An open letter to the Tennessee Legislature: Next year, instead of making Tennessee fodder for late-night talk shows, why not tackle substantive issues such as our state economy, strengthening our educational system and supporting our teachers, repairing our infrastructure, crime, sustainability, new sources of revenue, job creation.
You know, the issues you were elected to address instead of silly social issues that solve nothing. Listen to your constituents and people of knowledge instead of well-financed lobbyists and misguided people with agendas.
Leave the educating of our children to our school systems and hard-working, well-trained, but underpaid teachers. Trust them.
In matters of faith and sexuality, direct those issues to where they belong, institutions of faith and the parents. It is their responsibility to wrestle with those issues, and as much as they would like government to step in and absolve them by passing laws that create a false sense of piety, the responsibility falls directly on their shoulders.
You have a tremendous responsibility entrusted to you by the people of Tennessee. Act on our behalf, not money and ignorance with eyes on the next election.
I thank Officer Corbin from the bottom of my heart. On May 10, he stopped and asked me if I was out of gas. I told him my car was having engine trouble. We were trying to make a Girl Scout meeting, with my two daughters also in the car. He told me that he had another call and would return down 11th and Central to see if we would need further assistance.
I called everyone I could to see about getting my car back home, and he came back in 15 minutes to check on us and help us in getting out of the street.
I'm a single mother who just had my car fixed on April 25, so needless to say wasn't too happy to hear I needed to tow it back to the car-repair shop on Highway 58.
He didn't have to stay around and assist, but my girls and I are glad he did since we had others ask to help but question if they were really trying to help us or not.
The tow truck and my dad finally arrived. Thanks, Officer Corbin, for the help. May you be blessed for that act of kindness.
I was born in Chattanooga, graduated from Central High School and UTC, and am now raising my family here. This community is important to me, and for that reason, I support Joe DeGaetano for Hamilton County Sessions Court judge.
I hope you'll vote for Joe because he cares about this community -- it's a part of him. Joe went to St. Jude School and Notre Dame High School. He grew up in Hixson and now lives and works in North Chattanooga.
Joe is well-qualified to be Sessions judge. He went to Vanderbilt University, then to the University of Georgia School of Law, where he graduated second in his class. He served as a clerk for a senior judge on the United States Court of Appeals. He has argued in every court Tennessee has to offer (from Sessions Court to the Tennessee Supreme Court), and now operates his own law firm.
I hope you'll vote for Joe DeGaetano on Aug. 4 because he is all of the things this community should expect in its judges; he is hard-working, intelligent, honest, composed and thoughtful.
Why is it that when the subject of welfare aid comes up, many folks scream well, we better test them for illegal drugs, yet when it comes to subsidies for wealthy oil companies or bailouts for the car companies or banks or insurance companies, there is a great silence!
DR. GEORGE A. MILLER
About President Obama -- Obama backs gay marriage.
Franklin Graham says: "Obama is shaking his fist at God."
Evangelist Ray Jameson says: "President Obama is not fit nor qualified to be president of this great nation under God."
I vote for his impeachment.
EVANGELIST RAY JAMESON
Bravo to Obama for taking a bold stand on a touchy issue when most politicians avoid the tough social questions like the plague!
Obama's acceptance of same-sex marriage has made a world of difference to those who have struggled with their families, their communities, and yes, even themselves over their heart's yearnings. Why, in a love-starved world, should any human be against two people who want to openly proclaim their love and make a life together? Could it be that some people are turned off while imagining the mechanics of same gender lovemaking? If that really is the issue, then those folks need to get a life!
Obama showed himself to be an attentive parent, because he truly listened to his children who do not have the multitude of prejudices that most adults have. I am proud to have a president who is willing to recognize loving couples who have waited so long to be a full part of American society.
ANNE GARRARD GRINDLE
I am sick and tired of politicians ranting about everyone not paying their fair share of taxes. A fair tax code would be 2 percent on the first $10,000, 5 percent on the next $40,000, 7.5 percent on the next $50,000, 12 percent on the next $150,000, 18 percent on the next $250,000 and 25 percent on everything over. There would be no deductions and no exemptions. All income would be counted no matter where it came from. Dividends would be a before-tax expense to encourage corporations to pay out more income to stockholders.
Anyone with a calculator could do their taxes in five minutes. Unfortunately, nobody wants to pay a fair share of taxes. They want everyone else to pay a fair share, just not themselves! Tax lawyers don't want it. Accountants don't want it. The IRS doesn't want it. And politicians don't want it, regardless of what they say!
Oct. 1 will mark the 75th anniversary of marijuana prohibition. In those 75 years, we've arrested over 23 million Americans for marijuana offenses, over 85 percent of them for simple possession. In 2007, the U.S. arrested 872,720 Americans for marijuana, more than all violent crimes combined. Currently we arrest one person every 36 seconds.
According to a new study by Jon Gettman, Ph.D., the U.S. spends around $42 million to keep marijuana illegal, $10.7 billion in direct law enforcement cost and $31.1 billion in lost tax revenue. Marijuana is now the leading cash crop in the U.S., surpassing both corn and wheat combined. While the current recession has forced state and local governments to make cuts in education, health care and other social services, the drug cartels are making record profits from marijuana prohibition.
Marijuana is a safer substance than alcohol or tobacco, both physically and socially. There's not one reported case of death caused by marijuana use. Why do we continue to follow a failed policy that hasn't worked for the past 75 years? How many more Americans do we need to arrest and how many more billions of dollars do we need to waste before we realize that prohibition does not work?