Life in outer space can inspire kids. "Imagine a species that survives without oxygen, 2.2 miles below the Mediterranean; exists such life." This brings up some questions such as, "How did life begin on earth?" "If life exists here, can life exist somewhere else in the universe?"
There are trillions of stars in the universe. These stars help create life, so the more stars you have, the more chance of having life on a planet you have. Extremophiles are tiny animals that survive in extreme environments such as deep-sea thermal vents or volcanoes. These extremophiles are essential for life to spawn. If we find extremophiles on another planet or moon, then the start of life on Earth is similar to other places in the universe. Kids will become inspired to imagine because of the knowledge of life existing in another part of the universe changes the whole concept of Earth being by itself. Many kids will wonder what kind of life could there be, just as kids were motivated to dream about space exploration when Neil Armstrong first landed on the moon or wondered about different life forms existing in the universe when the science fiction TV series, "Star Trek," premiered.
The Times cartoon (Oct. 28) by Clay Bennett suggests that Republicans are supporters of gruesome, back-alley mangling of women and murder of children was tactless and untruthful.
This humorless cartoon gave a false impression of the conservative position on life issues. The insinuation that political action toward the end of protecting children from abortion must be uncompassionate ignores the vital work that conservatives (particularly Christian conservatives) do to protect and nurture mothers and babies.
Many Chattanoogans sacrifice their time and resources to help women break the cycle of unintended pregnancy and abortion (the wonderful people at Choices Pregnancy Resource Center and Bethany Christian Services spring to mind). The pro-life movement is filled with people who, at great personal cost, live out their beliefs so every member of society has a chance to live life and have their voice heard -- a privilege that Bennett and the Times editors apparently take for granted.
Promoting this unanswered attack amounts to a gleeful sucker punch of your host city by an editorial staff increasingly out of touch with the needs and values of your readers.
I write as an African-American descended from a family of Cherokee Indian and black tobacco farmers in North Carolina, who sustained general wealth by applying the traditional American values of thrift, hard work, discipline and respect for the family unit. As I become older, it's difficult to support the political party that demonized the Republican Party for venerating the very values that allowed my family to be the model of economic self-reliance. African-Americans have not always received the economic or social dividends promised by the Democratic Party. I've outgrown the need to support a political candidate just because of race and/or political party affiliation.
Both candidates for state Senate District 28 constituents who have suffered from loss from federal and state budget cuts, as well as the ills of urban sprawl. It is time for a change. I support the candidate who has the best interest for the citizens of Hamilton County and Tennessee at heart, the candidate who has the ability to serve during difficult times. That candidate is the decorated Vietnam War combat veteran Johnny Horne for Tennessee District 28 state representative.
L. CHARMER, JOHNSON
We Chattanoogans should be proud of our city. We should be proud because part of our electric power comes from clean, reliable and safe nuclear power.
Nuclear power is clean power. A Nuclear Energy Institute study found that in 2008 alone, United States nuclear plants prevented the production of 759 tons of carbon dioxide. That's almost the amount of carbon dioxide produced by every passenger car in the United States.
Nuclear power is reliable power. Unlike some other forms of clean energy, nuclear power plants produce large amounts of electricity reliably. Nuclear plants are able to output massive amounts of power 24 hours a day regardless of the weather.
Nuclear power is safe power - and it is only getting safer. In order to operate, nuclear power plants must abide by strict regulations. Safety in nuclear plants has also increased due to more advanced technology and operation methods.
So what can we do to increase nuclear power production in the United States? We can research which legislators are pro-nuclear and cast our votes accordingly. Together we can make the United States a better place to live by making it a little more like Chattanooga.
ADAM HILLIARD, Ooltewah
Why Walker County needs a commission form of government.
Some residents have questioned Ales Campbell's campaign promise to allow voters to decide whether to retire the sole commission position.
Too "expensive"? Add up the lead positions (unelected) with the current administration and you'll find plenty of money for part-time elected representatives.
Our Founders did not want "efficiency." Even Genghis Khan and Chairman Mao were "efficient" rulers.
If we are to be "efficient," then let us have no more state representatives or senators, but a sole governor. No more local tax commissioners, or sheriffs, or judges, but "efficiency" from Atlanta in the form of a sole ruler in the areas of all things governance.
The American experiment relied on accountability and a balance of power to enact edicts, enforce the law, raise taxes and spend money. No longer would we be bound by unreachable counselors, attendants and friends of the emperor.
