

1. As Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has noted, we spend $1,500,000,000,000 annually on military-security overkill. We maintain 11 aircraft-carrier groups (to China's zero).

U.S. foreign aid to nuclear-armed Pakistan buys weapons that often are used against our troops.

Little backwater Chattanooga airport has federally-funded security devices and employees.

Our taxes spent maintaining global military bases allow foreign nations to use their own money for domestic spending. Our Navy guards Japan's access to Mideast oil. And on and on. This madness is ignored in the spending-debt debate.

2. U.S. medicine is inefficient and anti-free market.

Name another industry that requires a customer (i.e. patient) to get a note (prescription) from a third party (doctor) to buy a desired market item (medicine).

We should establish regional clearinghouses where customer-patients could compare the sticker-prices and success-failure rates of area hospitals and physicians, thus injecting competition and transparency into our current murky, secretive system.

Also a single-payer system could drastically reduce the 15 percent overhead costs in the current patchwork mess.

These and other reforms would slash our private medical bills as well as the much-decried Medicare/Medicaid costs.


Learn truth about tea party and GOP

Are you now happy with the tea party/GOP "economic hostage terrorism" just seen in action concerning the debt ceiling?

Our credit rating has been lowered and we will suffer dire consequences from their absurd posturing.

The "agreement" will most likely extend the recession, or even worse. The Bush/Cheney misguided, misdirected, unfunded wars, along with tax cuts for the wealthiest put us into this stressed economy.

The tea party's only plan is to shrink government (reduce revenues). This will hurt the middle to lower wage earning working-class people more than ever. Without the full support of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, the tea party would never have been anything but a small fringe movement, which is all it ever should have been.

To be sure of further wrecking the economy, just keep voting for tea party/GOP politicians. There is solid historical proof. Study the actual history, not the right-wing made-up versions, of the 1920s, the Great Depression, and the entire recovery that continued through massive government spending during WWII (which put millions of Americans to work).

Even though the top income tax bracket was 91 percent, the aftermath of that recovery gave us the very best U.S.A. economy ever.

ANN BENTON, Signal Mountain