Many see Walker County bound by the old way. There are only nine sole commissionerships left in America, all in Georgia ... named after the late King George.
It is time to trim the number to eight.
Write in A-l-e-s C-a-m-p-b-e-l-l for what could be Walker County's last sole commissioner.
MIKE CHAMBERS, Lookout Mountain, Ga.
This letter is to complain about the abysmal recycling service that my city tax dollars are supposed to pay for. While my house has long been registered for recycling pickup, it hardly ever happens. I have called over a half a dozen times to complain.
Yet again, my recycling was not picked up Tuesday. When I called to complain, the woman agreed to once again forward my complaint to the supervisor. This "supervisor" has never called me back. Even worse, whenever I call, it is always erroneously assumed that I am at fault -- that I have not put my trash out the night before or on the wrong day, or that I have not used the proper bag or have included glass.
Since the city encourages Chattanoogans to recycle, I find this total lack of service appalling. Once again, the regular Wednesday trash will pick up the recycling I have carefully but fruitlessly sorted over the past two weeks. I have given up on Chattanooga's supposed recycling program. In the future, I will instead put my recycling out with the trash -- contributing to more landfill waste because of the city's incompetence.
The fact that Romney has promised Israel that we will join her whenever she is ready to attack Iran, along with his chest-beating rhetoric, indicates that war with Iran will be sooner than later, if he is elected.
Israel has us by the nose anyway. She knows that America will join her in the attack. You can take that to the bank.
We really do need a whole new approach to our foreign policy of war and crippling sanctions, which both the Democrats and Republicans have been following for 60 years.
I don't think that is going to change over the next four years, regardless of who is elected.
What needs to happen is for the American people to get good and sick and tired of war and the way America conducts her foreign policy.
I'm afraid that politicians tend to wait for the people to indicate a direction and then they jump out to lead them.
Four more years of war and a struggling economy could bring just enough of a shift in the American attitude that a peace party will have a perfect chance to make itself known as an alternative to Dumb and Dumber.
When I attended high school in the 1940s, I rode the bus from St. Elmo and breathed the metal dust from the industries in South Chattanooga.
How different the scene is today! You can stand on Point Park and see beautiful Chattanooga instead of a smog-covered valley. You can breathe clean air on Broad Street.
When Romney rants about getting rid of government regulations, is he talking about the same regulations that make possible the clean, healthy conditions that we enjoy now? Is he talking about those that make possible clean water, air and soil? Is it true that there are bills sitting in Congress to strip the EPA and other regulatory agencies of their power to provide healthy conditions if the Republicans come to power?
I know recovery has been slow after the mess the Bush tax cuts and the five millionaires on the Supreme Court gave us (especially with Republicans in Congress sitting on their hands), but I'm betting/voting on President Obama and the Democrats to continue to work for a cleaner, healthier America.
SULLINS M. LAMB, Rising Fawn, Ga.
In response to "Can either candidate fix political gridlock?" (Associate Press article, Nov. 1). I would point out that maybe voters cannot decide between the two candidates because they are very similar on various issues. Gov. Romney has done an excellent job as portraying himself as a "get-things-done" kind of guy. This is exactly what he needs to present to the American people in order to have the president's policies seem slow and unreliable. However, just because Romney presents himself that way does not mean it will be the case.
I think the American people need to become aware of what the real differences are between Romney and Obama. We should not settle for the propaganda and rhetoric; we should aim to be informed about all perspectives in order to decide what exactly is best for our country.
AVERY McKINNEY, Collegedale
While the abysmal economy indeed offers discouragement about voting for our unaccomplished, untrustworthy incumbent, it does not even compare to the unconstitutional platform of the Democratic Party, which promotes abortion, infanticide, perverse marriage, evolution over science in schools, the immoral and ineffective promotion of contraceptives, et cetera. Folks, these issues are not up for debate; they're unconstitutional, and yes, our Constitution was indeed founded upon the Bible, God's word, not the self-contradictory, pluralistic, postmodern premise of today.
Also, the sexist, dishonest, prejudiced "journalism" of today warrants severe refutation. Abortion, for example, is not a female issue but a civil-rights issue. Calling steps against abortion a "war on women" is a typical-of-the-left lie and abuse of semantics and is parallel to calling abolitionism a war on white people. Defunding the group Planned Parenthood would be by far the best move this country has made in decades.
RONALD MILLSAPS, Collegedale